Habari za asubuhi (Good morning)!
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Kijabe for over a month now. We pray that you are well and want you to know that we are safe here in Kijabe. You have probably heard the news about the events at Westgate mall in Nairobi and we ask that you continue to pray for resolution as well as for those who are grieving.
We arrived in Kijabe on August 21 – a very cold day! In fact, we arrived just as “winter” was ending. No, there is no snow, but it can get fairly cold here. Days were in the 60s and nights in the 40s. We’re told that July was even colder. Without a heat source it was difficult to make oneself get out of bed in the morning! It has warmed up some but we’re still looking at upper 70s during the day and 50s at night. The other factor to take into account is that the nights are very very windy! In fact, Kijabe means “place of wind.” If you didn’t know any better you’d think you were on the southeast coast with a tropical storm making landfall.
At this point, I think we’d all agree that we are comfortable living here. In other words, we have a routine that is manageable. We know where to buy food, how to cook, how to do laundry, and have figured out where most everything is located. That said, we are still adjusting. We walk almost everywhere we go and the roads are dirt, dusty, rocky, and at times extremely bumpy (i.e. full of pot holes). We’re still staying in the Moffat Guesthouse but will move into a house around October 1. It has been a little frustrating at times not being able to unpack. Occasionally we will think of something we need and then go on a treasure hunt through our luggage. We have an inventory for each piece of luggage but it’s not that exhaustive of a list. We have a room on the second floor – the only room with a private bathroom attached. There’s a bunk bed, a queen bed, and Kate sleeps in her pack-n-play. Our luggage/bins are lined up along one wall and we use them as shelving. The kitchen and dining areas are downstairs. Not ideal, but it works! Please pray that we are able to wait patiently for the house to open up, that our move goes smoothly, and that we can settle in quickly. Pray also that we are able to find additional house help.
Luke and Kate are adjusting well. Kate did have a fever a few days after our arrival and we’re pretty sure she was just teething. A few doses of Tylenol and she was fine. Luke has started pre-school (Mon/Wed/Fri from 9:30am-11:30am). At first we were a little hesitant (as was Luke) but he is enjoying the experience. The material is largely a review from what he covered during 3 year old pre-school but he’s making friends and learning to socialize. It is a thirty minute walk uphill but thankfully we have been able to catch a ride most days. Kate is constantly on the go, which can be a bit dangerous. The guesthouse is not what one would call child friendly. We have hired a Kenyan lady to help watch the kids a few afternoons each week and they both seem to like her a great deal. In fact, Luke has been known to block the door so that Rebecca could not leave. The kids have also enjoyed looking out for monkeys and baboons which like to look through the trash pits in the community. In fact, as I sit here writing in the dining area of the guesthouse, I can see a troop of monkeys making their way across a shed heading toward their evening meal! J Please pray that Luke and Kate stay healthy and safe, that Luke would make good friends, and that both would feel at home here in Kijabe.
We’ve been into Nairobi a few times since arriving in Kijabe – to buy supplies, etc. One day we were asked if we wanted to take a ride down to Naivasha and we were glad we accepted. Not only was it a nice (although bumpy) ride, but it was also a fun day trip . . . and we got to see some zebras.
On the afternoons that we have childcare, we’ve scheduled language learning with an instructor. Even though one could easily get by with English here in Kijabe, leaning language will open doors to understanding culture. It will also help Maureen communicate in the hospital and help me connect with students. Please pray that we can focus on this important part of our ministry.
There are two truisms about life in Africa which we’ve come to appreciate. First, things often don’t turn out as you expect. Second, tasks (even simple ones) take longer. We had hoped (expected) to have our work permits by this point but things changed. We knew that it would be a rush to have my work permit in hand before the fall term began. During late summer new government officials took office and the processing of work permits essentially halted. In fact, they stopped accepting new ones sometime in late July. We’ve been told that processing has begun again but don’t have a clear time on when we might receive our permits. So, at present we are not clear to work. In the past there was some flexibility but immigration officials have also begun to randomly check for work permits. To stay above reproach, SIM Kenya has instructed us to wait patiently. In the meantime, we are able to participate in Moffat and Hospital meetings/events. For me this means attending chapel, chai (tea) time and various student-led events (practical ministry reports and bible studies). For Maureen, this means sitting in on morning conferences and shadowing physicians. Pray that we will look for and expect meaningful opportunities to be used by God. Pray that our work permits would arrive in God’s timing. Pray also that we are able to adjust well to the reality of these two truisms – that we can establish a healthy routine so that our family will have an effective ministry.
We’ve been warmly accepted by the community here in Kijabe. This means that we’ve had meals with numerous families! We’ve also gotten to know many wonderful people.
There is so much to share and so little time to write, but we promise to write more later and ask that you keep us in your prayers as you are in ours.
Tim for Maureen, Luke & Kate