Posts Tagged ‘Our family’

Mama Eli’s Duka aka “my Kenyan garage sale”

 So months before our departure from Kenya I told Ian that I had hatched a fabulous plan that would allow us to fairly distribute all of the things we had accumulated that would not be returning to the US in our alloted 8 suitcases.

That’s right.  No shipping things home.  I’m about reducing and recycling when it comes to packing up a house—and what a wonderful way for us to bless the many friends we had made in Kenya. 

Kenyan’s have surely missed out on the wonderful concept of garage sales.  Or at least it is wonderful in my eyes.  I know there are those of you out there who cringe at the thought of used clothing,  or half colored coloring books, or shoes with other people’s foot sweat. 

That’s not me. 

Or Kenyans. 

Kenyans are the MOST fantastical people when it comes to cleaning something up so that it can look spick and span new.  So I just knew that they would adore my garage sale, or as Ian termed it:  Duka Ya Mama Eli’s  (Eli’s mom’s shop). 

Soooo, in preparation for our move home I began to sort through our house in Kenya with the help of some ladies from the community (which was a score for them because they carted off bag after bag of miscellaneous goodies for themselves).  Separate  from the furnishings in our house that were owned by OO and would  remain, we had amassed a ridiculous amount of items ranging from kid and adult DVD’s, to nail polish remover, to the ax and kerosene lantern.    

Ian and I converted the pregnant girls’ classroom space into my shop, pulled in a few tables, and set things up by category. 

A few days before the party I let all of the staff in to preview the items.  Some staff  took up to an hour carefully looking over each and every item. 

Now, I decided that in order to make it a true shopping experience the staff would need money.  So Ian, being the handy and fun husband that he is, printed out play $10 bills so that each staff was given $100 to “spend”. 

After our going away party, we had the 27 staff draw numbers and line up from the #1 shopper on back. 

Waiting to shop!

  They each got to go in individually to shop.  They could buy one item (no matter how expensive) during each round.  We did this for 3 rounds, and then I let them all in at once to spend their remaining money.  

I am so proud of the men who shopped! They did such a quick sweep and grab of the womens' clothing for their families that the women of the Centre had to find other things to paw through!

Well into the free-for-all, Notice the empty tables!

They went crazy.  The laughter and excitement was contagious!  I LOVED it!  And so did they.  I loved watching them scheme and work together to get all of the things they had their hearts set on. 

In this next picture, you can see Tito happily sitting on his 3 piece outdoor furniture set that he bought for $120!  That’s right, Tito was the one and only employee who managed to convince another employee to give him some money so he could afford it! 

Oh yeah, sitting in his new chair guarding the door to my shop.

It was a fabulous way to wrap up such a serious day of thank you’s and good byes.  I was thrilled to share my love of g-sales with my Kenyan friends.  Even better was a staff member telling Ian that “we had taught them something fun they could do together in the future.”  I’m just sitting here in my American home imagining future Kenyan garage sales among the staff and loving it! 

I am not lost

Habari ya siku mingi!  Do you remember me posting in the past of the Kenyan saying, “You’ve been lost” when you haven’t visited someone for a long time?

Well, I know that I haven’t visited my blog much in the last few weeks, but rest assured, I am not lost from it.

Life has been chaotic.

Moving three kids under 5 years half way across the world, quite literally, took a lot out of this momma & poor Ian who had his back go out just as he sat down on the plane for our awesome 16 HOUR flight from Dubai to San Fran.   Can you imagine anything more torturous?  How bout the fact that the airline seated us separately, so Ian had both kids while I was seated alone with the baby.  Not ideal for either of us.

Saying a difficult goodbye to my dear Kenyan friends whom I have seen day, after day, after day was and still is hard.  While the work was hard, I still do miss that knock on our door at 9pm, the girls coming to beg some sweets from Ian, seeing Ruben love on my flower garden, having Patrick give me a hearty wave to say Habari Asubuhi, and all of the rest of the sweet ways the staff and residents loved on our family.

Moving back home to a crazy, rushed and chaotic world is taxing on the system and the soul.  Poor Ian had to soothe himself with some rice and beans right away.  Eli says Asante Sana to the checker at New Seasons and wonders why she doesn’t appreciate that he’s thanked her for the sticker she gave him, Lucy tries to navigate coming  into what pretty much is a 2nd culture for her…..we left for Kenya when she was just TWO years old!  Poor thing can’t figure why we aren’t paying the police, putting trash in pits in the yard or waiting for the water to heat before it comes out of the tap.

And then there is sweet baby Ameena.  My wonderful Kenyan gift.  A daily reminder of our amazing midlife adventure.

I’ll post soon.  I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind.  So many things I want to share.

I’m processing.

Recuperating.

Recharging.

Mourning.

Rejoicing.

Breathing.

Praying that I’ll have the faith and wisdom  to listen to what God has in store for our family, and that I’ll be obedient in my answer.

Therapy

Ameena is now [gulp] 10 1/2 weeks old (I think?).

She had her 8 week doctor’s appointment last week at 9 weeks.

We had the usual developmental checklist.  All fine.

She’s gained plenty of weight…..getting pretty close to doubling her birth weight, which isn’t nearly as hard when you start out so light (6 1/2 pounds).

I told the doctor she had a problem with me taking dairy.  He noted it.

I told the doctor she seemed to have mild torticollis (I only know what it is because Eli had it at birth because he was a shoulder dystocia baby!).  He noted it.  We discussed simple exercises, positioning of Ameena etc.

OK, all of this background to say that I have found the PERFECT stimulus capable of getting Ameena to turn to her non-favored side.  I have tried toys, and cooing at her, the kids, blah, blah, blah, all to no avail.

Until……

TELEVISION.   She is mesmerized by it.  Even a boring movie about Leo Tolstoy.

Mind all of you, this is my third child, I’m not gonna wig out about a little television use like I might have with my 1st “perfectly” reared child.  This is serious medical therapy.  So hush.

Comin’ home

From the moment Ian and I committed to coming to Kenya we knew that we’d be short-term missionary-type folk, staying until summer 2010, which is now upon us.

There were SOOO many pieces that were brought together in this crazy adventure puzzle that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me and Ian to deny that coming to Kenya was something we were supposed to do.  We’d toyed with the idea of overseas missions when we were first married, but then grad school, and work, and kids came along and that was that.  And when the inklings of Kenya started to come up, believe you me, I worked pretty hard to find EVERY excuse on why it wouldn’t work for our family:

We had a great house & house payment.  🙂

I loved my job.

Ian loved his job & it provided well for our family & he wanted to advance.

We had kids aged 2 & 3 years.

I was pregnant.

We had dogs.

We liked seeing our family.

We were “settled”.

I got diagnosed with CANCER a week before we we’re scheduled to fly out. 

I didn’t want to be a “missionary” and “preach it” to people in the traditional sense.

We loved our amazing group of friends.

It was too much  work to figure out how to pack everything up to move to a foreign county.

But, you know what?  God has some amazing ways of working through the excuses, if you stop for a moment and let him.  Why do we think decisions or changes like this in our lives will be easy?  Imagine the disciples as Jesus called them to follow him.  They had jobs.  They had families.  They were going into the unknown & uncomfortable.  I can’t imagine that the prospect of leaving the comfortable seemed appealing and lucrative to any of them.

Our society has done us a great disservice in convincing us that we deserve to be comfortable and secure all of the time.  In being so, we miss out on the amazing adventure and blessings that can await us.  I wish that I could relay to all of  you what an incredible experience this has been…..to convince each and every one of you that you too could do this.  Do you really have any excuses better than the ones listed above?  Do you know that we have experienced death, disease, sabotage, physical attack, hatred, fear and all of the other weapons that Satan uses to discourage…..and in the face of those things we have had the wonder to experience birth, joy, mercy, compassion, protection, awareness, beauty, friendship, and stewardship?

In August 2008, on Ian’s birthday & the day that we found out we would miscarry what would have been our 3rd baby, Orphans Overseas unknowingly called to talk about this position with us.  Remember how I had come up with every excuse of why we couldn’t come here?   Being pregnant was my ticket to not “having” to listen to our calling.   And God, in his wisdom, knowing that I need blows to the head to listen, timed that loss with an open door….all on the same day.

So, we committed then to coming here to Thika until summer 2010 (NOW!) with the goal of getting Karibu Centre and it’s programs up and running.  And, today I can say that we have been more than successful despite huge obstacles here.  I can also say that if God had given me another  “blow to the head” saying that we needed to stay longer, that we would have listened to that too.  But, he hasn’t, and we feel confident in our original plan to return home and make way for the next phase of Karibu Centre.  I can not wait to watch how things progress here and to see the ways this amazing program will continue to impact everyone involved.  I am also excited for those who will follow us and how they will be forever changed simply by being willing to leave the comfortable and come here to partner with the staff, residents, children and community.  I am also so grateful we took the chance, followed our hearts, and now will carry this experience deep within us for the rest of our lives. 

We’re on our countdown to comin’ home & I can’t wait to share with you over the next 2 weeks some of our favorite things about this experience.

17 Days until we hop on that plane!  Please pray for this transition for our family and for Karibu Centre, we have grown to love the people we live among and leaving will be tough!

 

 

 

Hair

 

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 ago....it'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.

DeJa Vu

Today Ian and I had a conversation that I am almost positive we had before Eli was born.

It has to do with the baby’s sleeping arrangements.

Before Eli was born, I had THE most difficult time justifying why we needed a cradle (borrowed) for him.  Ian was empathic that we could just use a drawer from the dresser, or even a tub.  He’s really a practical guy, and most of the time I appreciate this about him, but not today.

Today, we had that conversation all over again….pretty much 5 years later to the day.

It went a little something like this:

Ian-“Why can’t the baby sleep in bed with you?”

Me-“Because I don’t sleep with a baby in bed with me.  I have nightmares that I’m going to squish it, or that it will get caught in the mosquito net”  (Yes, we have the added bonus of having to consider real functional netting at night for me and the baby so we don’t get The Malaria).

Ian-somewhat jokingly, but not quite enough, “And why would you want to deprive the baby of that nurturing?”

Anne- “Because I don’t sleep with a baby on me all night and I don’t think you all want me that *itchy from not sleeping”

Ian-“It’s just 2 months.”

Anne-“3”

Ian-“Where are you going to put the cradle?”

Anne-“There (pointing at the end of our bedroom where my desk currently is, but won’t be) or maybe in the guest room.

We journey to the  guest room.

Ian- “And where will it go in here?”

Mind you, I am a spatial planner and I have been planning this arrangement of new baby furniture since the 2nd ultrasound confirming this baby’s viability (so for 5 months now).

Anyhow….the conversation continued…with a lot of back and forth and Ian ending with:  “So why can’t we just prop up this bed and then the baby lies on one side and you use the other side as a changing area?”

To which I replied, “Hey, if I have to have a baby in Africa, don’t go ruining the small amount of pleasure I might get from having a cradle made, and buying a used changing table.”

Ian-“Don’t I get a say?”

Me-“Not really, cause I’m the one getting up to feed it and change it in the middle of the night.”

Ian-“But I can’t breast feed it.”

Me-“That’s my point.”

So, I think this conversation will die like the one did before Eli was born….and when Ian comes back from his 4 year amnesia of what it is like to go without sustained night sleep for months on end because of a fussing baby.

In that spirit, I’m going to take this picture to the local carpenter in the market to see if he can make this, or something close in approximation:
Allegro Cradle

I’ll keep you updated on the “arrangement”.

3AM blogs are just wrong….

Well, I tried to chat up my friend, Erika Lee, on facebook since it is about 4:30pm in Portland, Oregon and 3:30 am here in Thika, Kenya….but she must have more pressing matters on her hands like kid pick up from the bus stop, and homework, and diabetes snack time etc. etc.!  So, you get a rambling blog from me instead.

I feel like things have been a whirl wind trapped inside a time warp here.  What I mean by that is that we get all excited about the progress we are making, and then crazy things happen like we can’t take on abandoned babies because the baby cots we ordered to have made are still not made and seem to look more like a little kids daybed than  a crib.  I guess we really shouldn’t take for granted that everyone has the “same” idea in mind when talking about cribs, or even when looking at pictures of cribs.  One thing is for certain, those babies are going to have a lot of room to spread out in!  No cramped beds at this Centre!  Another thing that is certain here bout these parts of Kenya is…..not matter what you order, you’re gonna get what your gonna get, so you might as well just ask for whatever the server, or store, or craftsman feels like making.  Less trouble all around that way.

I have hit the 28 week mark in my pregnancy and am starting to remember some of the uncomfortableness that comes with being *bigger* than my normal in the heat.  I have thrown caution to the wind, and now wear my sleeveless tops, I think the Kenyans around us have figured out that I’m not out to advertise my body  and am just an overheated very pregnant married lady.   I am so curious to find out if this new baby will acquire the Kenyan sense of climate control and will just think that Portland, Oregon is incredibly cold all of the time.  Even now, I looked in on both kids and there they are, in this humid house in the high 70’s perhaps low 80’s,  sleeping peacefully in long sleeved tops and pants, with socks, like it is mid winter in the States.  You know, even in mid 80 summer weather here, little kids come to the Centre in their knit sweater ski-type hats and that’s just how it rolls here.  Just seeing  that makes me think I might have to go jump on Ian’s all cold shower bandwagon.   I’m to drop into the hospital in Nairobi for another ultrasound any time here, so hopefully we’ll get another look at this little miss who is heating up my overstuffed body…and due to make her appearance in just short of 3 months now!

Well, since 3 am blogs are just wrong, and now it is 3:30 am, I’m gonna turn off this rambling machine and head back to bed.  Please note:  I really CAN NOT be held responsible for any senseless blathering that occurs at this time in the night/morning.