Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kenyan Politics: Bananas and Oranges

I'm back in town to do some more research on Satellite Internet service, and since Laban Rono, the orphanage director was passing through town on business, I hitched a ride.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people Kenyans can squeeze in one vehicle. They rarely say "no" to someone who asks for a ride... In the 7-seater vehicle we came to town in, we had 5 adults, a teenager, a toddler, and about 2oo kg of maize plus humungous pots. Two of our orphanage staff were going to a family wedding and were responsible for the maize for the event, thus the bags.

While I was sitting in the Internet cafe, the power suddenly went out. It was odd looking out over the market and seeing nothing but two little household fires against the hill, and car lights. Everyone sat and waited very patiently for about 15 minutes, until the power went back on. Apparantly it's not unusual to have such power outages.

Some other things I will need to get accustomed to:
  1. The Kenyan concept of time: Yesterday, while doing home visits in Kipkaren, we were told it will take just 2 minutes for Eunice to make chai. Keep in mind that she has to go and draw water from the river, most likely, since I didn't see ANY other water source. And then she had to find milk somewhere. Can't imagine she got it anywhere but directly from the cow that was wandering around... Needless to say, it was at least half an hour later by the time the chai showed up.
  2. The Kenyan concept of distance: After walking for about half an hour (or longer?) yesterday, we walked into someone's yard, and I thought, "Ah! We're here!" I asked Peter, the pastor who accompanied us if this is it. I was informed that we're just passing through someone's yard, and that our destination was "just 200 meters from here." Yip. It was again at least half an hour later that we finallly made it to Eunice's house, and we were walking rather fast along the little dirt passage.
  3. Kenyan ceremonies: Kenyans celebrate whenever they can. They'll have a guest of honor whenever they can. This morning, for example, we had the official dedication of the new orphanage office, and Laban, the orphanage director, was saying, "Actually, we should be dedicating the washing machine at this time, too. But never mind." One of the pastors (a dorm parent) was asked to say a few words. Then Brian, the guest of honor at this event seeing that his church sponsored the building of the office, had to say a few words. Then 2 people had to pray. Then I had to take a bunch of pictures. And finally, everyone was invited to take a tour of the new office. It was a lot of fun. I was surprised that we didn't all have chai afterwards, too! Believe me, I'm not making fun of this sense of celebration. It's just new to me, and something I'll have to grow accustomed to.

Other highlights of today:

  • Spending four hours in the Internet cafe this morning catching up on e-mail and paying KES200 for the time spent. That's less than US$3.
  • Finding my way around town. I was able to locate the bank and Nakumatt (a grocery store) by myself. (OK, I asked for directions to Nakumatt, but I was heading the right way!)
  • Making myself understood in simple Swahili, saying things like "Where is Rochers?" (Wapi Rochers?) , "See you later!" (tutana nana), and "Again!" (Tena!) - for yet another photo.
  • Remembering more and more children's names. I love how their little faces light up when I greet them by name.
  • Seeing the kids come running to me shouting, "Adele!" when I walk over to the orphanage. I promptly get at LEAST 10 hugs, if not more, and several invitations to come and visit their dorms. I'll go and read some of the girls a story tomorrow night.

Other interesting facts:

  • Right now, Kenya has no official parliament. President Kibaki sacked the entire parliament last Wednesday since he and his party had lost the referendum. Kenya had a referendum to vote on constitutional changes. Those in favor of the changes had to mark the banana on the ballot. Those apposed to the changes had to mark the orange. This system was chosen since the majority of Kenyans are illiterate. So now, you keep hearing about the president warning the oranges not to stage any rallies, or that the bananas are upset... The president was supposed to announce a new parliament today, but there's no news yet of any new appointments.
  • This time of year is especially important in Kenyan culture. Young men (anywhere between age 11 and 17) go into the fields for circumcision. They spend up to a month in the field, wearing skins and painting their bodies. They learn all kinds of essential responsibilities. Many churches are stepping in and playing a role in this "manhood training" since traditionally, it's not all good. (Traditionally, they are given lots of alcohol and told no woman can tell them what to do now that they are warriors. This leads to many dropouts from high school, not to mention a habit of consuming alcohol at a young age.)
  • Similarly, young girls are taken for female circumcision, a sad and unnecessary practice that occurs in east, central and western Africa. Again, churches are speaking out against this practice and doing training instead in femininity.

I'm learning lots, as you can tell. I love sharing this with you as you are part of this journey.

Chai, chai, and more chai

Kenyans are incredibly hospitable. You don't walk out of someone's house without being offered chai. Now, if the chai were what I'd have at Starbucks, it'd be wonderful! But Kenyan chai is basically just black tea boiled with milk and sugar. If you're offered chai at someone's home, it's rude to refuse.

On Sunday after church, I joined a group of friends (Brian and Kristin had friends in town, whom they took to our other center, the Kipkaren Training Center.) Our trip to Kipkaren was good. They have such an incredible team spirit there! There was, as always, a welcoming ceremony and I even had to cut a ribbon for us as a group to enter. I was introduced numerous times--to the students who had tons of questions about how farming practices compared in South Africa--and to the staff. They are REALLY glad to have me on the team!

Yesterday, we went on home visits in the Kipkaren area. My water bottle had been taken after dinner (mistaken for garbage) so I didn't have water to take with me. We walked FAR to visit 2 homes. At the first one, the lady had to be called from the fields, so we waited about half an hour after our hour walk. She insisted that we have chai. It was hard for me to swallow the chai since this is a VERY rural household. I am not sure if hot water is ever used to wash the cups, and soap, I am certain, is a luxury they cannot afford!

After finishing chai at Eunice's home, we headed to another home where we once again got chai, green bananas (they're ripe, though), and chapatis. I was just praying that God would protect my stomach! This second home belonged to a slightly more affluent family. The father of the house, John, has two wives and 23 children! (If you click on the photo at on the of the other entries I posted today, you'll see photos of these visits.)

Then we walked back in the sun. I had some water, but not enough, so by the time we got home last night, I wasn't feeling too bright. Had a headache and my tummy felt queezy. I made some toast, got a DVD from the Albrights, and got into bed at 7! I felt way better this morning! No more headaches or tummy aches. (From time to time, though, my stomach makes a really odd twist!)

Brian and Kristin's friends left today, so they went on Safari with them. That means I am on my own for a few days. I have plenty to work on, and on Friday morning I'll catch a shuttle to Nairobi. Will do shopping and stay at a hostel for the night. I'll meet Vincent--a driver the Watershed team had connected me with--and I will go to pick up Dave Saturday morning, and then we'll go and look for things like taps, sinks etc for my house which will be built in the next 2 weeks.

On Sunday morning, Dave, Vincent and I will go to pick up the rest of the Iowa team. The children at the orphanage know that we'll be doing a VBS next week and keep reminding me that the team will arrive on Sunday. Not that I need reminding... I am really looking forward to their arrival!

It's around 1 pm here now. I'm heading to Nakumatt, a grocery store in town, to buy some groceries. This afternoon, I'll be moving to Don and Amy Rogers' hut until my hut's done, and will need to cook for myself now. It's challenging for me to be dependent on others (the Albrights for meals, and anyone who's coming to town for a ride).

Today, I'll also be talking with various satellite Internet providers in Nairobi to see who can give me the best deal so we can get Internet access at the center as soon as possible! It will make life MUCH easier to have access at home!

On the way to the butcher

On the way to the butcher
Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
On Sunday afternoon, we filled the orphanage vehicle (as in, 7 adults and 2 kids into a 7-seater vehicle) and drove to the ELI Kipkaren Training Center. Click on the photo to see some of the pictures from this trip as well as some photos around the Ilula Training Center.

Sunday morning

I had written this update on Sunday morning, but was unable to upload it at that time due to a SLOW connection.

It's Sunday morning, and Brian and I had to come to the office in town really quickly to see off a team that's been at our other site in Kipkaren. After this, we'll be heading back to Ilula for church. We have church at the center since it's easier that way with all the children. People from the community also come to church at Ilula. By the time we left, children's church was under way. Wish you could hear the little kids sing at the top of their lungs!
I've been at Ilulu for just more than 2 days now. It has been amazing to see the children recognize me and ask about Danette, Lori and Pat. Yesterday afternoon, we showed the “Jesus Film for Kids” (in Swahili) and it was incredible watching the little ones. They were really into the movie, laughing at kids' lines, and burying their little faces in their hands, peeping through their fingers, anytime Jesus was mistreated. Several of them were crying during the crucifixion… I look forward to being able to speak Swahili so I can visit with them about their experiences.

The Hut
Yesterday, I spent time with the leaders here looking at where exactly my hut should be. One option is to have it further away from the training center, under a bunch of eucalyptus trees. It's a beautiful spot and very private, but the concern is that it's far from everyone else. The second option is to build it right next to Brian and Kristin's hut. I'm thinking more and more than this is a better option.

We also sketched out the floor plan and gave it to the contractor for a final quote. They'll start making the bricks on Monday and start working on the foundations right away.

Right now, I'm living in one of the guest huts. It's very simple, yet comfortable. I'll try to upload a photo or two. I've been having to take cold showers (BRRR!), but it's not too bad when you get a bucket of hot water from the fire behind the shower and take a “bucket shower,” i.e. rinsing with a pitcher of warmer water. (I have found out since that there is a solar-heated shower.)

Since I don't have access to a kitchen of my own right now, I've been eating with the Albrights. They have guests, 2 couples/friends from the US, so it's been a big group. I'll be moving into the Rogers' hut (they're the directors and are currently in the US for fundraising and speaking engagements) soon, and will then be cooking for myself until the Iowa team comes.

I've been remembering most of the staff members' names from last year, and many of the children. I've been carrying around a little note book, though, to write down names and descriptions, since I'm a visual learner. I'm going to start taking individual photos of the children and putting their names on the photos with Photoshop since I'm a visual learner.

It's cute to see the kids coming up and saying, “Adéle, do you remember my name?” It's like a game they play with me. I really, really would like to know everyone's names soon since it shows that I value who they are.

In the morning, I wake up to the sound of cows walking by the road that passes close to my hut. At night, the wind blows quite a bit and you hear the wind in the trees. Nothing else. No traffic. No music or television. I often turn on music on my computer when things are too quiet.

Right now, I can hear a local church singing. Africans have beautiful voices and they sing with all their hearts and beings. At church, they might have a bass guitar and a drum. (Children's church only has a drum. It's neat to see the kids play the drum.)

I've had to get used to working in thousands again. I've been looking at furniture. A mattress, for example, is about 20,000 Kenyan Shillings. That's about $270. Fruit and vegetables are generally quite cheap. We bought roses at the neighboring rose farm yesterday (export roses) at $.45 a dozen!

We're heading out. Will update when I have a chance again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Karibu, Adele!

It's an ABSOLUTE joy to be back at Ilula! I had some time to unpack and have lunch with Brian and Kristin, and then headed over to the orphanage. The kids came running, laughing and saying, "Karibu, Adele!" (Karibu is kiSwahili for welcome.)

I was amazed that the kids remembered me. They promptly also asked, "Where's Danette? And Lori? And Patricia?" Some of the older ones who can speak English well reminded me that we gave them T-shirts last year with the fruit of the spirit on it, and that we made balloon hats. They're thrilled that I'm here to stay, and I have had numerous invitations to their dorm rooms to come and visit. One girl's dorm (where little Ruth is a fearless leader) recited John 3:16 to me since that was their memory verse last year.

The Kenyan staff keep asking me if it feels real for me to be back. It does indeed. The roads are as bumpy. The smiles are as big, if not bigger, than last year. Life here is as simple as before.

Right now, I'm in town since Laban, the orphanage director, had to come to run errands and asked me if I wanted to come and do e-mail. I'm in a cyber cafe overlooking the local market. Below are vendors with big bags of rice, maize and an assortment of beans. There are also vendors who sell fresh vegetables: bright red tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, cucumbers, potatoes. And then there are a number of stalls where you can purchase second-hand clothing and shoes.

Some other pictures from this morning's trip into town: I walked to Uchumi, the local grocery store, to buy cheese and wannabe hotdog rolls for Brian. Dorothy, from our office, accompanied me so I could see where Uchumi is, and I bought us fruit juice. Three street children followed us for the longest time saying something in Swahili. When I asked Dorothy what they were saying, she explained that they wanted our juice. I will give them juice next time I walk by them since mine was already done and Brian was waiting for us.

I now need to head back to the airport to pick up my other bag. There wasn't space on the little 19-seater plane for all the luggage.

Tonight, I will have dinner at Laban and Angelina Rono's house (orphanage directors and a family who I know will be key in my time here). I am looking forward to visiting with them and will be sure to take photos. I will bring greetings from my friends, family and supporters around the world. It means the world to these Kenyans to know that others are thinking of them.

You will be joining us for dinner, in a way.

My last flight

I'm in Eldoret, my new home town. I could either have taken a 5-hour minibus ride here, or the 45-minute flight. I love that I flew, not only to get here faster, but for the view.

Wilson Airport is right next to the Nairobi National Park, so right after take-off we flew over a big herd of zebra and wildebeest. I also saw some Cape buffalo from the air. Next, you fly over Kibera, the slums of Nairobi. It's the biggest slum in Africa with about 5 million people living in shacks. After that, it's a stretch of beauty as you fly over the Great Rift Valley, including lakes lined in pink with flamingos. The descent into Eldoret is a bumpy one since the aiplane seats about 20 or so people only. In fact, it's so small that they had to leave my one piece of luggage in Nairobi for the next flight out, this evening.

Brian, who picked me up at the airport, had to run some errands, so I'm at the ELI office for a little while only, then it's off to Illula, the center. Home. I'll be happy to see my coworkers and especially to see the children. And I'll be delighted not to live out of a suitcase for a while!

In about a week, a team from Iowa will be arriving. I'll be heading to Nairobi to meet them. Can't wait to see the team!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'm in Kenya

Dorothy, a coworker from ELI, met me at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a 4-hour flight from Johannesburg. I was blessed to sit by the window and see Africa from high in the sky. Seeing Lake Malawi was especially beautiful. Unfortunately, I sat on the wrong side and couldn't see Mt. Kilimanjaro, but we did indeed fly by the mountain. Descending into Nairobi, we flew over Nairobi National Park and I smiled at the sight of herd of antelope down below.

Dorothy and I are staying at the "Mayfield Guesthouse," a guesthouse run by Africa Inland Mission. Seeing that it's Thanksgiving, I kept thinking we're staying in the Mayflower. ;)

Before we headed out for a walk to this Internet cafe (called "Cyba!"), we had to have chai (tea.) It was 4 pm, and Dorothy explained that stopping for afternoon tea is optional, whereas 10am tea time is essential. Good to know.

It's good to be here. We're leaving for Wilson Domestic Airport at 6 am for the hour-or-so flight to Eldoret. I'm more than eager to stay in one place for a while.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I am thankful for each of you who is walking this journey with me.


Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
I took tons of photos at Anja's christening on Sunday, but due to a computer problem, I lost them all! Fortunately my sister had made some prints before the glitch, so we do have real photos of the event.

I had a wonderful time with the girls and am thankful that I'm now living a LITTLE closer to them and may be able to see them a little more often.

Clara LOVES Jesus. She's the one who declared that she has a lump--Jesus' head 'cause he lives in her heart. She talks about Jesus a lot, and one evening when she was sleeping with me, she sat up in bed and reached out with her arms. When I asked her what she was doing, she said (in her sleep), "I'm giving Jesus a hug."

Yesterday, she was listening to a kids' praise song in the car, "The love of the Lord is wonderful..." when her eyes welled up with tears and she said, "I love Jesus SO much." How precious!

Next stop: Nairobi

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day. It will be my first Thanksgiving in about 11 years that I won't be having turkey and spending the day with good friends.

Instead, I'll be leaving home at 5:15 am to head to the airport and fly to Nairobi. I'll arrive in Kenya too late for a connecting flight to Eldoret, and will spend the evening at a guest house. I'll leave the guest house by 6 on Friday for the very last leg of my journey to Kenya.

I am not sure if I'll be near an Internet cafe during this short stop in the city. And I'm not sure if I'll be able to access the Internet much next week. I will try my best.

For now, this is it. Next time you'll hear from me, I'll be at my new home. ;)

Monday, November 21, 2005

At Home

Today is my father's 65th birthday. It's neat to be able to be here with them to celebrate this day. I landed yesterday morning just after 6. Visited with my family (I'm at my sister Liesl's house, my parents also flew up here for a few days) and then, in the early afternoon we left for a local stone chapel where we had a beautiful service for Anja's christening. I'll post a photo later today since I'm on a slow dial-up connection... Went to bed early. Clara, my 5-year-old niece and goddaughter, came to sleep with me. Not the best way to fight jetlag, but I don't mind. It's a rare chance I get to visit.

It's summer in South Africa and I couldn't have wished for better weather. We've been having almost all our meals outside on the patio. It's good to be home.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Singapore Layover

It's just before 10pm on this side of the world. I just landed in Singapore after a flight of just more than 4 hours from Taipei.

Highlights of my flight:
  • Seeing the Taiwanese mountains sticking out above the clouds. It was a really beautiful sight.
  • Flying in over Malaysia and seeing the city/nation of Singapore. It is a VERY crowded area, and all I could think was how very, very different it is from where I'll be in a week...
  • Knowing that I'm one flight closer to seeing my family. I depart from Singapore in 5 hours again, at 2-something a.m. and land in Jo'burg at 6 a.m. (It's a 10-hour flight and I look forward to sleeping!) After arriving and visiting a bit, it's my new niece/goddaughter Anja's baptism.
I had forgotten that the luggage limit from Taiwan to SA is just 20 kg. I had two bags of 30 kg each plus heavy, heavy carry-ons. Thanks to this being part of an onward journey from the US, the lady at check-in didn't balk at all at the weight. YEAH GOD!

I'm going to walk around the airport for a while. This airport has received the award several times as the best airport in the world. It feels more like you're in a mall with beautiful orchids, palm trees etc (real ones) growing all over. It's VERY humid here, even inside the airport. Can only imagine how it's feeling outside right now...

Keep in touch,

Friday, November 18, 2005

Life at ORTV

Life at ORTV
Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
As an editor at ORTV, I worked very closely with the art department. Here we're being goofy taking a group shot. They're a really neat group of very talented artists. Today, I had to laugh when they were grilling me about my new life in Africa. They finally got what a hut is and then were blown away that my hut wouldn't have air conditioning!

Back at work

Back at work
Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
I stopped by ORTV today to visit with friends and colleagues. Needing new photos for my official ELI prayer cards, I was able to take advantage of the fact that ORTV has a photo studio. Had fun taking these photos as well as group shots with my friends in the art department.

A common sight in Taiwan

Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
Yesterday was some or other auspicious day in Taiwan with more than the usual offering to ancestor spirits. It's nothing unusual to see people out on the streets going through the rituals to try and appease the spirits. They burn "ghost money" and put out offers of rice, fruit etc.

Chinese hairwash

Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
One of the biggest treats for me in Taiwan is getting a hair wash. You sit in your chair while it's being done and get a massage in the process, too. Diane (in the picture with me) usually does the wash/massage, and then it's over to Daisy to try and tame my hair.

Second stop: Taipei

I'm sitting in my friend Nina's living room with Xiao Bai, her Java rice sparrow, poised on my forearm as I'm typing. It's good to be back in Taipei. I've been up since about 5 a.m. thanks to jet lag. Not too bad, considering the 14-hour time difference.

I had a truly blessed time yesterday, connecting with friends. Had lunch with the ORTV art department right after getting back from the airport, then spent the rest of the afternoon with Debryn and Barbara, two of my dearest friends on this side of the world. After spending much time at Starbucks, we went to the hair salon we used to frequent when we all lived in Taipei for a good massage. Ah!

After stopping by to see the Platells, (Aussie friends from church), I headed to Gateway, our church office, to do a presentation to a small group of friends. I was a bit tired, but it wasn't too bad. It was a joy to share about the journey, show photos of where I'll be heading, and have my friends pray with me. And it was pure bliss to head home to Nina's apartment to sleeeeeep.

Today, I'll be going to ORTV to visit and have lunch with staff from the English Department. I also have appointments to see a couple of other friends, after which Nina and I will go out for dinner. (Food/dining is of major importance in Chinese culture! There are far more restaurants here than in any average American town.)

Tomorrow's it's back to the airport and off to Johannesburg.

  • I'm not having much jet lag at all
  • Meaningful times with friends
  • The hut is now FULLY FUNDED!
  • The funding for a vehicle is growing...
  • Safe travels and the blessing of even having the only open seat in economy class next to me on the long flight from LA to Taipei, allowing me to sleep better
  • Continued safety and health in traveling
  • God connections with individuals along the way and an open ear to sense God's heart
  • The rest of the funding for a vehicle

Monday, November 14, 2005

I have one more wall!

It's late. My eyes are burning from a long day of travel and of many tears. Having moved many a time in my life, I tend to switch off emotionally when saying good-bye. Yet I get to these points when reality hits and the tears won't stay away. That was me, last night, after packing...

Nan picked Danette and I up from home and took us to the airport. (I had asked that no-one come to the airport because that just makes leaving really hard!) We had an uneventful flight to Chicago, then to LAX. Took some fu shots of the Rockies and of the Grand Canyon. God is SO creative!

It was fun pointing out the different LA sights to Sean, a little Malaysian Chinese boy who sat next to me, by the window, as well as to Danette. "See that hill over there, beyond the LA skyline? Look closely. It's the Hollywood sign." After getting our luggage, we picked up a rental car and had to nix any plans to take a detour. We were running late and even on a Sunday afternoon, there was bumper-to-bumper traffice on I-405N (to Santa Monica.) We headed south instead, to the hotel where Danette's meeting is this week. After a brief detour through Long Beach and a stop at Baja Fresh (yum! Authentic Californian Mexican food!) we drove straight to Dana Point, where I dropped Danette off and headed north on I-5, then 57 to Glendora. (This road takes you past Disneyland and the Angels Stadium. It was fun to drive on these too familiar roads again.)

It was wonderful to see the Clarks--the family with whom I stayed for 2 years while doing graduate studies. They're like family to me, and they had invited a bunch of my friends to come see me--mostly students who had been on my Mozambique teams ('03 and '04) and some other friends. It was an incredible treat to visit with everyone and catch up!

From this group of friends came commitments to cover one entire wall in my hut! I praise God for that and am so very thankful for every single person who is part of this journey...

Now it's late. It's only 11:13 LA time, but we're two hours behind Iowa. It's time for me to sleep. Tomorrow is another full day.

Praise: For safe flights & connections
For funding for one more wall!
For a chance to see friends and especially to see how some of these students are growing spiritually!

Pray: For continued travel safety
For my meeting on Monday morning with ELI directors
For meaningful connections with others
For an openness to what God is doing!

Much love,
a tired me

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Crazy times

"How much stuff do I really need?" This is a question I had to pose myself many times today. Do I really need so much stuff? It's a challenge, wanting to live a simple life, yet knowing that I don't want to be stuck wearing the same few things over and over and over.

The packing is moving along. Seeing that I'm stopping in LA for meetings, then in Taipei, then in Johannesburg, it makes it a bit more challenging. But it's all good. And it's almost done. I only have office stuff left, and books. But those will be put in an ActionPacker and brought by the New Covenant team that's coming in December. What a blessing.

Tomorrow I have to say good-bye to friends at church. And then, it's a matter of wrapping up details all week long. Backing up computer files. Finishing and printing off a missions manual I've been working on. Final house projects (help clean gutters etc.). And then it's my birthday on Saturday. Some friends are having a little gathering on Friday night to celebrate and say good-bye. I refuse to do any packing/work on Saturday. I'll go see a movie or something. Fun stuff.

Sunday, my flight leaves early in the morning. Our good friend Nan is taking Danette and I to the airport. Danette has a national sales meeting in LA that week, so we're blessed to be able to fly out together. I'll go show her Santa Monica, then take her to her hotel, after which I'll head to Azusa, California.

Sunday night, there's a gathering of friends at the Clarks' house in Glendora. (This is the family I stayed with while studying/working at Azusa Pacific.) I'm looking forward to seeing some friends and doing a presentation on Africa.

On Monday I'm having a meeting with old friends from the missions office and getting materials from them that I can use in Kenya, then off to a meeting with people from ELI.

Tuesday's packed, from breakfast to late. Then it's off to the airport for my flight to Taipei.

I will have no Wednesday, November 2005, thanks to crossing the International date line. I land in Taipei on Thursday, November 17 and will be met by friends. Then it's lunch w/ colleagues, followed by coffee with friends, and finally a dessert event that evening at Taipei International Church, where I'll be doing another presentation. This is a bit crazy, considering that I'm giving myself NO time to adjust from jetlag. And Taiwan's 14 hours ahead, so essentially when I'm doing my presentation, my body will want to sleep...

Friday I'm going to my old office, seeing friends at ORTV and having lunch with former colleagues. And then it's NO MORE BUSINESS. Just an afternoon of enjoying a bit of down time with friends who go way back.

Saturday I'll want good Chinese breakfast and head up the mountain on the back of my friend Nina's scooter to see the city for one last time. Then it's off to the airport again...

My flight to South Africa takes me through Singapore for a short stopover. I'll be eager to get on the plane and sleep! I land in Johannesburg around 6 am Sunday morning, South Africa time and will spend the morning with my family, relaxing and enjoying SUMMER. That afternoon, my new niece/goddaughter Anja is being baptized, so it's a big event with friends and famiily.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is FAMILY TIME, with only one meeting with a local church. Then it's off to Nairobi on Thursday.

I get in too late for the flight to Eldoret, so I'll spend Thursday evening in Nairobi and fly out Friday morning, November 25 to Eldoret.

I'll be at my new home 12 days after leaving Cedar Rapids. I think I'll be MORE THAN ready to unpack and not live out of my bags for a few weeks. And I'll be eager to get to know my new neighbors and coworkers.

I hope to keep you up to date as I travel, but I won't always be assured of an Internet connection, hence the detailed schedule.

Would you pray for me during these crazy few weeks, that I'll remain in good health with my eyes fixed on Christ. I don't want to be so busy that I miss opportunities to simply respond to whatever He wants me to do/say.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Hut and more

It's just more than a week until I move to Eldoret, Kenya. Many of you have been asking what specific needs I still have, and I'm happy to share.

Today, I have a huge part of my hut expenses covered, which I praise God for!

I still need
* one window ($121)
* a roof ($1,700)
* about 3/4 of the structure ($2630)

That's it for the hut! Amazing, eh?

My work visa fee has been provided for. I have the first $500 towards a vehicle.

Yeah God, and yeah to every person who has been a part of this process, and to every person who will continue to be a part of this journey.

What an amazing blessing to run this race with so many friends.