Finshed Class

I finished up the first class at the Firm Foundation School of IT.  It was a very tough class and we covered a lot of materiel in just 10 weeks.  I had two students who passed, one of them with a very high score on the exam.  He got over 80% right, but like most great students he was not overly excited and had wished he had done better.  I was very impressed.

If you are interested in IT, and curious, here is the exam.  If you want to take it, I will happily grade it and let you know how you did compared to the class.

6th Birthday

dsc01812Petr turned six years old!  We met Daddy for lunch at Petr’s favorite place, Java House.  It has a giant rock for a play structure.  The boys love playing on it.  We have a tradition of buying the boys ice cream on their birthday.  (See the picture of Petr savoring each bite)  Petr was given a keyboard for his birthday.  It is really for our entire family.  We are going to be teaching the boys hymns and other worship songs.  This is important since the music we hear in Church is usually in Swahili.  I started teaching Petr the basics of the keyboard and he picked up the fingering immediately.  Andrej is doing his best to keep up with his big brother.  They both have some musical talent!  I am such a proud mama!  Speaking of talent – I wanted to share a song that Petr made up a little while ago.  I asked his permission to write it down.  The words are so beautiful and so true.  Keep in mind they come from a young boy who moved across the world to a new country, leaving all that is familiar.  I wish I could have you hear the tune he sings it in.  It is a little “hard rock”…

When you’re walking in the darkness
You should know that your God is walkin’ with you
And when you are walkin’ in the darkness
You should not be afraid because your God is watching over you

And you should know that you will be His children forever
And you should know that your God is your friend wherever you go

Here is another song he made up shortly after the first….

He knows when I am scared
He knows when I need needs
He can use people for things

He knows when I have problems
No worries, He is with me

And I know that Jesus Christ is in my heart
So He is with me wherever I go

I just love the things that come out of the little hearts – so honest.  These songs help me when I have hard days…I hope they bless you too!

Church Dedication

dsc01852This weekend we were privileged to be able to attend the dedication of the Harvester’s Church in Kabete.  I spoke there about 2 months ago and the church was not quite finished. The pastor, Njonjo, is a great guy, and really a big guy.  I really enjoy him.  There was an assistant Minister at the dedication, Lewis Nguyai Nganga, who remarked what a transformed man Njonjo is.  He said he used to frequent the all the pubs of the area before he was saved.  His son Jimmy was also there.  I met him in March of 2007 on my first trip here.  He also is a wonderful guy.

It is a ways outside of the city in Kikuyu land, so the service was almost completely in Kikuyu and Swahili.  Its a good thing my Swahili is improving or I would have been completely lost.

No Rain = Monkies

Sometimes when describing where we live, it gets a bit interesting.  The word they use for neighborhoods around here is “Estate.”  Which to most Americans gives the idea of “Estate living,” huge homes with large plots of land.  That is not exactly what it is like here in Ngummo Estate.  But to complicate things more, we live right on the edge of a golf course, but its not like that.  There is a huge wall, and I have actually never seen the course.  Kibera also backs up to the course.  Cammy’s father played the course while they were here visiting, he told me it was about as nice as a mediocre public course in the US.  He said people hopped the wall and were bathing in the sprinklers.  One of the interesting contrasts we get to see living here.

dsc01830We had quite a long dry spell, in fact there were parts of Kenya where people were going very hungry because the food was not growing.  Because of the scaricity of food, everyone and everything starts to change their behavior to get enough to eat.  That include some of the residents of the golf course.  They sort of invaded our estate, and any fruit left anywhere was stolen.  The guards told us that there was actually a home where they left some fruit out in the kitchen and a mother sent a small one through the bars on the windows to get it.

Updated placemarks

I revamped the Google Earth placemarks that I posted about earlier.  None of them are approximate anymore.  Since then I rode my motorcycle for other reasons to all those places (Kabete, Kijabe, Morning Star in Ruia).  I also updated the icons and placed a bunch into different folders.  If you never plan on coming to visit, it might be a bit boring, but you are always welcome.  Karibuni sana. You can grab them in the same spot.

Parents’ Visit

dsc01755My parents came to visit and we were spoiled! They brought all kinds of nice things from the States.  The entire family got involved in blessing us. Thank you all! We felt like we had another Christmas!! My parents were here for a total of three weeks.  It was neat to see Africa through their eyes – so fresh off the American soil!  They were a little culture shocked when we drove home from the airport in the traffic of Nairobi.  You can explain how it is to someone but until they experience it first hand, they really have no idea how crazy it can be.  There seem to be no rules, or if there are, the rules are broken.  Driving into our neighborhood, my parents were faced with the closeness of Kibera slum which contains about 2 million people.  People are everywhere – walking to work, sitting on the side of the street trying to sell food and clothes, walking in the middle of the street offering merchandise for a price, all of them trying to make some money to feed themselves for the day.  The realization that we are so close to so many people who are poverty stricken can’t be ignored.  Even though we live in the capital of Kenya, it is evident that we are in a third world country.  I realized this more during my parents’ visit.  One reason is because of the tendency to compare the place we currently live to the one that they live in, the place that was our home our entire lives.  America seems “right” in so many ways, yet Kenya is “right” too!  They are just different.  My parents really embraced the differences!  It is hard to believe how proud a daughter can be of her parents flying across the world to a place they would never choose to go if it weren’t for their love of their daughter and her family.  Dad and Mom kept reminding me they didn’t care where we went, what they saw, as long as they were with us.  Oh how great it is to be missed and loved so much!  The first couple of days after they arrived I continued to look at them and say, “I can’t believe you are here!”  Yet, I knew they would come.  They said so and they have never let me down.  There isn’t a time in my life when my parents said they would be somewhere for me that they didn’t show up! I realize there are children who can’t say that about their parents.  I am so thankful I can.

dsc01669dsc01673Every day with Dad and Mom was a gift from God.  We had many adventures, most in our day to day life. My Mom made chocolate chip cookies for us (a tradition at her house) and my Dad played cards with the boys.  One day we went to the hanger where Paul works.  They were able to see the planes (my Dad enjoyed this) and meet the people Paul works with.  Another day I took them to the Nakumatt, the closest thing to a Walmart.   My Mom was surprised that it wasn’t a Walmart (I had told her it was “like Walmart” so that is exactly what she pictured).  She thought it was very different but it is a Walmart to us, relatively speaking.  We showed them the “hang out” places for cheap food and kid entertainment.  They tried Ethiopian food (one of our favorite meals here in Africa) and loved it!  Eating Ethiopian food is a community meal.  Everyone eats with their hands and shares one big platter of food.  It is lots of fun!  We took them to Petr’s school and they got to meet his teacher and classmates.  One day my mom walked with me down the street to the local market (this is a market that is outside).  I was so proud of her.  There are lots of missionaries who don’t like to venture in this direction.  The street is lined with food vendors, people selling clothes, lots of trash and street kids – people who live on the streets (usually on drugs). We found some nice fruits and vegetables while getting a chance to mingle with the people.  I also showed her the local butchery we use.

My parents were gracious to pay our way for a safari to see the wildlife of Africa.  It was our first time (we were waiting to share it with visitors).  Upon driving into the park, my Dad’s eagle eyes spotted some lionesses under a bush near the road.  It was really exciting to start the trip with that!  During our mini vacation we saw Zebra, Giraffe, a rhino, warthogs and impalas.  We stayed in a tent (loose word for a tent as it had a shower and toilet, along with beds).  Our tent overlooked a watering hole.  In the evening many animals came to quench their thirst.  It was very exciting to see wildlife up close and somewhat personal.  Our adventure continued as our car threatened to break down on our way home.  We were in a part of town where you wouldn’t want to be stranded on the side of the road (not that any place is safe in Nairobi).  The car had little power.  It was crawling down the road, especially struggling up the hills.  My Mom and I were praying that God would “push” the car.  I remembered the verse in the Bible that talks about being able to move mountains….I thought for sure a little car could be moved up a tiny hill!  I continued to pray the Lord would spare my parents from any lessons that we needed to learn…He did.  We made it home, just barely, and right as it was getting dark. God sure answers prayer! And of course, lessons were learned. 🙂

Paul went to South Africa for work during my parents visit so my Dad treated us to many days at a hotel.  I felt like we were in Hawaii!  A break from the city was really nice for all of us.  It was perfect timing too since our car was in the garage getting fixed!  The highlight of the trip was just having my parents around!!!!!  We could have just sat around our house and I would have been content.  As the time came to an end, there was an unspoken sadness….just hard to know that we wouldn’t be together for a while.  When my Dad was hugging me good bye he said, “I’ll see you real soon”.  We both knew it wouldn’t be soon enough.  I thank God for the time He gave us and I thank my parents for their willingness to come!

Check Your Shoes!

The other day I put on my running shoes and ran with the boys to the bus stop, only about 100 yards from our house.  After standing still for a few minutes I felt something tickling my toes.  I thought, “Oh, there is a little spider in my shoe…or maybe I am just imagining it – no big deal.”  But, I felt it again and thought, “I’ve got to see what this is!”  I tore off my shoe and a big cockroach jumped out!!! AHHHHH!

I have also put my bare foot into a shoe that had a very large slug inside…..AUGH!!!!!!!!!  Well, I’ll be checking my shoes from now on…

Hakuna barabara ingine

What is this (the dark spot)?  It is the end.  At least that is what a Masai woman told us when we rode up to her manyatta Friday midday.

A couple of guys (we were more, but after some mechanical attrition…) went with me on a ride into the Rift Valley on Friday, May 1, Labour Day.  We were mostly just exploring, and it was amazing.  We were out in the middle of no where, but as I have been finding out, no where is no where here (you may have to read that a few times to make sense of it).  There are always people around, even in the driest most remote of places.  Just stop for 5 minutes and a someone will wander out of the bush wondering what you are up to.  If you are lucky, they speak Swahili.  The woman at this manyatta did.  I asked her if the road continued, there were a few manyattas back further that were built right on the “road” and we diverted around them.  She answered that this was the end, and “Hakuna barabara ingine” – There is no other road.  I asked how many were in her family and she said they were 8, there was a little one with her eating some ugali.  We stopped for a moment, drank some water, which I felt a little bad about because I am sure she had to hike every day to get some. We turned back and were off to explore another road.

On the way to that manyatta we ran across 3 impalas (not Chevys, the other kind).  They were right on the rocky track we were riding on.  Once I was sure the other guys saw them, I tried to catch up to them.  God sure knows how to design things.  I was going as fast as I could on this rocky terrain, on a machine, and I could not catch up to them.  They all stayed on the track for about 1km, then one finally veered off.  Not too much farther another one turned off.  The last one went at least another kilometer.  It was amazing to watch.

Later in the ride we were headed down a long fairly smooth stretch along a beautiful ridge and next to a dry creek bed.  The Ngong Hills were off to the right and acacia trees everywhere.  I had the bike up to about 100km/h and it felt great.  I yelled out loud, “God, I cannot believe I get to do this!”  It hit me very hard right there.  Some people may think we have given up a lot to be here, and maybe from their perspective we have.

Sunday there was a guest speaker at church.  He is the Pastor of Kianjogu church, where I gave the Easter message.  I offered him a ride to town so he could get a bus home.  He mentioned he was going to someone’s house first.  So we got him in the car too and headed to his house.  It was completely impromptu, his wife and two girls left earlier and took a matatus home, barely beating us.  Never the less, we were invited in for a meal.  Hospitality does not run short here.  We were honored guests.

As I was riding, and Sunday after church as we ate, I realized how blessed we are.  When God says to do something, He always has our best interest in mind.  The more we are able to see the world from His perspective, the more we see how good He is.  Hakuna barabara ingine.  Mungi ni mwema, wakati wote.