Sunday, May 28, 2006


Browsing around a big supermarket in Nairobi, I was looking for some Wheat Thins. Though I couldn't find my favorite crackers, I found Dutch Spice Cookies. Speculaasje! (They may look at taste different than Wheat Thins, but speculaas could easily be described by the very same slogan as Wheat Thins: Great taste. Big crunch.)

The first time I tried speculaasje, I was hooked. Their flavor (ginger, cardamom and more) and their shape (anything from windmills to elephants) prohibits you from ever calling these Dutch treats plain.

And so this morning, after having breakfast with the team from Southern California, I retreated to the quiet of my home, brewed a cup of good coffee, and opened the bag of cookies. And here I am, traveling down the road of memories of buying my own speculaas plank at a small street market near the cheese market in Gouda, Holland, trying my hand at baking my own batch back in my apartment in Pretoria, discovering a good specimen at the International Fair in Taipei. Going back to that fair every year to buy a batch. Going to the Tulip Fest in Pella, Iowa, and searching all over for speculaasje.

Who would've thought that having my first bite 14 years ago would turn into a long-term, international affair...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Nairobi: Public Transport & Meeting People

For the past day and a bit, I've been trying something new in Nairobi: Taking public transport. I was supposed to have one of the vehicles of the guesthouse where I'm staying, but they had made a mistake with the reservation (put my name down for June), so I ended up without a vehicle. Taking taxis to all the places I had to go would've been pretty expensive, so I dared to take a matatu for the first time ever.

From Mayfield Guesthouse to downtown Nairobi it was a whopping 10 shillings! (A taxi ride for the same distance would've been 300!) After being at the NGO Board (and being told, "Sorry, we're only reviewing your case next week...") I needed to go to a mall north of the city for a haircut. I took a cab: 400KES! So the rest of the day, I decided it's just going to be matatus. My total cost for travel on various matatus was less than $1!

As long as you find out from someone (I ask a lady who's also waiting on the side of the road) which number will take you to wherever you're going, you're good to go. Then you just wait for one that still has a seat available. When they stop, you get in as quickly as you can. It's tough if you're carrying a big bag (like I was doing yesterday), 'cause more often than not, the only seats available are in the very back! While you're still squeezing through between the seats and people, the minibus is rolling again.

Each one has a conductor who sits by the door and bangs on the roof when the driver should stop or go.

No, I won't take a matatu at night. In fact, in Nairobi, I try not to be out at night at all.
Today I spent several hours working on our Sudan satellite e-mail, taking screen shots of every step Steven has to take in order to check e-mail, and compiling a step-by-step guide which I then saved on the desktop. It was a tedious task, but since our base is so out in the boonies, there's no-one Steven can ask for help if he got stuck. It was good to realize that compiling the guide is a way of helping to get our work in Sudan done.

I'm sending the computer back to Sudan with others since we weren't successful in getting the configuration done when I was in Sudan.

I'm at a local mall now just to check e-mail. In the morning, a team is arriving from California. I'll fly back to Eldoret with them in the afternoon. After picking them up from the airport in the morning, I'm set on spending the day at a coffee shop (while they're sleeping!) so I can get some writing done.
I'ts been wonderful spending these 2 days at the guesthouse in Nairobi. Mayfield is a guesthouse run by Africa Inland Missions, and mostly missionaries passing through Nairobi stay there. I've met some really neat people who live very far from where I am, but nevertheless, it's been good.

I might try and see if I can see Mission Impossible III tonight! Oh yeah!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


So I'm in Nairobi. Was supposed to see the people from the NGO Board, and when I walked in, the lady said, "Sorry. We'll only meet about your case next week. Maybe Tuesday . . . or Wednesday. Just call then."

I'll head back to the guesthouse soon to crash for a little bit and then get some work done. But right now, I'm at a local shopping centre doing the things we don't get to do out in the boonies: Get a haircut. See a movie. Have a cup of good coffee.

I think I might fall asleep during the haircut, I'm tired from being up too late the past two nights, working.

I like being in the city, but I love that I don't live here.

What day is it?

It's been a busy week. I've been working on grading papers for the class I taught in Ethiopia in January. With just more than 100 students in the course and each having four assignments, it's a lot of grading! And after each paper has been graded, I have to send back detailed feedback on items they need to improve on for the final submission of their research.

I just checked. Today, I sent 50 e-mails. Only two of them were brief, personal messages. The rest were all to students in Ethiopia. That means, I have at least another 50 to do. But not tonight . . . I'll just have to type up the feedback tomorrow evening in Nairobi and send the messages from there.

Tonight, I went to all the rooms to tell the kids I'll be in Nairobi the next three days and to ask them, too, to pray for my visa application. All of them asked about my cold and were delighted to know that I'm almost 100% better. "We've been praying for you!" they said. I know they have!

If only their sponsors know how often these kids pray for them, for God to pour out blessing upon their lives!
I still have to pack a few things for my journey to the city, then it's off to Dreamland. I fly to Nairobi early in the morning.

Thank you for praying for my visa application.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Something to think about

"Although avian bird flu may well have the potential to transform itself
into an easily transmissable pandemic virus in the future, it is worth
noting that so far, only 100 people have died from the virus. Ever.
Anywhere. By contrast, 3000 children A DAY die from malaria in sub-Saharan
Africa. That's the equivalent of ten mid-sized primary schools. A day."

From Gospelcom

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Never Alone

Earlier this week, my colleague Juli gave me a copy of a CD she had made after joining ELI and moving to our training center in Kipkaren.

One of the songs especially ministered to my heart today. It's called "Never Alone."

Calling me to go
Through the path I do not know
Replacing all my fears
Lord, you've caught all my tears
You are leading me
You are guiding me
I'm never alone.

Who are you?
And who does that make me?
All of my life, I'll search to see...
'Cause there's a chance
and there is a choice.
I hear your voice
You are leading me
I am never alone.

But if you won't go with me
Don't let me take a step
If you won't go with me
Then what's the point at all?

I know that I know God called me to be here and led me here. I know He has a purpose for me being here. But some days, it feels terribly alone. Weekends, especially Sundays, can be tough. It's the day I always feel too far from people who love me and know me well, people whom I love and have known for a long time.

Yet I know that I'm never alone. I know God is with me. I know I am where I'm supposed to be right now.

It doesn't make it any less lonely, though.

I called a good friend to talk on the phone, and she made the most profound statement which made us both laugh, it's so obvious. "I think, Adele, that life on the mission field is much harder on single missionaries..."

Tell me about it!

I was thinking today what makes life in Eldoret harder than life in Taipei. There, I was illiterate! I was living in a culture very different from that which I was used to. Here, even though I don't understand a lot of Swahili yet, I can read signs, and the people around me are African, like where I grew up. So why, right now, is it harder for me to be here than in Taiwan?

Taipei is a city, with lots of people to meet and places to explore. Even before I had a car, there was very good public transportation which I could take to walk in the mountains on Sundays after church. Eventually, I could communicate well in Chinese, was involved in various communities in the city and in our church. I was able to enjoy culture, go to museums, exhibits, sing in the philharmonic choir.

Right now, this little village in Kenya feels very, very small...

I have to remember that even in Taiwan, there were times that I did feel very alone, in the wrong place. But I was there for more than 7 years, and it became home. I have to remember that I'm still adjusting to life here, and making friends takes time, as does learning the language.

I'm never alone.
I know.
And that's what pulls me through.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Maasais chanting outside...

The training center classroom/dining room is just about 20 meters from my door, and the place is filled with Maasai pastors chanting. It's beautiful to hear how they worship God. They've been here the past 3 days for training.

It's hard to describe the songs floating into my room, even harder that it's not rehearsed. It's just part of their culture. I've asked an intern to record the singing tonight. Shall see if there's a way for me to upload the audio to my blog this weekend.

I'm in bed with a bit of a cold. Must've picked it up from the kids. Caroline (one of the girls) declared that I got my cold from the boys! Last night, I was elsewhere for a meeting and had to spend the night. I think I got it from lying awake from midnight till 3 last night because there was a rat in the ceiling of the hut in which I was staying. It got in between the plastic sheeting and the grass thatching and would only settle down when I shined my flashlight onto it. I lay there thanking God that I don't have rats in my house!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cooking in a coal stove

Since the beautiful little convection oven dear friends had given me blew up due to a transformer malfunction, I have had to revert to cooking in a coal oven. The last time I cooked chicken in an oven, I used the big oil-drum oven. Tonight, I used a smaller oven left by Amy Rogers.

It's always smart to try things before you invite guests over, but there's no way I'm going to cook an entire chicken just for myself, so I invited the neighbors. Almost an hour after they showed up for dinner, I finally rescued the chicken from the oven and threw it into my wok.

The chicken itself was OK. I had ordered a freshly slaughtered chicken from a neighbor who farms with chicken. "Keep the head and feet, please," I told Peris when I ordered my chicken earlier this week. She just laughed. "I know, you'll just get the chicken. Are you sure you don't want two?"

Tonight, as I tried cutting the meat off the bones, I figured why she offered two chickens. This baby grew up in the lean years!

Fortunately I had stuffed it with whole garlic, lime, lots of cashew nuts, threw mushrooms and zuchini into the dish with it all. And, of course, coconut milk with Thai green curry paste. We had it with rice.

As the chicken left the little oven, Kristin put a pan of brownies into the oven. Unfortutely, the fire died somewhere in the process, so after many efforts to revive the fire, I went to ask our kitchen if they still had some hot charcoal.

Which means, just about now, I should be able to take some hot brownies out of the oven...

Want to come over and enjoy some?

Monday, May 15, 2006

"OK, whose drawer is that?"

I stopped by one of the girls rooms this afternoon to go and check on the kids, and to see how our new interns are doing during their first afternoon with the children.

"It's Rutu's!" The little 5-year-old darted past me and tried closing the drawer, clothes blocking the way.

"Look here, Adele!" another called. "This is my locker!" Helen pulled open a drawer with the clothes neatly folded.

I sat down on the floor with Rutu and asked if I could help her organize her drawer. Her eyes sparkled as she started throwing everything out. Little treasures were hidden on the bottom, under all the clothes. Letters from her sponsor. Pictures from teams.

"Where should we put your uniform?" I asked the little one.

"Hapa!" she said, (Here!) pointing to the front corner.

"And your koti (jackets)?"

"Hapo!" (There!), in the back.

As we folded the clothes, Linda, Diana and Truphena all started unpacking their drawers. "Can you help me, too?"

One by one, I sat down and folded clothes with the girls, finding the best spot in their small drawers to place everything. As I sat on the floor by Caroline's bed, she gave me one of her shy looks, chin down, eyes barely making contact with mine. For the first time ever, she asked me a question in English. "Will you come to read to us tonight, Adele?"

Sitting down with the kids, reading to them, helping them with their chores, it's all part of reminding them that each one of them are precious. Bit by bit, I am gaining their trust. Today, Mercy (one of three in this particular family) told me, "You know, Adele, I remember the first time you came. You were the first team ever to visit. You gave us T-shirts with the fruit of the Spirit. I really remember that time!"

In the next month, I am planning on having a "girls' night" for the oldest girls at the home, to have them over to bake cookies. And to talk about "girls' stuff."

What an absolute privilege to be allowed into their little world...

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today, a kid from the community came up to me after I had showed photos of Sudan. "I have a letter for you," she said. "Can I bring it to your house?"

Here's the precious letter, as written by 8-year-old Ruth.

"Dear Adel
Hallo adel. How are you I hope you are fine. Adel I want to tell you that never fight wit a lion Adel. When I grow up I would like to be a pilot. I will take you to many countries Adel. I will give you money so that you build a big house. Please Adel you may come to our country of Kenya to great us. We have mish (missed) you so much. On the way close school we go for our holiday I help my mother in house work, planting, digging and wedding (weeding) out the weats (weeds)-and when I grow up I would like to be a pilot.
Your loving friend,
Ruth Jepkemboi
May God bless you"

Friday, May 12, 2006

My Roommate

My Roommate
Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
Meet Elliot the chameleon. Actually, his name is Barra Barra, but he's a chamaeleo Trioceros Ellioti, hence Elliot, in short. That's his common name. The Rogers family named him Barra Barra.

Since they left for the US, I asked if I could have him. He's now my official roommate and flyswatter. He's amazing, catching all the flies!

No more fly paper in the house. No more annoying flies.

He doesn't seem to like mosquitoes, though. That would've been the BEST, if he ate mosquitoes, too!

He's a very quiet roommate with few demands. I just have to take him around to catch his food, and mist him every other day with water.

Kenyans are terribly scared of chameleons, so when I have guests, I have to put him in his cage...

Cool little creature, eh?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sudan news: Miracles do still happen!

I've been home for a day and a half, and somehow I cannot get images of Sudan out of my mind. Yet it's hard to sit down and express on paper or my computer screen all that we experienced.

I'll attempt to give you a picture of our time in Southern Sudan by sketching the basics in brief first.


Steven, our Sudanese director, had purchased our food supplies in Kenya during a previous visit, so we were blessed to have rice and beans from Kenya. From time to time, we were also served green grams (smaller beans) and ugali. The first few days, we even had Quaker Instant Oatmeal for breakfast, but since that was such a novelty to everyone, we ran out of this soon and ended up eating either rice and beans again, or simply the snacks we had packed (roasted barley, trail mix etc.)

Water and Drinks
Water is a scarce item in Sudan. Steven brought water from Kenya, and boy! did we ever drink water! Even the Kenyans on our team who rarely drink water were chugging at least at two liters a day. And even so, we rarely had to use the bathroom since we perspired so much. There are some entrepreneurs in Sudan who purchase Coca Cola in Kenya and sell it at more than three times the price you pay down south. However, as we were visiting with one supplier, he explained that he has to pay "taxes" at several road blocks--bribes to the police of both Kenya and Sudan.

Nevertheless, it meant that we had hot Coke once, and when I was in Padak for business one day, I was able to take cold sodas to the team. The rest of the time, we drank hot tea.

Regarding water: There is one well in the village of Kolmarek, and there's a constant line of ladies waiting to pump water. The only time (including at night) I didn't see a line at the well was when there was a terrible rain storm. But the moment the rain became lighter, women ran back to the well to get their supply of water...

Water containers are very valuable to the Sudanese. When I gave my Nalgene bottle to a Sudanese friend before leaving, her eyes welled up with tears. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! But what will you use?" I assured her that I'll be OK, and was thinking of how we take the smallest things for granted...

If you consider the scarcity of water, it is understandable that taking showers is not a priority to most Sudanese. When we walked by the well one late night, a young man was standing nearby in just his under pants, washing. In fact, teaching the people of Southern Sudan to at least wash their faces is a major goal not only for ELI, but many other NGOs as this will reduce the prevalence of blindness caused by trachoma (a disease carried by flies, causing the eyelids to turn inwards and the eye lashes to scratch the cornea, causing what looks like cataracts.)

As for our team, however, Steven and his staff built a shower prior to our arrival. There's a big water container outside the shelter, and depending on a number of circumstances (did the ladies have time to fetch water? did too many others take a shower before you?) we'd have some water to scoop into a small bucket and then wash up.

What I loved most about this shower was the fact that you had a clear view of the stars as you're "showering." You'd stand there listening to the crickets, frogs (when it had rained), the birds, and at night, you could always hear the drums far off as the people in the cattle camps were wrapping up their work for the night and relaxing to singing and dancing.

What's a cattle camp?
When the previous ELI team came back from Sudan, they talked about visiting a cattle camp, where kids live among cows. I didn't "get it" until Sunday night, when we went on a 40-minute hike to the nearest cattle camp.

Now you have to understand that Southern Sudan is FLAT. Except for in the far south west (in Western Equatoria, the province that borders onto Uganda), Southern Sudan has no mountains--not even hills. Nor do they have rocks. It's just flat. You can literally see for hundreds of kilometers!

As we were heading straight west, you could see a line of cows approaching from a northern direction. As far as the eye could see, there were cows: at least 10,000 of them!

The Sudanese like this one type of cow--I'm not sure what it's called. They have big horns. Some might have a few spots. Some are shades of gray (which they call blue bulls), but for the most part, the cows are white.

Imagine the sound as we crossed paths with the herd...

It was fascinating watching the cattle each head to their own spot. Through a Dinka translator, a young man explained to me that the cows know where to go. Since 10,000 cows tend to wipe out the grass in an area after a while, the camps move from time to time. First thing the herdsmen do is to put down about 6 stakes in a circle, with a rope tied to each stake. The cattle are then tied to these stakes.

It's the job of young Dinka men (teenage boys) to tie the cattle down. Younger kids are in charge of their own circles of calves, with even kids as young as 3 have the young calves to tend to.

One by one, the cattle are then untied again and taken to a spot close to the pile of cow ash. Collecting dung in the mornings and putting it on the fire to burn into a white ash is the job of young kids, too. The ash is used for several reasons:
* the teenage boys take handfuls and cover the cattle from head to toe to keep away flies and mosquitoes. This seems to really work, since there were hardly any flies or bugs around the camp!
* the ash is used for brushing teeth--they dab a wet forefinger into the pile and brush their teeth with their fingers. "It tastes salty, but it's good!" Steven told me. I wasn't going to try!
* the toddlers sleep in the ash, once again to keep away bugs
* men seem to like using it for decoration. Several had painted "beards" with the ash. One had painted his entire head, stating, "Today is a good day because we have visitors. I do this only on good days..." One man had bleached his hair by rubbing cow ash into it, and then dunking his head under cows when they urinate. For real!

As we walked around the camp, things that struck me were:

* there were no homes, just a handful of shelters. Keep in mind that this particular camp is home to at least 600 people and even has its own chief (like a mayor). There is no protection against the elements. One lady whom I visited with explained that their UNHCR tarp was home to 40 people when it rained. On ordinary evenings, only moms with young babies would sleep under the tarp.
* there were no latrines. Everyone simply walked away from the busy-ness of the camp and did what they had to do somewhere in the field.
* there was no "stuff." Most of the people wore either nothing at all, or they had just one outfit (given to them by the UN), so they needed no closets etc. I did find one "safety deposit box," a mound made of mud where one man had kept a few documents (immunization cards etc)
* there weren't kitchens, even. Most of the children drink only milk three times a day, seven days a week. But there are a few grandmas who make fires around the camp and cook sorghum (which they get from the UN).

I was able to talk to a number of people about life in the camp, and then we went to sit under nearby trees while people kept bringing their cows so we would take photos of the cows... One man brought his bull and started singing a song, which is very much like Dinka. Afterwards, he did a long monologue, explaining that they had never had visitors at their camp, that they are blessed that we had come to see how they live. With the help of a translator, I explained in return that we have come to remind them that God cares about them, even as they sleep under the stars, to know that God cares.

How does one really share the Gospel?

During my visit to Kolmarek, I often wondered about this thought. I know how to explain the message of salvation to people. But many of the Dinka are Christian--that is, in fact, why the Muslims have been waging a war against them for decades! So what is the purpose of our visit, other than providing desperately-needed medical services? (The nearest hospital is a 5-month journey from this village, in Khartoum! The South has NO hospitals, NO post offices, hardly any schools, no phones, very bad roads...)

In sitting and talking with villagers, we showed them that God still cares, despite the desperate lives they have been living.

One afternoon, rather than returning to the clinic to help dispense drugs, I stayed at the base to talk with some of the women. It was another very hot afternoon with the temperature far in excess of 100 degrees. As I bent down to enter into the small door of the kitchen hut, I found my friend Mary, the sweat running down her face, emptying out the insides of a sheep's intestines. Knowing I had my camera with me, Mary asked if she could put on her shirt before we continued talking. (The ladies think nothing of taking off their shirts, which is understandable in that heat!)

Mary (with the white shirt) had spent several years in Kaukuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, and speaks excellent English. She is now a first-grade teacher at the school we started in that village.

I sat next to the fire and had her show me exactly how to clean the intestines. And we started visiting about life, about marriage (Dinka women have no choice whom they marry; it is decided by their father), about God. And I was reminded once again how differently we view God. Mary explained that she worshiped God "because He's good." I asked questions about the war. Is God still good when all your people have died? "Yes! Even if your people have died, even if your land had been destroyed, God is good!" she said emphatically.

When rains loomed in the east, Steven said, "God is good. It will not rain. It can rain after you have left..." Yet the heavens poured down on us in a storm unlike anything I've seen in Kenya. Afterwards, Steven simply said, "God is good. The rain was good."

We Westerners would look at the Dinka and conclude that they are poor. Many eat sorghum and milk every day of their lives. Their land has no infrastructure. They have no source of income. Yet they don't see themselves as poor. And, somehow, they have hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 isn't just a "nice thought" to them, something they put on bumper stickers and graduation cards. They can identify with the people in exile in Babylon. Verses 10-14 is a reality they've been living, the hope they are holding on to.

Before going to Sudan, I wondered what I really could do or share. I went in order to take photos, to share the story of the Dinka people with others who care, to record teachings for future use.

For someone to come and listen to them meant the world to the Dinka: the fact that we came--sat with them, ate with them, worshiped with them--reminded them that they worship a God who cares.

The medicines we gave will soon be out of their systems. Worms will return. Malaria will show up again. But the hope they have is what will carry them through. Even if there were to be another war. Which I pray will not be the case...

The Miracle of Abiye

So the Dinka believe God is good, despite all they have faced. But do they know that He is the all-powerful God, a God who still can and will do miracles? As I knelt beside 15-year-old Abiye's mat last Thursday, I prayed that she and her people will see that God is more than simply good.

Abiye was brought to our "clinic" (a temporary setup in the mud classrooms of the school) on Thursday morning. She had had seven episodes of diarrhea and vomiting that morning. Prognosis: Probably typhoid or cholera. Rachel (one of the nurses on the team) connected a saline IV. As the morning progressed, Abiye's condition worsened to the point that she had no pulse and no blood pressure. Her hands and feet were like blocks of ice. "Her body is shutting down," one nurse commented. "There's nothing more we can do. Let's just make sure she's comfortable..."

More than anything, I wanted to go and pray for her. I sat on the mound of dirt next to her body and held her ice cold hand in mine. Wiping her face with wet cotton wool, I prayed and prayed for God to have mercy on her, for her family to see God's power... Others prayed until we finally had to leave, knowing that there really was nothing more we could do.

She came home with us that afternoon so the nurses could continue to give her IV fluids. Yesterday, she went home. She has been healed!

Do we serve a good God? You bet we do! But he's good even when we don't understand war and famine, droughts and floods, good and evil.

A friend sent me a verse today, Job 22:21
"Acquaint now yourself with God [submit to Him] and be at peace; by that you shall prosper and great things shall come to you."

My goal shall remain to acquaint myself with my Savior and to submit to Him. What a privilege to also see Him through the eyes of believers in Sudan...

About Guns

A friend wrote me last night, asking about guns in Sudan. Had we seen people carrying machine guns? We saw several guns. We saw big machine guns mounted on vehicles that were escorting returning refugees to Malakal (further north). That seemed understandable, in a way.

But men would stop by our compound to come and visit, their AK47s slung over their shoulders. And I walked by several cattle herders (who were taking care of smaller herd they'd actually keep at home, not in a camp) who carried AK47s.

We were told that the government is going to collect all the rifles someday... I can't imagine why people would give up their rifles, though. They have a constant fear that the Arabs are going to attack again. But not only the Arabs. We had two guards every night carrying AKs. We were told they're protecting us against the Morukai, a tribe living just east of us who still come and abduct children and kill entire families...

I never felt unsafe for a moment, though. I just wished we could educate the gun-wielding citizens to always point the nuzzle to the ground or up in the sky! Many would stand and visit, the gun thrown over their shoulder and the nuzzle pointing straight at a crowd! No Sudanese even seemed to notice...

For more on what ELI is doing in Sudan, visit

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back from Sudan

Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
It's 3:15am. I've been uploading photos of the Sudan mission, but am stopping here to go to bed... I'll upload more tomorrow. Click on Mary's photo to see more. Each photo has a detailed caption so you'll know what you're looking at.

Some highlights for me:

Seeing God answer our prayers to heal Abiye. On Thursday, this young lady had NO pulse, NO blood pressure, and her extremities were like ice. The medical staff gave each other one of those looks that speak more than you'd like to hear. One said, "There's nothing more we can do for her. Let's just make sure she's comfortable [in dying]." She said later, she was switching to being a hospice nurse, not thinking the girl would make it. I took Abiye's cold hands in mine and prayed like I've never prayed for God to save her so her cattle camp (see below) can know GOD! Everyone else was praying too for God to save her. Today, she walked. She'll be going home tomorrow!

Sitting on my haunches in the kitchen hut around a fire, cleaning sheep intestines with Mary (the girl in the photo) so we could have a conversation about God... She is a believer, but can't really explain why she believes. She started going to church because she was attracted to the worship. We had an amazing conversation and I thank God for that opportunity! It wouldn't have happened otherwise. It was so hot in the little kitchen, Mary and the other Sudanese women were working topless. The Sudanese are VERY African! (It took lots of scrubbing and finally soaking my hands in bleach to get the smell of the tripe off me, but it was worth it!)

Spending several hours in a cattle camp. The Sudanese did NOT want me (and two Kenyan colleagues--men) to spend the night since it would've been too dangerous, but everyone obliged and we stayed from the time the cows came home till almost 11pm, observing life... The camp we visited has about 10,000 cows and 600 people. Some of the people have tarps set up as tents. One tarp becomes home to FORTY people when it rains! When it's not raining, the children sleep in the cow ash (ash from cow dung having been burned). I'll write more on my blog about this. They even brush their teeth with the cow ash! (I'm not kidding.)

Interviewing each of the orphans ELI takes care of... It was sad hearing their stories, but I was blessed knowing that getting their stories and photos means we can find sponsors so they can have better lives!

Watching the Dinka worship God!

None of the team got sick. There were fewer mosquitoes than we were told due to the rains being late, but we had a lot of flies (including humongous tsetse flies--ouch!) The ELI staff worked like crazy to complete a little shower room and outhouse, so we didn't have to dig holes... They brought some water from the community wells so we could pour a few cupfuls over us at the end of the day to clean up. It was VERY, VERY hot (the thermometer we had couldn't read above 120, so it read 120 on several days). It rained only two days, yesterday being the worst. I'll tell more about that on my blog. We ate rice and beans most meals. There was also sheep and goat, but I didn't have any meat in order to avoid getting sick.

The medical team saw more than 1,000 patients, mostly for worm and malaria treatment. There were two cases of cholera. Many came to have teeth extracted. The 2 pastors on the team were able to do a seminar for pastors and community leaders which was well received. I was able to record teachings and preaching as well as worship songs.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I am at an oil company somewhere is Southern Sudan.
Just a QUICK note.
Everythings is fine.
It is incredibly hot.
We have water and food, few mosquitos.
Please pray for Abiye. She is a 15-year old girl from a cattle camp being treated for cholera under our care. We thought she was going to die yesterday but have been praying for God's power to be revealed... Right now, she is still fighting for life. I believe people will know God because of this.

From a HOT Sudan,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Warrior at my Doorstep

I could hear the slow steps approaching my door, the heavy footfall loud during the quietest hour of the night. Next, I heard the creaking of my porch furniture as the person sat down. I got out of bed and walked to my living room to look out the front window. In the pitch dark, I could only make out the shape of the person sitting down.

As I turned on the porch light, the guest was blinded. I couldn't miss the most unusual sight: bow and arrow resting on his knee sat Linus, our security guard.

I crawled back in bed. Three a.m. I smiled at the thought of the bow-bearing warrior, thick parka against the cold of the night, guarding our compound.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Tonight, I'm packing for Sudan. The audio equipment arrived today with Mark, the P.A. that's going with our team. I've been testing everything, including renaming files, moving files to my computer etc. It seems to work well. I am praying that everything will continue to work well on the field! I had purchased rechargable batteries, too, since I'll have to use batteries the entire time. There's no electricity, though, just a solar panel and a car battery. My camera batteries as well as the recorder batteries will have to be charged using that. That'll be a new experience for me!

So, other than battery chargers, my camera, tripod, rain cover for the camera and basic toiletries (including good mosquito repellant) and very little clothing, we're packing just one bed sheet per person (we had sent foam mattresses when Steven went back to Sudan by road). I'm taking a small pillow, small Bible, journal, notebook for interviews. And a travel-size mosquito net to sleep under (in the tent). And gumboots (rain boots). Can't forget the gumboots... Will have to pack a few snacks. Chocolates will melt...

Tomorrow, I still need to get lots of my regular work done! Tuesday, I head to Kipkaren for a team meeting and prayer time. Wednesday morning at 8:30, we'll board a 9-seater plane to Sudan.

I am blessed and humbled knowing that many of you are praying for this journey. Thank you!

As and when possible, updates will be posted on