Monthly Archives: January 2009

when i come the tater tots all begin singing

Today ive been resting up (after the craziness and burntness) and praying, reading, etc.

It’s been lovely and tonight all my friends are coming! Jo and Ken’s idea to get the old gang together again. We’re gonna make guacamole, be happy, chill..etc……

I’m ready to get started helping steve. Spent lots of time this morning learning about grants, transferring money to nonprofits, and about opening accounts for projects. I am terrible at managing these things—if you donated money to me, I marked it in a document, and am also marking the money I’ve used on feeding kids and buying outfits since my arrival…I will write those of you who gave and let you know what it bought for the programs. So far we’ve bought 25 outfits for kids in mwiki and a months food for the little tater tots at our nursery school.

I talked to Samuel today about the project (our nursery) and the place it’s in. I wrote yesterday about the malaria, the water, the garbage, etc. and basically wanted to discuss a new school to replace the current one. I asked if there are any schools in the area that are government schools (these all have feeding programs) and he said no, not in the surrounding slum—not one. So we need to get the school moved.

Today I am pretty in pink—pink necklace and earrings from mathias because he was so happy to get the laptops (yes he gave me jewelry, cause there is not enough at my house in the garage suitcases from last year’s little adventure). I wore pink to make my sunburn look a little less bright, but it may be backfiring on me.

I think im blogging too much, but I wont be in a week, so enjoy it now! :D. Also, its 5 cents a minute to call me if you do whatever my dad did—DAD! Please post the instructions as a comment below?

Kevin called with a ridonkulously pricy phone card but it was great to hear his voice and his Indian accent. And stef plans on calling me when she wakes up (YAY!)…today is a great and magnificent Friday and I hope yours are too!



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he must become greater, i must become less

Today’s blog title beat out several others by being a little bit holy in addition to being really funny.  I almost named it:

“You have gotten so fat!”

or “wow!  what have you been eating”!

or “you look very strong now”.

or my personal fav and commonly expressed today: “YOU ARE NOW SO BIG!”

basically, i knew it was inevitable to avoid the topic of WEIGHT with old friends in kenya.  i tried to explain winter layers and micahs job at dunkin donuts, and american becca and other factors but i got words like “cuddly” and “really fat” thrown at me today like nerf darts in the funny bones (all the funny bones i currently sport).

today was nonstop sunshine painful sunburn broken hearted action.  I got the closest ive ever come to being squished between two matatus (aka run over) and even the conductor looked scared as he walked me backwards between the two vehicles..difficult to explain.  I also rode one in the dark with the doors wide open to the highway beside  (new experience for me).

remember today started with dishes, prayer and situps at 4:30 AM!

step 1: get the laptops i brought to mathias.  Done and done.  We had tea and were happy together.  remarkably great meeting.

step 2:  Walk to central church to meet Rev. Oure about the school (he wasnt there at central).  walked from prestige to there to no avail.

step 3:  go to embakasi.

i realized why men wont pull over and ask for help when they are lost in a car.  Because when asking for directions, men give them INCORRECTLY TO YOU.  So they must assume other men will give wrong directions too!  Today every man i asked directions from in Nairobi gave me differnt answer and it took 3 hours to get there: 1 hour stumbling around nairobi (happens every time i go to embakasi or mwiki) lookin for number 33 matatu and 2 hours on a bus (to go about 9 miles.).  how ya like those mangos?  I asked a woman and she pointed me in the correct direction.

Step 3b: put up with fat jokes from the schoolmaster.

step 4: visit the kids! this involves bringing candy there (my great ideas are neverending).

I went to Embakasi to visit the kids in our school.  The area is being destroyed by the sewage water everywhere and people are moving away.  So right now there are 8 little toddlers sitting in a small room learning together.  Every single one is ridiculously adorable and most of them do not eat.  So today we wanted to figure out what it might take to feed each one daily for lunch and to do so, purchased rice and chapati all around.  it only took me 300 shillings!  in other words, about 30 shillings a kid.  in other words, about 40 cents a kid per day.

step 5: watch the kids eat, then toddle outside the little cubicle we made for the classroom and march in a little line to the nap cubicle.  each dived onto a mattress like a little filled penguin.

Step 5a: buy lollipops (more of these).  hand these to the schoolmaster.

Step 5b: attempt to get back to the city.  took 2-3 hrs there and now i had to go all the way to railways, then get a new matatu to ngong loard (meaning road but we say and type loard as r and l’s are exchanged).  at this point im so hot and burned that i look like a lobster.

step 6: talk to the district superintendent about a.) a feeding program and b.) a wall to block the water from coming inside the school.

Rev. Oure told me that long term, a 5500 dollar investment in a new wall to block water is silly, since it is truly not a safe the fall every kid and even fred the teacher got malaria and its terrible there.  with the amount a wall would cost, we can get a new building!  I gave them enough to feed the kids for 1 month.  They were chanting CHA-PATI not realizing i was watching and 2 were throwing their arms in the air.

If you want to sponsor a kid, it’s 5-6 bucks a month.  if not, i might have to do it myself.  or put up their photographs! :D.

the kids steve feeds are 2.40 per month because theyre outside of nairobi.

step 8: try to make action items so we can start the evacuation/feeding of kids. I left enough for a month, but we also took responsibility to determine how to get the money there long term and also to look for a new schoolhouse. (we built the cubicles (partitions) and chalkboards and tables, etc. so all we need is a big openish school space.).

step 8: meet lawrence!  we couldve talked all night i think.  One of those “pick up where we left off” friendships i guess.

Step 8b: marvel at lawi NEVER having pasta in his whole 26 years so far.

step 9: go meet isaac in the city and realize i need to get home since i have no outside key and the wakias are trying to go to bed!  Really short adventure that involved a cab and a quick conversation.


step 10: vent to jo about hungry children, men and futures and matatus.

step 11: blog and update.

step 12: try to upload pictures (not started yet).

all in all, prolly spent 6 hours in public transport and all hours in the blazing sun!

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So yesterday in Nairobi, Nakumatt (megastore) exploded into flames.  this ruined my commute but I thank God i wasnt in there.  3 hours to get from ANU to the Wakias. UGH.  I was with a friend though–God knows if i wasn’t i’d be bored/scared (bored on the bus, scared when i got off to switch matatus and didnt know where to go).

I had spent the day seeing EVERYONE at anu (except evans!)…We picked up right where we left off and i was deeply overjoyed.  Isaac and I walked around in the sun a lot while friends were in class, so i got QUITE burnt. (See FB for my sunburn photo).

Last night we had dinner/settlers with Ken and Jo after the ridiculously bad 3 hr. 10 mile ride to Killishiwa.  I went to bed rather late and woke up at 4:30 with no chance of falling back asleep.  I did all the dishes, a lot of situps, and prayed.  Honestly, i learned more about my state of humanness, as i immediately realized the fact that i was probably awoken to pray, but made it through noah, micah, justin and arricka before my mind wandered off to somewhere distracting and i dozed on and off and spent a LOT of time trying to get connected to the internet so i could contact folks. I kept realizing it was pointless, the internet was not working, and i should just pray–but i kept trying to anyways (slightly homesick i guess, perhaps?) so the prayer time was shortened.  I just wish i had a deeper discipline/desire/etc. for praying.  If it is what i think it is, i need to do 100% more of it.

Today is going to be rough as i plan to: Go to deliver 2 laptops to Pastor Mathias, have an important meeting about how we can help a school build a wall to keep water out of its classrooms, and then visit the school (in the garbage) that i started last year with Pastor Dindi in the garbage of  Embakasi.  It’s always hard when i visit there–from getting the correct transport to seeing these kids who arent being fed yet…it scares me and breaks my heart.

After that, i think i get to finally meet my friend lawrence and catch up. He is a faithful commenter on my blog, a dear friend and a devoted Christian.  His faith challenges me and i hope to see him if im not feeling sick from getting a sunburn on my sunburn.


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Jan 27.

Today I got up too early because I couldn’t sleep, and took an awesome shower. Here in Kenya, I usually hate the showers because they’re in the bathroom with the toilet and sink but there is no curtain or even specified area blocked off, just a hose..and I always spray the toilet and sink and my towel/clothes with the shower. I like Ken and Jo’s shower. Not sure why, but everything worked out.

Isaac and I explored his university, USIU. It’s GORGEOUS. I recommend studying there. We got me a lot of shillings (YAY) and minutes for my new cellphone too. Obviously in that order. Having a phone is where my money goes when I am here, but I need it to meet people like Henry and Pastor Mathias! Or Jackie, Sam (we talked today!), Sauda, Isaac, Jeanette, etc. J.

I am excited to see the progress of the school and program I helped start in Embakasi last year and the field planted last year (in Rui) to help sponsor our children’s program. It will be awesome to check it out.

Highlight of the day: being hot and sweaty in a matatu that broke down (twice) and as soon as it broke down, the conductor turning up the radio. Sat in the heat trying to fix it and TITANIC came on deafeningly loud: causing all of us inside the matatu even more joyous rapture.

We definitely got out quickly and hopped into a new one. I realized my lack of preparedness for PEOPLE everywhere. Being around in a crowd might be a better way to explain. I’d forgotten what it was like to not be able to move because so many people were pushing me—and I didn’t like it today. Probably had to do with being exhausted, but I’m sure ill get my “I don’t mind your smelly shoving” groove back before I head out to RVA (in the middle of the countryside). I do not even consider it an essential missionary’s asset til I get to Bangalore in April.

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How to phone me or write me.

Cheaper than skype to phone me in kenya???

Did research:

I think this is the cheapest way to get ahold of me besides email.  Here’s my #: 0738452171.
use 254 if you’re calling from outside the country (aka if you’re in america!)..

as for my mailbox:

P.O. Box 80

Kijabe, Kenya 00220

I am really tired today but cannot sleep.  It’s a blecky feeling, but this too shall pass so i’m not concerned.  Hearing the voices of people i missed on the phone and knowing i’ll be seeing them as soon as i can is really really exciting.

Jo and Ken picked me up and we had no issues, got right through (they didnt look in my suitcases at all in the airport, just waved me through).  We had tea and chatted and i went to bed in a GORGEOUS bedroom–their new place is fantastic.

I’ve been getting my bearings today, getting in touch with people and spending a bit of time in prayer.  I think today is a good day to hang with isaac since he is trying to come out to where i am in kilishwa.  But its also an awesome day to pray and unwind and memorize more of psalm 139.  I was writing it out on the plane and remembering Arricka praying it over me before departure–it was so awesome to think about God “scrutinizing” my journey and knowing when i sit and when i rise.  I’m not a big meditator (you can imagine what happens when i attempt to focus or quit thinking of 100 things at once so yep) but i’ve really loved spending time in the scripture.

The most annoying woman in the world was my neighbor on the plane.   I’ll have to imitate her yelling AHMED every couple minutes for you sometime, in person, but lets just say ive been on planes with weirdos but ive never seen people look at each other and appear concerned or annoyed like people (all the people) were with this one remarkable woman.


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breaking curses (or passport related jokes)

Are you reading my blog?

If you are, please comment below. I hear about people praying and it encourages me more than you know it could.  Honestly, it’s fantastic.  Google analytics might show me how many times my site has been visited, but it certainly doesn’t display who is praying.

So comment.

Okay, that’s outta the way.  I’m going to London for 3 hours, then Kenya until April 1st.  That’s my news.

This post is lengthy and extremely ho hum.  But that’s an answer to prayer and a NOT normal thing!  My trips ALWAYS go wrong at airports.

Read on if you’re bored. If you’re new to the blog, not all posts are so lengthy and pointless.

Steph Tornow blessed me deeply by visiting twice on Saturday as I packed (and stressed out mom).  She brought me a smoothie and an awesome note for me to read during my travels.  Great way to get started—talking about the cross/leaving everything there.

Dad helped get stuff together, print itineraries (bible installed on my macbook finally!) and mom pitied me.  She also took me to friendly’s.  papa gave me a voice recorder (makes technical writing a LOT easier), and after I went to tim horton’s to hang out in our group of friends for one final night.  Bec 2 made a beautiful appearance too.  I’m-a-gonna miss her a lot.  She drove back to college while we drove to the airport.

We tried to convince Justin to come but to no avail, so before we knew it the crowd had dwindled down to none and I went to bed.

Day today:
I woke up before the sun and a few minutes later, dad came down and began moving pots and pans and dishes around so I asked, “what’re you doing”.

“Making breakfast”. EggMcDadmuffins and omelets—perfect start to the day.  Lots of hugs and kisses and phone swapping and forgetting/driving backwards….and we were all off.

I’m in the airport now, feeling a little icky from getting little sleep and riding in a car for the day. Steph, Sarah and Kevin drove me and dropped me off around 2 something—flight’s at 7.  They’re so awesome.  We listened to Tim Keller and Winkie Pratney since we couldn’t make it to church.  We sang bohemian rhapsody. We played top 5. It was awesome.  I’m going to really miss my friends.  I always do but this year I’ve worked more regular hours and built deeper friendships.  It’ll be hard for me to check out facebook albums and try to keep in touch while I am hanging out 8 hours later.

Update: London.

I’m in London.

Worst thing about airports alone: Carrying your own things around.  You cannot ask people to watch them for you!  And my carryon is probably as heavy as Hannah hanging on my back.  Only she’d be swinging from my back using a rope DIGGING INTO MY BACK.  Honestly!  It’s EXHAUSTING carrying my guitar, and it also attracts unwanted attention.  The first man to check my passport kept it for a while and stared at me and said, “nice eyes”.  Creeeeeper.  So it begins, the traveling alone. L.

So the guitar has been a beast so far.  I just want to be able to go to the bathroom without having to bring everything in there—traveling with another person who can keep an eye on things changes EVERYTHING.  I miss you already (yes you).

There is a small child here doing this EVIL laugh every few minutes..”MUUUAH.  MUAHH HAHAHA!” it’s like..gutteral and he is extremely small.  It’s hilarious.  Im considering videoing but that’d be wrong.  Now he is slowing it down and instead of the DEEP VOICE from his belly he is just saying mooo-a a a really slowwwwly.  Like moooooo ah ah ah ah ah.

Second worst thing about international travel: when carrying one’s carryon and never sleeping, one must move around those taped lines for no reason like a sheep.

Two scenarios make me insane (both happened today).

Scenario a.) a line turns into a large blob of people and there is one door that all the people are going to enter through.  If in a rush, I like these, as I can easily cut everyone else in the blob by going to the sides of it.  If not in a rush others cut me and I stand confused and exhausted and get passed.

Scenario b.) there are long lines of TAPED rows and a HUUUUGE line and we soon realize we’re not waiting for ANYTHING but just walking through with people saying it’s important to remove liquids. It’s hard to explain how bad and annoying it is to join 200 people in a maze of taped rows to have NOTHING checked and nothing come of it.

I watched a terrible movie called “boy in the striped pajamas”.  Nazis and kids.  Terrible.  Then of course I needed to see a comedy, so I made the mistake of watching the only one they had (literally, ONE).  It was called Burn After Reading and I CERTAINLY left it unfinished.  It was terrible.  I regret watching things at all, except the flight was quickened.

This is getting ridiculous.  I’m going to spend some time in the word before I leave.  Night!  (3AM now, but 8AM London time so im confused.  Maybe if I eat breakfast ill convince myself its morning). It IS light outside, so…\

took me forever to move this to another computer so it could be uploaded. sorry for old news and thanks for reading!


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It’s about to get really interesting.

My to do list is currently terrifying.

and ive got a limited number of days: 9 to be exact.

uh, i need suggestions on how to run this whole website while im away.  should i use categories to separate kenya stories  from “what im learning as i read the bible” postings…or should i make two entirely separate blogs? you be the judges.

it is tricky, as not all my readers and friends believe what i do.  i want to share my thoughts with people who do believe the Bible is our bread daily, while not confusing/boring people who do not.



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