Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chameleons, Double Bananas, and Rainbows

Isaya, me, and mr. chameleon. He was cool but I did not want him.
First I will share some highlights from the past week then I will share about a specific I went to all day yesterday.  There was the time I went running with one of the young adults, don't worry he was only 4 minutes faster than me and he never runs.  Then there was the Bollywood movie I saw with Mike and Leslie, talk about something that makes you want to get up and dance.  We had a visitor here from Canada for a few days too and that was fun. Her name is Mary and she was here to see one of her best friends get married.  I took her around to see some of the homes we work with and we went out for pizza one night.  During one visit at Nyumba Ya Tumaini some nice ladies brought a chameleon over and explained that it has medicinal values and wanted us to buy it from them.  Now, I am not saying that it is not possible for it to have medicinal value, but I am pretty sure they found it in the bush then wanted to sell it to us.  I only say that because the next day I found out they released it back into the bush.  Also there was the time we took turns pushing each other on  broken wheelbarrow.  Mary and I went and visited Dreams Children's Home one day too.  If you remember earlier this year I wrote about a little boy named Ryan who has stomach cancer.  He was improving for awhile, but currently he is not doing well. His body is not responding to chemo.  He was in the hospital when we were there, but was supposed to be back today so when I find out how he is I will let y'all know, but please please be praying for him.  I also went to Ngong Town this week to see the District Children's Office and on the way back stopped at a fun little restaurant to get my first fish and ugali since I have been here.  It was delicious and we ate it all with our hands.  My mom would be so proud. I will make sure she gets to experience that when she comes.  Isaya, the director at Tumaini, eats two boiled eggs with kachumbari(onions, tomatoes, and chilies)  and salt everyday and it is the same man that brings and prepares them everyday.  This week I got to try that delicacy as well.  One last food thing- I saw a double banana this week!
Mary pushing Charles on the broken wheelbarrow.
Ngong Town where the District Office is.
The egg man who comes every evening to Tumaini.
Double banana!
George, Edwin, Gibson, Dominic when we finally arrived.
Now about yesterday I went on an all day excursion out to a town called Kibwezi.  It really is almost to Mombasa. It is a far distance.  Two of the boys from Nyumba Ya Tumaini go to Darajani Secondary School out there.  One of them, Dominic, is a candidate this year for the Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education and their exams begin this week.  It is a really big deal and each school hosts prayer services and parent visitation days for the candidates.  Yesterday was the one at Darajani.  They invited me to come and support and pray with them.  It was an honor.  Two of the other boys at Tumaini started our journey out there really early and we did not get back until close to 11PM.  It was a great day.  First there was the service and true to African form it was incredibly long.  We did not get there until about 12:30PM and it started at 10AM and did not finish until about 3PM.  During the service the teachers spoke, some of the students performed dramas, and then a student from each class stood up to say words of encouragement to the candidates.  It ended with a time of prayer from the candidates and their parents which I got to be a part of and it was really special.  After the service the boys showed us around the school, introduced me to their classmates, and I got to speak with some of the teachers about the challenges they face out there.  It is a dry place and there is a lot of poverty.  Imagine we drove 4 hours down Mombasa Road and then another hour on a dirt road heading to interior Kenya.  The drive was absolutely gorgeous.  Kenya is a beautiful country.  While we were there I found out that Dominic is a captain of the school basketball team, which won their county, and that Kariss (other boy from Tumaini) is the assistant captain of the school football team.  I loved getting to meet their friends and see them in their element.  I was exhausted by the time we left, though.

Me with some of the students outside the dining hall.

Those buildings are where the classes are.

One of the Form 3 classrooms.

The Darajani basketball team and their coach.

We saw a rainbow on our drive home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Knew a Triangle Could be so Profound?

Last Sunday we had our monthly training for the young adults.  It was the first time I got to really be a part of it and I had a great time.  The young adults we get to work with are absolutely amazing individuals.  They are just so much fun to be around.  The goal of the afternoon was to re energize them and just get them excited about the incredible work they are doing.  A guy named Dennis came to do team building games, but first we had a speaker named Martin come and talk about ethical leadership.  The young adults loved him because he was funny and engaging.  One thing he talked about was integrity.  He drew a triangle on the board and at the three points he wrote "what we say," "what we do," and "what we believe."  Then he wrote integrity in the middle.  Basically what he was saying was that we live a life of integrity when we live in a place where those three ideas all meet.  I loved that visual and I found there to be a lot of truth in it.

Yesterday we had our weekly staff meeting and we always open with some sort of thought provoking quote or activity as I have mentioned before.  This month we are discussing a passage in a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel.

"We each have a dream, a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving within us.  Whether altruistic or ignoble, the dream gives definition to our lives, influences the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak. Daily we make choices that are either consistent with or contrary to our vision.  A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream."

There is a whole lot in this passage and we will be discussing it all month, which is great.  It really makes me think about what my dream and vision in life is and how I am living in it each day.  I believe it is something worth thinking about and defining for myself.  I guess I have always defined integrity as living your life in a way as to not do anything you would not want your mom to see. I still believe that, but now it goes so much deeper.  I want to live my life true to who God created me to be and embrace the vision and dreams I believe He has given me.  At the risk of becoming vulnerable with y'all I will admit it is easy to think who will really know if I do this or that, but the truth is God does know.  In Luke chapter 8, verse 17 it says, "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open."  Living here in Kenya has helped me see how important it is to live honestly even when it is so hard because so much dishonesty is surrounding you.  This month I plan to take time to define the dream and vision God has called me to and focus on living my life in the middle of the triangle where "what I say," "what I do," and "what I believe" all meet.

Sorry no pictures this time just my thoughts, but don't worry there will be some soon!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tatua Kenya

Last weekend we officially launched Tatua Kenya.  Be The Change- Kenya is an initiative of an umbrella organization of Tatua Kenya, which is the actual NGO.  We hosted a Nyama Choma at the home/office.  The turn out was great.  There were people here from the community and the organizations we work with.  It was fun just to gather and fellowship without the agenda of fundraising.
Rose (one of the young adults) and I manned the registration table. 
I have been working hard on my Swahili.  The boys at Tumaini have been helping me so I have spent  a lot of time over there.
Tete, he is a neighbor of Tumaini and comes over for lunch each day.

Peter, the boys decided they want to have a car making competition.
Also Sam McDonald from the church office in New York was here a couple of weeks ago and Natalie and I got to spend a day with him and show him around Rongai and Nairobi. We got to take him to see 3 of our projects.  We had a great time! He is on his way back to the US now.
Sam with one of the children at Dream's Children's Home
More updates to come later this week. Happy weekend!