Friday, February 18, 2011

Week Five- Week of Celebrations!

     Last Saturday the kids decided that it was my birthday, why I have no idea. They said that I will not be here for my birthday so we have to celebrate. Loving birthdays I gladly agreed....until I found out what there birthday tradition is, water poured on your head. Still thinking, hey we are in Africa water on my head is not so bad I continued to go a long with it. When I came out of the room from dinner all the kids were in the lobby area singing, dancing, and playing drums. I was called to the middle where the oldest girl had a cup of water, I was like ok this is not going to be bad at all... She said as you know this is a birthday tradition and poured the little cup of water on my head. Well right after that water was coming from EVERYWHERE! Kids were pouring it from upstairs, huge buckets of water coming from every side. It was hilarious! The water was freezing cold and everyone was laughing. They sang happy birthday to me and we all danced and danced. Beryl, my best friend here, knew exactly what was coming and had taken my camera so everything was filmed. I actually have a video of it all. It was lots of fun, and a birthday I will never forget : ) I guess when you don't have presents and you don't have cake you use water and make it a party : )

     I have had a British lady here with me all of this time. You haven't heard me talk about her because it has been very hard for me to keep positive about her so I decided to keep all opinions to myself even to people that will never meet her. She does not stay in the orphanage but comes everyday to the school to teach. She is a very bitter 67 year old retired teacher from London, yet in her retirement she has taken countless trips to help teach the poor. Once staying as long as a year in Peru. A good heart just a little too vocal for my liking. Anyway, she left to go home on Wednesday and the school put together an assembly for her. Each class got up and sang a song to her, most being a song that she had taught them. They then cut a cake and each child was given a small square of cake. I could not help but giggle to myself as some of the children were singing. The very same children that I cannot get to be quiet at home are the ones standing with their head bowed and barely singing along. Amazing what peer pressure does to a child. And then you had the leaders the children that lead the song, carried the song, and gave the speech at the end. One girl in the second grade even told the kids to sing louder in between verses.

     Last but by no means least Valentines day was also celebrated this week. Or I should say that I celebrated Valentines day this week. My parents, Karen Towe, and Jesse all sent beautiful Valentine cards for me to open making the day as special as possible. Jesse one the prize though with a pop out singing princess card. The kids were absolutely beside themselves to say the least, they thought the card was the most amazing thing ever! Remember back in the day when our ringtones were only tones, no words? That is where Kenya is at today so when a card started singing “Every girl can be a Princess” from Snow White they were impressed. Even the grown men would pass it back and forth opening the card and laughing. One of my kids said, “He must be the richest man in the world to afford a card like that!” Just an example of truly how simple minded and “behind” our culture their world is.

      Now for the reason I was the only one celebrating. I did not know until this trip that Valentines day is an American holiday. Makes sense though, hallmark trying to find a way for people to spend money. Kenya just started celebrating Valentines in 2002 and for a week or so before I heard everyone talking about the evil evil holiday coming up. I just assumed that it was because of the western values being pushed onto their culture. In the paper there were all kinds of advertisements about roses, chocolates, and expensive dinners that Kenyans as a whole do not have the extra money to buy. As true as that is the day is actually considered “evil” by the Christian community because it is said that 1 in 3 Kenyan's celebrate Valentines Day with someone other than their spouse. CRAZY! Here it is viewed as a day to find a Valentine and spend it with someone new. I think in America this is the one day that it is the hardest to cheat because you are expected to be with your spouse. When I think about my life I feel like I grew up in a sex infused culture, more so than my parents but not as much as my friends that live in Miami. Yes, sex is very much in our culture but even so still in the south it is not a topic of discussion. It is something looked at as private and personal. In Kenya sometimes I feel like sex is there culture. And the widely acceptance of this Valentines Day habit proves my point. The divorce rate is sky rocketing in Kenya and I have actually heard a few people say that they feel it is because of America's influence on the world. No, I'm pretty sure it is because unless the man is a solid Christian he is bred from birth that anyone woman in his sight is for his taking. I was reading the paper the other day and there was a short line in an article that said, “A 25 year old woman was arrested yesterday for stabbing her 60 year old husband to death.” The man died yet I still feel more sorry for her than him. If she was apart of curtain tribes she could have been married to him since she was 13! Girls at that age are not ready to be wives, motherhood expected not long after. I have really struggled with putting this in my blog because I know that it is an inappropriate topic for a single young woman to bring up to the world but the Valentines day really topped the cake for me. I have decided not to write all of the wretched things I have discovered about female genital mutilation, but if you would like to discuss it when I get home I will be more than happy to share. Before you ask, the men I am exposed to are very good Christian men who do not take part in any of the cultural practices. I also don't go anywhere after dusk to stay away from danger.

     On a much happier note let me tell you about my kids. They are very much MY kids now, I know there personalities, there struggles, and the things that make them laugh the hardest. I can tell you which child is about to knock on my door simply by there footsteps. I can easily identify them by their giggles even if it is coming from downstairs. They come to me when they need soap or just to show me a good grade on a test. They still look through my photo album almost everyday and yet they somehow still find new questions to ask about the individuals. I have had to explain to them what a lot of things are, like apple juice, they thought for sure it was wine. However now they can sing several Needtobreathe songs. The staff here has been amazed at how observant I am and how well I have been able to connect with the kids. A lot of volunteers that come and stay use it more as a hostel, they are here for a few days and then leave to see some tourist stuff back for a few days and so on. I have used every single ounce of child psychology I was taught in school. Even to the fact of where your eyes go when you are trying to remember something shows what type of learner you are. Speaking of learning styles the kids had midterms this week so we spent countless hours going over math and science problems. Most of them still failed their math exam, building on concepts is very hard for them. I know that I am going to miss them very much. I will worry about who is helping Mary with her math, I hope someone washes Ken's clothes, is someone going to sing with the babies? Within this last week I am going to try to prepare myself for my return home. I am excited about coming home and being with the people that I have missed greatly, but now part of my heart lives in Kenya. 67 parts of my heart, each with its own special place.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week Four- Undignified

           Let me start by saying this week has been hard emotionally, physically, and mentally. My body is tired, I'm missing my life back home, and the devil has put all kinds of lonely thoughts in my head. However, I am not sick, I am resting as well as possible, and have really reached out to family and friends that mine as well be family for encouragement. Thank you to all who sent emails and have continued to pray for me, I cried through most of them, I do not deserve the love and kindness I have been shown.
          My kids are great. Since we last spoke I have won the favor of the boys. Some of them are completely in love : ) They say one day they will go to America and find a beautiful wife just like me. So now at night I have about twenty kids sitting on the floor, or buckets, or laying on the bed. A couple of days ago one of the boys set beside me for an hour not joining in with the conversation just holding my hand and stroking my hair. I am such a new creator to these kids. They touch my freckles, trace my veins, pinch my skin to watch it turn red, etc. One little girl asked me why my blood was green, talking about the color of my veins. I truly think I have been asked every question possible about America, my life, or my skin and hair. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been an open book to these kids. The oldest that is around now (since the highschoolers already left for boarding school) is about 13. I remember being 13 and having a zillion questions about life, love, my body, finding my individuality. They have NO one to ask questions to, their older siblings are away at school and they do not have older role models that are not authority. Sometimes the questions are super personal and I would normally completely avoid answering them but as we will discuss later I have sucked up a lot of pride and answered them anyway.
        When I have all the kids around I usually open my bible and ask them what their favorite verse is, as always they impress me so much. One girl named Regina, she is what I would call the Lauren Hill of the Sister Act cast. Regina leads the songs with her AMAZING voice and she is so sweet and meek and mild. Anyway, when asked about her favorite verse she takes the bible and reads this, “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7 Another girl goes next and reads Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Now let me ask you, when is the last time someone turned to Job or Zephaniah to read you their favorite verse? These kids are really something else, right!?!
        In 2 Samuel 6 there is a story about David dancing in very little clothing while the ark of God makes it way into his house. Some people looked down on him and vocalized their disgust when David heard he responded by saying, (v. 21-22) “It was before the Lord.... I will become even more undignified than this.” This story was brought to my attention by Francis Chan in a book called Forgotten God. Which then made me think about this song we use to sing at Camp U by Matt Redman that says “I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my king, nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul, I will become even more undignified than this, some may say its foolishness, I will become even more undignified than this, lay my pride by my side” If you have never heard it you should look it up on Youtube it is a good one. I am always looking for new songs to teach the kids and they have really liked this song! I hear them singing it all the time and even heard one of the cooks humming the tune the other day. So, I say all of that to say this, it has really started a thought process for me about what it even means to become Undignified before the Lord, or just in general really. I think kids really show this the best. They don't care one bit what they look like, how they smell, if people are going to laugh at them, if they want to dance or raise their hands during a song they will. Now I know that some GCC goers out there are getting worried about where I am going with this. You are thinking now wait a minute Candice we are a contemporary church but dancing? That is for other churches. And that is not a point I am here to discuss, it is way more about the feeling than the action. When is the last time that you openly walked into a situation knowing you were going to look silly to those around you? That your actions were going to be considered out of place or not socially excepted? I think about Rhonda, Donnie, Penny and all the other children's church workers that put on costumes and dance around for the kids. This is becoming undignified for the Lord and they will be blessed for it. Mom and Dad told me about the outreach weekend our church is doing this summer and I think it is awesome! I think this is the perfect opportunity for some of our people to experience what I am talking about. I don't know what the service projects are going to be but I'm sure they are going to take long hours, hard work, and (hopefully) even some humility. I deal with this every single day here. I have had to set my pride aside 100% and for those that know me well that is a WHOLE lot of pride! I have not seen a mirror since I got here, I don't ever actually feel clean, my bathroom is a hole, I usually eat with my hands, just to name a few of the many things I would normally get very embarrassed about. But from the beginning I have thought it to be very important to show the kids that we are one in the same, therefore I have to suck it up be a Kenyan. Notice I didn't say anything about dancing around or acting a fool with the kids because that comes very natural for me, no embarrassment. So here is my challenge, who is around you that you need to become undignified before the Lord to show them that you are one in the same? Should you invite your drunk of a cousin over to dinner even though the rest of the family is not going to like that? Should you volunteer in the children's program? Should you take some college students out for lunch because you know they are poor (very poor) and can always use the extra encouragement even though you don't know them so well? College students, look around everyone needs something, if you see a need go buy the dollar ice scraper even though you know the gift will be looked down on at first they will really appreciate it in the end. Lose the pride, look like the fool, become undignified for the right reasons and you will be blessed.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Week Three- Camp La Vida Style

     I have always loved going to camp and living in the orphanage is a lot like camp. We wake up early, sing songs, eat the same thing all week, talk about our lives, with everything being highly structured. I tried to teach the concept of camp to a couple of the girls yesterday and they kinda understood I think. Probably my favorite part of everyday is between four and five when the little kids come home from school. We have a whole hour to play before the other kids get home. There are two girls and three boys all of which I would bring home in a heartbeat! They think I am funny which is a rarity in my life so I take full advantage of it! I usually try to play old youth group games with the bigger kids when they get home. For all my past GCC youth readers out there, I tried to teach them ORANGE JELLO and it was an epic fail! Not only did they not know what jello was but they tried to do the hit and miss with their hands for every single letter.
     Some random thoughts for you: Protein is completely nonexistent in my diet, at least not at the orphanage. Twice a week when I go to take my shower I usually eat beans and on occasion some goat. This past weekend I was at a celebration and had two chicken wings. I have also had cow stomach, chewy and not my favorite. Lets just say Chick-fil-a is getting lots of my money when I get home from the amount of nuggets and cookies-n-cream milkshakes I will consume! I only see the television on the same nights that I go to have my shower but I have come to realize that the most popular show in the world is American Idol, worse show in the world Kenya's Best Dance Crew! It is really really bad, like when Ashley and I danced to Lean On Me when we were seven is better than some of the crews. There are only three people I have found that every kid here and myself know: Michael Jackson, David Beckham, and Obama. Obama is the most famous person in Kenya! He is EVERYWHERE! His ancestors come from here and the people adore him! Anytime I say I am from America everyone replies Obama with a big smile. I have been very respectful and just say yes he is my President.
     It would take me a whole day to tell you about the events of this past weekend but I am going to try really hard to sum it up in as few words as possible. On Saturday I went to a Kikuyu village for a big celebration. In their tribe it is a custom for each child to host a big party of singing, dancing, and a meal to honor their parents and then at the end the parents pray a blessing on them. There were 150+ people there! The village was beautiful, very lush and full of vegetation. I did not understand one word the whole time but very much enjoyed the celebration. On Sunday I went to church with Patrick and Grace, my coordinators for my trip, and it was quite the event! Church was like a spiritual version of a Oxy Clean commercial combined with Tae Bo and Praise Week! It was a party start to finish! I was asked to teach Sunday School and did a little lesson on Colossians 3. At the end of the service they took up an offering for our church. It didn't come to much in American money but it was one of the sweetest acts of giving I have ever seen. It really touched my heart and I hope that we as a church can pray for them.
     And now for my serious thought of the week. I am often asked about the wealth of my country and it has brought about an interesting debate in my head. The people of Kenya have very little and they struggle for everything that they do have. However, they are very happy people full of faith, love, and generosity. But in my mind I am still trying to decided who really wins in the end, an American who has the nice car, food always in the house, tv, ipod, cell phone, vacations, but also is unfulfilled spending their days working to pay for all of their things and feels like the only way to be happy is to keep up with society. Or the Kenyans who struggle for even the small things and live very modest lives yet are fulfilled, happy, and full of more faith than you can imagine. And then I get to thinking why is there an us and them? Is it possible to live like an American but have the faith of a Kenyan? I really don't know. This is something I am really struggling with and maybe it will give you some food for thought as well.
    I have enjoyed my camp like life here and have decided that we should open a camp at home. Tell me it would not be awesome. Can't you just see it, Mom, Ashley, and I running it and cooking, Dad preaching, Jesse leading worship, Tjay being the hype man, Drake running recreation. We could even have guest speakers like Adam Hopkins, Tim McCall, and Jake Black. I'm telling you guys this is a good idea! If we had the right facility it would be the coolest camp around!

     Thank you for continuing to read and for all the prayers! Keep them coming, I have 25 days left and would like to stay healthy and safe so that I can keep up with the kids : )

Friday, January 28, 2011

Week Two - Education

  The mind set of the culture is very unusual to me and I am going to do my best to try to explain why. I have had many conversations with the kids about their goals in life, I always like to do this even with my kids from the school district at home. It is nice to hear the big dreams of a child. Here is no different, most want to be pilots, surgeons, or international lawyers. Even the high school boys have such dreams, which I find odd. By the time I got to high school my friends had realistic dreams of being trilingual international business women, aerospace engineers working for NASA, or famous directors in Hollywood....hahaha sorry ladies had to brag on ya some ; ) But really I think that we had a understanding of our limits and a understanding of the education system and what it was going to take for us to get to the place we wanted to be. I am glad they have big dreams but I am afraid when they get out of Mlolongo they are going to be crushed to realize they can't all be pilots. Saying all of that their whole education system is very strange. They go to school for very long hours, they do not have recess, and everything is very structured. The children are beaten by the teacher if they are not paying attention, they wear uniforms, and are expected to rise and say a little chant every time an adult enters the room. I see some of the kids that are behind in school, I just got a new little boy on my “caseload” named David. He is eight in preschool and CANNOT read anything! He knows most of the sounds of letters but can't even identify them by name. The worse part is that the teacher believes that he is just lazy so screaming at him will make him do his work. He repeats good job every time I say it almost like he has no clue what I am saying. To top it off he is a boy from the community not even an orphan. It has been an uphill battle to try and find ways of teaching David, he cries most everyday and feels very defeated. My mom could whip that school in shape in two weeks top! Not to mention there is only one way of teaching, copying notes from the board, even the preschoolers are expected to copy from the board. I think one of the best things about the education system in America is that it is always evolving. In fact that is what I job at home requires, finding new ways for children to be the most successful. Not here, they are teaching the exact same way they have always been teaching.
     The children here have no imagination. None. If you handed a blank piece of paper to a child and told them to draw anything they want the child would be so overwhelmed they probably would not draw anything at all. There is no free thinking encouraged. The kids seriously have no outlet to express themselves, they can't decorate their room, they wear what they are told, and they all have the same hair. Again, this reminds me of my friends and how different we are, could you imagine me and Corie having to dress the same, act the same, and eventually think the same. That would never work! That is what makes our friendship golden, we are different and bring spice to each others lives. Which is probably what is wrong with the country as a whole, everyone just does what they are told. I know I am on a soap box with this one but it is heart breaking to see day in and day out. They are children, children should run around and make up stories and pretend to be cops and robbers. They should be able to learn at their own speed in their own way. Freedom to think, freedom to express, freedom to create!

     I can honestly say that I have never been truly thankful for my education until now. I was always thankful for my teachers (well most of them) and for the impact they made in my life, but not once (not never lol) have I ever thought about the way they taught being grand. I remember Mr. Summerville standing on the tables explaining science and how cool that was, but just the simple science experiments would literally blow these kids out of the water. Maybe when some adults in our church get to retiring age we can start a school here and have people come over for a month at a time and teach the kids.

     As for me, I am fine. I am starting to settle in some and get into a routine. Internet is more accessible now which is really nice and makes me feel a little more settled to know my family and friends are doing well. Last weekend I got to visit the heart of Kenya, it was awesome! It is kinda like if someone comes to NYC and that is all they see and then they say they have seen America, I was afraid my experience was going to be a lot like that due to me being in the capital city. But, I got a chance to go with the head master and her family to visit her son who is away at a boarding high school. On the way their we stopped and visited some coffee and tea plantations. They were so beautiful! Just like a postcard you would see of Africa, rolling hills of green with little huts randomly placed in the fields. One place we stopped was at the house of the head masters parents, they live in a small village. I was the first Monzungu (white person) that the children had ever seen. It was funny, some of them wanted to come up and touch me while others where very scared of me. I have felt your prayers and really appreciate them! My kids sing a song that very simply says, “You pray for us and we'll pray for you”

Monday, January 24, 2011

True Life - I'm an Orphan

Let me put a disclaimer on this blog post, it is not family friendly and for all of my criers out there go ahead and get your tissues. The more time I spend with the kids the more they open up, not always about themselves but always about others. I would say within the last three days or so I have heard some stories that you only hear on Oprah. They have shocked me and rocked me to the core. In America it seems that most of the time I know what I am about to walk into, for example if I was going to meet someone for the first time and they had cancer more than likely someone would tell me to prepare myself before I got there. In this case I was not prepared. I was prepared for the children to have AIDS, for their parents and friends to be dying of the same disease. Disease is something that cannot be controlled, something I feel to be out of my hands where the only thing I can do is make them as comfortable as possible. However, most of my children are healthy, happy-go-lucky children until they start talking about their life outside of the orphanage. The oldest girl in the orphanage is 18 her name is Rose, which means I automatically took a liking to her. From the first day she has been nice but rather quiet. Very much the mother figure, always washing clothes and doesn't like the kids to be loud after dark. I knew that something wasn't quite right with Rose after the first week of school when I noticed that she was in the sixth grade, 18 in the sixth grade. The head master had asked if I would tutor some of the kids that were behind in the evenings, one of them being Rose. After making a comment about her being so shy the head master told me that it is more of the communication barrier. She explained that Rose came to Heritage when she was eleven, she was reported by neighbors and rescued by the head master. Rose had been a sex slave for a few years after her parents died of AIDS. In the tribe she comes from if the parents die the children go into the care of other family members until they are of age to marry. Which was what was about to happen to Rose, married off at the age of eleven after being sexually abused for years before. When she came to Heritage she had no language skills. She did not know Swahili or English and showed no desire of talking to anyone. She was a very angry child and would often lash out. Now her Swahili is perfect and her English is coming along. She is behind in school but tries hard and will make it one day. Rose is still emotionally unattached and struggles with trust and the concept of love but even so she has warmed up some and is starting to let me hug her. I have found that her love language is acts of service, I always ask her if we can do our laundry together and say that she can teach me something she is good at and I will help her with her homework. She is a sweet girl and truly believes that her life is in God's hands.
As if that story was not bad enough this place is full of them, 97 of them to be exact. We have two new comers to the orphanage, Zawadi and Gabriela (Gabo), cousins that got here two weeks before me. Zawadi and Gabo are from the Congo, the only children here that are from outside of Kenya. Their aunt had escaped the Congo a few years back and recently when back to get the girls because of the constant civil wars. Zawadi's father is still living but is off participating in gorilla warfare. She is ten and was staying with Gabo's family. Gabo is five and knows very little English but is absolutely one of my favorite children! Every single morning like clock work she is at my door to shake my hand. Last night she fell down and hit her mouth and came to me crying, I just picked her right up and rocked her to sleep. (I hate that she fell but it was so nice to hold her) Anyway back to their story, Gabo and Zawadi were playing close to there house one day when some solders came and killed her parents, her baby brother, and took her 15 year old sister. They both witnessed the deaths. The neighbors took the girls in and sent word to the aunt to come get them. The aunt having no way of supporting the girls brought them to Heritage. Gabo seems to be fine, she shys away from most affection but that is typical for the little kids here. Zawadi is a disaster, she is bitter and mean one moment and sweet and kind the next. She is the only child that was visibly unhappy to see me when I got here. She often takes things from the other children or will dominate over the young ones. The children are very patient with her knowing that most of them went through the same thing. Could you imagine the emotional torment the child experiences. In Swahili Zawadi means gift, she was around when one of the children told me her name meaning and she spit on them. She does not feel like a gift and it has been a struggle for me to figure out the best way to approach her. She sometimes comes and sits in my room even if I am just sewing but as soon as you acknowledge she is there, she will leave. She is a puzzle, pray for her, if you have been praying for me and my emotional state stop and use that time to pray for her. I had great parents who loved me, she has had everything stripped from her. Pray for all of my kids, there are so many other stories I could tell you that sound so much like these two. These kids are strong, true warriors.

I will try to post again at the end of the week a much happier what we have been doing kind of post. Hope all is well and Thank you for reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Week One - New Place, New Culture, New Friends

Well I have already covered twenty pages of my journal with observations, stories, history, and differences in culture, but I will give you guys the cliff notes version. Life in Kenya is hot, busy, but very fulfilling. Kenyans are hard workers and take pride in their work. The children are very sweet and kind. They all work like clock work and really watch out for each other!

My trip started with a much needed nights rest and hot shower in a hotel in Nairobi. On Monday morning I took a tour of the city, bought a cell phone, and got to feed giraffes and see baby elephants. I also saw monkeys and pumba just walking around like it was normal. I also visited the lookout for the Kibera slum, over one million residents live in the slum. It is the second largest in Africa the other being in South Africa. The government has tried to build project like housing beside the slum and move the residents but so far it has been unsuccessful. My guide said that it is easy to move the mind out of the slum but almost impossible to get the slum out of the mind. He said that it is very hard for the government to teach potential.

The orphanage its self is probably exactly what you have in your mind as an African orphanage. No running water, make-shift everything, and over crowded. They do have a project site right now that is about half way through building a new much nicer place. I have my own room with a nice size bed and gives me some much needed privacy. I think the many years of rooming with Lillian in Eleuthera has given me the skills to rig everything up in my room. Except for the fact that I can't believe I left the states without a some duct tape! What was I thinking!?! I bathe out of buckets and use a Turkish toilet, and if you do not know what that is count your blessings and hope you never find out. However, I have arranged to have a shower on Mondays and Thursdays to be able to wash my hair. Praise Jesus. The food is good but pretty much the same everyday, either stewed potatoes and bananas or rice and stewed peas. The Kenyans love their tea! They drink tea with milk and sugar once in the morning and then also at eleven. I like the tea, its not my mama's sweet tea, but it is pretty good.

Now for the kids, I interact mainly with the girls and the high school boys. The high school boys are here during the day because they do not start back school until February so we do chores together. They are funny and love to ask me questions about America. The girls are very typical, they want to touch my hair and love to come in my room and look at my pictures, all of which have asked for one of the pictures of me and Jesse : ) They agree that he is the most handsome boy in the world and love to hear stories about him. Every night I have at least ten sitting on my bed and around the floor talking and laughing. The children are devote Christians and quote scripture all the time. My first night at the orphanage one of the girls was sitting beside me looking at my Bible and asked if she could read me something, she read Psalms 23 to me. I was moved to tears (which happens about ten times a day). The verse that I have heard read so many times sounds so different when read by a beautiful sweet orphaned child... “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me: your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” One thing that I wish all of you could experience happens early in the morning when the kids have their morning devotion. I am the only “adult” that gets up with them in the morning and yet every morning at six they get together and sing, pray, and read scripture. It is said that Mother Teresa and the nuns at Calcutta have much of the same ritual, she has been quoted saying it is the only way to start the day and the kids at Heritage agree. I am going to try to video it one morning and I hope it does it justice. In fact let me tell you what a day in the life of the children and then I will tell you my typical day. The kids wake up at five with the sun, morning devotion at six, morning tea and off to school by six forty-five. They come back from school at eleven for morning tea and then again at one for lunch. They stay in school until five and when they get home the small ones play and the older kids do chores until seven which is dinner time and then homework and lights out by nine-thirty or so. Pretty packed life right. My life is pretty much the same, up at five helping the young ones get ready, morning devotion, when the kids leave I usually work in the kitchen peeling the zillion potatoes we consume, laundry, dishes, and lots of sewing. When the kids get home from school I play with the little ones and tutor a few of the kids after dinner. (see mom all this time when I have been lazy at home and said that my time was coming I was right, it has arrived)

The cards have been really nice, thank you to all who sent them. The kids like to read them too. My health is holding up, although the last couple of days my stomach has been more compromised and my body is tired. My emotional state changes by the hour but I am doing just fine. Pray that I sleep through the night, I am still having trouble with the time change. I have so much more to say but I will save it for other post. Hope everything is great in the US!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Hello family and friends! I have not left on my trip yet, but this will be the place that you can check in on me throughout the next six weeks. While I am gone I will be staying at Heritage of Faith Christian School and Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. The Orphanage holds 97 children ages 18 months to 16 years. I am VERY excited about the experience and hope to share as much of it as possible with you. Please keep my health, my travel, and my safety in your prayers. Also, I ask a little extra love on my parents, they have been very supportive but I know that the next six weeks are also going to be a journey for them!