Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Blog Confusion

Hello all, I hope you can bear with us as we try to figure out how our new website works and the best way to keep in good communication with everyone.   We are so excited about Ameena Project and in an effort to support the amazing work there all of our future blog posts and updates will be posted there at  We will no longer post to the May Family blog.  Please adjust your bookmarks or subscribe to the new blog by clicking the RSS feed in the upper left corner of the site.


Two weeks after opening … brief update.

After two short weeks, our Kiang’ombe school is full to capacity and things are going better than we had ever expected.  Mercy and Hillary held a parent meeting on Monday to both check in on how everyone feels things are going and to continue to educate the community on the program and how they can best support their childrens’ success.  All of the local elders showed up along with 45 parents and community members.   Everyone is very supportive of the program, grateful for the opportunity, and feeling a new sense of hope for their children and the community as a whole.

They also began discussing how Ameena Project might be able to further support  positive change for Kiang’ombe families in the future.  Some of the community’s ideas for what they need are:  HIV/Aids education, education in rabbit rearing, vocational training, adult basic literacy education, and mentoring for parents to help motivate and encourage them to create positive changes for their lives.    These are great ideas to think about and develop together over the next year.   For now,  we are focused on effectively implementing the school and working out efficient, sustainable operations there.

Already,  Ameena Project  is inspiring the community of Kiang’ombe to discuss and dream about creative solutions to the many challenges they face.  Our Mission in action.

Take a look:

It’s aLIVE!

With much anticipation and after hundreds of volunteer hours, I am so pleased and honored to announce that the website for Ameena Project is up and running!

We encourage you to tour this site!  You’ll find a lot more detail about Ameena Project including background information, our mission and some of the core values driving the way we work.  You’ll also be able to learn more about many of the people involved in facilitating Ameena Project, and the volunteers who have helped it get past the dreaming stages!

You’ll also see that there is a nice tab linking to the Mayfamily blog (what you are now reading!) located within the webpage.  While you can still get our blog updates the old fashioned way through, we wanted to make it easy to obtain information all in one location too–so now you can access it via the webpage as well!   We will continue to share in depth information about our projects on the blog, and you’ll be able to get regular, short snippets of information via our Facebook page.

If you have comments, or wish to be on a regular email/snail mail list, leave your contact information at the bottom of the webpage (not here on the blog) under the contact area, and we’ll get back to you.

Take a Look

Here’s what we’ve been working for in Kenya.  Watching this video makes me realize how grateful I am to have played a part in all of this.  In spite of all the seemingly negative or difficult parts of the last two years of our life, I’ve never had single a moment of regret.  So thankful we were able to hear that quiet leading of our hearts and minds over the deafening noise of our hectic lives.  Karibu Centre Programs.

Leaving Kenya


After the big goodbye party, and my “garage sale” and cleaning the house thoroughly, the day of our departure finally arrived. 

The whole week before Ian was pestered by staff about the necessity of them giving us a “push” to the airport. 

We TRIED to let them know that it really wasn’t NECCESSARY for everyone to take us to the airport. 

We finally agreed to let the Centre van travel to the airport as we had arranged private transport to the airport with our safari guide/awesome driver friend George, which meant that 14 people could escort us to say goodbye. 

That's George in the grey next to Tito


Saying bye to Major Martha, our neighbor and Karibu Centre administrator


This did not go over well.  Staff was upset.  Kenyan friends were upset.  We really tried to understand the importance of this “send off”  to Kenyans, but honestly, we weren’t upset by the idea of not having each and every friend at the airport to say goodbye. 

In the end though, it was such a big deal to the staff and friends who were having to stay behind (Teacher Mercy was distraught and crying)  that Ian & I went ahead and paid for another 14 people to ride in another matatu to the airport. 

Teacher Mercy cried again, this time from joy.  Who knew it was such a big deal?  Uh, the Kenyans knew. 

Staff, residents and friends loading into the hired matatu


 Just before leaving, Catherine and Mary came by to get their pictures taken with baby Angel and one of the abandoned babies.  Remember, Mary was our resident who had the still-born baby in June: 

Beautiful girls!


 We finally had everyone loaded up into 3 vans, with the 2 vans of staff going out ahead of us.  We enjoyed a nice ride into Nairobi and got to talk to George our driver about his little girl who has spina bifida.  George also knows the shortcuts to the airport, which we have been thankful for many times. 

Of course on this day, of all days, the security at an industrial site George routinely cuts through decided to not let the Wazungu through.  We had to back track through this: 

Our alternate route when denied our "short cut"


 It was literally a bunch of dirt tracks crisscrossing every which way.  It felt like driving to nowhere.   We finally arrived at the airport, where all the staff, residents and friends had been patiently waiting for us.  We unloaded and began the process of hugging each and every one, and crying, and walking away as they all stood there waving.  It was a very difficult moment, especially since none of us are sure when we will see each other again.  I was thankful to have the distraction of 8 bags, 4 carry-ons, 1 diaper bag, a stroller, 2 kids and a newborn.  It kept me from becoming a blubbering mess of tears.  Leaving Kenya was so much more difficult than when we left the US, in the US you are assured that there are many qualified and capable people to do your job.  In Kenya, nothing is for sure, which makes life very stressful for those who live there, but on the other hand, they embrace things so much more because they know it might be temporary.  I hope for many return visits to our dear friends who have been woven into our Kenyan story. 

Ok, back to the departure. 

We checked in at the Emirates counter in Nairobi with ease and soon boarded our plane for Dubai.  We had a wonderful flight crew that engaged Eli and Lucy throughout the 5 hour flight, and hooked us up with this wall bassinet for Ameena: 

Bless the person who thought of these!


Thoroughly entertained by the media


We arrived in Dubai 5 hours later at 11pm and deboarded the plan via the hatch stairs (is that what they are called?).  I felt a little like the first family!  Then I felt the HOT (like your flip flops melt on the jetway hot) air and suddenly felt how long of a day it had been.  So did the kids: 

It's close to midnight and we are patiently waiting for dad to find the hotel driver we reserved


 The Dubai airport was a preview of the city.  Huge, sparkling, golden, clean and fairly devoid of people (ok, keep in mind I’m comparing it to Thika, Kenya!) 

I’ll share about our Dubai stopover (suggested and engineered by my dear friend Erika) more in my next post!  Stay tuned!



Ian has always had a special relationship with his hair. 

He won’t admit it though. 

When I met him in college he had long straight hair that went past his shoulders.  I used to watch him mess with it during chapel.  He’d pull it back into a ponytail and flip it up and down when nervous. 

He’s making a lot of jokes these days about the lack of hair on his head.  He definitely knows how to make up for it with hair on his face. 

In his honor, since it’s Father’s Day, I decided to post a sampling of his facial hair adventures: 

This was his beard a few days's shaven now

This was in November...he really was starting to scare the native women here with this beard. I think it made him look too aggressive??? I thought he just looked kind of biblical.

This is Ian's 1st beard ever, in 2006




Ian's a natural trucker

Ian's title on this photo: 6 weeks, I shaved for Anne since she rented the house

Wow. Looks like Lincoln.

You know you’ve become a Kenyan when…


It’s 70 degrees or more outside, you have no AC in the house and you sleep like this:

Yes, this is a knit stocking cap and long sleeved pjs on Eli


Makeshift mittens on Lucy's hands aka socks


Yes, those are socks on Eli's hands too. Who started all this craziness? Dad.


Good thing we’re going home in the height of the summer heat, otherwise, these two kids would be forced to dress 3 layers deep!