Thursday, July 20, 2017

Excitement is running high! Next Tuesday afternoon we plan to fly out of Kisumu, after a short flight and layover in Nairobi, we head about 4 1/2 hours to Doha. If you are like me and not sure where that is, it's the capital city of Qatar and located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. (does that help at all?). we are to have a 2 1/2 hour layover and then from there we have a 13 (?) hour flight into Philly, PA. With all the time changes it gets pretty confusing. It seems we should be arriving Wednesday evening but instead we are to land 8:40AM.
 I've been enjoying getting into the natives homes and visiting more with Jacob and the children again lately. We've gone out three times in the last  week n half. With that and bible studies on Wednesdays and all the normal home duties it's made for a busy but enjoyable schedule.
 Today most of the women are cleaning at Joseph Hostetler's place in preparation for their return. So instead of Stacy helping with my cleaning, I'm doing my own and not helping down there, as we are on to host prayer meeting here tonight.  Stephen, one of the youth boys from church spent the  night here last night and is helping with hedge trimming or whatever all outside work Jacob has for him. Jake is busy running James' to the immigration office and taking care of other business in town. Wayne's returned last Wednesday. It's great to have them back again.  Our fill-ins, some Kuephers from Kansas, arrive today. Marlin Stolzfus' left last week. Like someone said recently, on the mission field, you have to learn to deal with lots of changes! So much coming and going!
 Stephen (age 17?) normally would be in school but his boarding school had a problem the other week. A teacher beat a student and a bunch of students retaliated and started breaking windows and other things and went on strike. There was no school for a week or two and now before they come back, every student is to pay 3000 shillings ($30).. a huge sum! I think there are somewhere around 800 students. I was asking Stephen about their school schedule. Their rising time is 4AM. They are to study on their own till breakfast at 6:00. If they fall asleep there is a punishment. They have approx. 11 classes with breaks ever 2 hours or so. Bedtime can be as late as 11:00 ! I'm like "that's not enough sleep!!!" 
"I know" he says, "but you get used to it!" Wow.


sorting rice before church in prep for a fellowship meal


Where we stayed
The other week, I was beginning my day and Jake came and told me that we're going to town and Stacy is coming at 8:00 to stay with the children. I was half sick and kind of out of it and didn't ask any questions. Thought maybe we were going out for coffee. Which would have been extremely rare and special but when I noticed the tooth paste and brushes missing and saw some packs on the piki-piki, I was really suspicious that something more was going on. We did go out for coffee and then he told me we're going on out by Rasinga Island. It's the first time since having children that just the two of us did an over-nighter and it was terribly special! And it was a wonderful answer to prayer that I felt well and could enjoy the trip. In two days we spent maybe 6 hours on the piki, 2 on the ferry, and 2+ hours on another boat. We returned home sore, sunburned, and quite happy :)
The Hut on the hill is where we stayed. Very nice, relaxing accommodations.
I loved the adventure of taking a road less traveled and seeing some beautiful scenery on the island even tho we looked a little worse for the wear till we got thru here.
Fishing boats by the ferry landing
eating roasted peanuts at Angeline's house

singing and helping Elizabeth shell maize

Children playing while we visit Silpa...the little fellow is playing with a top
A small duka where I got some sewing done.

Just hanging out in the kitchen
Some times it's smarter to hike than drive !

Rachel has been busy. Beans, sorgum,and other unfamiliar crops lying out to dry.

The pull of the mud was irresistible to a couple little boys.
A visit with Rachel and her grandson Joseph

We were greatly amused by the cat thigh hanging out of the ceiling during Bible study at Silpa's house.

Enjoying lemongrass tea, rice, and friendship after Bible study yesterday.

Friday, June 2, 2017

23,000 Words

They say pictures are worth a thousand words so here you go :)
               All pictures on this post are courtesy of Miss Stacy Byler. Thank you, Stacy!
 After church Jake runs two families home that live a couple kilometers away. Meanwhile the rest of us walk out to the road to await his return. Here Joey is enjoying walking with Joshua Ombam.
                               The younger of the two Sunday school classes gives their presentation.
 Walking out to the road. Joshua was scared of a loud cow on the other side of the fence. Check out the nice maize to the left. We've been blessed with some beautiful rains.
                         A random shot from the school picnic. The games were here at our place.
The last Family Day, we decided to go to Jennifer's Gardens. Most of us had been there more than once except the girls, who'd never been there and had been asking for a chance to go. It was a perfectly lovely day and so relaxing. We enjoyed having Stacy along. And she was kind enough to get some family photos for us.
   
                   So much beauty!!....and cuteness ... (Joey and Joshua...
                                          Jake took charge of lunch. I mixed up some chapatis and he even made mandazis to go with everything else. Jediah oversaw the activities and was our taste tester.
                                                          Sweet Sisters
                                                            Cutest Monkey

clockwise from far left; Joseph-4, Hannah-9, Heidi-7, Mahlon-6, Joshua-2, Jake, Jediah-1, Jan
GINGERICH
 
                                            We hiked up to the tea fields
enjoying my babies

somehow these pictures got mixed up. This was a bad accident we passed on the way to church.
before church

 
bench rides after church

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

  March 13th had finally arrived. We were off. Leaving the girls behind in school and with friends, the rest of us headed for Nakuru, three hours away. There we were graciously served supper by Winfred and Debbie and put up in the guest quarters for the night.
  Tuesday before daybreak we left on the next three hour stretch for Nairobi. About half way there we stopped for some breakfast but the place wasn't open yet, then as we got into the city we sat and sat in traffic. The boys entertained themselves some by waving to other travelers. At one point a bus drove so close, Joey literally high-fived with the driver ! Piki-pikis weaved in and out of the slower vehicles and the boys waved or high-fived those drivers.
  Finally after a late breakfast, a little shopping, and more road time we got to Hampton House, a nice hotel especially geared  towards missionaries. We relaxed there awhile and Jake and Mahlon took a piki to do some vehicle shopping. We treated ourselves to supper at a Dominoes Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery. Cleaned up back at the hotel and at LONG LAST we were headed to the airport. There we had another long way and snoozed in the van but then..there they were! Caleb, Janelle, and little Luke Ramer from our home church in WI !! It was absolutely Wonderful to visit with "home folks" again.
 The next morning after breakfast at Java House we headed another 4-5? hours to the Masai Mara. I was a bit dubious when Jake decided to try a short cut but it proved an interesting ride on a bumpy
Savannah Sunrise /zebra

Lioness getting a drink after feasting on wildebeest

dirt road and got us where we needed to be. The Mara was enjoyable and I was delighted to get to see the leopard this time. such a beautiful creature!
I think this means "no open flame" :)
We got home from the Mara Friday evening and enjoyed a birthday party at Joe Allens for Tiffany who was turning 3. Saturday we did a little shopping, took a tuk-tuk ride, ate out, and did laundry.
Fabric anyone?
We enjoyed introducing Calebs to our church people on Sunday. That evening there was a service and supper at Gerold Millers. Janelle and I mostly went for the food afterwards.
 Monday we piled in the van once more.
Let's just pretend they looked this lovely and pleasant the whole 6-7 hours till we reached our destination :)
It's right about 2 hours to the Ugandan border where we had a wearying time of it. We didn't have the log book for the van among other things and ended up sitting around there for nearly three hours. The food we bought was supposedly edible. Our family shared one plate of food and left most of it on there. From the border we had another 2 hours to the Nationwide mission close to Jinga. We were happy to see Caleb's sister Lois there. The next day we visited their Lamp n Light office, and did touristy shopping. Poor Joshua wasn't feeling well and had bad ear ache or infection but was a real trooper thu it all. In the evening we got to see the school and church and eat supper with another missionary family.
 I was terribly disappointed to miss getting to see my brother Marlin who was on a mission trip about 2 hours from there but with sick children I was ready to head home, which we did after breakfast Wednesday. Thankfully getting back into Kenya was much faster than leaving it, and we made it through the border in less than an hour. Before reaching home we stopped at the doctors office and got some meds for Joshua and stuff for the infection Joey had under 2 finger nails. (yeah, it was sorta weird).
 Since then we've been enjoying a slightly slower pace.
How can we have a 9 year old already?
 (these girls are blessed to be friends. They are from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Tennessee )
Jennifers Gardens where the men n boys from the compound went camping last week.

Just playing around on daddy's piki-piki

with Lois Ramer where she lives

Joey, Tiffany, and Mahlon trying to be real "African" I guess