Kenya Power & Light prunes the trees

A few nights back we had a big rainstorm. The power was out for a few hours. The next morning the power was back on and Kenya Power and Light sent out a truck to prune the trees on some nearby streets. That seems fairly typical but it’s the little things that get an ex-pat sometimes. Who taught these people how to prune trees?

IMG_5965

IMG_5964

IMG_5959

They butchered these trees. So ugly. Highly annoying.

I realize how superficial and ridiculous this is. The reason that I would even consider taking the time to post these photos and write these words is because of what happened next. The cut limbs lay on the ground under the trees for days and began to dry out. Uglier still.

IMG_5974

 

IMG_5973

Then some local Kenyans came and picked up the drying limbs. A few different people, on a few different days, a little bit at a time. They were not a hired work crew but just some people who recognized an opportunity to pick up firewood. Firewood that they will use to cook their food and heat their small homes. Homes that, even in Nairobi, are often not much more than a tin shack. Homes that are within walking distance of mine.

I am humbled every day that I live here. The opportunity is a privledge. It is challenging, I often feel lonely. I live in a community where daily I am reminded vividly of all that I have to be thankful for. Watching people pick up their needed firewood as I drive by stabs at my heart. I can never do enough. I can never give enough. I must follow my faith and trust that God’s will and purpose are at work in this crazy, crazy, world in which we live.

 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.    

— Romans 12:2

 

To America and back again

Here are a few numbers to help represent the time that I spent with my 5 children in the U.S. this summer.

IMG_0454

9 weeks

over 3,500 miles driven

over 8,500 miles flown

over $1,000 raised in cash and goods for Kenyan’s in need

4 states visited

5 airports utilized, in 3 countries

5 pediatric check-ups, 1 immunization, 15 total inches grown        (5 by 1 child)

6 dental cleanings, 2 cavities filled, 3 dentist offices visited

3 teeth lost, in 2 weeks, by 1 child

3 cousins met, each born while we were in Kenya

1 youth mission trip, 1 week Boy Scout camp

4 kids, each 1 week at summer camp

5 days at the beach, 3 days at the lake, 2 days playing in a river, pool visits uncounted

1 day at Sea World, 1 day at Kennedy Space Center, 1 day at Stone Mountain

at least 19 BFFs visited

10 homes overnighted in

countless hugs

immeasurable support and encouragement

a minimum of one visit to each: The Varsity, Weaver D’s, Papa Johns, Dominos, Little Caesar’s, Chick-fil-A, Krispy Kreme, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Publix Deli, Kroger Deli, Chili’s, Mediterranean Grill, Hurricanes, Auntie Catfish, D.J.’s Deck, La Tropicana, Taqueria Tsunami, Australian Bakery Café, Willie Rae’s, Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes, Douceur de France, Ben and Jerry’s, Subway, Starbucks, (and cousin Sylvia’s kitchen)

pounds gained, unreported, (see above)

2014 Summer U.S. photos 249

I have been home in Kenya for almost three weeks now.  It has taken me that long to unpack, rearrange my wallet (dollars out, shillings in), and to begin to enjoy the memories from our time in the US this summer.  Our time there was fun, restful, and needed more than I realized.  We were uplifted in body and spirit.  Our friends and family prayed with us, laughed with us, laughed at us, encouraged us, listened to us, and treated us as if we had never been away.  I had fewer fights with my sister than I had anticipated and more disagreements with those curious about our life in Kenya than I had imagined.

Then we returned to our home in Kenya.  The weather was wonderful, the flowers beautiful, and the zebra still line the road.   Finally, our neighbors made the return so much easier.  They decorated the front door, filled the house with roses, left dinner in the refrigerator, and refreshed the cupboard with groceries.

IMG_0671

I am appreciative and humbled.  This time would never has been possible without the help of many.  People kept my children, drove us, helped us pack, transported our luggage, paid for us, entertained us, hosted us, raised funds for Kenyans, fed us, supplied us with items we no longer own, and just made us feel good.  I haven’t been that relaxed in more than a year.  I continue to feel the uplift.  I can never thank everyone enough.