Monday, December 13, 2010

Back Home again?


I made it back to the States.  For those of you who don't know, I came home for Christmas.  I will be here about a month.  So, here are a few first impressions - jet-lag fog and all.

Driving - what do I do with my left foot?  There is no clutch.  My windowshield has no dust on it.  The wipers have gone several times when I meant to do the turn signal.  RIGHT!  Stay in the right lane - my mind thinks it is wrong, but it is amazing how annoyed other people get :).  No, I have only been on the wrong side when there hasn't been other traffic around to give me clues - only my parents in the car with me get annoyed.  People drive fast!  I must be getting old as I drive slow - of course being jet-lagged probably has something to do with that.  Give me a few days and I'll be back to normal. 

Restaurants - Americans are noisy!  Almost every restaurant I have been to has had loud music and lots of loud people.  Chik-fil-a still has delicious Chicken biscuits, but now they take your name and you go sit down and wait for them to bring your food.  I still have to read the menus to see what is on offer and people behind the counter get annoyed that I don't know what I want before I come in.  So, I guess we are impatient too.

Shopping - I haven't tackled that one much.  I did go to get a few toiletries at Target, but I have avoided malls and such.  Maybe next week.

I head out with my parents tomorrow to meet some Pottengers that we don't know - yet.  It should be fun trying to figure out how we are related.  We got connected through facebook and a college friend.  After that, we have lunch with the Mangels and then start our driving trip to Indianapolis.  I will be seeing some folks in Blue Springs, MO who came to visit me in Turkana in 2009.  It should be a fun evening.  Then on to Indy to see family and another party with friends and supporters.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone!

I guess that is all for now.  I hope you are enjoying the season and have a chance to reflect on Christ's Advent in the past, the present and the future!  Be blessed in this season of our Lord!  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's in a name?


It is the start of Advent season.  Well, actually, it started already I just haven't moved past the first day.  I was reading Matthew 1 and kinda got stuck in all the names.  Some of you don't know that played a Bible quiz game (called Bible Bowl) from 7th-12th grade.  I enjoyed it and learned a lot of the Bible.  I really liked the geneologies.  If I memeorized all the names in order and my team was asked about it, it was like getting free points.  I made up funny sentences, songs and rhymes to help me remember the first letters of the names.  It was a challenge and it was fun.

I don't think they include geneologies in the current form of Bible Bowl.  I could be wrong, as I am way out  of the loop.  I think they are missing out on something if they don't.  "Why," you may say.  Well, names are important to the people wearing them.  The fact that they are included in the Bible tells me that they are also important to God.  That gives me hope and a firm faith that my name is also important to him.  He knows my name.  He knows me.  You and I may seem very insignificant to ourselves, but God knows our name.  If we believe in his Son, Jesus, then our names are also written down in His book of life.  He promises to give us eternal life.  He has a new name for us that will describe us to a T.

So, I got stuck in the names.  Some of them seem quite odd to our modern ears.  Ram.  Who is he?  He is the father of Amminadab, the son of Hezron , the grandfather of Nashon.  He is known by God!  Who is Rahab?  We know a little about her, but God knows even more.  Who is Lynn?  Who are you?  We are the children of the living God and He knows our names and He loves us more than we could ever really comprehend.  That's what's in a name!

I pray you have time this Advent to "chew" on Jesus' coming to this world, his second coming and his coming into our hearts daily as we allow him to do so.  Have a blessed season!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Schools out for Summer! :)


Our local primary schools and the high schools are officailly out for the year.  Today was the last day for many primary schools.  I had a small party at my house for the kids that are sponsored by me or my friends.  There were 14 kids here along with my guard, houseworker and me.  We all had a good time.  I fixed up a big batch of chili - Indiana style.  That is with some spaghetti in it.  It was the first time for most of them to have chili, but they seemed to like it.  They were all part of the clean bowl club anyway.  I didn't make it spicy hot as I don't like lots of hot spices and the very little kids would have complained.

The kids enjoyed playing on the swings and slide that are in the yard.  I took pictures of each child and one group shot.  Since this is a borrowed computer, I will have to wait to post one until I have my computer back.  I only had one of my high school students here.  The rest are not out of school yet or could not make it today.  I measured all the kids and marked their heights on the back of my hall door.  Now to find a tape measure to figure out exactly how tall they are :).  I also wrote down their grades and class positions.

As I took them home, I handed out a small sack of goodies.  They each got some lolipops, hard candy, bubble gum, a fig newton and a small cake thing with chocolate inside that I found at one of the shops.  So, they were happy.  They will all be promoted to the next grade in January.  One student took her 8th grade test this year and will have to wait until the end of January to find out if she did well enough to get into high school.  I am hoping that she did well and can get into a good school.  Now to wait and see.

I hope you are having a great day! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Multinational Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!  Okay, I know I am a bit early, but I celebrated Thanksgiving last night with some wonderful friends.  I was the only American present, but we all entered into the spirit of Thanksgiving.  I celebrated with people from Kenya, England, and the Netherlands.  It was a great evening of fun and food.  We had many of the traditional trimmings - green bean casserole, potatoes, apple salad, pasta salad, pumpkin pie and cherry pie.  Our main course was beef kabobs and barbecue chicken.  It was all very yummy!  Our barbecue grill was made out of a semi-truck (called a lorry here) wheel rim.  It worked very well.

We spent the evening under the stars chatting about the meaning of Thanksgiving and then on to many other topics.  We talked a lot about history.  My old brain was working overtime trying to remember my history lessons about several events from by-gone years.  Thankfully, the mosquitoes were not bad and we were able to sit out in a newly designed sitting area at Theo and Kaby's house (some fellow missionaries).

I hope you are all enjoying a great week and are full of thanksgiving to our Lord for who He is and what He has done for us!  blessings to you all!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

buggy computers?


Well, I thought my computer had a virus or a glitch in its system since it is an Apple and they are not supposed to get viruses very easily.  It started having problems on Monday of this week.  So, I got creative and figured out how to get it to Nairobi without me having to fly down with it.  I had a visitor coming on Friday and an English class next week, so I didn't really have time to fly to Nairobi to get it fixed.  A very kind and trusted person agreed to take it on the flight to Kitale and then she drove it the rest of the way to Nairobi on Wednesday.  I had someone pick it up from her Thursday morning and take it to the only Apple shop in Kenya that is licensed to work on them.  I thought it was just a glitch in a downloaded update that was making my operating system have problems.  It wasn't!

I was told that it is a mechanical problem with my hard drive.  I need to replace it and not used the computer until it is replaced or I could loose everything on it.  This computer was new to me in 2008, but it was refurbished so I don't know how old it really was or what the problems might have been to made it need to be refurbished.  So, I have decided to wait and look at something new when I go back to the States for Christmas.  I will also probably get the hard drive replaced and then have an extra computer to use in my ESL class for my students.  It will help to be able to divide them up into groups with this Movie software program we just started.  So, that is the current plan.

I am currently borrowing a computer from a friend to write this blog.  I will be trying to stay as connected as possible by borrowing when I can.  God is good and has provided various people for me to visit and borrow some time on their computers this week.  My teammates who are on furlough, may have a computer here that their son used.  I am going to try to find it today and use that if I can.  So, I do have a few options.

I am having to re-do the work that I had done for my English class next week.  It was just a few worksheets, but it is discouraging since I already had them done.  I am hoping to finish that up today and tomorrow if I have access to my teammates' computer.  I am going searching shortly.  I have to return this borrowed computer in about 15 minutes.  

I hope all is well with you!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wind and Dust! Tis the season.


It is that time of year again.  It seems like it is a bit early, but it has definitely started.  Dust storm season is upon us here in Turkana land.  UGH!  Today it has been very windy.  When I look out my back window I can see a couple of houses and dust just hanging in the air.  My floors and all surfaces are coated with it.  I can wash the table and 15 minutes later need to do it again.  The noise can be quite fierce as well.

It is early in the season, so hopefully this dusty wind will slow and stop before to much longer.  Often we have the dust in the mornings but the afternoons clear up.  That is what I am hoping for today.  Why do we have these dusty days?  It is a desert and there isn't much rain or vegetation to keep the dirt on the ground where it belongs.  Usually from Nov to Feb or so, we have these storms.  Some days I can't even see the houses across the road.  Oct - Dec can be the months of the short rains, but we haven't gotten any yet this year.  So, I think that is why it seems early.  I am glad I didn't decide to do laundry today!  I have to choose those days carefully during these months :).

While many of my readers are "enjoying" the winter months, I will be "enjoying" the dusty months.  I have gotten used to them, but it can play havoc with electrical equipment.  I have learned to keep things covered as much as possible.  The creepy crawlies come out with the winds too.  Scorpions, spiders and snakes all seem to thrive in these winds.  So, I keep a lookout for them.  This dust can be a nusance, but it has a certain beauty as well.  I am reminded about Jesus' comments about the wind and the Holy Spirit during these dusty blasts.  Sometimes I am amazed at the different colors of brown and red the sky can be in the midst of and at the end of these winds.  God can use even nusance winds to create beauty in this world!

So, enjoy the season you are in.  I will endeavor to enjoy mine as well.  Stop and thank God for it and look for the blessings in the season!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hope!


My English class last week was all about "The Hope" movie.  I found this program online.  It uses a movie to teach english.  It tells the story of the Bible and has three narrators with different english accents telling the story.  It has a lot of "big" words in it, so I wasn't sure how my students would do.  There are 15 lessons that correspond with 15 parts of the movie.  So, I decided to try it and see how they would do.

They loved it!  We did the introduction and the first part of the first chapter.  The words are hard to understand, but there are several computer games and helps to help the student begin to understand the meanings of the words.  I did have a Turkana help me translate it too, so that helped a lot.  Try explaining the meaning of words like complexity, mystery, depth of human joy and pain, recorded, preserved, eternal proportions, amazingly and extraordinary in english let alone another language.  Those were a few of the words in the introduction.  They are concept words that are a bit hard to explain, but the students began to understand the ideas as we worked through the various parts of the lesson.  I was very happy with their progress.  After working through the lesson, they were happy to be able to understand the introduction during their second viewing.

When I showed them Chapter one, they got really excited.  It is about creation.  They were excited to see all the different insects and animals - especially the african ones.  Most of them have never seen these animals in person, so it was fun for them to see them and even hear some of the noises they make.  This movie has a fairly decent job of visualizing God making the earth out of nothing.  It also does well with him making Adam out of dust.  It even showed it taking place in an area with lots of sand - so they could relate to that.  :)  We will do the bulk of the lesson activities in our November class.  I am hoping we can finish chapter 1 and 2 for that class.  It will be Nov 8-13.

I am glad to have found this resource.  I am getting to the end of our current textbook and was wondering what to use next.  So, this will last for a few months as we work through the whole movie.  I am including some work with grammar for these lessons too, as they need help in using the correct forms when they speak.  I am really excited that this gives them a lot of opportunities to discuss things in class. They already know the Bible pretty well, so it is something they can talk about and really get into it.  It is also something they will need to be able to talk about and read about in the future too, as they use English Bible teaching aids.  So, I am happy with the progress made this past week and am looking forward to using this for the next few months of class.

This program comes with computer activities as part of the lesson.  I have access to two computers that I can use while teaching.  I had an educated Turkana man come and help me for a couple of days and was able to divide the students into two groups so they could do some individual (with others looking on) work.  When that man had to leave or when we were all one group, I used a projector connected to a computer to display the image on a wall and a large speaker for the sound.  It worked pretty well since the class is only 12 students right now.  As long as we have power, it will be a good class :).  I am praying that we continue to have power for the weeks of my class!  Thanks to my friends and fellow missionaries here in Lodwar (Keshule, Ali, Theo and Kaby) for helping me to get these things working correctly.  I tried to connect my TV to my computer but we couldn't get it to work in color.  It has something to do with my computer being NTSC and my TV being multi-system.  We couldn't get it to work, so I had to switch to the projector and speakers which was a bit more complicated but worked well.

How about you?  Have you tried any fun new things at work or home lately?  I would love to hear about them.  Thanks for reading my blog and for your prayers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Homecoming Uncle Larry!


Today in Indianapolis, my extended family is gathering to remember and say goodbye to my Great Uncle Larry Pottenger.  He died on September 20th and was 93 years old.  He was my Grandpa's brother (in case you don't remember what a "great uncle" is).  I wish I was there with them.  So, I will write this little blog to honor him.

Uncle Larry was a sweet and patient man with me as I was growing up.  He worked at the family nursery - Pottneger Nursery and Landscape Co.  He was a landscape architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright.  I didn't know that as a child.  I knew that he cared enough to find out what my favorite flower was.  He gave me some Lilies of the Valley to plant in our yard and spent the time to tell me how to take care of them.  (I didn't inherit the family green thumb - those flowers never did very well)  I remember dancing on his shoes when I was really little :).  He and Aunt Ellen had a beautiful house in the woods.  They even fed the racoons that would come around.  I thought that was really cool!  When I was grown and went to visit them, I discovered their house was in a neighborhood, but it still looked like the woods to me.  Maybe that was due to my uncle's landscaping artwork in his own back yard.

I found out that he designed and supervised the landscaping of the Indianapolis Zoo and the Monument Circle Tree Planting and Beautification in 1960.  He also worked on beautifying several homes and gardens in the Indianapolis area.  It is amazing the things you learn about someone after they are gone.  Even so, that wasn't the important stuff.  The important thing was that I knew he loved me.  He cared about his family and friends.  When it comes right down to it, if others can say that you loved, then that was a life well lived.  Uncle Larry loved with all his heart.

And so, today with my family, I say goodbye for now.  Have a very happy homecoming with our Lord, Uncle Larry.  Have a great reunion with your parents and Grandpa & Grandma, Uncle Dick, Aunt Doris & Uncle Johnny, and Aunt Miriam & Uncle Bill.  You all have a great big party with the Lord and when the rest of us come we will join in the celebration!

Saturday, October 16, 2010



Why is it when you make plans to do something, inevitably something else comes up and keeps you from doing it?  This week it has been one thing after another that has kept me from my plan for the week.  Okay, maybe not the whole week, but it sure seems that way looking at it from the end of the week.  I wonder what I did this week, since I didn't get done what I wanted to get done.  Do you have weeks like that?

I was supposed to work on my next english lesson.  The class is next week.  I have worked on it some, but I still feel like there is so much to do and it is Saturday night already!  One problem is that I am trying to do a movie based ESL lesson this next week.  It is a really cool program that I have had and wanted to use.  I decided to start it this next week.  It tells the story of the Bible in about 14 lessons - as a movie with ESL activities to help the students "get it."  I think I can cover one or two lessons this next week.  The biggest problem has come in trying to get my computer to sync with my TV.  I had a friend help, but we couldn't get it to show up in color.  Next option was to borrow a projector and speakers.  Of course, there were problems with getting the correct cords and making it all work together.  We finally got it done, but between the two attempts it probably took a whole day of my time.  Other days I spent doing necessary shopping, house stuff, "visiting" with random visitors who stopped by to chat and ask for my help.  In between those things I worked on the lesson.  I also spent time one day going to the "bush" and helping some teammates who were sick.  All these are good things and I wouldn't change what I did, it just means I feel a bit behind.

I feel less organized going into this lesson.  I still have time to get it ready.  The actual teaching doesn't start until Tuesday.  Even so, it is a new thing and I really wanted to spend more time getting it figured out.  I know it will work out fine - but - I am discombobulated.  So, keep me in your prayers as I try to work out the whys and hows of this next lesson.  I hope to make it a fun and encouraging week.  Pray God will help me get more organized.  I think my students will love that it is a movie.  Hopefully they will go away excited that they will be able (eventually) to watch and understand a whole movie in English.

Thanks for reading my thoughts.  I'm not complaining - just wishing for more time :)  I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where is ...?


Last week I held my 15th week long class with my English students.  We had a lot of fun learning how to give directions.  I even made up a song for them to a Turkana song tune so they could learn how to get from our school to a small grocery in town.  They enjoyed seeing how English words would fit into their Turkana song.  I made a Lodwar ABC Places booklet for them to use.  This booklet had pictures of various buildings in town.  They used these to help them decide where they wanted to go.

The students spent some time in our big classroom where I had a map of town drawn on the floor in chalk. One student gave directions while another followed them to the correct place in town.  This worked really well until one of them told his directee to take two steps and he would be there.  Since the map wasn't drawn to scale that would have been difficult for the person to do in real life :).

To help them even more, I suggested they write what they would say to someone in Turkana if they were asked to give them directions to a specific place.  We then talked about how the phrases and details they use in Turkana could be said in English.  At the end of the week, they were able to give directions to two places in town and to follow directions given to them by someone else.

This week we also talked about the simple past tense.  I made an imaginary letter from Moses to his father in law, Jethro, telling him how he got to Mt. Sinai.  The words of God were in present tense, while Moses' descriptions were in past tense.  This gave them a sense of the difference in the two tenses.  I had a couple of worksheets for them to practice using past tense and introduced them to the list of irregular verbs.  I told them they have to memorize them all and that there would be a test for the first half next month.  So, there were groans all around.  I am hoping they really spend some time on these as they are essential for using English correctly.

So, that is what happened last week.  I will post some pictures from the class for you to enjoy.  Have a blessed week this week!

Pictures of the Direction class

 Lopongo says, "is this it?"  "What do I do now?

 John is following directions to go over the bridge.  Do you like the water drawn under and around the bridge?  :)

  Let me out!

They told me I had to follow directions too.  So, they sent me to the national prison that is in Lodwar.  

Lodwar ABC places booklet

Okay, so I am a bit proud of this little booklet.  It took many hours over the course of several days and I am very happy with how it came out.  It covers the alphabet in 12 pages - of which these are two examples.  I got it bound and then had the students take it with them to the homes of the english speakers that host them for two nights in the week.  The hosts and students were able to choose from the pictures and tell how to get there from the host's home.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mark 2 class


I am posting a little late on this.  I had two weeks back to back teaching and am just now getting around to doing other things.  So, this post will be about the second half of Mark that I taught at our Turkana Bible Training Institute (TBTI).  It was the 13th through the 17th.

The class went very well.  We had 14 students this month and we covered Mark 9-16.  We spent the first day on Chapters 9 & most of 10.  It made me a bit nervous as I only have 3 teaching days and the last hour of the third day is supposed to be for reviewing the material.  We had some very good discussions about how to "earn" eternal life.  We concluded that it can't be earned or bought no matter how hard you try or how much wealth you have.  You have to receive it like a child receives a gift.  It can only be given by God.

Wednesday we did much better.  We went from the end of chapter 10 to the middle of chapter 13.  Explaining about the two events (destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Rome and the end of days) talked about in chapter 13 was interesting.  They had some problems understanding how the withered fig tree that Jesus cursed in chapter 12 was a picture of the religious leaders of the day.  So, we spent a good bit of time on that.  Then a fig tree is mentioned again in 13 so they wanted to know how it fit.  I had to explain that it was an example to show how we can know when the two events of 13 will be.  We look for the budding/ flowering of the tree to show when the fruit will come.  The same is true for the last days.  We look for the things Jesus talked about and we will know the time is near.  This was especially true for those living during the time of the fall of Jerusalem and is even true for us today.

So, Thursday we finished up with Chapters 14-16 and had time to review.  The students and I enjoyed lively discussions the whole week.  I reviewed for the test with them and then went and wrote the test.  I am happy to say that they studied better this time.  Since none of them have formal schooling, it is easy to see how they really don't know how to study.  So, this time I had 72% of the class that passed.  There was only 50% that passed when we did Mark 1-8.  I was happy with the progress :).

Next month they will have a different teacher.  I only get to teach a couple of times a year as I also have to teach the English class.  Usually, they meet the same week.  When I am teaching the TBTI class I have to have the English class another week and this increases the costs of both since they would normally share cooks, food, water and other such things.

So, that is a glimpse of a TBTI class.  I hope you had a wonderful September!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

God's blessings abound!


This has been a week of blessings.  When I arrived in Eldoret last Friday, I received a message from a fellow missionary that she would be in Eldoret for the weekend and wondered if I was anywhere close.  Wendy Wagoner works in Tanzania and we met last April.  We haven't seen each other since then.  I was so excited that God worked it out that I would be in Eldoret when she would be there and we could meet up.  It ended up that she was able to stay with me in Eldoret starting Monday and then travel with me to Nairobi.  It was very nice to have a traveling companion.  The Lord blessed both of us by working out this little connection without any planning from either of us!

Once we arrived in Nairobi, we had a wonderful evening with some Nairobi teammates.  We got to celebrate a birthday, share a meal, fellowship and have some fun.  It was a good evening and we didn't get lost on the way home!  I am directionally challenged and this was a new area of Nairobi to me.  So, it was a very good possibility that I would get lost.  Even so, we made it to our guesthouse safely with only one small miss-turn.  Friday, we had fun going out for lunch and seeing the movie Inception.  That is a good movie, but very thought provoking.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a message that I had received a nice random gift.  It was such a surprise and really did have me smiling most of the day.  We spent the day meeting up with some of Wendy's teammates from Tanzania and again celebrated a birthday.  I was able to find some ESL story books that are a bit more African that my students will understand a little better.  I also found some colorful posters for some upcoming lessons.  I don't have a lot of wall space in my classroom, but these will help brighten up the room.

Today my Wendy headed back to Tanzania with her teammates.  I was sad to see her go, but I was thankful for the time we were able to spend together.  We had a nice breakfast at Java house.  (One of the more American style restaurants in Kenya {there are only a few} that is really very good!)  Then I headed to church.  It was so nice to be able to worship in my "mother tongue!"  To top it off, we sang one of my favorite hymns at a church that normally sings mostly choruses.  Then, I had lunch with some fellow Kenya CMFers.  It was a nice time of chatting without having to talk about business and pass minutes.  We could just enjoy each other's company.

So, that is my week of blessings.  How about you?  How has the Lord shown you recently how special you are to him?  I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Robin & Update

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know that my puppy, Robin, is now doing fine.  It took him about a week and a half before he was able to walk on his leg - gingerly.  Now he is running around the yard with Batman (the other dog) and playing and doing fine.  Thanks everyone for your concern!

I am currently in Eldoret.  That is in the highlands of Kenya at 7500 ft.  It is a beautiful area.  I have been working on my next english class.  The students will be learning how to ask for and give directions.  So I am making an ABC places of Lodwar booklet.  My friend and I took some pictures around town of shops and buildings and I am putting them all in a little booklet.  The students will then have to give directions to those places from a specific place in town.  I think they will really enjoy this.  My camera doesn't have settings to take black & white pictures.  So, I am having to duplicate each picture and then make it black and white and crop it in my computer program.  That is a bit time consuming.  I have anywhere from three to five pictures for each letter.  I thought this would be a pretty quick thing, but it has taken me several hours and I am only finished through L.  I have a few more to do, but I have the hang of it now :).

Tomorrow I head to Nairobi.  I have some grocery shopping that I need to do.  I usually buy for 2-3 months at a time.  So, it takes a little time.  I also tend to shop at several stores around Nairobi as it is hard to find everything at one store.  I have a two day meeting with all the Kenya CMF missionaries next Thursday and Friday.  After that, I will be headed back home to Turkana.   So, that is a bit of an update from here.  What have you been up to lately?  Have a great day and I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Election Adventure!

The Edapal family.

Kenya had an election last week. The people had to vote on if they wanted the new constitution or not. It had the potential to be chaotic like the last presidential election, but thankfully it was peaceful. Due to the potential for problems, I stayed home on election day. I stayed home that is, until I got a phone call asking for help. My fellow missionaries Keshule (Kay -shoe-lay), Ali, Ben, Chloe(with two dots over the e) and Lydia Edapal live around the corner from me. They work with a mission called "That mission." It stands for True Hope And Transformation. You can find them at

Anyway, Ali called me around 10:15 p.m. to tell me that Keshule's truck wouldn't start. He was driving the election officials back from a couple of polling stations outside of town. She asked if I could help go get them and tow him if necessary. He was close to town - only 5 kilometers or so from the west side of town. That is a little over 3 miles. So, I said sure and we left their house around 10:30 for a trip of about 12 miles round trip. We all live on the southeast side of town. Neither one of us knew where we were going. We were relying on directions given to us from Keshule and the election officials shouting at him to tell us this or that.

Needless to say, we got lost! I have never been out to the West of Lodwar and it was a very dark night. There was no moon and few stars to light the way. I really miss street lights on nights like this! The roads are dirt and you have to watch for potholes. Anyway, we went the wrong way at a fork in the road. We turned around and found a couple of Turkana to help us. They also told us the wrong way. We think they were just looking for a ride home :). Finally, we saw a lorry (a big truck - no trailer) coming towards us and I stopped. Ali jumped out of the truck and went to ask them if we were on the right road. Alas, we were not. One of the ladies in the full to overflowing truck was a clerk from the election out that way. She agreed to go with us and show us the way. We basically had to go all the way back to town and then take the other fork of the road. We were given landmarks that we didn't know and names of places that we couldn't read the signs on, so I think we had a good reason for being a bit lost. We were at least in the correct area :).

During all this time, Ali was talking to Keshule on the phone. People were yelling at him and Ali was getting stressed. Ali is British by the way. So, at one point she just said to me - "He's got his knickers in a twist" and wouldn't answer the phone when he called. I laughed out loud at that. I was having fun. I was just the driver listening to all that was going on so I wasn't near as stressed as she was. I am sure she had a hard time not slugging me when I laughed like that. Anyway, the lady helped us get to Keshule and I towed his truck, him, the police guard and the election boxes back to town. Ali and I had the rest of the passengers in the truck with us. The police guard was very upset with Keshule because of the broken down truck. Keshule later told us that he was afraid things were going to get violent, but the other election people calmed down the police guard.

When we got to town, we left Kesule and the truck and took the guard and the rest of the people to the campaign offices. I am not exactly sure the name of the place, but it was up on the top of a steep hill where most of the government offices are in town. I didn't want to try towing his truck up that hill. So, we dropped off the people and the two sealed but transparent election boxes (one for yes and one for no). Then we went back to town where we left Keshule and towed him home. I got home around 12:30 am. So, it took 2 hours to go 12 miles, but it was a success and it was fun.

This was a real adventure! It was very dark and we didn't know the way. The road had holes that came up unexpectedly. We were looking around trying to spot places we didn't know in the daylight much less in the dark. I have never towed a vehicle for that long. Their truck is a land cruiser. Mine is a hilux. Mine is a small pickup and theirs is the next size up vehicle that Toyota makes. So, it is bigger than mine and I wasn't sure about towing it that far. We did fine, but I wondered about it. At one point in the towing, I had to stop because I heard a horrendous noise coming from my front right tire (passenger side here). Ali and I in our hurry to get to Keshule did not bring a flashlight. So, I had to try to find the problem with no light. I did find it eventually. It was a stick about a yard and a half long that was stuck between the tire and the frame of the truck. It took a bit of maneuvering to get it out, but then we were on our way again.

In all of that, we had a lot of help. The two men we picked up who gave us wrong directions were happy to help us (even though they knew as much as us about where we were going). The lorry was happy to stop. They made sure we had someone to go with us that knew the way. They even watched us to make sure we got to the right road to get back to where we needed to be. (I am sure they wondered about these two white women out on their own at night and just wanted to help "those crazy white women!) The other election people calmed the guard who wanted to hurt Keshule. They were all gracious to us about getting lost (after they told us we didn't do what we were told). They pointed out the landmarks they had given us on the way back to town. They even acknowledged that you couldn't see any of the signs for those landmarks in the dark. So, what would have been a short trip with no adventure turned out to be great fun and gave me a glimpse of the way elections work here in this country. I even got a nice hearty laugh in the midst of it. :) Keshule was able to find the problem with his truck and fix it without a big expense too!

All in all, it was a great adventure and I thank the Lord for letting me experience it. What about you? Have you had any adventures lately? Why don't you comment and let me know about one. I would love to hear from you!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Robin & budgets


Yesterday was not a good day. It was a Sunday and all was well until I started to go to church. Normally, that is good thing. Yesterday, it was bad as my puppy decided to run under the back wheel of my truck as I was starting to back up. Thankfully, I was not going very fast so I didn't run over him completely. I moved forward as soon as I heard him yelping and jumped out of the truck to go investigate. It looks like he got his right back leg caught under the part of the tire. Remember I live in what seems like the middle of nowhere and this is especially true when something like this happens!

So, I didn't make it to church. There is a vet who lives near-by, but he was not home. I had a Turkana man who works with goats and dogs come look at Robin. He got to feel his foot, elbow (I don't know the technical term - but elbow seems right) and upper back leg, but Robin would not let him touch his hip. So, I was afraid that the hip might be fractured. I asked my facebook friends for help in figuring out what I could give him for pain. In the evening I finally got a hold of a vet in Eldoret (a days drive away) and he told me I could give a very small dose of ibuprofen for swelling and pain, but only for 3 days as it is not good for dogs. So, I had to wait until today to find out anything else.

Today, I went to the district office of veterinary medicine and found two doctors. I have gone here before and found a vet, but he was afraid of dogs and didn't want to come. This time, they both were willing to come and look at the dog. They told me I would have to find something to tie his mouth shut and I would have to do the tying. Otherwise, they were willing to see what they could do. They have no medicines for animals - other than a few vaccines for rabies and some for a goat illness. So, they didn't have any better pain meds for Robin. When they got to the house, they saw Robin favoring his leg and not putting weight on it. Then he laid down on the leg that was sore. This is the first and only time I have seen him do this since the accident! They decided from this, that there was no fracture and that he would heal on his own. Of course, when Robin got up from lying on that leg, he made a big yelp of pain because he had to use the leg more than was good for it. So, I haven't seen him lay on it again today. At any rate, Robin is going to get better. I can give him ibuprofen until tomorrow and then he has to handle the pain on his own.

After running around with the vets this morning, I had to work on my budget for next year. For those of you who don't know me very well, I hate number crunching. I can do it and do fine, I just hate doing it. So, I usually procrastinate extra hard on doing my books or budget. I put it off until the very last minute because I don't like doing it! This year, I didn't have much choice as I was teaching right up to the time I needed to get it done. I could have worked on it Saturday, but I was tired from teaching and I knew I would have today. So, I had to get it done today. Our team is having a meeting tomorrow to approve budgets for next year. It had to be done today and I wasn't planning on having to deal with a hurt puppy! I am happy to say that I got it done and all is well. I am going to watch the winter olympics tonight as a reward. I am on the second day of competition. I just got the DVD's in June and am just now getting to see them. So, don't spoil it for me if you can remember back that far as to who wins what medals :). So far in what I have seen, the U.S. has gotten a gold medal in women's mogul jumping and 2 medals in short track speed skating.

I hope all is well with all of you! I also hope that if you procrastinate on some things, that you get them done when they need to be done in spite of unexpected happenings! Have a blessed day!

Doctor, Doctor give me the news!


This past week I held my 14th English class. I have 12 students that come on a fairly regular basis now. The students don't get much practice at home, but when they come to town I make sure they have plenty of opportunities to talk. This class was focused on health care treatments and visiting the doctor. The students had a great time at the end of the week. They had to divide into groups and put on plays. Each skit had a doctor and three or four patients. In this picture you see the doctor trying to read the thermometer. This doctor had quite the time doing this. Most of the time he had the bulb of the thermometer sticking up in the air and tried to read it that way. It was very funny. My students have a sense of humor and they enjoy getting to try it out in English :).

I tried something a little new this time as well. I had the students listen to a story. I read the first "Magic Tree House" story to them. These books are written for early readers so my students should be able to read them on their own at some point in the near future. This particular story is about two kids who go back in time by way of a magic tree house that they find in the woods near their home. They went back to the time of dinosaurs. So, I had to explain to the class about dinosaurs and fossils before we got into the story. I also had to explain that the story was fiction so most of it was not true. They enjoyed the story and even laughed in appropriate places. So, I think they understood a good part of it. Of course, I tried to act along as I read it and I did handout some pictures from the book and showed them the rest. They asked for the next story - so I guess I will be trying to read one of these for the next class as well. The next book is about knights and castles. So, that should be fun and a bit familiar since we just studied about armor in our last lesson.

All in all, I think it was a good week of class. I enjoyed seeing how the students put their skits together and used the words they had learned this week. They enjoyed getting to be a bit funny and still learn their lesson. I hope you had a good week too! blessings!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mark Class


Sorry, but I am cheating and back dating this post. I taught the first half of Mark last week (July 16-20). The class went well. This is the first time I taught this group of students. There are about 14 students in the class. They did pretty well at discussing the various points in the first 8 chapters. We got to talking so much, that we got behind schedule and I was worried that we wouldn't finish the full 8 chapters by Thursday afternoon. We had to stay in class a little longer at tea break and lunch time on Thursday but we managed to finish the lesson by 4:15 so they could have some time to review for the test.

I really enjoy teaching this class. This is one of the first classes where the students are expected to take the answers from the text that they just read. So, it was a struggle at first to get them to look for the answers in Mark. Many of them came up with answers from other gospels or from other parts of the New Testament. I had to keep saying, "well, that might be true in Matthew (or wherever) but that is not what Mark says. What does Mark say?" After the first day, they were beginning to think - I bet the answer is in what we just read and then gave the appropriate answers. So, it takes time, but they eventually get it. It is my hope that they will take this and use it when they are teaching in their home churches.

The class did really well in discussions, but are still learning how to study. So, when test time came, I thought I gave them an easy test. Alas, half of them did not pass. So, I tried to encourage them and told them that they can do better. We will see in September when they come back for the second half of the book of Mark. I am looking forward to seeing how they do and to hearing what they think.

I hope you have had a good week!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The road to Lodwar


I bounced and jounced and rumbled and bumbled my way home today. I traveled from Eldoret to Lodwar. The road has deteriorated with the rains that we got in May. So, it took 9 hours instead of the normal (lately) 8 hours. When I first came in 1996, the road was wonderful. We could travel from Eldoret to Lodwar in about 4 or 5 hours - including a longish stop for lunch along the road. Now, we barely stop to eat a sandwich and are back on the road & it still takes 9 hours. It is only about 280 miles. Ugh!

This is a picture of the road - no I did not turn the camera. This is the angle we drive to have the least amount of bumps. That little strip in the center is the last of the pavement. Many places there is no pavement left at all. Imagine 9 hours on something like this - and no gas stations for potty breaks :). Just thought I'd let you see a little of what I am complaining about :). Actually, I am glad there is a way to get between the two points, I just wish it was a smoother way! Have a great day!!

P.S. FYI - to post those 2 pictures yesterday it took me almost 2 1/2 hours. This one only took about 15 minutes. The internet is slow here and worse in Eldoret (they say because there are too many trees - how can that be???)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beauty of Eldoret

Here are couple plants in the yard in Eldoret.

A Poinsettia tree. Who would ever think that that little plant in the pot at Christmas would grow into a tree? Eldoret is very different from the desert! There are flowers, trees and lots of green grass all over here. It is good for my soul to see green, growing things and the flowers are just amazing! What an imagination our God has!!!!

Last couple weeks


The last couple weeks have been a bit busy. I had to travel to Nairobi for a team meeting. We had to make some decisions about how to get our office things in Nairobi done for the future. Our business administrator and his family are not returning to Kenya because of fund raising problems. It is always hard for administrators to raise money because people have a hard time seeing how that is mission work. However, I really appreciate those who have filled this role for me. It allows me to spend much more time in Turkana. I don't have to be in Nairobi to file for my work permit, or turn in forms explaining what I am doing here in Kenya and a myriad of other things that take so much time away from my being in Turkana.

So, we had to meet in order to figure out how to get these administrative things done without each of us having to take turns working in Nairobi. I think we have a good solution for now and hope that it will work for the long term. After that meeting, I had to go to a government building to get fingerprinted. I have to do this every two years to get my work permit renewed. This is for my "alien registration" card. You have to reapply for this every time your work permit expires. So, every two years I have to come to Nairobi and do this. Then I spent a couple days doing some grocery shopping and restocking for July and August in Turkana.

This week I have been in Eldoret. It is in the highlands of Kenya and about half-way between Lodwar and Nairobi. Our team splits the rent on a house here so we have a place to stay when we travel between the two places. I spent the week running errands, paying bills, getting dogs vaccinated at the vet and preparing fresh vegetables to be frozen so I can have some veggies in Turkana besides onions, cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes. My list of things to do was very long, but I have finished almost everything. I am looking forward to a little rest tomorrow before I have to head home to Lodwar on Monday. Pray for my trip as the road is long and horrid!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Its class time!


It is time for another English class. This week we are talking about toiletries and aches, pains and injuries. I am bringing in some personal hygiene samples for the students to try out. They use sticks from the esokon tree to brush their teeth. This tree has been tested and it has a high concentration of flouride in it and this actually helps the Turkana keep their teeth. So, most of them have never used a toothbrush and toothpaste as we do. I am also giving samples of deodorant, soap, a razor, a comb, shampoo and a washcloth. They just use regular soap to wash their hair. So, they will have some knowledge of the words they are trying to learn.

After I teach about toiletries, I will have a Bible study lesson on being washed. My Bible passages will be Psalms 51:2-7; Isaiah 1:16; I Corinithians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22 and Revelation 1:5. (Look them up and see if you can guess what I will be highlighting.) After the study we will take a field trip two doors down at the school to the Library. There I will show them how to use a concordance. After that, I will attempt to teach them the hymn "Are you Washed In the Blood?" I think this will be a fun Bible study and uses some of the themes from this lesson on hygiene and past lessons on cleaning garments.

Next we will move on to aches, pains and injuries. We will discuss the ones listed in the dictionary for us and the ones that are common here. Next month we talk about treatments and going to the doctor, so this is preparing them to talk about their symptoms and complaints when they get there. Their town assignment will be to go to town to one of the clinics or the main hospital and talk with two people about their complaints. They will have to speak in Turkana, but then translate it into English and report back to the class.

The "ugh" part of this week's lesson is that I have to review the simple present, present continuous, and simple past verb tenses. I also have to teach simple future tense. I don't like teaching grammar because I never liked studying it! So, I am asking one of my educated Turkana friends to come alongside me on that day and help me make sure the students understand. I am told it is good to have a non-native speaker teach grammer as they understand better how to explain it than someone who learned it at their momma's knees. I am giving them lots of worksheets for practice. Hopefully that will help them not think grammer is "Ugh" or not fun.

Well, that is what I am doing this week. What about you?

Friday, June 11, 2010

At the "Bible House"


On Wednesday, I went to a women's Bible study. The ladies wanted to dedicate a little church. One of the "Internally displaced people" (IDP for short) from the 2008 election chaos built a little building to be used for Bible studies and prayer meetings. Her name is Margret Nangiro. She calls it her "Bible House." It is actually bigger than her house.

Anyway, I went for the Bible Study and the prayer time. We spent time singing praise songs in Turkana and some Swahili. I didn't know the Swahili songs, but I could hum along. The songs are all very lively in both languages and it makes you want to clap and dance along. We had a good time praising the Lord. After the Bible study, Margret served chai. That is hot tea with milk and lots of sugar to all the ladies. She had to save up to buy the sugar. It was very yummy! Afterwards, I took pictures of all the little kids that showed up. They were very attentive and sang along with the songs. There were about 25 kids along with the 13 ladies, 2 men and myself in this little "Bible House." We were packed like sardines, but a good time was had by all! :)

I just figured out how to post pictures so I will try to post two for this blog. One of the ladies in the Bible house and one of the kids outside by my truck. They were all in the prayer and worship time! Margret is the tall, black lady ( :>} ). She is wearing the green & purple shirt in the back row on the right. Enjoy and I hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



Yesterday it took me 12 hours to go 280 miles. I thought I was making good time until I was about an hour and half away from home. Then it started raining really hard. I made it through about four riverbed crossings that had a little water in them and then came to one I could not cross. I had to wait an hour and twenty minutes for that river to go down enough so I could cross it. Our road from Kitale to Lodwar has about 44 crossings through normally dry riverbeds. There are a few other places where the road has washed out because of rain, but these are the "official" river crossings. So, I got to one of these and it had more water in it than I cared to cross. There was a rushing, raging river where there is normally only sand and a cement slab.

It had taken me about seven hours to get to that point. So, I got out of the truck and went and chatted with the other drivers as we waited for the river to go down. There was a big truck there and 3 hiluxes (that is what my truck is). The big truck finally decided to try it and made it across. Then the bigger trucks on the other side crossed. It was the turn of the smaller trucks, but the other drivers were afraid. So I decided to lead the charge and went through with no problems.

I drove another five minutes and had to stop again. This river crossing was even fuller and had many more vehicles waiting to cross. The other two hiluxes from the previous crossing waited about twenty minutes more before crossing and then joined the rest of us at the second river. There were three seasonal rivers emptying into the main river just above where the road was. So, I waited there for almost two hours for the water to get low enough for us to cross. It had stopped raining where we were, but the rain was still coming upstream so we all had to wait. While there, I had some interesting conversations with some of the other drivers and passengers. We all got to watch the power of that raging river. It uprooted two trees on the banks and carried them away as if they weighed nothing. It is good to be reminded from time to time how powerful nature can be!

Then the big semi's finally decided to cross. They did fine and the bigger trucks followed suit. A couple of hiluxes had crossed from the other direction so I got in line behind some of the land cruisers and other smaller trucks. Four vehicles before I was to cross and a police land cruiser found a hole in the cement as he was crossing. He got stuck and as he was trying to get it out, it looked like he was going to go over the edge and get swept away. We all had some tense moments as we watched and many yelled advice at him. Finally he was able to get straightened out and didn't stall and got across. So, then people were nervous again and one of the three trucks in front of me decided to get out of line. The others were all bigger land cruisers with their exhaust pipes up in the air. My exhaust pipe comes out at the bottom of my truck. If the water gets into it and backs up to the engine then you stall out and are at the mercy of the river.

I decided to go ahead and cross since two hiluxes had already made it before the police truck had problems. So, I unbuckled my seat belt (for easier jumping out if there were problems :} ), said a quick prayer and took off - trying to stay away from the hole and yet still stay on the cement road slab. As I came up out of the water on the other side, the people waiting to cross were cheering. It was kind of funny, but it was good to have made it across with no problems at all. Thank the Lord for his protection, 4 wheel drive and new tires!! By the time I made it across that river it was about 6:30 and getting dark.

This road is not the best road in the world (an understatement of many magnitudes). There are more holes than pavement. So, it is not fun trying to drive it in the dark. Headlights work, but they often get misaligned so that you can't see very well. This happens as the vehicles bounce down the road. Thankfully, the next 15 or so riverbeds were either dry or only had a few puddles in them and we didn't have to stop again for rivers. Even so, the last hour and a half was not a fun trip. I was quite tense by the time I made it home. I left Eldoret at 8 AM and didn't arrive in Lodwar until a little after 8 PM. So, it was a very long day. Thankfully, my passenger's (Keshule Edapal) wife was waiting for us. Ali had prepared a very nice dinner for us. So, I didn't have to try to figure out what to eat once I made it home. That was a real blessing!! Keshule and Ali are fellow missionaries to the Turkana people. Keshule had taken a vehicle to Nairobi to be sold. He made it back to Eldoret and then was able to ride back to Turkana with me. He was a real help and encourager when we had to cross the rivers!

After a quick but very nice dinner of chicken, peas, carrots, rice and cabbage, I made my way home. I unloaded only the things that had to go into the fridge and freezer and left the rest for this morning. I was so tired that once I got things put away and got cleaned up a bit, I went straight to bed. It was a nice end to a very long day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eldoret "fun"


I made it to Eldoret on Saturday. I did the math and found out that it is about 280 miles from Lodwar to Eldoret. It took me a little over 8 hours to make the trip. I had four Turkana men traveling with me this time. They all wanted to come to Eldoret and heard I was coming. I needed at least one to travel with me to help in case I have any problems on the road, but this was a bit more than normal. Even so, we had a good trip. There were only a few spots in the road that were wet. The two places that could have caused problems were passable in 4 wheel drive. So, over all it was a good trip. I am still a bit sore from all the bouncing but that is pretty normal. Aleve is my friend :).

My week in Eldoret is going slowly. Actually the week isn't going slowly, but what I am getting done is going slowly. It has taken two days to get my truck inspected, serviced and some small repairs done. I thought it might all be done in a day or a day and a half, but it took longer to do the welding under my hood. So, I didn't get the truck back until about 4:30 this afternoon. That leaves getting tires for tomorrow and then I can go do all the other errands that need done.

I discovered last night that I forgot my checkbook in Lodwar. I usually pay for my tires with a check so I worried through the night - waking up around 5 AM thinking about how I was going to pay for the tires that I need to get. I did find out this morning that I can pay with my ATM card from my Kenyan bank. So, that is a relief. It isn't a credit card, but it says Visa on it and I had heard that you could use it like a debit card, but had never tried it. So, I am happy that little problem is solved so maybe I can sleep through the night tonight :).

While I am here in town, I will be trying to get several things done for the house here and do some shopping for things in Turkana. I also need to work a little on my next lesson so I can get some copies made here. They are half the price here in Eldoret from what they cost in Lodwar. So, I try to do them here when I can. So, the rest of the week will be busy trying to get those things done. Please pray with me that things go smoothly and that I am able to get it all done. I am now planning on leaving on Monday to go home to Lodwar since things have taken a bit longer than anticipated. I am hoping for a little rest in there too :).

How are things in your neck of the woods? I hope all is well!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This week's ESL class & prayer requests


I sent my students to town today. Their assignment was to find 5 people wearing or carrying accessories. These include jewelry, hats, phones, glasses, scarfs and other things. They were also asked to ask people what brand of soap they use to wash their clothes. They will bring a report tomorrow morning. I hope to find them using more complete sentences in describing the people and the accessories.

The students also spent the last two nights in the homes of English speakers here in town. They enjoyed the time away from the school and they got some good practice in. Their hosts spent time with them and taught them a few things too! I think this has been a good experience and look forward to hearing what the hosts thought about it. Hopefully, we will do this again next month.

We will end class early tomorrow. I need to travel down to Eldoret so I can get my truck inspected. The annual inspection ran out at the end of April. The road was impassable in April so I have to go down now. Therefore, class will end after lunch. That will give me time to pack and get ready to leave early Saturday morning. Please pray for my trip. The recent rain has really messed up the road. So, it could be a challenging trip. Pray also that I have no problems with my truck. I need to get new tires on this trip. I have been getting too many flats lately. I can't get tires here in Lodwar, so I will get them once I get to Eldoret. It has rained three times this week. That is really good for Turkana, but not so good for the road :). So, pray for safety for this trip and no getting stuck in mud! Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Laundry day ESL song


Here is a little song I came up with to help my students remember what they do when the wash their clothes. I hope you enjoy it. It goes to the tune of some song that I can't remember the name of, but I a sure you will figure it out :)

This is how I wash my clothes …Wash my clothes … Wash my clothes. This is how I wash my clothes here on laundry day.

First I have to sort the clothes … Sort the clothes …Sort the clothes. First I have to sort the clothes so white doesn’t go pink!

Then I have to scrub the clothes … Scrub the clothes … Scrub the clothes. Then I have to scrub the clothes with water and soap.

Next I get to rinse the clothes … Rinse the clothes … Rinse the clothes. Next I get to rinse the clothes in clean water.

Then I have to wring the clothes … Wring the clothes … Wring the clothes. Then I have to wring the clothes so the water comes out.

Next I get to hang the clothes … Hang the clothes … Hang the clothes. Next I get to hang the clothes to dry on the line.

Then I must fold the clothes … Fold the clothes … Fold the clothes. Then I must fold the clothes when they are dry.

Sometimes I will iron the clothes … Iron the clothes … Iron the clothes. Sometimes I will iron the clothes to get the wrinkles out.

Then I must put them away … Put them away … Put them away. Then I must put them away to finish laundry day.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yikes! Snake!


(FYI, I dated this for the morning it happened instead of for when I am writing it.)

Life is certainly interesting here in Turkana. I woke up this morning and stepped out of my bedroom door to find a dead snake in the hallway. My cat - Chewy - short for Chushanrishathaim (look it up in the Bible) - managed to kill the said snake sometime the night before. I heard him making noise in the hall around 10 pm Thursday night. When I went out to check and found the rug outside the door was all in a bunch. I stepped over it and proceeded to check on the cat. He seemed fine and wasn't in any way following anything - but he was laying in the hall. So, I again stepped over the rug and went back into my bedroom and went to bed.

The next morning the rug was still messed up. Just a few inches away was the remains of a snake. I admit that I stopped and stared in shock for a little bit before I proceeded to think - chewy! I spent about 10 minutes trying to locate him fearing that he had been bitten and crawled off to some hidden place to lick his wounds or die. I must say that my imagination was running away with me at that point and I was really quite anxious for my kitty! Thankfully I found him sleeping and he didn't appear to have been hurt. He just looked at me like he was thinking -"why did you wake me up I was having such a nice dream!"

A little later, after I made a lot of Chewy and praised him for his fine warrior kitty abilities, I went and examined the remains of the snake. It was in two pieces. Maybe cats have heard you need to separate the head from the body too - who knows. I think one of the smaller pieces was the head, but it was all mangled so I couldn't really tell. I was a biology major in college and found it quite interesting (only because I knew it was dead and couldn't hurt me!). Anyway, I swept it all up into my dustpan and took it outside to show my guard. He proceeded to tell me that it was an "areal" (are-ray-al - like short for Albert). Translated that is a puff adder - a very poisonous snake.

So, I experienced the creeps at the sight of a dead snake in my house, anxiety for my cat who had killed it and then praises for God's protection all in the space of a few minutes after waking up. Life isn't always so interesting here. I must say I am glad about that!

So, how was your day???

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Clothing class

Hello again!

I promised an update on my last class in March but my vacation postponed that update. So, my last English class was all about clothing. The students learned a lot of nouns and some adjectives to describe clothes. I brought in samples of most of the things they were learning. It was a little hard to find pantyhose here in the desert so they had to imagine those :).

We played some games to help them learn the words. In one game, a student had to tell his partner where on a grid to place the picture of the clothing item. Then his partner did the same until the grid was filled. The students enjoyed this game and it gave them a chance to say the words in a non-threatening game. We also had a fashion show day. I let each student go through the items I brought and pick out an outfit and put it on. The other students then had to describe what they were wearing. These guys were fearless! They picked out the most outlandish things they could find and matched them together. It was quite comical and we all had a good time trying to describe them.

For their final project they worked in groups. This is the first time they have done something like this. They had to go to town and find out the prices of clothing items. Then, they came back to class and worked in groups to come up with the name of a clothing shop, decide what they would sell and make a flyer advertising the prices of their clothes. They had some initial problems understanding what they were to do, but once they did, I got some very nice looking flyers. I think they will be even better if I try this again in the future.

Part of our class time we spent looking at some Scripture talking about the clothing Christians should wear. I had them draw the armor of the Lord. That was interesting to see their idea of what armor looks like. I am hunting for a book on armor so I can show them some of these things for our next class. We talked about what it might mean to put on Christ. They stuggled for the english words, but they were able to give some pretty good answers.

Our next class is May 10th. We will continue some of the clothing theme and move on to some accessories and body parts. I haven't got the lesson all planned out yet, but I am hoping to include some more Scriptures on things we are to put on as Christians. I am also working to find some Kenyan volunteers to host my students for two nights of this week of class. I need 12 people or families that would be willing to host them and speak with them in English. You can be in prayer that I am able to find some people willing to help them practice what they know.

Clothing class

Hello again!

I promised an update on my last class in March but my vacation postponed that update. So, my last English class was all about clothing. The students learned a lot of nouns and some adjectives to describe clothes. I brought in samples of most of the things they were learning. It was a little hard to find pantyhose here in the desert so they had to imagine those :).

We played some games to help them learn the words. In one game, a student had to tell his partner where on a grid to place the picture of the clothing item. Then his partner did the same until the grid was filled. The students enjoyed this game and it gave them a chance to say the words in a non-threatening game. We also had a fashion show day. I let each student go through the items I brought and pick out an outfit and put it on. The other students then had to describe what they were wearing. These guys were fearless! They picked out the most outlandish things they could find and matched them together. It was quite comical and we all had a good time trying to describe them.

For their final project they worked in groups. This is the first time they have done something like this. They had to go to town and find out the prices of clothing items. Then, they came back to class and worked in groups to come up with the name of a clothing shop, decide what they would sell and make a flyer advertising the prices of their clothes. They had some initial problems understanding what they were to do, but once they did, I got some very nice looking flyers. I think they will be even better if I try this again in the future.

Part of our class time we spent looking at some Scripture talking about the clothing Christians should wear. I had them draw the armor of the Lord. That was interesting to see their idea of what armor looks like. I am hunting for a book on armor so I can show them some of these things for our next class. We talked about what it might mean to put on Christ. They struggled for the english words, but they were able to give some pretty good answers.

Our next class is May 10th. We will continue some of the clothing theme and move on to some accessories and body parts. I haven't got the lesson all planned out yet, but I am hoping to include some more Scriptures on things we are to put on as Christians. I am also working to find some Kenyan volunteers to host my students for two nights of this week of class. I need 12 people or families that would be willing to host them and speak with them in English. You can be in prayer that I am able to find some people willing to help them practice what they know.

Happy Birthday to me!


Sorry for the long delay in getting back to my blog. In short, I have been on vacation. My birthday is in early April. So, I decided to take a week long vacation at the beach. I went for a retreat with some other missionaries and took a few extra days to enjoy the beauty of God's creativity with the ocean. I was able to go snorkeling one day and really enjoyed the variety and blazing colors of the fish and sea life. The Indian ocean is nice and clear and has a white sandy beach. It is a beautiful place to relax and contemplate God's goodness!

After my week at the beach, I was going to shop in Nairobi for a day or two and then fly home to Turkana. Alas, there were no flights until the end of the next week. So, I had to spend some time enjoying the sights and sounds of Nairobi. Visiting with fellow missionaries, eating out, eating in some meals I didn't cook, seeing some movies, window shopping, and just generally enjoying my time there. It was a nice unexpected little holiday added on to the planned one.

So, now I am home and ready to jump back into normal life. It was good to be away, but I am happy to be home, to catch up with friends and to get back to work. Oh, I forgot to say that I enjoyed a special blessing while in Nairobi. I found canned Dr. Pepper! I haven't seen it in the stores since the end of 2008. So, this was a real treat! God is really good to his children - a nice vacation, extra time in Nairobi and Dr. Pepper. Happy Birthday Lynn :).

Friday, March 26, 2010

The challenges of English Class and Rain!


This has been a very good week! We got rain last Friday. Then it rained again a little on Tuesday night and then for about four hours on Wednesday. We also got rain Friday morning. So, while I was teaching my English class we had rain several times. This was very nice, but also created a few challenges.

Challenge #1 - Our building is made for the heat of Turkana. It is a very nice building and serves our needs very well. When it rains, however, the rain can come in the windows. We can shut the windows, but many of them are lacking the glass that would make this affective. This usually is not a problem since we get rain so seldom. So, we improvised in my classroom. We tied a mat woven from palm leaves over the window to keep the rain from coming in the room. This cut down on the amount of light in the room, but kept us a bit more dry. The mat is what the Turkana people make to sleep on at their homes.

Challenge #2 - When you get rain for a couple of days in a row, that means there hasn't been much sun. Our building has solar panels and batteries to supply some electricity. When we tied the mat to the window, we cut down the amount of light coming into the classroom. So, that meant we had to use the light in the classroom. Thankfully, we got enough sun on Tuesday to power our lights for the 4 hours it rained on Wednesday morning. The lights had been used the night before too, so there was some question in my mind about having the power to do that. But, God is good and the light lasted until the sun came out again.

Challenge #3 - Our building has a nice tin roof. There isn't much between that tin and our classroom - just a thin ceiling panel. So, when the rain came down hard it made quite a racket on the roof and in the classroom. Today I had to yell the words to a story we were reading. Thankfully, the hard rain only lasted a half hour or so today, so we made it through and I didn't loose my voice. On Wednesday, we were playing a gap game, so the students were able to talk loudly to each other and be understood. So, we managed even with the racket over and around us.

Challenge #4 - When it rains, the desert gets cold. Okay, you might not think that 73 degrees or so is cold. However, if you lived in the desert and were used to 98 - 100 degrees, then 73 degrees would be cold. Although, I loved the coolness of the rain, my students were very cold. So, they were huddled in their seats while it rained. They didn't turn blue, but they were quite cold. A couple of them got their light blankets that they use when sleeping and wrapped up in them. Of course, it didn't help that most all of them were a little damp from getting wet in the rain walking from the dinning area to the classroom. It isn't far, but when it is raining hard, you can get very wet very quickly. The good news was that the student were very alert since they were cold :).

Yes, rain brings challenges! Even so, it is such a blessing here. Each time my students prayed - even when cold and wet, they thanked the Lord for the rain. It even gave me an opportunity to ask them about the rain here. They were able to explain in English why the rain is such a good thing for them and their animals. I was very happy to be able to hold this fairly long conversation with them in English. This month marks the one year mark since our class began. This was our 11th class. Each class is only one week long, so they are doing very well. I was happy to see them communicate - a little disjointed, but they got their points across. So, the rain is a blessing even with its challenges!

Have a great week! I will make another post soon giving a bit more detail on the actual class :).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rain! & bugs!


It rained Friday for about four hours. Praise the Lord! We badly needed the rain. I am looking forward to seeing some new green shoots in the coming days. I am not looking forward to the bugs. Whenever it rains, we get an invasion of bugs. I think they must hide out in the sand and wait for the rain to come. The rain is their signal that life is livable for them so they hatch and come join the rain dance party.

Okay, that might be a little far fetched but it might have some basis in fact too. I haven't studied them enough to know, but I do know that they always come after the rain. They stay around for a week or two and if there is no more rain then they quietly go away. In the meantime, I spend a few nights with very few lights on in my house. They tend to like light and manage to get in the house around even the best screens. Even without lights, they do still manage to make their way into the house - just not as many.

Is this a complaint? Not really. I know we need the rain, so how can I really complain? It could also be that these bugs provide life for those new green shoots or maybe carry their seeds around so that when the next rain comes, there will be new green shoots. God is amazing in the way he has made our world! So, I am happy for the rain and if I am not happy for the bugs, I do not want them to go away completely. I would like them to stay out of the house. So, I keep the lights low and praise the Lord for the rain :).

What about you all? Have you danced the "happy it is raining" dance lately? How about the "happy its snowing" dance? Okay, maybe the "happy it is sunny" dance. Whatever your weather, give thanks the the Lord who made our world and enjoy what you have been given.

Have a great day! Pray for more rain here and pray for me as I prepare for my next English class this coming week. I am teaching about clothes. It should be an interesting week. I hope yours is too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Home again, home again...

jigity jig! Flying is nicer and faster than going in a rig!


Sorry about the rhyme, I just couldn't resist :). I flew down to Nairobi last week and returned to Lodwar today. It was a nice break and didn't include the bone/ body jarring two day drive that I normally take to get to Nairobi in my truck. When we flew over Lodwar, we saw many puddles of standing water. Praise the Lord, it rained for about 6 hours on Thursday!!!!!

The rain is wonderful and we need more, but please also pray for the people who will be getting sick with Malaria because of the increase of habitat for the mosquitos. The rain has been needed so badly and I am so grateful for it!! I pray that even more will come during this normal rainy season so that the people and animals can recover the drought of the past years.

Praise the Lord with me for the rain!!!!! Pray for more and for the health of the Turkana people too :)!

Saturday, February 27, 2010



This just in .... It is raining in Lodwar. I am in Nairobi right now
so I am missing it again! Oh well, I am just glad that it is
raining. So far it isn't much, but every little bit helps! So,
Praise the Lord with me for the rain and ask him to keep it coming :).

Friday, February 26, 2010

unusual sight :)


This is just a short note. Yesterday as I was stuck in Nairobi
traffic, I noticed something I don't see everyday. There was a small
truck next to me that was carrying some tin roofing sheets. These
stuck out behind the end of the truck. At home, we would see some red
bandana or some such thing tied to the items hanging over the end.
Here, that is not normal at all. Usually there is nothing. This
truck was unique.

This truck had stuck some branches from a fuchsia plant on each side
that was sticking out the back end of the truck. This resulted in
some bright pink flowers serving to tell other motorists about the
extra long items. I just thought that was quite inventive on the
drivers' part and wanted to share it with you. Have a great day!

Back Porch Cafe


I need to update you all on my last English class. We had a lot of
fun during the week. I had some visitors from Colorado come for a few
hours the first day of class. They helped my students figure out how
to set a table. I had plastic ware, paper plates, placemats, napkins,
and plastic cups for the to practice with. That also meant the worked
on telling someone where to put something or asking where to put
something. The visitors and my students had fun.

The rest of the week, we worked on cooking terms and what to say in
restaurants. I made up two dialogs and one restaurant chant. They
had fun with the chant, but I had to slow it way down for them to get
the beat and cadence of the words. This was the first time I asked
the students to make up their own dialog. They had some trouble
figuring out what I wanted them to do, but most of them got it in the
end. They had to act it out in front of the class in groups of
three. I think they had fun and it got them thinking about why I
might have these dialogs. It is interesting to see that they still
think they need to say the name of the person speaking instead of just
saying the line. Something I need to work on with them.

On Saturday we had a fun final day. I brought them all to my house at
10 am. They were divided into three groups. Each group had an
english speaking teacher (a Brit, a Kenyan and me) that helped them
make a food item. They changed teachers and food items twice. So, I
made Pizza with my group both times. My British friend, Ali Edapal,
taught the first group to make Kenyan fry (chopped meat with some
veggies and a little juice). The second group she taught how to make
spaghetti sauce. They had to grind the meat and chop all the
vegetables for both of these food items. My Kenyan friend, Mary,
taught them how to cook ugali (white corn meal boiled till dry) and
sikuma wiki (greens with tomatoes and onions). The second group
learned how to make rice and a thick cabbage and potato stew (not much
juice). All these things helped them put into practice the words they
learned about chopping, slicing, cutting, boiling, grating, grinding,
stirring, and baking.

After the cooking lessons, they moved a big table onto my back porch
and set the table. Then, I took orders and served them while Ali and
Mary put the food on plates for me. I added some desserts and a cole
slaw salad to make the meal complete. Those who ordered ice cream got
a surprise at how cold it was. There were a few funny faces :).

So, all in all the last class went really well. The students were
really trying hard to use their English. I posted some pictures on my
facebook page of the cooking. I was too busy serving food to think
about taking pictures of the Back Porch Cafe. I hope you all had a
good week too! blessings!!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And now the News!

Hello all!

Sorry it has been a while. Last week I was busy getting my house ready for visitors. You would think that since I live alone, it wouldn't take long to do that. However, I must confess I tend to keep things in a general state of messiness. I did also spend the large part of one day taking down a bunk bed and moving my desk into my spare room. I had to get the spare room livable as my room and office. The dust in Turkana doesn't help things! I gave my room to my visitors - more beds and space in there. So, I had to clean all the dust off of bookshelves and other surfaces. I have several bookcases and other surfaces. Alas, it was clean, but the dust of Turkana is relentless. I am sure it is back - just not as deep - yet. :).

This week I have been busy too. I have been ferrying about 20 or so kids in my little truck to the VBS that the visitors are having each day. The kids and visitors have had a great time! I have also been working on my next English class. It is next week. We are talking about cooking, eating out and table place settings. So, I am working on a fun final day for them. They will come to my house and do a little cooking. Using their new words like - grate, slice, chop, cut, boil, bake and fry. Then they will set the tables on my back porch. They will be seated and discuss what they did while cooking. Then I will wait on them and take their orders. I worked on a menu for the "Back Porch Cafe" today. I have two other cooks who will help me teach them how to cook the menu items. They will learn how to cook Pizza, Spaghetti sauce, and some typical Kenyan dishes. So, I think that will be fun.

I will be working tomorrow and Saturday on choosing the activities and writing dialogues that will help them get to the point where they can accomplish that fun final day. I have some ideas and a few helpful worksheets from my book - but most of the stuff has to come from me. So, I have a bit of work cut out for the next couple days :).

Anyone have suggestions on how you get a waitress or waiter's attention when you want the bill? I am still trying to figure out what to have the person say or do in the dialogue. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Remember they are beginners so they don't have a huge vocabulary yet :).

Have a great and blessed week!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pleading eyes time of year!


I hate this time of year!  This is the time of year when all the students that passed their 8th grade test get calling letters for high school.  If you score high enough on your test, you can go to high school -If YOU CAN COME UP WITH THE MONEY!  So, students come to me and my teammates from rural Turkana asking us to sponsor them to school.  It takes around $550 per student to pay boarding, tuition and buy the supplies they need for school.

They have such pleading eyes!  I only have so much money.  How do I choose?  It is so hard to turn some away.  I believe in education.  I believe the more educated the Turkana people get, the less they will be considered second class citizens in their own country.  I know most of them cannot come up with even a small portion of what they need.  Even so, I cannot support them all.  So, that is why I hate this time of year.  

So far, I have four high school students in upper grades - one is supported by one of my supporters.  They started early this month.  The freshmen will start school anywhere from the 1st of Feb to the 15th.  I have told one student I will help him with everything as he is an orphan, I have known him for several years and he is a good student.  I have given two students a little over half their school fees but they have to come up with the other portion and the boarding requirements (about $300 each for them to find).  I told one I would help her some if she can find other help.  Her grades are not that good, but I know her uncle who came pleading her cause.  I have had to turn away four.  I know there are more coming as we get closer to the 5th when many of them are required to report for school.  I hate this time of year.  

Where would you be if you hadn't had the opportunity to go to high school?  What if you did have the opportunity, but your family and friends could not come up with the funds to send you?  You also might have had pleading eyes.  I don't have deep pockets, but I do what I can to help.  I know God sees and I know he is with even those who are unable to go to school.  It is just hard on this side of the pleading eyes!  Praise the Lord for those I am able to help!  Praise the Lord for your own education!  Praise the Lord because He is God!