Saturday, August 09, 2008


It's 3:07. I've not slept yet. Am working on a paper that's due on Wednesday night. I'm ready to be done, but still have quite a ways to go: 7.5 book reports are written. 6.5 remain. Though I hate stopping in the middle of one, I can't think straight enough to make sense of what I'm writing. So I'm calling it the day. Or the night. I'm about halfway with my project paper.

Tomorrow, I am going to Rondo with a group of colleagues. They'll be relaxing. I'll be working on my paper. Someday, I'll be done with this and will be glad I did it. Actually, I'm already thankful I'm doing this. It's just a lot of work, which makes for a very interesting balancing act with my regular work which isn't exactly a 9-5 job. Far from it.

We'll be in Rondo till Tuesday. On Tuesday night, I fly to Nairobi. Will be running around the city for business on Wednesday, and board a plane very early in the morning on Thursday. I'll be unreachable for 2 weeks, after which I'll be back in the saddle, full-swing, full-speed, by September 1.

But so you know, there won't be posts to my blog for the next 3 weeks as I am doing some introspection and exercises in listening.

Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Till September. Lala salama.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Big and Small

Almost every morning, as I spend my quiet time out in the gazebo near my house, there's a little Malachite kingfisher which plays in the trees. Though it's a kingfisher, this little one doesn't eat fish - as one of the smallest of the kingfisher family, it eats insects. (Actually, at 4", the Pygmy Kingfisher is half an inch smaller.)

This morning, I went to park myself in the new gazebo, which is by our guest houses. (I planned to work on my paper all day, and actually succeeded in getting a fair amount done!) That gazebo is right by the river, and the bird life is slightly different from my regular spot. I heard a familiar bird call, and not knowing what bird it belongs to, I looked up to see the crow-sized Giant Kingfisher, perched in the tree right by me! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so I couldn't take a picture. I watched for a short while as it was trying to catch a fish, and then got back to my paper.

Kierra showed up later in the afternoon to work from the same spot and declared that I found the best spot ever to work on a paper. True indeed. This weekend, I'll be going back to Rondo with a group of colleagues. Rondo's got to be the next best spot ever to work on any paper!

I love the bird life in our village, and that in Rondo! I don't want to take these blessings for granted.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In other news

I have been posting updates on the children's homes blog recently. I love that I didn't write any of these posts. Some were written by the kids themselves, and some by our Kenyan staff. And there's news from visitors on this blog.

Just wanted to make sure you stop by to see what's happening around our compounds.

Recently, I've been busy putting together a report card for our children's home sponsors as well as putting together information for our guest houses on the various facets of our ministry. Still need to do a few other newsletter designs for other parts of our ministry. I actually enjoy this at times. As long as it's not the main part of my ministry.

Things seem peaceful in the cats' world tonight. No surprises. Hopefully I can get some major reading done this evening. Can't wait to actually start writing my paper!

All in a day's work

After staff devotions today, I headed to town to a) take a visiting couple to transfer to Ilula, b) take the intern for his shopping day, c) sell my wreck, and d) buy a car.

The day was full of surprises, but bottom line, my Land Rover is no longer my Land Rover. It now belongs to a colleague in Ilula who has the courage to fix it. And I now have a 22-year-old Peugeot station wagon. The engine's good. The body's OK (just a few rust spots). The brakes need fixing (which is something I discovered when I went to test drive it), and due to hiccups along the way, I couldn't get insurance this afternoon, so I left the car at our office for the night.

I hope to take it to the mechanic tomorrow to have the brakes fixed, but don't think I can drive it back here yet. Not in the mud. It won't handle our roads in the rain... But it'll do fine during the dry season, which is around the corner. It is what it is. It's what I could afford, and I'm trusting it'll work just fine!

When I finally got home, I found blood spots around my house, and discovered that Toulouse (my cat that's not really my cat - she used to belong to colleagues who gave her to another colleague who gave her to other colleagues but then she decided she wanted to be a wild cat and finally decided she's moving in with me, just basically to eat, hide in a corner, and growl at her former BFF, Flannel) was bleeding.

I Googled the condition, and first thought it might be pyometra, a uterine infection. But the symptoms didn't all line up, and after I had thrown her out the door and she did a very uncharacteristic thing by crying at the window to come in, I let her back in. She made herself at home on a duffel bag (her favorite sleeping spot) and kept licking herself... She was now bleeding more and more, and soon started producing more than blood. In fact, she had a miscarriage. She delivered 3 fetuses, one of which was still perfectly in its little sac! They're all of an inch long. (Don't worry, I don't post the photos. And of course I took photos before discarding them, just in case.)

Unfortunately, there aren't vets around that can spay the cats. I've been giving Flannel hormone shots which I got from a vet in South Africa for birth control. But the shots are incredibly painful and sends her into stress for days.

As for Toulouse, I hope she'll do OK... She seems at peace right now. It's almost 10 pm. I was planning on reading a book tonight, but am wiped. Hopefully I can skim at least a chapter or four before calling it the night.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


We have some really vicious dogs around. As I was sitting here, reading, I heard a fight break out. It's not unusual to hear them just putting one another in place for a very short while, but this was obviously a vicious attack. I went to see if I can do anything (like find the night watchman, Cosmas.) Cosmas was there, trying to break up the fight, but couldn't get too close. He did finally manage to break things up. Three of the dogs (Blackie, Blackie 2 and Kali) were attacking a smaller dog. Yikes. It's the stuff of nightmares. I wouldn't normally go close, but this went on for a while and I wanted to see if I could help. Going there did actually help since I had a strong flashlight that I could shine on the dogs from a distance so Cosmas could see better to break up the fight. The poor smaller dog that had been attacked is hiding in the bush somewhere. I wonder if Michelle might have to play vet again tomorrow and stitch up the wounds...

Other than this fight, it's been a very good day! I read two complete books today, finished the second half of another, and am about halfway to finishing a fourth. It's been a productive Saturday. But more than simply getting the books checked off my reading list (I still need to write reports on all 17 books read for this class!), I sat in amazement today to see how the different lessons God is teaching me through life, ministry and class are fitting together. I am actually really looking forward to start writing my integration paper, which is due in less than 2 weeks.

The visitors all went to the AIDS campaign today, and Kit actually ran in the 10km race. Poor guy! The Kenyans creamed him! I think they lapped him 11 times. Lesson to be learned: Don't try and run against the Kalenjin, especially not on their turf, at 7,000 ft above sea level! They'll put you to shame. I'll remember that. Not that I have any aspirations to run. Unless I'm running away from our dogs, of course. Which won't happen. 

Tomorrow, I'll be heading to town to pick up Kierra and drop off other visitors. Plus buy some groceries while I'm in town. During some down time today, I caught up on my Google Reader reading, skimming various blogs. No fewer than two of them talked about Krispy Kreme Donuts. Yum. I'm glad I'm very, very far from the nearest KK shop, else I may have succumbed to the temptation today. The distance at least helps me stay on track with dropping pounds, one at a time.

I realize the process of dropping extra weight would happen much faster if only I enjoyed running. But I don't. In fact, I really hate running. Hate is a strong word, I know. It's the most appropriate word for how I feel about running. Especially at this elevation. This week, the plan is to add exercise to my day by trying to imitate some Caribbean kickboxer chick. At least I can make a fool of myself in the privacy of my own home.

Flannel won't tell a soul how silly I look.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Busy Friday Night

Miriam, our staff member who does magic cooking for our guests, is celebrating her 26th birthday today, so I gave her the evening off and cooked for the guests instead. I took dinner down to the river gazebo, and we had a wonderful time visiting till darkness surrounded us and the nightjars started calling. Not that it's that late. It's dark by 7 pm here. Year round. Like the sun rises at 6:25, year round.

Needing to desperately catch up on my class reading, I decided not to invite the guests for a game of cards or a movie at my place. But walking home, I remembered that Miriam had invited me to join her and her friends for chai and cake tonight... But when I just went over, they were still waiting for a bunch of friends, so I decided to come home first, get some reading done, dress down, and head over in a bit.

I should be at small group, actually. I forgot last week that we now have Friday night small group. And tonight, I was busy entertaining the guests, plus have Miriam's event. Which is funny, really. I never have anything to do on Friday nights, and tonight, I can choose between 3 events. Soon, the Salvation Army Band may start playing again, in which case I could go dance. I think not.

Tomorrow, we have the last of a series of AIDS campaigns to create awareness of a home-testing effort that has been rolled out in our region. I will be studying rather than be at the campaign to take photos. Like I said, I'm far behind on my reading. Walked into my house after 9 every night, which makes keeping up on reading a bit more challenging. But I'll catch up. I know I will. I'm looking forward to actually writing my paper... God's been showing me some neat insights, and I can't wait to see how it comes out on paper.

In the meantime, I have found a buyer for my Land Rover, and found a small, old beater vehicle for what I'll get for the wreck. It's 20 years old, but the engine seems to be going strong still. It won't get my anywhere on our mud roads when it's rained, but it's a fine vehicle for the regular Kenyan roads. I should be able to make the transfer on Monday, if all works out well.

Miriam's calling. Let me go have some cake.

Later: The party was fun, really. A very interesting cross-cultural experience of playing musical chairs, having donuts (made by the birthday girl) and chai, drawing questions and going round answering them (What is the most significant event in your life? Stuff like that), and dancing. I personally don't enjoy dancing (except ballroom-type dancing, which I've not done since living overseas), so it was fun to simply watch my Kenyan colleagues be themselves. I'm glad I went. Now, on to reading...