I was just checking what we shared on our blog last and was surprised to see that two months have already passed! I knew it had been a while since we last wrote, but can’t believe it has actually been 2 months.
Well, we finally moved into a house on October 1. This had been such a blessing for our family as we had lived in one room for over a month. We are all so glad to be able to have a place to call our own and unpack more. We have been able to unpack more of our clothes and place them in dressers, store our kitchen items in cupboards instead of boxes, keep the kids toys out without needing to pack them up every night, and just have a place where we can have dinner with privacy, and the kids have a place to be kids!
God has blessed us with this wonderful home until December. It is a two-story house with two bedrooms, an office and a loft area. There is a 13 step staircase and it was a challenge in the beginning to keep the kids from going up and down constantly. We wish we brought a child gate, but we had to resort to using our plastic bins as our “gate”. It doesn’t keep them from going up, but it slows Kate down and gives us time to catch up with her. She is very active and can truly climb over the bins! Thankfully, she usually stays on the first step and plays or sits down.
We have a nice open layout where the kitchen opens up to the dining area which is connected to the living room, so it is easy to watch the kids while working in the kitchen. There are no screens on the windows or doors, so whenever you open the windows for fresh air, be prepared to get your house dusty and welcome bugs in. This does not keep us from opening the windows, but it sure makes us have to clean our house at least twice a week. Usually some cleaning is done everyday. Thank God we have a washing machine to use right in our home, but we line dry our clothes, which isn’t so bad as it dries in a few hours during this time of year. We just have to be careful as rain can come anytime and we need to act quickly. The best thing about the house is the view! We have a spectacular view of the Rift Valley. We are still amazed at the stunning beauty of God’s creation each moment of the day as we look out our windows. I have had Kate look out the window everyday when she wakes up each morning, and she has learned to say “wow” and “God” in answer to the question “who made all this?” She has learned it so well that one day after dinner I asked her “Who made all this mess?”, and she answered “God!” immediately. Luke tells us to take a picture of the sunset everyday because “it is so beautiful!”. You are all welcome to come and visit us sometime and enjoy it with us.
On the same note, we are still amazed at how God had led our family to Kenya. Through the deep waters, God had walked with us and had carried us through the most difficult times…like footprints in the sand. We are very thankful for each day we spend here being able to minister to the people we interact with daily, whether it be at Moffat, the hospital, or strangers we meet on the road and stores. It is also evident to us that we could not possibly be here without the prayers and support of people like you, and we are daily humbled at this realization. We are humbled that God chose us to be His hands and feet in Kenya. We do not take this responsibility lightly and continue to strive on how to use our time wisely and strategize our activities as what God wants us to do.
Life in Kijabe is busy but good. It is a very unique community made up of local Kenyans and a large number of missionaries. Kijabe station is made up of Rift Valley Academy (RVA), which makes up the upper station, and Kijabe Hospital and Moffat Bible College, which are referred to as the lower station. RVA is a K-12 American curriculum school attended mainly by boarding missionary kids and the children of missionaries living in Kijabe. It is like a little America in the midst of Africa. It is one of the top schools in Africa. We just attended their Pinewood Derby yesterday where students and adults raced their cars down a track. The Seniors also have a fund raising activity called Senior Store where they sell doughnuts, hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, ice cream, and milkshakes a few times every term to raise money for their senior trip. Yesterday was the first day, we were able to head up to RVA as a family. We get to enjoy American food on occasion here. Since we don’t have a car, we have to walk everywhere. The roads here are not just bumpy, they’re mainly made up of rocks and dirt. It is also mountainous here, meaning wherever you are going, it is either walking uphill or downhill. A trek up to RVA is a good 30 minutes with the kids. We sometimes even bring the stroller along with us. It is also the same distance we walk to church on Sundays. Our walks to Moffat and the Hospital are not that far and much easier. To Moffat, we have to climb up a trail in the woods for five minutes, while the hospital is following the road out for about fifteen minutes. It’s actually a nice walk when it’s sunny and not raining, but it’s not that easy when it rains, as the roads get muddy and wet. There are also no street lights anywhere, so we always have to remember to bring our flashlights when walking. The view of the sky at night is also spectacular on a clear night. You can see so many stars and find all the constellations easily. We are told it is pretty safe to walk in the dark, although we have not had to walk much after dark. Usually it is the whole family walking together in the dark, so not that bad. Although I wonder if I am walking with monkeys and baboons on the road during the day, what kind of animals are lurking in the dark on the road?!!! :-). It is truly an adventure from day to day.
Kijabe is an hour and a half drive to Nairobi eastward and an hour to Naivasha westward. We haven’t explored Naivasha much yet, but we do our shopping for food and supplies at Nairobi. Our family usually makes a trip to Nairobi once a month. We hire a driver with a vehicle for the entire day and head into town to enjoy a good meal and shop. We try to leave before 5pmas traffic gets heavier and it gets dark at 6:30pm. There are also no street lights so the lights you see on the main highways are the headlights from the oncoming cars. There are also no lines on the road, so you have to know the road and the direction of the road as you can easily just drive off the road/cliff! Sometimes, we catch a ride with other missionaries going into town to do just shopping. There are some small stores and a vegetable market in Kijabe that’s a 20-30 minute walk from our house. The problem is you not only have to walk there, you have to carry everything you buy home! The stroller has also proven very useful especially when the whole family tags along. Vegetables are very affordable here, but meat and seafood are expensive (and also difficult to find fresh). So you can see, good walking shoes are a must here.
Luke has been attending a mom taught preschool since September, and has a week left. We are grateful that another missionary family driving from the lower station gives Luke a ride up to school and down, as long as their vehicle is working. There are some days where Luke has to walk 30 minutes to school and back :-). That is a lot of walking for us, but most people here walk an hour to and from work and they don’t even blink as this is a part of life. The unemployment rate in Kenya is 50%, so many people would do anything just to have work.
We have really enjoyed having our own kitchen since there is only one Kenyan restaurant 30 minutes walk away. We cook three meals a day plus have ventured out to baking breads, cakes, pies, cookies and even cinnamon rolls the other day. I have cooked foods I’ve never cooked before because I am either asked to make it or we have missed eating it. We have gotten pretty creative here with food. Tim’s birthday is coming up and he’s asking for red velvet cake. I am wondering what kind of cake it will turn out to be! Going into Nairobi for a nice meal is doable, but so expensive! Sometimes I feel like I should just buy the ingredients no matter how expensive and just go home and cook and we have five times as much food for the same price :-).
Well, that’s all for now. We hope each of you has a great week. And to our friends and family in the US, have a great Thanksgiving!
We promise to post some pictures in our next blog . . .
Maureen for Tim, Luke & Kate