Thursday, April 2, 2015

Challenges and good-byes

We said good-bye to Edna today.  Since tomorrow is Good Friday today was her last day.  She left the apartment shiney clean.  Liam drew her a picture of our family and Hayden gave her a rubber band bracelet.  They were dragging their feet when I asked them to do something to thank her so I had to dish out a big mommy lecture about thankfulness on them.  I wanted to thank her someway and asked around to see what would be appropriate.  I was told she would probably appreciate food items for her family the most.  So we gave her a big bag of rice, some beans, and a bag of salt.  I'm thinking it would be nice if we were a little more practical in our gift giving back home.  The next birthday party one of the kids goes to I'm sending them with a bag of beans.   

I was asking Edna yesterday what her mornings were like before she came to our house.  She told me she wakes up at 5:30, milks her cow and then takes the milk to use for her morning cup of chai.  It helps her get her day started.  Kinda like our morning coffee.... except cow teets required.  Then she gets her older kids off to school and showers, gets dressed, and mops her floors.  Her children leave for school at 6:00 am and don't get home until 6:00pm!  After she drops her 2 year old off with her mother-in-law, she walks an hour to get to my house!  She works from 9:00 to 4:00 and then walks the hour home to then cook and clean for her own family.  It fascinates me to hear about how she lives.  There are similarities between us but lots of obvious differences too.  I have often wondered what in the world she really thinks about me and my family.

We've had a couple of days with challenges but they seem pretty minimal after hearing about Edna's daily challenges.  

Charley woke up yesterday with her arm chewed up by some kind of bugs.  We aren't entirely sure what is happening with her.  We thought the bed bug problem was fixed.  After a new mattress and new bedding she appeared to be clearing up but we took a step backwards yesterday morning.  Her arm was welpy and swollen and she kept saying "my arm hurts" and clawing at it.  Liam also woke up with his face and arms chewed up.  So now we suspect something going on with his bed.  Wondering if it could be scabies? 

The kids didn't let it slow them down and they spent yesterday running around with friends and reading the new books they borrowed from the White's house.  We had pancakes for dinner and then walked across the lawn to the Bemm's house.  Chuck Bemm is a pediatrician at Tenwek and his wife Amy is a nurse.  They have 7 kids, 3 biological and 4 adopted here in Kenya.  Super fun family.  My kids are contsantly wanting to go over to their house to play with their kids and see their pet  bunnies and rabbits in their backyard.  Chuck and Amy looked at Charley and seemed to think it was an increase in the bed bug problem not scabies.  We've been giving her Benadryl to help with the itch.

Today she looked a little bit better but it is still bothering her.  All the kids were wonky today, fussing about a whole bunch of nothing.  

My day-to-day existance is similar at Tenwek to what it is back in the states as far as spending my time and energy taking care of kids - feeding them over and over and over, breaking up fights, disciplining, reading books, keeping them clean, etc.  I wonder what would ministry look like for me here?  Not entirely sure but I know it would be a lot of mothering.  The wives here spend the majority of their time homeschooling, taking care of their homes and children, and supporting their husbands.  That's not to say there aren't ministry opportunities but it will look alot different for me than it will for Will.  He will go to the hospital everyday with distinct opportunities to help people and share the gospel.  I pray for eyes to see the opportunities around me as I go about day-to-day life.  

We had dinner at Carol Spears' house tonight.  She is a general surgeon at Tenwek and is also the assistant director of the residents.  I talked with her about Side By Side for a little while and she sees great potential for it here.  There is a need for some kind of outreach for the Kenyan women married to residents.  She gave me the name of a person that would be interested in talking more about it and I hope to connect with her tomorrow sometime.  

A friend from home just sent me this email and I so appreciated it:

Praying for you all daily, Psalm 115:1 "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto your name give glory, for your mercy, and for your Name's sake." That you would have ears to hear His will, open hands to do His work, a heart and desire to be obedient in whatever He may call you to today, and JOY in your efforts for the Kingdom! 

Thank you so much to everyone that has been praying for us during our time at Tenwek.  We are so encouraged and have certainly felt God's hand over the past weeks.  

Really a surgeon?

Tuesday, April 1
Yesterday we had a long morning.  I know if we moved here for a longer period of time then we would have more structure to our day with school but some mornings here have been hairy.  Liam was not cooperative or respectful so he spent a chunk of his morning copying Bible verses down in his room.  

I had chai with Edna and then we all went outside with a blanket to read by the trees for a while.  This is becoming a favorite thing to do because one, the weather is beautiful - no Minnesota chill in the air.  And two, people are always walking around the compound and will stop and visit/play with us.  

The Tenwek community is so unique.  You certainly aren't plopped in the middle of Africa to fend for yourself.  It's a very communal feel here - many families living, working and serving together.  I have enjoyed so much getting to know the other women here, hearing about their lives, how God brought them here and what is next for them.  

For lunch we had our new friend and neighbor Claire over for tacos. (not the little Claire that Hayden's been playing with)
Hannah, Charley and Claire hanging out in the hammock

I always tell Will that for all I know he's not really a surgeon.  I've never actually seen him do anything surgeony.  He could be doing dishes in the cafeteria for all I know.  He is a gifted dish-washer.

After lunch Claire and I threw on some scrubs and walked up to the hospital with another friend to see if we could catch Will at work in the OR.  Erin Mitchell had generously offered to watch my kids so I could have a chance to see Will operate.  

We had planned to watch Will operate on a patient that was scheduled for some kind of spine surgery along with a simultaneous leg amputation.  Yikes.  A c-section would have been more my speed.  But that guy's surgery got pushed off so we saw Will do the last part of another spine case.  The patient was awake which gave me the willies.  He had a spinal so he couldn't feel anything but he would jump a little sometimes when they were operating.  God did not design me to do medical things.  Ick.  Will was overseeing the residents do most of the surgery so I didn't really get to see him in action.  But I think I saw enough evidence to confirm that he is indeed a surgeon.  

After our long morning yesterday we got up this morning and walked to Beth White's house.  She and her husband Russ have lived at Tenwek for 18 years.  I met her at church on Sunday and she offered for us to come look through her book shelves for children's books.  So each of the kids picked a few things out.  She also sent a huge bucket of Duplo blocks back with us so between the blocks and books the kids were happily occuppied for the morning.

Liam has been wanting to eat chicken and fries at the hospital canteen so Will came and picked him up for lunch.  The girls and I had ugali and sukuma at home.  I tried to make them eat it and they were pretty bothered by that cultural experience.  

Hayden had another playdate with her friend Claire, and I spent the afternoon getting ready for guests.  We had invited the Mitchells over for dinner to thank them for being such great hosts during our stay here.  They have become good friends and we look forward to staying connected with them after we leave.  I had brought two giant boxes of Kraft mac-n-cheese from home so I made that up for an American feast with fruit salad and baked chicken nuggets that Edna helped me make earlier today.  Love her.

Hard to believe we are coming to the end of our second week here!  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daddy time

Sunday, March 29, 2015

On Friday morning Amy Bemm, a super cool lady here, took the older kids and me up to the hospital for a tour.  At one point we went to the OB wing and saw where babies are delivered.  A baby had just been born and she was there just minutes old in a warmer.  The kids’ eyes were huge taking everything in, but it wasn’t the sweetness of the newborn baby – the mom had been moved over to a different bed that we couldn’t see, but the bed she had been in still had the remnants of giving birth on it.  We walked on and then there were most certainly questions to answer – what in the world was going on in there? Giving birth, my dears.  It ain’t always pretty.

Will came home Friday night and we had the whole weekend together.  We have been looking forward to having him home with us for a couple of days.  He has worked hard all week and will write soon about some of the work he has done at the hospital. 

Outside of the entrance to the hospital grounds

His schedule here is totally different than back home.  He walks up to the hospital around 7:00 and we usually catch a glimpse of him before he leaves.  Then many days he is home for lunch sometime between 1:00 and 2:00. 

The main meal of the day is typically eaten at 1:00.  So our house helper Edna will cook a bigger meal at the beginning of the day that we eat for lunch.  Then for dinner we will warm up leftovers or just eat a sandwich.  It’s such a better system than we have in the states!  It eliminates that awful 5:00 hour - when daddy isn’t home yet, the kids are crazy and you’re trying to get a full meal on the table.  Genius. 

Will walks back to the hospital after lunch to finish his workday.  He has been home every night for dinner around 6:00 and then bedtime.  For all my peeps back in Minnesota, you know this is absolutely out of the ordinary.  The time we have had as a family has been one of the greatest parts of being here.  I’m wondering… will all this togetherness get old?  For this two weeks, no.  On the flight home, yes. 

Edna had made spaghetti sauce and breadsticks for us so I just boiled some pasta and we had an easy dinner.  Then we watched a movie on a borrowed portable DVD player from one of our neighbors.  The kids loved having some time to veg.  I was so tired and fell asleep while they were still watching.  Super Dad got everyone tucked in without me. 

On Saturday morning Liam went with Will to do rounds.  Pretty cool that he is able to do that.  The girls and I baked some snickerdoodles and then we all walked up to the doukas, or little shops, to get some mangos and bottled cokes.  The kids all got Fanta or Sprite in a glass bottle and it was a treat.  I could eat a mango everyday.  Yum! 

 Liam and Will in front of our apartment on their way to do rounds

Saturday night we had been invited for “supper club” to the Galats.  It was us, the Mitchells, and another visiting couple.  The Galats have a brick oven and they made some delicious pizza.  Charley ate 5 pieces!  I contributed some Ranch dressing from home and cookies.  Besides the great food, the company was even better and I felt like I received some valuable advice.  I’ll share more on that later.

We got up early today for a fancy breakfast at Barbara Pinkley’s house, a sweet long-term missionary lady that lives close to us. And then we all walked up to worship together.  The church is a pretty even mix of missionary families and Kenyans.  I liked how they had open prayer request time for the whole congregation to share requests and praises.

Three things stuck in my brain as I left that morning: 
First, a man got up to pray and said how thankful he was for the privilege to be at Tenwek.  It is a privilege.  That is a small statement but it rang in my ears.  It is a privilege.  I think I’ve spent the first week too much inside my own head – thinking about what I have and don’t have to eat, or what I wish I had brought from home, what conveniences from home would make things easier, etc.  The privilege of being at Tenwek had been pushed to the back of my brain.  I needed the reminder of what a privilege God has given me.

Second, the pastor touched on how everything we have belongs to the Lord, none of our money or things are actually ours, we are stewards of them.  All these things I have heard before.  But the reminder sat heavily on me.  Will and I carry debt with us that is not only from college and medical school, but also from irresponsible spending.  Budget is a dirty word that I usually avoid.  But going to Africa will shine a light on your excessive living real quick.  I have changes to make when I get home.  But if any of you ask me how my budget is going when I get back, I will pretend I don’t know you.

Third, there was a verse written on the back of a bunch of the kids’ t-shirts at church, a verse I have know since I was a little kid:  Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Now it’s buzzing in my head.  The Spirit is pressing it on me…seek FIRST His kingdom, seek FIRST His kingdom, seek FIRST His kingdom.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Homemade goodness

Thursday, March 26

So one thing I can do from scratch is pancakes.  Made those again this morning.  The kids layed a blanket out on the back porch by the garden for breakfast and thought it was a treat.  It is fun to talk about this garden as if it is my own, as if I put my hands in the dirt and planted the basil and sukuma.  Have I ever done this? No.  Well not really.  Unless you count the year we moved to Minnesota and I was trying to be Minnesotan and planted two rows of peas.  

Edna came in this morning and added some more homemade goodness to our lives.  I asked her if she could do something with rice and beans for lunch and she said "yes, and I make tortillas."  Yummy delicious homemade tortillas. I hug her and I'm pretty sure I'm invading her comfort zone.
Edna and her tortillas

Hayden wanted to host a tea party for her friend Claire today so we called her in the morning and scheduled the event for 3:30 this afternoon.  Hayden cleaned up the living room, helped me make real tea with cream and sugar and laid out the table.  For snacks we busted out some American treats - graham crackers, jelly beans and Reese's peanutbuter cups.  After tea they played Spot-it and made rubber band bracelets. 

Hayden has thrived here.  She seems comfortable meeting all the new people and has made friends easily with the missionary kids and Kenyan kids.  She loves all the food we've eaten and the slower pace of life here is totally her thing.  I'm really proud of her.  The only thing she has struggled with is sleeping.  Every night so far she has had major anxiety about bedtime.  She worries about if she will be able to sleep or not, what she will do if she can't sleep, what to do if the power goes off in the middle of the night, etc.  She cries and worries and wears herself right out.  I keep telling her the nights will get easier and easier but if you ask her what she thinks of Kenya she will say she likes the days but not the nights.

Claire and Hayden
I pray for God's blessing on my children and thank him for their resiliance.  They have all had their ups and downs.  Liam struggles with the lack of structure to our days.  If you know Liam, you know he is a fast-paced kind of guy.  Harper has fallen and scraped herself up everyday.  It wouldn't be so bad if she hadn't gotten up in the middle of the night when we first got here and opened every single bandaid I had brought from home.  We have bummed bandaids off of other people daily.  And Charley... she is winning the battle against bed bugs.

Night night, sleep tight

Wednesday, March 25
Since we arrived at Tenwek Charley has had little red bumps/bites all over her face, arms and legs.  (don’t freak out, grandparents).  Smaller than mosquito bites, but not itchy and doesn't seem to bother her.  After the first day I thought that maybe she had gotten into chiggers in the grass or something.  I wasn't super concerned but it started progressively getting worse.  All of the other kids had been rolling around in the grass and climbing trees but not getting the same bites.  Turns out after asking around and finally looking at the bed she has been sleeping's bed bugs.  So.... yuck.  Poor sweet Charley girl.  The housing people came and took the old mattress out and brought us a new one so hopefully that problem is fixed.  I am taking her sheets and pjs over to a house that has a hot water washer and dryer.  At least it's not measles, right?

We took the morning easy, had chai, played in the sandbox with some of the other preschool age kids and chit chatted with all of the Kenyan ladies that watch them while their moms are teaching the older kids. 

It poured down rain after lunch and everyone was happy to see the rain finally come.  The kindergarten through third grade had PE in the field in front of our apartment so Liam went out and played freeze tag in the pouring rain with them.

During the little girls rest time Hayden had a playdate with her new friend Claire.  Claire's house is about a 5 minute walk on the other side of the compound so I just walked her over.  

For dinner we had been invited to the house of one of the longterm missionary family's here, Ben and Jenny Roberts.  They live in a nice house and Jenny is a really great cook so it was a treat to be there and spend time with their family.  They have 3 boys, 13 and under, and Liam really likes to play with them.  We had hamburgers on homemade buns with baked beans, potatoes and apple cake.  Yes please.  

I have been trying to rest in the afternoons but didn't get to today.  By dinner I was SO exhausted.  At one point, Jenny asked me if I had any hobbies and my brain could not compute.  What are my hobbies?

I have so much buzzing around my brain right now that I feel like my thoughts aren't clear.  Is this what God is asking of me?  Am I capable of commiting to years here?  Am I willing?  Will has a niche here as a doctor but what would my niche be?  Homeschooling? Really? Cooking from scratch? Bed bugs? What are my priorities?  What time is it? How many kids do I have?

Night night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Getting into a groove

Tuesday, March 24
I got up today and tried my hand at chocolate chip pancakes.  The kids all agreed that they were just as good here as they are at home.  A little piece of normal.  A man named Joseph came to my back door with fresh eggs.  I bought a tray of 30.  He uses the egg money to support the orphanage where he works. 

The missionary kids here are all homeschooled and do their school work in the mornings until lunch at 1:00.  My kids count the hours until all of the other kids will be done with school and they can play.  They each have kids their age here to play with and they have made fast friends.  

In the mornings I am going to try to have them work on what little bit of school work they brought from home.  They are only missing six total days of school so it's not much.  They are also going to keep journals of their time here and keep up with reading.  

Liam reading in a tree outside our apartment

We took a blanket outside and sat under a tree to do some school work.  There are 4 or 5 first graders that meet for school in the house across the yard from us.  They came running out of the house and started running around in circles in the grass.  Liam ran over and said, "what are you doing?"  They shouted, "Having recess!" So Liam had "recess" with them.  They basically ran around in circles and up and down the hill.  And had a blast.  Who needs playground equipment?

Edna took us up to a little douka, or market, to buy some fruits and veggies today.  I just asked her to pick out whatever she thought we needed.  We got onions, tomatoes, carrots, pineapples and sweet bananas.  

I asked Edna what she usually eats for lunch at home and she said ugali, which is like a porridge made out of corn flourand water.  She made some for us for lunch today along with some sukuma wiki which is a kind of greens that grows in the garden behind our appartment.  I also made a box of Kraft mac-n-cheese.  Lame I know.  I should have made the kids try something new.  Next time.

After naptime we walked over to the Mitchell's house for tacos.  Hayden met a new friend over by their house named Claire.  They are both in kindergarten and quickly became friends.  They are already planning future playdates.  The power had been out all day and came on briefly for dinner but then stayed out.  We still enjoyed the night in the dark and are so thankful for our new friends here.  Erin and Eric have been so generous to spend time with us and feed us.  We are not a small family so I know extending a dinner invitation to us is no small offer.  

Today felt kind of like what a normal day here might be like.  I am so thankful to be here and to have this experience as we consider what's next for our family.  I feel grateful, tired, unsure and happy.  


Monday, March 23
Sunday night was an improvement.  Everyone woke up at some point and had to be put to bed again but we made it through without an extended awake time.  On Monday morning Will got up early and went in for his first day at the hospital.  The kids slept in late and I squeezed in a shower and quiet time before they woke up.  For breakfast they some American cereal that we had packed but they all opted against the boxed milk on their cereal.  Doesn’t quite taste the same.  Most of the families here have fresh cow's milk delivered daily to them.  We have not tried that yet.

At 9:00 our house helper came over for the first time.  This is a beautiful beautiful thing about Kenya.  Most families have a house helper that comes every weekday to help with cooking and cleaning.  It is very inexpensive for us and also provides much needed work.  Our house helper’s name is Edna.  She has quickly become most precious to me.  How will I go back to living without her? I think she thinks I’m ridiculous.  So she’s figured me out. 

Edna came in the first day, did all the dishes and made African chai for me and the kids.  I loved it but the kids not so much.  She told us a little bit about her family – her husband is a farmer and they have 4 children.  She became a Christian when she was 14 and has taught all of her children about Jesus.  I can tell the kids are not sure what to make of having someone else in the house.  Liam has asked me her name 25 times and Harper keeps calling her "the babysitter".  Here’s what I make of it – awesome. 

We have a washing machine but no dryer so all the clothes have to hang to dry on our clothesline outside.  Edna was about to start the washing machine but the power went out.  It ended up staying out all day.  So she took the clothes outside and washed them all by hand.  I would have worn the same pair of underwear for 3 days before I would have done that.  I said "oh my goodness Edna, you do not have to do that!!"  She said that that is how she does it for her family at home.  No big deal.  Amazing woman.

So while Edna was hand washing our clothes, we went on a walk around the Tenwek grounds with our neighbor, Stephanie Kelley.  She is here with her husband and 4 children for the SP post-residency program.  Stephanie took us to the waterfall that generates power for the compound. It is rainy season now but there has hardly been any rain so the water is very low.  Everyone has been praying for rain to come.  This afternoon it sprinkled but a big rain has not come yet. 

We enjoyed lunch at Barbara Pinkley’s house, one of the long-time missionaries here and then dinner at the guesthouse.  The kids have hardly eaten since we’ve been here but they ate well tonight – baked fish and mashed potatoes.  I haven’t really felt hungry either until tonight.  The 8 hour time difference messes with your appetite too I think.

I wish I could post more photos but I left the cord at home to download pics from camera.  The photos I have are from Will's phone. 

Jet lag

Sunday, March 22
Jet lag makes you want to sleep all day and cuss all night.  More on that.

When we arrived at Tenwek on Saturday it was about 2:00 in the afternoon and we were greeted right away by the visitor coordinator, Lisa, and the cook, Livingston.  So friendly and welcoming.  Livingston took us to our apartment where the Mitchell family was waiting to welcome us and show us the ropes.  The Mitchells are at Tenwek with their four sweet boys finishing up their two year commitment with the SP post-residency program.  They are our “host family” and are helping to get us acclimated to all the newness – show us where things are, how everything works, answer questions, etc.  I so appreciate their help! We visited with them and also gave them the few things we had brought for them from the states.  We unpacked a little in our appartment and then had dinner at the guest house/community kitchen here – beef stew, rice and cornbread. I didn’t have to cook it and it was great.  For the first two days we will be fed at the guesthouse and then we are on our own for food. 

Saturday night the kids were exhausted.  We tucked them into their beds wrapped with mosquito nets and planned to get up for church at 9:00.  That most certainly didn’t happen.  

Around midnight all of the girls were awake.  I was awake and couldn’t sleep either.  We played musical beds for a little while and then I gave up trying to get everyone to sleep and they just stayed up and colored.  Around 2:00 am we all decided to tip toe in the kitchen for peanut butter sandwiches.  Will came in wondering what in the world we were doing.  Finally around 6:00 am Charley fell asleep in bed with Will.  Liam at some point got in bed with them too.  Hayden and Harper gave in to sleep in their beds and I crawled into Liam’s empty bed.  We are all seriously confused.

I was woken up about 9:15 by Will and Charley bringing me breakfast in bed – a plate of eggs, toast and fruit.  They had woken up before everyone, taken a shower and fixed breakfast.  The older kids didn’t wander out of their beds until 10ish.  We spent the morning around our apartment then went to Dan and Heather Galat’s house for chai and pumpkin cake.  

Dan Galat trained in orthopedic surgery at Mayo and then moved to Tenwek with his family I think 7 years ago.  They have raised their family here and it was so good to talk with them and hear their perspective.  They have 5 kids and one on the way.  We also have several mutual connections in Rochester.  As we sat talking with them I felt like I wanted to cry.  Probably exhaustion and hormones.  And just a lot to take in.  Really hope to spend more time with the Galats while we are here.

The Journey

My apologies for the week of silence! I have been writing but not been online.  The next few posts will give the scoop on our first week in Kenya.
Waiting to board in Minneapolis
Saturday, March 21
Praise God we made it to Kenya!  Seriously, so thankful to have our feet on the Tenwek grounds.  Will, the kids and I have been looking forward to our spring break trip to Tenwek Mission Hospital in Kenya for months now.  It is hard to believe that the time is now!  It is also unbelievable that we endured the journey here with no psychotic breaks.  Nothing can prepare you. 

We left at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, flew for 8 hours from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, had a four hour lay over, then flew 8 hours to Nairobi.  So pleasure and happiness – pause – more pleasure and happiness.  I will honestly deem myself one of the worst travelers of our family.  Close confined quarters for long hours – ick .  The ADHD comes out in me.  I just want to get up and move.  Especially when the fasten seatbelt sign comes on.  And as Will immediately goes comatose at take-off, I cannot sleep a wink.  So 4 angelic kids along with my travel issues is awesome.  The first flight - during the time of our normal sleeping hours – everyone was wound up, watching movies, eating jolly ranchers, and hardly slept a wink.  Liam couldn’t watch all the movies fast enough and squeezed in about 4 I think.  Hayden spent the first couple of hours totally overwhelmed with the movie selection – how could she choose between so many? Harper wanted a constant flow of snacks, and Charley was fussy and disgruntled with everyone and everything.  The second flight we were all exhausted enough that we slept off and on.   Kenya time is 8 hours ahead of Minnesota time.  When we landed in Nairobi it was about 8:00pm on Friday night and they were confused, thinking we had just slept and it should be daytime.

After passing through customs (we were deemed safe to enter) and watching the kids roll around on the airport floor during a good long wait for our luggage – 6 large suitcases and a stroller – we stepped out into Nairobi for the next leg of our journey.  Samaritan’s Purse had arranged for a driver to pick us up and he was there waiting for us along with another doctor heading out to Tenwek.  The Samaritan’s Purse team has been so accommodating in preparing us for our trip and making arrangements for our stay.  We are very, very thankful to them and the work they do!  They take care of SO many details.    

So we all trooped across the airport grounds for about 15 minutes to get to our vehicle.  It was actually nice to get out and use our legs after being confined to a plane for so long.  My legs had swollen pretty nicely by the end of the flight and my cute striped Toms weren’t looking so cute with my cankles.  

Our driver, Jonathan, safely and aggressively got us through Nairobi traffic – ain’t nobody yielding to nobody – and took us to the Amani Gardens Inn, formerly known as the Mennonite Guest house. We were given a nice room with plenty of space for all of us.  The kids had trouble winding down – because there is nothing better in life than bunk beds – but they finally gave in around midnight.  

We woke up Saturday morning around 7:30, took hot showers, and were served a yummy breakfast of omelets, fruit and cereal.   Two thumbs up for the Amani Gardens Inn. 

Things I wished I had packed in my carry on for that night: face wipes, bug spray, flip flops.  
 Will teaching Hayden how to brush her teeth with bottled water.
Bunk beds in Nairobi
 First morning in Kenya

After breakfast there was a new driver from SP waiting to take us to a grocery store and butcher near by.  We had been told to stock up in Nairobi before driving in for our two-week stay at Tenwek.  I have discovered that it’s no fun being a foreigner in an unfamiliar grocery story.  They had pretty good selection but little that was familiar to me.  I needed a guide. We all wandered the aisles and I did my best to get the basics for cooking and baking in Kenya – which I know so much about.  I spied on a couple of other white ladies shopping and copied their selections.  How else do you choose between unrefrigerated boxed milk or powdered milk? A nice Kenyan lady helped me get chicken and beef at the butcher.  
In the grocery store

After shopping we took the 4 hour windy road through the Kenyan hills and valleys to get to Tenwek.  While I tried to soak in the scenery and engage the kids in conversation – I really just wanted to puke.  However, we made it through that last leg with no one getting sick and no other problems.  This is amazing to me! Between the six of us, everyone controlled their body fluids!  I had prayed for a good driver and the guy that drove us, Tony, did a great job getting us to Tenwek safely.  He had also packed a cooler of soft drinks and bags of chips for us, which the kids thought made a pretty great lunch.  Thanking God for safety, health and provision for the long journey.  And if the worse thing that happened was my cankles then I say it was a blessed and successful trip!