May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016
We're getting ready to start our next seamstress class with Rose, our instructor, and five new students.  We just purchased the new machines.  We weren't prepared for this many students, but we are appreciative of the help we received from friends to acquire all five.

After our graduation last week, Rose explained to us that she was more than able to instruct each student we added and then told us that she herself had been blessed through helping the ladies and that she was able to rent the small building next to her shop, increasing her inventory.
One of the widows from the Wiyeta group tagged along and wanted to let us know how in the village, too many young girls ended up in situations with young boys, producing a baby and no marriage.  The girls have little future since most of them don't graduate from secondary school.  They in turn, live with their mother (usually no father is around), having more children and adding to the burden of a full house.  By giving them a trade, and one that can provide food for a family, the cycle is broken.  Each of the first three women were asked to take one woman, and within a year, teach her how to sew. Next year, the five new students will be encouraged to do the same.  Empowerment and sustainability is the hope for these women, breaking that cycle of poverty.

On another note, we have enrolled our 3 high school graduates into high school again.  Strange, but necessary.  Over here, you have to pass the National Exam with a C+ or better.  Our boys didn't.  This means they can't apply to any university.  They can go to college, which is confusing, but college means a trade school over here.  So they will start next Monday in Form 3 (Junior year), start Form 4 (Senior) next January and once again take the National Exam in November of 2017.  It's not the best way or what we would prefer, but if they can pass with the C+, many doors are open to them.  We bought them uniforms, backpacks, and bikes so they can travel about 20 minutes to the school.  

Peter, Phylip and Joseph.
When we took them to town to buy the uniforms and the bikes, it was sweet watching them pick out clothes and everything they needed.  I doubt that had ever happened before.  But the best part was when we took them to eat in a restaurant.  Phylip always says he doesn't want to go to restaurants, he'd rather eat at our house.  But we had the three of them, Frank and Rose our seamstress with us and it was easiest to take them out to eat.
So we are sitting in the restaurant with menus and they're at a loss.  I finally encouraged them to order kuku (chicken) and chips (fries).  Joseph pauses and then says "Mama Lani, I fear that I will not know how to eat in a restaurant since this is the first time for me."  
I just told him to eat like he was at his home without wearing the food on his face. They all did great!  That night, Phylip texted me, thanking us for taking them to the restaurant.  He said he was sorry he had never wanted to go before but now that he had, he wanted to go every time he was in town.

Over here, it's the simple things that these people have never experienced that cause you to see the gap between our cultures.  Eating in a restaurant, never getting to buy your clothes from a store, new.  Getting another chance at school so you can follow your dreams.  Or realizing that you might be able to learn how to sew and KEEP the sewing machine so you can earn a living and know that your family won't go hungry now that you can open a small business.
 
Stopping yesterday in Maili Saba (one of the junctions between Kitale and Kipsaina), we stopped to talk to an electrician about work at the boys home.  I handed out about 30 lollipops to the little kids.  Just the excitement and the singing and joy they each had made me so thankful that I am here.  It touches your heart.

I wish you all could come here and see what I see.

Kwaheri from Kitale,
Mama Lani
 

May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016
You wouldn't believe the rain here!  Every day it has poured, some days it rained for over 2 hours.  The roads are terribly muddy, but I'm sure lovin' the weather!   My only problem is trying to get my wash dry.  It's hanging on the staircase railing and has been there for 2 days.  But I think I'll live.
Yesterday, the lady that asked us to start the sewing school at her tailoring shop last year, wanted a graduation party for the 3 women that completed the courses. Now, tailoring shop is a loo...
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May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016
We are back!  We landed in Kitale, Saturday, the 7th, after an interesting trip.  But neither a flu bug nor un-cooperative baggage handlers could prevent us and our luggage from arriving.  
Once in our house, I went to bed and slept for hours while Coney shopped for groceries.  Sunday morning arrived with me realizing I was going to live.  That's always a victory.
But we weren't prepared for the festivities waiting for us in Kipsaina.  We knew the widows had new dresses for their choir performa...
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September 27, 2015

September 27, 2015
Well, I'm partially packed, working on the house so we can close it up and fly to Nairobi tomorrow morning.  Its been 4 months and 3 weeks this visit.  Not our longest, yet it's really nice to be heading home.
Tomorrow morning we leave Kitale at 8:45 arriving in Nairobi around 10:00 a.m.  We don't fly out until 10:30 p.m. so it is a really long day.  But because there is only one flight from here to Nairobi, that's what we work with.

Today was the last church service of this visit and everyone ...
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September 16, 2015

September 16, 2015
Twelve days until we fly home.  It's been a very productive trip this year.  It's not that we didn't have problems, it's just that the things accomplished far outweighed the few that we had.

Sunday, one of the mamas in church approached me, asking for some help getting a business started.  This is always a tense moment because sometimes they ask for way, way more than we can possibly help. This mama told me she had a sewing machine, but no material or scissors.  And could I help.  I'm sure rel...
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September 4, 2015

September 4, 2015
Life in Kenya is difficult.  Life in a village in Kenya is more difficult.  Life for a muzungu who loves her modern appliances and furnishing can be the pits.

When we first arrived in Kenya, four years ago, I heard that the qualities Kenyan men looked for in a wife were:
Her ability to fetch water each day, carrying it on her head; finding firewood for cooking; making ugali, a Kenyan staple; and making and mudding her own home.
I would be a spinster.

Fetching water for cooking and washing would b...
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August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015
Our trip this year is winding down and we're in the last stages of the projects that we wanted to accomplish.  We have done quite a bit on the farm, building bee hives in trees, (totally different than ours in the U.S.)  passion fruit orchards,



banana trees and fish ponds with tilapia.  This all benefits the boys home, along with the tea which is ready to harvest, which will produce for over 70 years, bringing in an income continually.




We have changed our efforts with the widow groups.  Since w...
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August 18, 2015

August 18, 2015
The other day Coney came back from town after buying some beans and maize for the widows.  He had a picture of a woman bending over, picking through some already chewed small corn cobs that had been tossed, and collecting the one or two kernels on each cob that were left.  She then put those in a small bag she had next to her.


I asked him what he did after watching her and he told me he went inside the mill and bought a container of maize flour for her.  A large bag.  Large enough that she had...
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August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015
There have been times before, that I thought things were a bit difficult here, but now we have hit an all-time low.  No water.  Our tank is empty.  And our neighbors had run out of water even earlier.  Obviously, this is more common than I realized.

Usually, with just two of us in the house, and a large tank of water, we hadn't noticed any loss.  But we have 6 in our house right now, friends from Colorado and Oregon.  Water is very inexpensive here and we've been washing clothes and lots of di...
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July 27, 2015

July 28, 2015
We've just returned from a medical mission trip to the far corners of Pokot, a people who are mostly herdsmen with a few of them farming.  They have been warring with another tribe, the Turkana, for centuries, each having cattle, sheep, goats and camels.  The lack of men in the villages is noticeable as cattle rustling is punishable within the tribes, by death.  Bows and arrows are the weapon of choice and many of the young boys visited the clinic carrying theirs.  They are incredibly accurat...
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