April 5th, 2018

April 5, 2018
Update of the three children:   Isabel and Edward visited the children for 3 days, feeding them porridge and bread.  They never saw the mother.  The 4th day, the children were gone, apparently taken by their uncle.  We weren't surprised, we were sure that the mother had heard about us wanting the children.  Frank will try and find the uncle and confirm that the children are with him.  We had 6 women in our church offer to take the children.                                                                                                                *********************************************************************                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Today's blog is about a young couple getting married August 25th.  The process here for engagement and marriage includes quite a lot of discussion with the bride's parents and family.  They believe in "bride price" or dowry.  The groom pays for everything, including the wedding, the reception and negotiating the bride price with the parents.  I asked the couple if I could write about each step involved in all of this and this is what has happened so far.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Otieno (O.T.) and Mary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     .    This is what Otieno wrote when he visited Mary's parents to discuss the marriage.                                                               On February 17, 2018, the journey to Mary's and her parent's home, at 2:00 p.m.started.  Myself and 10 friends arrived at their home at 2:45 but the gate into their home was locked.  I had to pay 1000 ksh ($10.00) before they allowed us to enter.  We were welcomed by their pastor who opened with the word of prayer and then food was brought.  I had previously given 3000 ksh for this dinner.  The family asked me what brought us here.  They had someone who spoke on their behalf who told us that Mary was in Mombasa and she was supposed to have cooked the meal but they needed money to bring her there.  I gave them 7000 ksh and they suggested I add 3000 more. (a total of $100)   I had a spokesman ;who was of the same tribe as Mary, Kikuyu, speaking on my behalf.  At that point, 8 ladies came out, completely covered so I could not tell who they were.  They told me choose one,  If I didn't choose the right one, I had to pay an additional 2000 ksh.  I picked the right one, Mary, on the first try. (the deception was part of the proposal ritual) After that, they brought out 2 crates of soda, which I had bought.  They asked me for a towel and bottle opener, which I did not have.  They told me to give them 500 ksh.  Mary and I exchanged sodas as a sign of love.  The ceremony was over, but they asked me to take 2 cows, in the form of money, which is 30,000 ksh. to them on June 16th.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                  
This is just the beginning of the process.  I wanted to write about it to explain how marriages start here.  Unfortunately, this kind of negotiation puts a burden of debt on the young couple.  So, many of the grooms who are not able to come up with this money, run away with the bride, have children and never marry.  Two years ago we had a wedding for 14 couples.  All had run off, lived together and had kids.  The bride price was just too high.                                                                            I won't be here in June when the dowry is taken to the parents but Otieno promised to write it all down for me.  I will write about it when we return in August.  And when the wedding takes place, I can explain about the customs involved in the actual ceremony.  It is a hoot!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kwaheri from Kitale,                                                                                                                                                                   Mama Lani                                                                                                                                                                                                
 

March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018
Today was a wonderful day.  And I might consider it a terrible day too.                                                                                        We had a medical mission set up for four different areas around Kipsaina.  Our first area was with two widows, one who needed to be treated and have her house sprayed for jiggers.  We had plenty of help today as the workers were off for Good Friday along with the boy's schools.  
I still can't get this program to rotate my pictures...
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March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018
Yesterday was an incredible day, probably one of the most emotional since we've been here.  It wasn't orphans, it wasn't my wonderful mamas.  it was a young woman, fresh out of prison, returning to the family and village where she had lived and lost her way.  Where she had been a drug addict, an alcoholic and the gossip of the village.  She had done some things for which she would pay with four years of her life.                                                                                 ...
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March 13, 2018

March 13, 2018
We have started the rainy season, hallelujah!   It was warm and dry when we first got here, not so much because of temperature, but because the dry season was ending and everything, especially my house and yard, was brown with dust.  Along the road outside, every plant was covered in red dirt.  And it gets everywhere, comes into the house through every crack and opening.  Even now, within 2-3 days, there is dust everywhere.                                                                      ...
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February 25, 2018

February 25, 2018
We just finished a pastor's conference and crusade up in the north-western corner of Kenya.  It started in Lodwar, where we had meetings for 5 days and then on to Kakuma, where the U.N. Refugee camps are.  I arrived in time to go to Kakuma.  Coney and 3 other pastors, Manny Vallejos, Blaine Rogers and Albert Contreras had been holding meetings before I arrived. The temperature was 105.  It was like Phoenix, in the old days, with no a/c.  And 150 years ago.                Both Lodwar and all t...

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December 29, 2017

December 29, 2017
We sent money over to the Kipsaina church and the boy's home for a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.  We had a great turnout of over 250 people.


Until Missions for Orphans started in the village, Christmas was pretty much non-existent.  When I would talk about it, they didn't even know how we celebrated it.  Over there, it was just another day, one possibly without food.  So we make sure they have a dinner at the church and then the boy's home has another one the day after Christmas.  Isabel,...
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August 28th, 2017

August 28, 2017
We have some really good people here with whom we work.  They aren't the ones with titles, salaries or positions, but those who care about what we're doing, work behind the scenes and continually make me proud to work with them.  
Whenever we have a dinner out at the church or boy's home, we have a group of ladies who start the day before, clean beans, shred cabbage and carrots, slice tomatoes and onions, and basically start the cooking.  The process is done outside, in whatever area they can ...
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July 31, 2017

July 31, 2017
We celebrated our associate pastor Frank's, 50th birthday last Saturday.  It was quite a big deal, he had tents rented for everyone to sit under, live music, lots of good food, and we even had a church service.  He never misses an opportunity. When we arrived, the women, who had all spent the night there and had been preparing the food since early morning, were still putting it all together, cooking the last of it.  So I wandered over in the back of the house, under some palm fronds that shel...
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July 25, 2017

July 25, 2017
Today, I was sitting with Isabel the house mother, drinking tea and realizing how low my "freak out" standard has become in regards to eating, drinking and basically living.
Before I came to Kenya and started living here for several months each year, I was what was known as a "picky" eater.  (That excludes donuts, I've never met a donut I didn't like)!

And although I married a hunter, having watched, at age 5, the death of Bambi's mother, my view towards eating anything from the wild was tainte...
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June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017
Today, I thought I would show some pictures of the area where we live.  Kitale is considered a small town but there are thousands of people surrounding the town, in different sections.  Sort of like Phoenix is next to Tempe, next to Mesa, next to Apache Junction.  There are lots of pockets of people.
Most of the business owners in Kitale are what the Africans call "Asians".  We call them East Indian.  Our landlord's name is Ashok Mesuria.  He lives in a house right behind us.

 


This is his...
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