Monday, September 30, 2013


I get asked how I celebrate holidays here since I am not in my home country.  The answer is pretty simple.  We celebrate them any way we can.  I have tried over the years to collect a few things for each holiday that is important to me.  I put those things around the house during the month of that holiday if I can.

This year, I celebrated the fourth of July with some fellow Americans here in town.  Of course, to Kenyans, the fourth is just another day of work.  I did do some work, but I also did some cooking and preparing for the celebration.  I have the very nice flag table cloth you see in the picture, in my cupboard, so I brought it to our friends' house so we could use it for our celebration.  They also had a beach towel with a flag on it, so that was proudly hung in the window.

I didn't get pictures, but we even had fire works of a kind.  Taylor (the man at the end of the table) took some rubbing alcohol outside, made some shapes and lit the liquid.  It was fun until the alcohol ran out. We had dinner at the Kilpatrick's house.  They work with Share International.  They have a nice pool that was put in by the previous missionaries who lived in the house they live in now.  So, we got to swim and then barbecued some tandori chicken for the main meal.  There was lots of good food and fellowship!

The Kilpatrick girls and their Turkana friend made decorations too!  You can see them behind their heads in the picture above.  All in all it was a very fun evening!

Fun With Reading!

The kids had a short mid-term break in July.  I wanted to catch up a little with them and to make sure they got an opportunity to do some reading on their break.  So, I had them come over one day and opened my kids' bookshelf to them.  It was fun seeing them pick out books and then actually go and read them!

I let them do some reading on their own for a time.  Then I got a couple of books with nice pictures and read to them.  Some of the kids are pretty young, so I try to read to them a little and make sure they understand the story.  The big kids love it too, so I couldn't leave them out of the fun.  After I read several books to them, they did some more reading on their own.

Kelvin reading

Even the older kids tend to pick easier books to read.  I think when I have them over during the month of December, I will have to find a thicker book to read to the older kids just to see if I can get them reading more.  At any rate, it was a fun day and I enjoyed seeing them reading.  Since then, when they come for lunch on Saturdays, I often see a couple of them coming in the house to find a book to read.  School is only half a day on Saturdays for the kids in class 1-6.  So, I give them all a little lunch before sending them home since they get out right at lunch time.  They are still choosing easy books, but at least they are interested in reading.  I'll start with that and see if I can make it a bit better!  There are some girls reading too, I just didn't get any good pictures of them.  I'll try to do better next time :).

the bigger boys reading

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mountain Visitors

Visitors!  When I traveled around on furlough, I was usually excited when I got close to the place I was going.  I was excited to renew friendships and to share what the Lord was doing here in Turkana.  I was also excited to be shown a little bit of the place I was visiting.  It is always nice to have a "tour" of the place you are visiting so you know a little of its history.  I wanted to sample the foods that were popular there just so I could say I had some of famous Snicklefritz's famous concoction.  A couple examples of this are that I got a hot beef sandwich in Naperville and some Texas Barbecue in San Antonio.  I had barbecue in Tennessee too and I loved both of them even though they did taste different.

I wonder if my hosting friends were as excited as I was to explore their town?  In June there was a group of visitors that came to Lodwar.  They didn't come to visit me.  They came to visit a sister ministry at the Mission of Hope school in Lodwar.  At the same time, I knew they were coming because one of the ministers at their church told me.  He wasn't able to visit, but other folks from the church came.  I was excited that they were coming!

The group meeting time after dinner
They spent most of their time at the school which is as it should be.  However, they did spend a little time visiting me one evening.  I fixed spaghetti.  I knew they were staying at a Kenyan guest house, so I thought I'd fix something they were not likely to get there.  I made the sauce from scratch just like my Mom taught me.  I might be bragging, but it was pretty good.  It was so nice just to connect with folks from 'Home.'  They were from Mountain Christian Church in Maryland, so the home part is a bit stretched, but they were from America and that counts.  It was nice to get to know them a little and to see their excitement in helping the Turkana children and their families.

My teammate, Eric Pitts, and I also got to take them on a little tour of the work that CMF is doing out in the "bush" of Turkana.  One afternoon we drove them out to a village and let them see life in the desert for themselves.  On the way, they saw many goats and camels.  They also saw the homes where the Turkana people live.  Once there, they got to see a little two roomed clinic and meet our clinic worker.  They saw a little of the school that we are helping to sponsor in that village.  We also took them down to the garden areas and told them about how we are working with communities to drill wells and teach about irrigated farming.  It was fun to show them and we had a good hour or so to chat in the truck as we went to the site.

At the garden - drinking good clean water from the well

After showing them these sights, we took them to see lake Turkana.  It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the largest alkaline lake.  None of that really mattered much.  We went so we could get wet and see some pretty scenery.  We only got to be there for about forty minutes, but it was fun.

We had some who waded with me

some who got in completely

and a few brave souls who went way out :)  Eric was with them.

some enjoyed the banda and a soda before we left too

When I was helping take them to the Lodwar airport, I found out that they had been served spaghetti noodles about five or six times the week they were there.  They did say that they only got sauce at my house, so I guess I still managed to give them something they didn't get.  Next time visitors come and stay at the local guest house, I will know to serve something different!

At the airport, I dropped them off and waited for the plane to arrive.  You see, I was a little sad that they were leaving, but I was happy too.  My teammates, the Mordens, were coming on the plane that they were leaving on.  So, I was waiting to greet them and bring them home!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sights of Lodwar - June

I renewed my habit of walking three or four times a week when I returned to Lodwar.  It is nice to walk in places I wouldn't normally be and see what there is to see.  I carry my phone/camera with me just in case I see something interesting.  Here are a few of the pictures I captured in June.  I hope you enjoy them!

a hill I climb on one of my routes

Mama and chicks
football/ soccer anyone?

3 kids in a Turkana "playstation"

floppy eared goat

GPS station for planes flying over Turkana on the way to Nairobi

someone's home

cute kiddies playing in the road

jump rope anyone - or is that sit rope?
can you tell the sheep from the goats?

weaver bird's nest

down the hill I go

sometimes the way is rocky

most of the time it is sandy with evidence of many who have gone before me

I enjoy my walks and the chance I get to greet other people.  I hope you have enjoyed these few pictures from my June walks!


Of course homecomings are not near as much fun if you are returning to an empty home.  I didn't return to an empty home.  I flew up to Lodwar and arrived at my home around 4:45 pm.  Some of my friends were here to greet me.  Big smiles of welcome and exclamations over how long I was gone gave me to know that they were happy to see me.  Some of "My Kids" were also there and gave me huge hugs.  They knew I was coming that day and had stayed longer than normal to make sure that they saw me.  The visits continued for the next few days.  People just came to say welcome back.  It was very encouraging!

Samson, John Rich (my Dad's namesake), Lester and Joy Khisa came on Saturday to welcome me
My animals were also happy to greet me.  My dogs are very unruly.  I am not much of a dog person, but have two dogs as 'guard' dogs.  Even though they don't get a lot of attention from me, they still consider me their person.  They haven't been trained very well.  Its my fault, I know.  But, as I said I'm not much of a dog person so they didn't get that training.  Anyway, they were jumping all over me with excitement.  It was annoying, but also kind of fun.  :)

an old picture.  Robin is jumping and Batman is thinking about it

My kitty was hoarse from meowing for someone to pay attention to him while I was gone.  He can normally be heard outside in the yard yowling for attention.  When I got back, he just had a quiet yowl. It took a week or so for him to get into full voice again.  I was very happy to see him and I think he was pretty happy to see me.  He followed me around for a couple of weeks.  Shh...don't tell him, but he was acting a bit like a d-o-g.  He is back to his normal loving, kitty self now, so we won't tell him.

Chewy watching me type this post
I brought a new tower for chewy to play on.  He really likes the top sleeping place.
It was a very nice homecoming!  I'll leave you with a few shots of the kids as they are cute and I want you to love them as much as I do.  :)  This is not all of "my" kids that are in primary school, but some of them are in boarding school and couldn't be there when I first got home.

Emmanuel Ebei Ejore.  He must have been playing sock on a stick before I got there.

Edie (Idi) Ekidor - my Mom's namesake

Ichwa Ekidor - Idi's brother
Akiru is 5.  She needs a sponsor for school next year- want to help?  Contact me
Jennifer Adonga (Dance) Lobwel

Samson Lopeto Lobwel
Monday Lobwel being shy
Kelvin Losuru

Fix it time!

In June I spent some time getting things worked on.  When I came home, I found that my road sign had been removed.  It was very sad seeing the base and post without anything on it.  So, I decided it needed to be fixed.

I had some angle iron left from some project in the past.  So, I talked with a friend and asked him if he could get me a new sign made.  It needed to be something attached to the iron in more than one place.  So, he took on the project and came back with a pretty nice sign for me to put up behind the base that is seen above.

I thought this was great and would be plenty tall enough.  I didn't figure on my guard wanting to make sure it could not be moved at all.  So, this is what it ended up looking like on the corner of my road.

He must have buried it in two and a half feet of cement at least!  Now I need to find a hacksaw so I can remove the pole from the base.  I'm not sure what to do about the base as it is all cement too - the same guard did it.  He wanted to make sure it didn't get knocked down again by vehicles backing out of the lane.  It worked.  The sign was never knocked down again.  It just lost its top.

Next I found out that my generator was still not working properly.  It would only run my freezer and even then it was running poorly.  Since I had gotten a new refrigerator, I didn't want it to get messed up.  The power was out every day for 12 hours or a little more for the first six weekss I was home.  So, I really needed my generator to work.

I couldn't get it to work even though I took it to the generator fix it man in town and had the electric fix it men to my house to try to see if it was in the wiring somewhere.  My generator is the little one you see next to the flowery wall.  The bigger generator was one I was able to borrow from my teammates.  They were not back in Kenya yet, so I was able to use theirs.  After consulting with them about my problem they told me I just needed to get a new one.  Ugh!  A big expense, but it seemed to be really needed with the power being so iffy.  

I did buy a new generator when I was in Nairobi in August.  I ordered it over the phone so didn't see it before it was shipped up to Turkana.  I just knew the size I needed and the engine that might be best.  The expense for the honda engine was four times as much as the one I got.  I chose to go with an engine that we don't know a lot about, but has the name of the company that we order a lot of our water materials from on it.  I am pretty sure they will stand by it if there is any problem.  God is really good to me!  The generator is bigger than I had ordered.  It didn't cost any more and it will even run my a/c along with my fridge and freezer when the power is off.  One of the best features is that it has a key to start it as well as a pull rope!  My arm really appreciates that.  It was hard to get my teammates' generator started and I would sometimes have to call one of my workers to help me.

My fix it days were not completely over yet.  The fence around my compound needed some help.  There were a few places where the dogs had made holes and I needed to get those filled.  Also, on the side that faces Lumpy Bumpy Lane all of the makuti was old and falling apart.  Much of it had come off so that people passing by could see into the yard.  What you can't see, you won't be tempted to steal.    Also, lots of people walk on the road and will often pick up stones to throw at my dogs.  Of course my dogs also bark at them as they are walking by.  The makuti helps protect the dogs and me from prying eyes since my front rooms all face the road.

my fence looks like this with the Makuti now
My guards wanted the banda fixed as well.  They are guards for the yard and open the gate when someone comes.  They are not bodyguards :).  Just in case you wondered.  I agreed that it did need to be fixed and have new makuti put on the roof.  They wanted more than that.  They wanted the roof slope to be changed and for the rest of it to be renovated as well.  So, I asked them to call a 'fundi.'  A fundi is a handyman that is proficient in certain things.  The fundi they wanted to suggest was not available in June.  So, I had to wait until July to work on that project.  I did post some pictures on the blog in July about that fix it job.  You can look at that post to see how it was done.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Catch up time!

Lets just say that life got in the way of my blogging.  Sorry, I do know that some people really enjoy reading these posts.  Thanks for your encouragement to keep doing this.  I will attempt to try to catch you up on what has been going on with me this year.

In case you didn't know, I was on furlough from June of last year until late May of this year.  Furlough is not a vacation.  I do get to see a lot of the country, but I am usually pretty busy with reporting to churches and individuals about what has been going on in Turkana.  That is not to say that I did not get a little vacation time while I was on furlough.  I did.  I just don't want you to think I had an eleven month vacation!  I didn't!

From January to May, I visited 10 supporting churches.  A couple of them I went to more than once just because I was still in the area.  I traveled in and through several states to visit these churches.  The churches were in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.  I put a lot of miles on my car!  I also got to see many old friends and to make some new ones.  It would be really hard to choose who to highlight and who to leave out, so I will not be telling you the names of all the churches, individuals and families that I spent time with during these months.  It is fun to see so many old friends.  It is great to get to talk about Turkana and the work the Lord is doing there!  Even so, for this slightly introverted person it was also tiring.

In May I spent my last few weeks in Colorado with my parents and niece.  I was busy purchasing the things I needed (and wanted) to bring back to Kenya with me.  I had a couple of days when I searched for some trunks to bring stuff back in and I eventually found what I needed.  I got a lot of things - it is embarrassing to think of all the stuff I bought, but I really am glad I got it.  :)  

Then I returned to Kenya.  When I got here, I needed to spend about a week in Nairobi.  I had to buy groceries, repack those trunks, ship most of it up to Turkana, buy a new refrigerator and a new wash machine and arrange to get those shipped as well.  It was a busy time.  I'm glad God helped my stay on track, because a lot of the time I just wanted to be sleeping since I had jet lag.  Thanks to everyone who helped me raise the funds I needed to get these two appliances!  I love them both and thank our Lord every time I use them!

I finally made it home to Lodwar on May 30th.  When I got here I spent some time just visiting with people, hugging kids, petting my animals and readjusting to the heat.  I was excited to see some fresh green things in my yard too!  Turkana had gotten some rain in April and early May, so things were doing well and not as brown as when I left last June.  I'll leave you with a few pictures of the things in bloom around my yard.

A blooming tree at the back of my dinning room

kids smiles blooming every time I saw them - even when clearing out brush because they lost school books

one of my workers planted these not knowing what would come up.  I like them!

another blooming tree.  These are fuzzy buds.

a plumaria plant

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I loved seeing signs of plant life when I got home and just wanted to share a little of my blessings with you.