Monthly Archives: July 2013

Kenya from the inside

My niece and her husband and Dick and I left on the 2nd of July for Kenya, Africa.  We had a several hour layover at this airport coming and going.  The first person who leaves a comment and tells me the correct name of the airport will receive a set of WanRichGal Travel Cards.

Kenya, on the outside, is just another big city with tall buildings,shopping malls and some nice places to live.  Traffic jams are common and made more complicated by many large and small vehicles on the road, people walking and selling things and cars trying to squeeze into any empty spot just to keep moving.  Six inches between cars, in Africa is like a country mile elsewhere

Our trip took us to the inside of Kenya, deep into the slum areas where millions of people survive from day to day, living on little but hope.  We walked their streets and visited their one room homes with a single mattress taking up half the living space and offers the only bed for the 6 or more residents.  We listened to their stories and heard how they had come from less than nothing, many times abandon, and were now so thankful to have this meager home and a little income. Pastor Brenda had shown them love and given them hope.

Our friend and host, Brenda, visits these places every day and with her dedicated staff, they are able to make a difference in the lives of many who never have a chance to see “outside” Nairobi.

We truly came to love these ones who work very hard to help others, all day, everyday.  They are nurses, social workers, administrators, drivers and teachers.  Brenda and her team offer jobs and training for many women who are trying to provide food and education for their children.

These are the women who have been given jobs sewing beautiful hand made articles for Jacaranda Creations. We sat in on one of their discipleship classes and afterward we heard their stories and they sang for us.

Take a look at a few of the Jacaranda items that we brought home. Colorful and beautiful they would make a lovely, cultural addition to any home.

At the school, Dick and I had some play time with the younger children while Mark and Ranee met with some of the teachers.  They were all patiently waiting while I am digging the playdough out of the can.

On this day Mark had a one on one session with the lead teacher.

Later I taught an English as a second language class.  We had fun putting together a verse on separate pieces of paper and singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” as a song to include our vocabulary of family words.

In most of the schools the kids are packed in tight and have to sit still for a lot of the day.  They are always willing to stand and sing a welcome song when visitors arrive. The kids are dressed warmly because it is winter time just below the equator.  The cooler mornings and evenings and warm afternoons felt wonderful to us, it was chilly for them, being more used to the hot weather.

Jacaranda has presence in nine different slum areas, help with schools in many of them and have their own schools in a few.  Brenda and her crew are stretched to the limit but continue to reach out and help as many as they can.  Their compassion for the needs of the people run deep and they are tireless in their efforts.

Now, look closely. There will be a second set of WanRichGal Travel Cards offered to the first one who comments and names the song we are singing with these children.

Brenda is seldom seen without a child in her arms, unless she has her arms around a mother for whom she is offering love and hope to.  She shares the love of Christ with all she meets, and they all love her. She was a marvel to observe as she moved in about the people she loves. I can only hope we learned well from her actions and pray we did not leave Africa the same people we were when we came.

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Eight guests and a dog = houseful of good memories

This is the family we visited in Peru six years ago.  They took six of us in for three days or so and blessed us with the work they are doing there and a chance to give supplies to a nearby school, not to mention the kids doubling up so we could have beds and providing us with food that consisted of the local fare of guinea pig.  For years after we left their welcoming, loving home I wished, dreamed and prayed for a day when we could give back to them.  It happened last week. 

See how the kids have grown up.  Fernando and Freddie are adults, Cesar is 18, Sonia and Brianna are 16 and Caleb is 12.  For this outing Kay and Tom and two of their grandchildren joined us.  Kay and Tom were with us when we visited Peru.

Then there was the matter of Ruby, the dog.  Dick and I are not dog owners, however, we end up dog sitting every once in a while.  So in with the mix of 6 kids and 4 adults, Ruby is suddenly thinking our house is not near as boring as it was when she first arrived.

One of our get aways was spending the day with Kay and Tom.  The girls made fast friends with their granddaughters.  We paused on the way up to the Chocolate World ride for a quick picture.

Everyone enjoyed the ride through the chocolate making process.  Dick and I were in a car with Fernando and while riding through the part with all the candy bars, he makes a quick move and hands me one.  I jumped and said “How did you get that?”  Instantly I saw the twinkle in his eye and knew he pulled it from his back pack.  The girls squealed with delight when we drove through Hershey and saw the candy kiss street lights.

Later we had lunch at the Jigger Shop in Mt Gretna and feasted on burgers and fries while enjoying live music on the deck.  The weather was cooperating wonderfully with comfortably warm temperatures.

Tim and Barb set up an office in our living room and were able to make arrangements for their trip continuing on to Ohio and Iowa.

The guys loved to play soccer and the neighbor kids were happy to accommodate them.  They turned our back yard into a soccer field many times over and this last night, they played until nearly 10pm.

Caleb and “Pop Dick” hanging out together.  Pop loves to tell his bear hunt stories to eager listeners.

Sonia celebrated her 16th birthday with us, and her mom decorated this lovely cake with a little bit of nothing we gathered up between the two of us.

Fernando saw some rabbits in our yard and longed to have one of them on his plate.  Ironically I had two in my freezer, harvested by Dick while hunting with Mark and some buddies.  I had no idea how to cook them, so I quickly offered them and he said he would cook them.  He did and we ate them, along with our roasted chicken.  He spiced and, marinated them and fried them up in a pan. They were very edible.

After each meal the dishes were quickly done and put away.  Tim says he doesn’t pack the kitchen sink when he travels, he just brings along six dish washers.  They were all a big help, to the point of never feeling stressed about cooking for 10 people for four days.  In case you are wondering, my next door neighbor who is my brother provided a bed for Tim and Barb and my nephew down the road had beds for the three older boys.  Dick and I had the three younger ones.  We thank Ken and Dean for providing bed and showers for our guests.

After a great day of sharing in church and fun at a family reunion on Sunday it was time to pack up and be on the  road again bright and early Monday morning.  What a time we had, we are thankful for the opportunity to share with them what we had.  It was a memory worth the making. 

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