Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Christmas Feast!

We need to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated this Christmas!! Because of you, some sweet young people will be going to school, will be starting a business, and were able to have a really fun year-end party with the whole Rehma Crew!! 

When I had originally started planning for this event, it looked a lot different. It was suppose to be a small community feast but it turned into a large gala for our youth and their friends. It became a bit challenging as I had set a budget and raised a certain amount of money. It was really hard to stick within in this budget and still do all that we wanted to do but we managed to pull it off!

It all went down in a run-down bar...not my first choice of venue but it was actually a really decent set up for a really really good price. We got the whole place to ourselves with a big screen to watch the football games and a DJ to play tunes all night. We had the locals make enough biryani to feed an army so everyone got a plate or two. I had my sweet friend Paulina make us a delicious cake and got these two gentlemen below to help us decorate. Not all things went as planned. My deco was a bit lack-luster, the microphone didn't work, and we couldn't hook the computer up to the projector so we couldn't show them the awesome slide show I had prepared. But we still had fun!!!

 Emmanuel and Ryan came to help us set up and stuck around once people started to arrive. They were troopers as none of my deco ideas worked, the tape I bought was melting, and my scissors dull. 

Then the guests started to arrive! Each one of the youth in our programs were allowed to bring one guest.
 Zizou brought his sweet wife, Saumu, who is doing hairdressing school. Side note: I went to visit her at school this week and the lady teaching her told me that she will hire Saumu full time once she completes the course! Yipee!
 Riise brought his wife too who we had never met!
 Most of the others just brought a friend, brother, cousin, neighbour. 
 Allan brought his mom! So sweet!
 My girls looked amazing!! I saw them walking up to the door in their long, black buibuis. Once they reached the door, they took off their buibuis to reveal their colourful outfits. They were so cute!! 

 I got the staff to take off all the table clothes that advertised beer and then I put up some christmas deco. 
 Seriously love this couple! They are so sweet. 
 Time to feast! Actually, I didn't like the biryani. The meat tasted to 'gamey' to me. But everyone else loved it!

 I think the night was more about looking good than anything else. Everyone came dressed to impress. 

We asked the Dj to stop the music so we could do some speeches. We had a handful of people come up and say how much they loved and appreciated being apart of the Rehma Family. They all encouraged one another to stay together and grow closer so that they can help one another. One young man came up and only had one message "Stop doing drugs". He had stopped doing drugs a while back and is now doing so well in life. He is making lots of money, has a wonderful wife and newborn, and he is happy and healthy. It was also an honour to have Kelvin's mom with us so she can see what we do. 

After the speeches and cake, we danced! and danced! and danced! 

It was the perfect end to a wonderful year with the Rehma Family. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our First Anniversary

It was our one year anniversary last Friday (December 21st). I had planned to write some lengthy, insightful, inspiring post about marriage and love and Kelvin and Jesus and other stuff but our day was hijacked by a slew of visitors and a long to-do list for our Christmas banquet. 

I spent a good part of our anniversary here.... the largest crocodile farm in Africa. 

With these great people....

 ...the Rono kids. 

Swido, Virginia, and Emmanuel were in town with a friend, boyfriend, and husband. We planned to all get together on Friday but once we were together, we couldn't figure out what to do so we split up. I took the girls and their men to the Mamba Village Crocodile farm and Kelvin took Emmanuel and his buddy Ryan to the beach. We all had a great time. I always love being with these great peeps. Swido has been gone for almost two years studying abroad so catching up with her was wonderful. The crocodile farm was interesting with a strong flare of cheesiness. It was kind of cool seeing over 10,000 crocodiles.

We eventually said goodbye to them and Kelvin and I went on a coffee date at Java House just to hang out together. We were completely wiped though and were starting to get sicko so it wasn't the most romantic date. 

 A friend asked me how our first year of marriage has been. I told her that it was kind of like a roller coaster ride. There were a lot of highs and lows and sharp twists and turns but at the end you get out and say, "that was awesome! lets do it again!".  I adore you Kelvin. Let's spend forever together. 

Longing for Jesus

Christmas is over and I feel like I can now collect all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

This Christmas I longed for Jesus more than ever before. I kept finding myself just uttering His sweet name all day long. Under my breath, in my mind, on my heart - "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus"

It was more out of desperation than out of praise.

This Christmas season was hard for me. I spent most of it with a pretty heavy heart and a lot of discomfort. And I don't think I was alone. I kept reading about and talking with people all over the world who were feeling the same, mostly those who live abroad and away from everything comforting and known. One person even entitled their post 'Surviving Christmas'. Since when did Christmas become such a struggle that we must survive through? It was always a time of relaxation, rejuvenation, family, comfort, abundance, and food. But I understood this post. I felt like I just wanted to survive through this Christmas and move on.


I really wanted a real Christmas tree and I wanted to open lots of gifts on Christmas morning. Is that selfish of me? I have now spent four Christmas' in Kenya with no tree or gifts and, for the most part, I didn't mind that one bit. But this Christmas, I wanted lots of junk food in my stocking and some new stylish clothes and maybe a fancy gadget. I miss spending Christmas with my family and doing things the way that I did growing up.


It is unbearably hot here. Not sure what happened but it seems hotter than last year. It's made everything a lot more difficult and daunting. Plus we have are all battling some sort of head cold that is making everything that much more uncomfortable. You can't even sit still without sweating. Last night I had the fan blasted on high and draped my body with a damp towel and I was still sweating. Tears streamed down my face just wanting to be cool.


Kelvin's family is here and although I adore them, they do things differently. They don't even speak english so often I have been left out of the conversation. I am so nervous to cook for his mom that I just keep messing up. My rice has been mushy and my chai too strong. I am not even sure if I want to explain how uncomfortable I was having a chicken on my deck. Before we killed it on Christmas morning, I had to go to my room and compose myself so tears didn't decide to show up for all to see. Chicken. Blood. Everywhere. And me being uptight about cleanliness hovered over Kelvin trying to make sure everything was washed with hot water and bleach. At some point I scratched my nose only to realize that I just smeared chicken blood all over my face.


It's not always easy knowing that you don't have the means to buy your loved ones gifts. Kelvin and I went to the grocery store the other day and had the intent of treating his family to some nice gifts. Once we looked at the cash in our hands we realized that it was not going to be possible. We ended up buying some more expensive sweets for them all to share. However, it is even harder when I look around and see people who don't have any food or any family for Christmas. They are right outside my door.


My heart aches with all the suffering around me and all over the world. Shootings, bombs, sicknesses, poverty, dysfunction all around. One heart break after another.

Jesus Jesus Jesus 

I believe I have understood now more than ever what it means to long for a Saviour, to await the coming of Hope, to depend solely on the Son of God. How many times I had to stop and whisper 'Jesus' knowing that He was the only thing that could get me through this next day, hour, minute. At times I didn't even know what I needed or how to get there so I just murmured out His name.

And He did show up. I did get through. And I am doing well. There were great moments of joy and wonder. I did laugh and smile and make merry. We enjoyed family and loved ones and ate amazing food. Sweet breezes and cold showers cooled my body.

God is indeed with us.

 We prepared a huge Christmas feast. It was way too much food but we doggie bagged most of it and sent it home with everyone. Was so so thankful to have all of Kelvin's sisters there to help cook and clean.
 This was part of the chicken we killed in the morning. I was especially happy to see it eaten as it was waking us up at 4am cock-a-doodle-dooing.

We played some Rummikub. 

 It was Kelvin's twin sisters', Joan and Harriet, birthday on the 24th so we decided to celebrate it on Christmas when the whole family was there. I woke up extra early to bake it before they woke up. It was a pretty sad cake but it did the trick.
Then we had a dance party. 

Yes, He is really with us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What my mother-in-law brings when she visits

Kelvin's Mom and twin sisters arrived this morning at our house. This is a BIG thing. Culture says that we are not suppose to stay under the same roof with her because we are married. Due to circumstances,     we have had to sleep under the same roof with her a few times so far. In April we visited her upcountry and, to my surprise, we were not allowed to sleep in the same bed under the same roof. So I slept on the floor with his two sisters and he slept on the couch beside me. We are suppose to build our own little mud hut somewhere else on the property that we stay in when we visit. We don't have the money (or the will) to do that right now. 

We invited his mom to come to Mombasa for Christmas and stay with us. He had to ask her if she was allowed to stay with us. She agreed and now she is sitting next to me on the couch. 

Let me just say right now how THANKFUL I am for our new apartment that has so much space that I don't feel totally overcrowded and overwhelmed. I like my space. 

Kelvin's mom came from the village with a variety of things that my mother would never bring. Here are just a few: 
- a large chicken to eat for Christmas. The chicken is alive. It's tied up on our porch. 
- 2 smaller chickens to give to Kelvin's brother who wants to start breeding chickens. They are in a box on the porch. 
- fake hair she bought so that her daughter could braid her hair.
- a whole sack of vegetables from her garden including sweet potatoes, maize, and beans - lots of beans. 
- CD's and DVD's of church choirs and gospel artists from her area. She doesn't have electricity let alone a TV so she never gets to watch them. 
- a VERY small suitcase of clothes (Mom, it is possible to pack light...)

None of this surprised me. I would actually have been a bit sad if she didn't bring a chicken for Christmas. 

I find Kenyans make pretty easy guests. They are really independent and don't need a lot of entertaining. Kelvin's sisters are busy making supper right now (can I get an amen?) while his mom is super content sitting on the couch watching her videos. We can leave them at home all day and they will be fine on their own. Because of the language barrier, we don't have the most vibrant of conversations but that will come in time. 

All in all, I am grateful for the large pile of sweet potatoes on my floor and having our house full of sweet family. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

They Will Be OK

I often wonder what will happen to our youth if Kelvin and I end up leaving Kenya for a time. We don't plan to leave too soon but we know it will happen eventually. I always think about how our youth will continue or if all will go back to the way it was before we came. There are some things that will not continue because the money will not keep coming in and we haven't quite found someone who has grasped our vision and is capable of taking over. But I would like to think that we made some sort of an impact and that some of the things we have started will continue.

We do have a young man who coaches the boys which takes a lot of pressure off Kelvin to be at every practice and every game. We are able to leave for long periods of time (like last week when we went for the youth camp) and know that practice and games will continue to the standard that we expect.

We also have a committee complete with a chairman, secretary, and members which is all made up of the boys. This committee makes all sorts of decisions mostly concerning finances and the team affairs. Kelvin offers support when needed (and directly mentors the chairman) but they run quite smoothly on their own.

So Kelvin mentioned to me last night that the boys have created their own little soccer tournament. Apparently, they have split the team into two I guess it is quite the competition between the two teams. Every Friday, they play against each other. The winners get money. During the week, they raise this money. I don't know if they ask people or they contribute themselves, but they get a hefty amount of money (and I am now wondering why I fundraise money for them when they can apparently do it themselves). This friday, they have managed to raise $50 to split. The winners get $30 and the losers get $20. It's a win win situation. However, there is a catch. The team may have won by 3 goals but if the chairman feels like their conduct was not good on and off the pitch, they will lose and the other team will get the money.

I love it!

I love that they, as a group, created this little system and it works for them. I love that the community donates. I love that they put more emphasis on good conduct than on winning games.

They will be OK if we leave.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Love Letters

I have decided to write love letters for all my ladies.

I want to encourage them and speak into their lives like so many people have done to me. I remember times where a few words spoken into my ear from someone I loved often shaped my vision or plans for my life. It confirmed things that God had already placed in my heart and desires. It affirmed me and allowed me to see who I really was.

I want to do the same for my ladies. Because they are some pretty amazing women. God created them for a purpose. He created them uniquely and with a great plan for them. He loves them. He fashioned them. He wants only good things for them. He placed desires and dreams in their hearts that He wants to see come to pass. And I want them to know that.

I have been busy cleaning my house all morning and praying about the words to say to each girl. There are some that are clear leaders and some that are peacemakers. There are some that have a flare for creativity and some who are great at organization. There are some who will serve as big lawyers or politicians and some who will serve as faithful secretaries or teachers.

Pray with me would ya? That I would speak words of affirmation and love into their lives.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Refreshing Youth Camp

Kelvin and I were sitting on the couch last night debriefing about this past week at youth camp. Kelvin mentioned the word 'refreshing' several times while describing how he felt about the camp. 

Refreshing is not what I would have said. Exhausting and Drained sounds more like it. 

As he continued, he began to describe all that we did, learned, saw, and experienced. I began to ponder about all that went on this week and suddenly 'refreshing' did sound like the right word. 

Spiritually, emotionally, and relationally refreshing. 

I think I mentioned that we recently moved to a different church. On our prayerful hunt for the right church for us, we came to Nyali Baptist. After the very first service, we felt at home. The church has an incredible family atmosphere. Once you enter in the door, you are considered part of the family. Kelvin was immediately asked to direct a Christmas play (which is presenting tonight!) and then was later on ask to be the director of their annual youth camp. 

This week was, for us, a way to connect with the people in the church. We knew a few people here and there but had yet to make any real connections. Kelvin, being the people person he is, instantly clicked with all the youth. By the time I showed up on Wednesday (the camp started Sunday) it was as if he had known them all for years. They quickly brought me in and made me feel at home even though I am the awkward white girl. 

The kids were awesome. They are the complete opposite of the youth we work with in Kongowea. They are kind, generous, polite, helpful, loving, encouraging, accepting, goal oriented, focused, well behaved, and so much fun. THAT in itself was totally refreshing. The speakers and the worship touched our hearts and lives on so many levels. We laughed A LOT. We danced, sang, smiled, hugged, prayed and loved. Physically, we were (and still are) drained. It was HOT - seems hotter than it was last year. Our program was  packed with very little down time. But other that that, it was indeed a refreshing week at camp. 

 Like I mentioned, the worship was amazing. There are some VERY talented musicians in this group.

Our dining hall. 

As camp director, Kelvin challenged the youth to recite as many scriptures to him as they could so they could win points for there team. He constantly had youth around him rolling scripture off their lips.

 Some VERY precious people. 

 The food was decent but it didn't sit too well with me. My tummy is still struggling. 

 Remember Senior? He is the worship leader for the church and is the one who kind of nudged us to come check out the church. 
One night, the theme was 'colour clashing' so everyone dressed up in the craziest, colourful outfits they could find. And one thing I will NEVER get tired of is african's singing and dancing, which they did a lot of. 

Lord, thank you for a wonderful new church and a very refreshing week with the youth!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mini Update

Sorry for the silence this past week and a half. I guess there is just not too much excitement going on around here to blog about.

My days have been filled with lots of cleaning and organizing of our new apartment. We are getting our first visitors come this week and next. I am trying to keep up with all the dust that flies in. The down side of the beautiful breezes that flow through the house is that they bring in lots and lots of dust. However, I will chose dust over a hot and stuffy house any day especially considering how hot Mombasa is getting now. I take two cold showers a day just to cool down my overheated body and rid my skin of all the sweat.

Kelvin is currently directing a week long youth camp for our church. I opted to stay home for a few days and get some work done. I will head out there on Wednesday morning for the last 3 days of the camp. I am looking forward to connecting with the youth as we have just joined this church and are still making friends.

I had my last ladies meeting for the year on Saturday. We started planning and brainstorming for next year. I want to change the structure of our meetings and try some new things. They also have some ideas that they would like to do next year like volunteer in the community and start a small income generating project so that they can earn a little bit of pocket money. I am really looking forward to spending another year with these lovely ladies.

Well, it's time for me to mop my floors and wash some clothes. See you next week!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


"What is it? Fundraising is forced humility, forced community through dependence on others, and forced action on spreading the story God has called us too. All the tough pieces of FUNdraising are actually really fun. I can say with full honesty that I LOVE being forced to depend on God and His community, I LOVE not counting on my own work but only His favor, I LOVE placing the needs of family and future in HIs hands and not my paychecks."

I read this on another missionary blog this morning. 

I wish I could write the same words with so much zeal and vigour. I want to get there. Actually, I am there at times. I get so excited connecting with people who so generously give and support us and our work. I do love watching God surprise us and pull through when I notice more donations have come in through paypal. I do love that I am forced to rely on God more than my own work, skills, doings. I do get excited when I get to see my husband truly thrive because he is using his passions, gifts, and talents to reach people. 

But there are lots of time where I am tempted to get impatient, nervous, or overwhelmed with all this "FUNraising". Especially when there is a lull in giving or things just keep getting more and more expensive. I get discouraged when I watch TV and see what people are spending in the West on the craziest things for Christmas and yet my sweet girls can't even get  $50 a month to go to college. (Side note: I was at a friend's house who has satellite TV and I got exposed to the show about Coupons. I felt sick to my stomach watching people gather so much stuff for themselves. I, as much as anyone else, love a good deal but do you really need 400 rolls of tissue paper or 80 packages of pasta?)

This morning I am sending out letters to all who have donated to us this past year or so. I am utterly amazed at how generous people have been and how much God has provided. As I am writing each name on the envelope, I am praying blessings upon blessings on these people's lives. I am so deeply grateful for the sacrifices they have made so that food can be on our table and our young people can have a future and a hope. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We are in!

We are in our new apartment! And I couldn't be more in love with our house.

The moving process wasn't easy for me. I like to do things my way and be more in control but I let Kelvin and the boys take over and get all our stuff in our place. I didn't sleep the night before because I was just so anxious to move. So by 10am, I was pooped. We had all our stuff in our new place around 11 and I got to relax for a bit before I had to meet with my girls in the afternoon.

We still aren't completely settled. It's taking a bit of work to adjust to a new house and neighbourhood. It's much quieter here but we get very loud mosque calls at 5am that go alongside the rooster that starts crowing. Our bedroom is the hottest room in the house. It doesn't get the breezes that the rest of our house gets but we are used to sleeping in the heat. We also live in the back of an estate which has it's perks (like its away from the road so we don't get the noise from the traffic) but it also has its downfalls (like its away from the road which is where all the shops are). Kelvin went out to get bread this morning. 25 minutes later he came back explaining that he had to walk quite far just to find brown bread. I decided that I need to go to the supermarket and buy brown bread for a while and 'long life' milk (milk with preservatives). It may cost us a little more but it will make things a little bit easier for us.

Right now, I am watching a fuzzy Oprah since we are having troubles finding the perfect spot for our arial (which is ok since her topic today is about menopause-something that doesn't concern me yet) But as I am watching TV, I can feel the breezes and see the palm leaves right outside my window rustle around in the wind. So lovely...

Friday, November 30, 2012

"This would never happen back home..."

I can't count how many times I have said that these last two days.

We almost lost the new apartment last night after we had already installed a water pump and put netting on the windows. They wanted to increase the rent. We simply can't afford it if it goes up. Kelvin fought with the agent who wanted more money even though the owners themselves said it was ok for us to pay what we are paying. At one point, I thought we would be homeless come Saturday. I sat and petitioned my God and He pulled through. We get it at the original price for a whole year. This lack of communication and shady/greedy agent would just not fly in Canada.

Our water has been out for two days. And it seems our managers don't even care to refill it after they told us they will countless times. Meanwhile we are in the process of packing and cleaning and washing our apartment. Without water, it just makes it a whole lot harder.

We had our manager try to kick us out this afternoon because the next tenant was ready to move in. He told us that this morning. We said no. We are leaving early in the morning tomorrow. He also tried to con us out of our deposit and over charge us for painting the house. My husband is clever and didn't let that fly. We will get our full deposit back and found a cheaper way to paint the house.

Top news last night was how are we going to register the nomads to vote in the upcoming election? I had to giggle. They can't register certain nomadic groups because they won't be in the same area in the next couple months. A challenge Canada doesn't deal with so often.

Top news this morning was that a man killed his wife and ate her. Yap, that happened. Although, I do remember a guy in Canada who chopped up his boyfriend and sent his body parts to various places. So maybe this could also happen in Canada?

I went to coffee with a friend for some much needed girly chat. We sat there for almost an hour, after our dishes had cleared, waiting for our bill. We ended up asking our waiter for it. I don't think restaurants in Canada like customers just lingering in there for a long time after they finished eating.

I guess I need to stop comparing Kenya to Canada. I do that when I am frustrated with how things are going here. I am just praying our move goes smoothly tomorrow and I can feel settled in my new place. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


While I was in Nairobi in September, I met a friend of a friend of a friend of mine. Got that? He was a missionary in Eldoret. Him and his family spent a year building a children's home. When I mentioned to him that we play soccer, he asked if I needed any balls. I quickly said YES! 

Balls are one of our biggest expenses. They are not cheap and they get destroyed so easily with our boys. Usually, we can only buy one or two at a time so the whole team has to share them during practice. 

This missionary told me that his church had donated like 30 boxes of these indestructible balls and he  had already given out as many as he could. He offered that, if I could somehow get them, he would give me around four boxes (with 10 balls in each).  It was quite the adventure getting them as we discovered that his children's home is deep in the village outside of Eldoret. However, it was all worth it. Now our boys get to practice with an abundance of soccer balls! 

And these balls are truly indestructible. You can poke nails through them, slice them with a razor, or even drive over them with a car and they won't bust! They also never deflate! Perfect for our stoney terrain and rough boys.

 I watched the boys practice last night for the first time in a while. It's so good to see so many of them out there.
While on the sidelines, I got to goof around with these sweet girl. She came dressed like a footballer and brought her own little plastic soccer ball to play with! Way too cute! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It has become too real...

HIV/AIDS, that is.

It became too real for me last week.

I remember, during my first trip to Kenya in 2005, wondering where all the AIDS was. I mean, back home in Canada, we had been fed the news that this horrendous disease is killing the masses. Words like 'epidemic', 'catastrophe', and 'threat to humanity' were being used to describe the disease. Celebs were creating clothing lines where profits were going to 'fight' AIDS in Africa. AIDS day became a new holiday. As far as I understood, it was a big deal.

So you can understand my confusion, as a naive 17-year-old girl with a heart to save the whole world, when I came to Kenya and didn't see 'it' anywhere. I guess I didn't really know what 'it' looked like.

I began to realize that people don't walk around with big stamps on their foreheads saying, "I have AIDS!". It's actually not easy to point out people who are living with AIDS because often they are sick with very common sicknesses like pneumonia, malaria, typhoid, or even the flu. Because their immune systems are so weak (because of AIDS), those seemingly common sicknesses become life threatening to those living with AIDS. If you meet an orphan whose parent died with AIDS, they will most likely tell you that the parent died of a common disease like typhoid or pneumonia which is true but AIDS played a big part in that.

I am not an expert on the disease by all means but I have learnt some things in the years I have lived here.

Now I know many people who are living with AIDS. Some of them are very near and dear to me.

I even had a doctor tell me once that, if he had a choice between AIDS, cancer, and diabetes, he would rather have AIDS since, with the right treatment, you can have a long and healthy life with it.

However, last week, the reality of this nasty disease became too real for me.

Kelvin got news that one of his friends was 'sick' in the hospital. We didn't know what 'sick' meant as that is how Kenyans describe any type of sickness they are feeling. But we quickly learned that he is suspected to have AIDS as a woman, who he was known to have slept with, was in the same hospital dying of AIDS. Apparently, they are certain wards that contain just people with AIDS and she was in one of those wards. Kelvin went to see her and she was already paralyzed on the left side of her body and was unable to speak. I had met the lady just a week before that.

Kelvin went to see how his buddy was doing since his family really didn't want anything to do with him if he was now infected with AIDS. People still tend to shun others who have the disease, even if they are their own family.

This lady, who was now on her death bed, wrote a list of all the men she had slept with. On this list were several more of Kelvin's friends and men in the community. After Kelvin got this list, he rounded up these men as well as some other buddies, and they all wen to get tested. Unfortunately, some came out positive.

This is when my heart really started to break for so many reasons:

- a whole bunch of men, some close buddies, all shared the same woman. I think that is pretty nasty and can only imagine how ashamed I would feel knowing my close friend and I slept with the same person.
-a lot of these men, including our friend, are actually married.
-in one day, their lives have dramatically changed because they couldn't keep it in their pants just once.
-the community probably won't be so forgiving of them now that they are infected.
-these men may have slept with other women after sleeping with this woman which means that they could have infected a whole bunch of other women. So now they may have to break the news to some women they got all cozy with, that they too need to be tested.
-I kept wondering how this woman, who was dying in the hospital, was feeling after she infected all these men. Did she know she had AIDS? Did she do it on purpose? Maybe she got it from one of them?
- this lady doesn't have any family around so I think she was dying a sad and lonely death.

The whole situation made AIDS become too real; it hit too close to home.

And my heart was heavy, really heavy.

I asked Kelvin what we can do. He said that the best thing we can do is teach those close to us to be responsible. For me, that means I have a group of young women from that community that I can reach out to to make sure it doesn't happen to them.

Finally, last night, we got the call telling us the woman died.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Things that made me glad this week

I had some issues with my google account and it's storage limit. Thankfully, I figured it all out and now I am able to post pictures again!

Just a small glimpse into some highlights of my week (because there were some things that made me pretty sad this week-will share about it later). We must keep looking for things to be thankful for right? Give thanks in all circumstances...

1. Rose and Paul's paradise wedding. 

This wedding was simply gorgeous! It was at the nicest resort in Mombasa and it looked out over the Indian Ocean. The deco was stunning and the food yum. The guest list was 80 people so it was wonderfully intimate. Not to mention, I totally adore Rose (as my new best friend here) and was delighted to see her walk down the aisle. 

 A high table perched over the Indian Ocean...divine. I also LOVED getting to dance my way into the evening. They played a lot of "white people" music and Rose's family were the first ones to hit the dance floor and the last ones to leave. I got to let out my awkward white girl and just dance!! Ah, felt so wonderful.

2. Treats from home!

My best friend, Nikki, and her sister, Charly, put together this nice package for me a couple weeks ago as a random act of kindness. I was in tears as I was opening it at the post office (you have to open it in front of the people there so they can see what is inside and what to charge you in duty). I bet the ladies there thought I was nuts crying over chocolate and coffee. But it made me happy and we have been enjoying these treats all week. Not to mention the beautiful roses I snagged from the centre pieces at the wedding....

3. A subwoofer (sp?)

Nicky, the young man who works for us, came to me with a big fat grin on his face and told me that he managed to save up 5,500kes (like $70) to buy a subwoofer for his 'home sound system'. He told me he saved for 4 months to be able to buy it. Part of me was excited about the fact that the idea of 'saving' is finally getting into his head. But then I wondered why a subwoofer? Don't you want to go to school or something? So I asked him and he told me, "Now, in my area, I will be the one with the biggest sound system and making the most noise." I had to giggle! Didn't know making the most noise was something to be proud of?

4. Christmas!

Our Christmas campaign is out and we are having lots of awesome response from wonderful people! Keep it coming! We have yet to reach our target.

5. A fridge full of veggies and one large watermelon

Kelvin and I went to the market on Wednesday. You have to understand that this is no small market. It is the largest market in the coast of Kenya. It is ginormous! And totally overwhelming for a white girl like me. Nonetheless, I squeezed in between the vendors trying to get me to buy everything while I was dripping with sweat. We came out with a hefty bag of fruit and veggies to last us a while. I had to squeeze them into all the little spaces in my fridge. And down below is one large watermelon that made us giggle. This particular type of watermelon is in season right now and most of them are actually in the shape of a bean! We just had to buy one. Oh, and that's Neema sleeping up there. It seems to be her new thing.

6. A few days at home with Kelvin.

Kelvin has spent more time at home this week preparing for our Christmas events and a Christmas play he is doing for church. I won't lie, it's been wonderful spending so much time with him this week.

7. Our new apartment!!!!!!

We are moving in next week. I know, I have told you that already. But I am just so excited! Come visit please.

Have a wonderful weekend and find some things to be thankful for this week ok? 

The Sweat Moustache is Back

The sweat moustache has returned. The awkward line of tiny sweat beads that adorn the top of your lips is now presenting itself back on my face.

Mombasa is heating up again! And I am spending more time wiping the sweat moustache off my face with my shirt...

I even had a cold shower yesterday. Although it wasn't entirely by choice; power was out in most of Mombasa all day so I couldn't heat water to bathe.

The fan now stays on the medium level all night long and all throughout the day.

Ice Cream shops are becoming more and more tempting by the day.

I take extra trips to the grocery store just to enjoy the air conditioning.

However, I am so so so excited to move next week! The new apartment faces the ocean which is a big deal. Our current apartment does not face the ocean therefore we get no breeze coming through our place. Now, I didn't say that we can view the ocean; we are just facing the direction of the ocean. The new apartment also has lots and lots of big windows that are filled with window panes. There is this new fad in housing in our area. People love these chic sliding windows that are meant for an air conditioned apartment. They look kind of fancy but they are terrible unless, of course, you have an air conditioner (which most people don't). The don't let in any air (as half the window is closed at all times) and they are really tiny. So it makes for a really hot n' stuffy apartment.

That's why I love our new place. Its a bit older but it doesn't have these new fancy schmancy windows that are all the rage. And that means that I get to experience lots of ocean breezes flowing through my house. Ahh sweet breezes...

For now, Kelvin and I will enjoy a nice cold glass of fresh passionfruit juice I made this morning....yum!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Christmas is creeping up on us. It's time to tell you about this year's Christmas campaign. 

Last year, we were able to supply all our boys with a large bag of groceries for Christmas. They had Christmas feasts with all their families! If you want to read more about last year's "Christmas for the Boys", please click here

This year we have three special ways that you can give:

Celebrate with Community

$20 will provide a Christmas feast for four community members. In Kongowea, special events and holidays are celebrated with lots of food! Families will invite neighbors, friends, and other community members to come enjoy a large feast of goat biryani. This Christmas, we want to hold our own feast and invite all our youth and friends in Kongowea to celebrate this special day together!

Cable TV for Kongowea

$50 will provide the capital needed for the Rehma boys new business venture. They were challenged to come up with an income-generating project that will help support the team’s needs as well as their own personal needs. Over the past 2 months, they have researched and planned out a very impressive business plan to supply cable TV at a low rate to the residents of Kongowea. All they need now is the capital to start the business.

College Students

$150 will pay for one term of college school fees for our youth. Over the past year, we have identified and mentored several youth that we would like to support to further their education. We believe that these particular youth will be focused on their families, great leaders in their communities, and give back to others in need.

You can donate on the left hand side of this blog. In the "donation to be used for" box, please indicate which project you would like to support. Once your donation is received, you will be sent a card explaining your donation that you can gift to your loved ones this Christmas. Note that all donations are tax-deductible. 

As a side note: one of my favourite gifts to give and receive for Christmas is a donation made. I remember, when I was graduating from high school, my french immersion teacher gave me the coolest gift. She gave me a card that said she donated $25 in my honour to an organization that aided victims of war. It is the only gift that I remember getting for graduation. I still have the card. 

It really is a wonderful gift to give your loved ones this Christmas! 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Noah: Our latest graduate!

Time for me to brag about another one of our youth. 

Noah graduated! Noah is one of the young men on our team. He approached us last year and asked if we would be willing to help him go to college. By the sounds of things, his parents aren't so supportive of him. They live upcountry and don't really bother to provide or help him. Noah is a young man of really noble character. He is the kind of boy who might lie to you and then feel so guilty about it and come confess right away. 

He did a one-year clearing and forwarding course (something to do with the port). We used to go check up on him at school and the teacher couldn't stop saying good things about him. He passed all his exams and was even able to find an awesome internship. We are now praying that this company will hire him full time once his internship is over! 

We attended his graduation on November 3rd. We were the only ones who could attend as his family had other things to attend to. It was a very long ceremony. We arrived at 8 and left around 1. By the time we left, they were still doing some presentations and opening numbers. Yes, they hadn't even handed out the certificates yet. Noah was gracious and let us leave early. 

So SO proud of this young man!! Congrats Noah!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mini - Meltdown

Upon returning home on Monday morning, homesickness began to creep up on me. Around 4pm, I just couldn't hold back the tears and struggled to figure out why I was so upset. I realized that I just missed home. 

It's not an unfamiliar feeling for me but it is rare nowadays. In the past two weeks, I have had several people ask if I miss home and I proudly answered that I miss my family but not really home. I am pretty content here in Kenya. That's why I was so surprised that I was in such a misery come Monday afternoon. 

And when you are so homesick, it seems like every small thing becomes a HUGE obstacle. And mostly I start to blame it all on 'Africa'. "Ugh, kenya power sucks!" "Africa is so corrupt" "It's so dirty in Africa. Why can't it just be clean." "Its so dysfunctional here in Africa." 

I was actually picking out pumpkin seeds to roast, tears dripping down my face, while murmuring, "Stupid Kenyan pumpkin seeds are so hard to get out!" 

Tuesday and Wednesday got a tad better but I still had a few moments of tears and murmured "I hate Africa" a few more times. However on Wednesday afternoon, I had a mini-meltdown after realizing that my internet modem is broken and needs to be replaced. It was especially disheartening after we had just put a large deposit on our new apartment (which we are really excited for!!) that pretty much sucked up all my savings. Just one more thing that we need to shell out some cash for. Nonetheless, I sucked it up and went and bought a new one - which is working gloriously now. 

I was reading an article on SheLoveMagazine this morning and I came across this video. At first I laughed, because there is a lot of truth in it, and then I cringed realizing that that was me. Although I live in Africa, I still complain about 'First World Problems'. 

So today I am no longer complaining (which is easier now that my internet is back). I am purposing to just let things go and enjoy the small stuff. 

I love the last one "I hate when they put pickles on even when I ask for no pickles".

Some Muddy Soccer

We are home! We did indeed make it to Kipkaren for a wonderful week of learning, listening, teaching, and fellowshipping. 

I grew up in a small town so I love the intimacy of a small community. Mombasa was the last place I ever wanted to be cause its so big, clustered, dirty, and cramped. Going to the village is like a vacation for me even if I am working all day long. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the quietness, the green landscape, the cool weather, the simple lifestyle, the fresh produce, the humble people, and the slower pace of life. So wonderful! 

Our hosts were amazing! They have this swanky guesthouse (which was three times bigger than our apartment in Mombasa) fit with the most comfortable beds and steaming hot showers!! They fed us wonderful meals and let us enjoy their family. We learned a lot from them! They too are a mixed couple like Kelvin and I. They have been doing community development in this area for 14+  years. I picked their brains on so many things like their mistakes, triumphs, difficulties, finances, etc. We were so privileged to work with them. 

 We tried to wake up early every morning to have coffee and do devotions together while the sun was rising. Spectacular! 
The reason we were asked to come up there was to help start a youth program similar to ours. The state of the youth in this community really broke our hearts. I was especially heartbroken for the young women most of whom dropped out of school at an early age and got pregnant either by their husbands, someone else's husband, or some random men. They really need someone to walk alongside of them and point them towards Jesus their Healer, Forgiver, Redeemer, Lover, Provider and Father.
Above Kelvin was doing devotions for a group of youth and widows in the community. After devotions, we took the youth and did some team building exercises while teaching them a few life skills. 

 Jayden, the son of our hosts, is too adorable for words. Seriously, he melts the heart of everyone he meets. He is a man of the community just like his father.
 Jayden watching as the boys begin to play soccer. 
 It was really really muddy. It poured with rain every afternoon we were there. I loved the thunder and lightening but didn't so much enjoy standing outside watching soccer in the rain....
....hence the awkward missionary/village/freezing cold fashion. Finally, by the third day of being ridiculously cold, I put away my pride and dressed to be warm instead of trying to look decent.

 We came hoping to find a bunch of youth eager to play soccer. We were told there were many but quickly learned that they only come if there is something they will get out of it (like a ball, blankets, gifts). So our method of reaching youth through soccer didn't work out so well. The show still went on and Kelvin did what he does best: love on youth and point them to Jesus. Here they are praying after practice. 

 We even brought some swanky cones and balls for them to practice with.
 A seriously cute kid! The best part is that he doesn't even speak english (even though his Mom is american)! They taught him swahili first which has kind of inspired me to learn so that my kids will be bi-lingual. 
 Kelvin utterly amazed me the whole week. He was in his element doing what God has created him to do best. It was so amazing to see my husband truly THRIVE in what he was doing. I was so so proud of him!!! 

We have committed to supporting a group of youth in the community. About 50 of them have formed a group where they come together to grow closer to God, grow closer to each other, support one another in their lives, create jobs and do income generating projects together. We hope to go again every couple months to mentor, train, walk alongside, and love on them. 
We couldn't go all the way to Eldoret and not go to Ilula to visit all the kids and my 'family'. We only spent one night but it was just enough to drink yummy chai, sing the latest hits with the girls, goof around with the young kids, and talk and laugh around the dinner table with the Ronos. To our surprise, Emmanuel picked us up in their 'new' car. We had quite the ride to the children's home. At one point a large piece of metal fell off the side of my door as we were sliding around in the mud. It felt so good to be home....

We are back in Mombasa and will be updating you with some exciting stuff soon!!