Tuesday, January 22, 2019

WHY I AM GOING TO KENYA (again) #4

By my bleary-minded reckoning, it has been 34 hours since Vivian and I pulled out of our driveway in Spirit to go to the airport. But my trip to Kisii is not yet finished. I arrived in Nairobi fine, and it is almost 1:00 AM in Kenya right now. It has not been many minutes since I retrieved my checked luggage and went though customs.

I check into my domestic flight to Kisumu in about 4 hours, where my friend (from last time) Amos the taxi driver will pick me up to drive up to Kisii. I do not know what the drive-time is, but I will find out later today.

Naturally, I am not getting a hotel here in Nairobi. I did last time when I came, but at that time I was completely ignorant about what to expect on my arrival, and I did not want to take too many chances.

I am no longer completely ignorant about Kenya, just mostly ignorant, so I decided rather than to take time to spend a night and the extra day and money in Nairobi, I would just stay at the airport until my next flight.

That is why I am writing this tonight, for I expect by tomorrow I will not only be only bleary-minded, but I will be barely conscious.

I have to say that on my flight down here  from London, I was feeling pretty blue. I missed Vivian and I was wondering how she was doing with the cold weather and the animals and all.

I could not imagine that I would ever want to make this trip again, and in fact was already working it out in my mind how I could just explain to someone else who is interested how to get here rather than to bring them.

However, that depression left after I arrived and as I again began to have my conversations with the Kenyans. The people here are the most kind and hospitable people that I have ever encountered in my travels around to different countries.

“Let my ask you just one more question…” I said to one official here after I felt I was really imposing on him with the many questions that I had already asked.

“Do not say, ‘one more question,’” he replied. “Ask me ten more questions! I am here to serve you!”

I think that there was a day when it was like this with public officials the US, and I am sure there are still are some with this perspective. But I have to say, I felt very welcomed here.

"Karibu!" (Welcome)

Vivian also wrote to me by email and said things were going well, but I hear that there are some more cold days ahead for Wisconsin.

May the Lord sustain you, sweetie!

Monday, January 21, 2019

WHY I AM GOING TO KENYA (again) #3

A couple of days ago Pastor Joel sent me a series of photos of the windows and doors that now have been made for the dormitory. Again, little by little the building is coming along.

When I arrive in Kisii and talk to everyone, I will have a much clearer picture of what actually is left for the completion. It cannot be much: Plastering, finish the floor, screens on the windows.

Another thing that Joel mentioned is that they need to make the velandah. I did not know what a velandah was, so I asked him. He told me that it is putting a hard floor on the outside around the perimeter of the building.

This makes sense to me, since water running off the roof would otherwise make it constant mud around the outside.
As I thought about that word velandah, I wondered if it is not a Swahili-fied version of the English
word veranda, which of course is what we call a porch. I sat many evenings on my veranda in India years ago.

I have tried to begin to learn Swahili over the past few months, and since Kenya is a former English colony, there are many influences in language.

For instance, the English have the habit of beginning a comment by saying, “I say…”

I have been told that the Swahili language has also incorporated this into their language, and often begin a sentence in the Swahilified version of “I say…”

I’m not sure how it would be spelled, and the pronunciation is changed enough so that unless you were aware of this fact, you may miss what was said.

Interesting to me. Perhaps not so much to you.

Anyway, I am en-route, at the moment.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

WHY I AM GOING TO KENYA (again) #2

“We had ten below this morning.”

Those of you who do not live in a northern climate are probably saying, “What in the world are you talking about?”

What I meant was that our thermometer read 10° below zero this morning. And for those of you who do not live in the northern US, that is 10° below in Fahrenheit, the temperature scale that we have stubbornly stuck with in the US while the rest of the world has converted to the Celsius scale.

That in itself is a topic we could explore. I will resist for the moment, but I will tell you one thing, Fahrenheit is much harder to spell. I have to look it up every time I write it. I cannot even get close enough for spell-checker to give me a suggested correction.

I'm not lyin'
“We had ten below this morning.”

In Wisconsin, it is perfectly acceptable to begin a conversation in this way when you meet someone during a winter day. Of course, it is a little dangerous too, since the other person will inevitably say that they had 12 below.

Like my grampa used to say, “The first liar doesn’t have a chance.”

In almost any other year, if you are in Wisconsin or the U.P, you could also begin a conversation by saying, “Waddabout dem Packers?” or maybe if you are from the U.P, you would say “Waddaboot dem Packers hey?” But this year it is a touchy subject, so I would advise against that one.

“What does all this have to do with Kenya?” you might rightly be asking.

I admit that I did stray a bit from the subject, but what it has to do
with it is that Vivian is not coming to Kenya with me and she will be left to tend house and do the chores for the animals. Up to this point, our winter here has been unusually mild, but now the cold has come.

I have done everything that I can think of to make everything secure for her while I am gone, and besides that, we are very thankful that our oldest son Jesse and family live only three miles away, so they are also here to help. I could not go if Jesse's were not close.

But as far as things at home and as I noted in yesterday’s post, the cows have enough hay for the entire time. I also have a pretty good watering system for them that does not freeze. The alpacas are hers, so she regularly does the chores for them anyway.

Our farm just as the sun in peaking over the trees at 10 below
Nevertheless, the cold snap we are currently in is a concern of mine for my sweetie. She assures me that she will be fine, and I actually believe all will be well—but it is my prayer.


Time to get ready for church. More tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

WHY I AM GOING TO KENYA (again)

Some of you may remember that two Novembers ago, when I went to Kenya for the first time, I wrote a series of blog posts entitled Why I Am Going to Kenya. Looking back, it may have been better to entitle it a little differently. I perhaps should have put it, Why Am I Going to Kenya?

It may have been better to put it in a question form, since I actually did not know much about the reason I was going. Mostly, I knew the reasons I did not want to go.

After many years of living in different places and traveling to many countries for my work as a missionary, I was ready just to be home (I still feel much the same).

I remember writing in that first blog series that all that I wanted to do was to stay home with Vivian on our little farm and pretend to be a farmer. After we returned home a few years ago, I got my few cows, and walking out to the pasture to see them was enough travel for me.

But the Lord called me to go to Kenya. I will not recount the entire story at this time, but God’s calling at the time was undeniable to me. So I went.

I honestly did not know what I would find in Kenya, but what I found was a church of a hundred and fifty people or so, who had welcomed orphans to live in some small mud buildings around the church, and even within the church itself.

Even my small part in all of this is a l-o-n-g story, so like I said, I will not go through it again right now. I may write it down sometime in the future.

My part began two Novembers ago, at least that is when I committed myself to help these people. Since that time I have more-or-less told the story in this blog of what came to be called "The Log Church of Kenya," and the orphanage that they began.

The people of the area are very poor in monetary terms, but by means of the readers of the blog posts, God began to provide funding to begin to build a proper dormitory for the 42 orphaned or abandoned children. We have also been able to have funds to put the children in school, and the days when they have no food at all to eat are now relatively few.

And now I am going to Kenya again. That is why I will call this series of posts, “Why I Am Going to Kenya (again).” This time it would not be correct to put it in a question form, since I have some specific reasons for going.
Those are hay bales on feeder wagons. It is
enoughto last the cows until I return home

So I invite you to come along with me by means of following this blog. I hope to post something every day, beginning today (if all goes well). As before, it will be more or less in “real time,” so some of the preliminary impressions that I write about may not be my final impression.

But I guess that is what daily journaling is all about.
I leave the day after tomorrow.
At our farm in Spirit WI

Above Kisii Town

Thursday, January 17, 2019

COWS


Because there wasn't enough room on the above post for all the photos that I took of my cows yesterday.
(The most beautiful of all of God's beasts of the earth)

Mazie and Maggie

Our Bull McTavish
A Couple of Last Year's Calves

Sunday, January 13, 2019

KISII REPORT #32

Being able to go to school is not an assumption for the children of our orphanage. School uniforms are needed (as they were in most places we have lived), and shoes.
 
As I reported at the beginning of the school term last autumn, the Kenyan government closed down the local school where the children previously attended.


Not only is the school where they now are going more costly, but it is a considerably further walk for them.
 
The shoes are important anyway. Not only are they a requirement to be able to attend school, but there are many soil-borne parasites in the ground of the area.


These pathogens can enter through bare feet and bring with them various sorts of disease, so it usually is not a good idea to run around shoeless.

In all of this, the operative word in this report is shoes.

The new school term has begun now, and with some of the money that God recently provided by means of you readers of this blog, we were able to get the shoes needed.

Receiving these shoes is an event. I was not present for this

one, of course, but the pictures bring to my mind the day I was there when the children received the articles of clothing and school materials that I brought with me when I went last year.

The day was full of joy, and it looks as if this one was as well. Even balloons! I kind of wonder if they are still from last year that someone gave me to bring.

We are all so thankful to see how the Lord is continuing with these children. We are trusting that he will continue to provide for the rest of the school costs so that they can all finish out the term.

How is the dormitory coming? It is a bit on hold right now, as we have these school expenses to cover. And food. Always food.
But the dormitory will come! Our continual prayer that has been answered repeatedly is that God will provide for the needs of the children.

It is a week from tomorrow that I leave for Kenya. I will write more as the time approaches.
Questions for me? donaldrhody@gmail.com
 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

KISII REPORT #31

In less than two weeks I will leave for Kisii. As I did on my trip a little more than a year ago, I plan on writing about it every day as I travel and as I am there. In this way I hope that all of you can know what I see, and what I am thinking.

I also hope there will be pictures. My camera and my laptop are from yesterday’s technology and I am not sure of the compatibility of it all, but I think it will work.

I encourage you to read these posts to see if the questions you have about what is happening there will be answered by what I write.
I also will be encouraging you to email to me any questions that you have and that I may not have thought to ask the people there.

I write a lot about this orphanage on this blog, as any follower knows, but even with this, I have found that there are some misconceptions about the work there.
 
One person told me that I was doing “village rebuilding,” or in other words, I was trying to rebuild an entire village infrastructure. I am not entirely sure where this individual got his information (I think that he was just assuming many things), but it is nothing so grand as that and it is NOT the work that the Lord has given me to do.

There have been a few other comments made to me that demonstrated a lack of understanding what the task actually is, and that is why I am encouraging all who are interested to read the posts and ask me questions.

I will be writing more about all of this in upcoming posts, but in short I will tell you simply:
 
All of the money that has been provided to me from the Lord for this work, both that of Vivian and I, and also through other individuals, have gone 100% directly to help the orphans. Nothing, not even one dollar, is channeled into other uses, put toward administration costs or any "other expenses."

The building project that we are involved with is for the children.
The food purchased is for the children.
The school fees are for the children.
Clothing purchased is for the children.
Medication is for the children.

Can the orphanage ever become “self-supporting?”

I would be very interested how this could ever be done, or if there is any orphanage in the world where the children support themselves. I do not know if every country in the world has some sort of child labor laws, but I would hope that they would. 
 
What is my end in all of this? How long will I be involved?

This is the question that I have asked of the Lord many times. I do not know the answer. All that I know for the present is that God has given me the work to come alongside of these orphans to help meet their needs. Some of you have also told me that God has given you much the same calling. Thanks for your help!

Got questions for me before I leave? donaldrhody@gmail.com

Sunday, January 6, 2019

BLOWING UP THE OLD MAN (Lesson #2)

In Blowing Up the Old Man–Lesson 1, the post of last week, I wrote of the New Year’s tradition in Latin America called “blowing up the old man.” It is a custom that is supposed to carry with it the meaning of blowing up all of the problems of the previous year so that you can begin new in the year to come.

It is done in fun of course, because everyone understands that the problems in our lives cannot just be blown up and done away with so simply. We must deal with them.

However, if we are to deal with our problems, there are some things that we must realize about these difficulties that we encounter in our lives. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

KISII REPORT #30

As you saw in the most recent Kisii Report, when it now rains at the church and orphanage, the water just runs off of the roof on the dormitory for the orphans. We thank God for the completion of this step.

The building still lacks several elements before the children can sleep there, however. There still is exterior plastering to keep the rain from weathering the building, windows and doors that need to be purchased/constructed and installed, screening to keep out the malaria-laden mosquitoes (and hopefully all others as well), and just a few other things.

But all of these matters will take a step backward for now, since
there are more pressing needs to be addressed at the moment.

The need for food is always present of course, and the requirement to purchase items for the building has caused a strain on the food budget. But the matter I wish to bring out in this report is the fact that the first school term of the year has begun in Kenya.

We have 40 students, 32 children in the primary grades, and 8 in secondary. We believe that providing schooling is very important, because for these kids to have a future, they need to be able to receive an education.

This is especially true in the culture of the Kisii tribe, where a family inheritance, as small as it may be, is important in giving a young person a beginning in life. These orphans and otherwise abandoned children, of course, will have none of that, so their hope is to be able to grow up with some preparation in education.

 The cost to send the students to school are different depending upon the level that they are in, but in short, the total cost for these 40 children for this 3-month term is 288,000 Kenya Shillings, or about $3000 US.

It seems overwhelming to me, especially when all the other needs are taken into consideration. But as I told Vivian this morning, everything that God has called me to do has always been overwhelming to me.

Also, many of you have stepped up to help. We are very grateful. When I say “we” are grateful, I of course mean Vivian and I, but even more than that I mean the children and the church in Kenya.

They have never received any sort of help from anyone before, and they are amazed to see that there are fellow believers here in America who care about their situation.

Nothing is taken for granted and all is received with deep gratitude.

Thank You!

Monday, December 31, 2018

BLOWING UP THE OLD MAN (Lesson #1)

There is a New Year’s  custom in many parts of Latin America called “blowing up the old man” that is far more sensational and eventful than watching a crystal ball slowly and agonizingly descend a pole in Time Square.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

WHAT I TOLD MY CHURCH CONGRETATION ABOUT 2019

Click the "READ MORE" button below to see what I said:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

KISII REPORT #29

Merry Christmas from the Log Church of Kenya!


As you can see, the roof metal is all installed, which, as any builder will tell you, is a big step in the completion of a building. The rain now runs off the roof!
There is still much to be done for the completion of the dormitory, but we are thankful to the Lord and to each of you who have contributed to this project.
 
This Christmas is so much brighter for the orphans than it was in the last year, and the New Year to come holds out for them much more hope than they have ever had before. The new school term begins the second day of January, and we are praying that all of the children will be able to attend classes, even with the increased costs at the school.

In this past year, we have seen how the Lord has provided to
overcome great obstacles and many difficulties in order to give each of these children lives of hope. They also now have a family (of sorts) as they are part of the people of the church.
This family of theirs also includes each of you who have shown them your love and concern for their welfare as you have done what you could to provide for them.
Every one of these children are learning to see how God provides for his children in many and in unexpected ways. They are learning the wonderful ways of God as they are being raised in an environment of the love of Christ.
I’ve not done this before but I will now invite you to write to me by email if you would like to ask me any question that you have, or for any other reason. My address is simply donaldrhody@gmail.com
 
I will write more about the progress at the orphanage after the New Year and about the anticipation of my trip there at the end of January, but at the moment, we are all wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.
"God Bless each of you real good!"