My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Friday, November 29, 2013

Nov. 26, 2013 cont. Ripples International--Tumaini Center

Part of what Ripples has is a center for abused and neglected girls.  I don't want to post any pictures here because you never know who reads a blog.
But, suffice it to say it is a heavily gated and guarded facility.  Visitors are rarely allowed.  But, because Linda is on the board, the 2 of us were able to go in and see the girls.  No men EVER are allowed since they are the primary perpetrators.
We left Lucas at Ripples New Start Center, which I referenced already with all the sweet kids...a very nice facility.  Some may call it an orphanage as I did earlier but technically it is a home for children sometimes just temporary.  He ran to the door and couldn't wait to get in to see his friends.  (more on that later)
The other guys went and did other things since they could not join us.
We learned about the facility.  We talked to the girls.  Most of them were very sweet, some barely talked.  3 had babies.  a few were pregnant.  Hard to see, but we know this is a very safe place for them and they are getting excellent care.  Ripples also takes care of the court cases, etc. for the girls as well as the physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  Amazing really.
They sang us a few songs, which were so sweet.  Precious really.

We were there about 2 hours.  Then we went back to New Start to get Lucas.  As I approached the building I heard crying.  I KNEW it was my boy.  When I finally got in to the building, I could hear he was bawling his sweet little heart out.

I had no idea because my phone doesn't work here.  So, he came running to my arms, and wanted to get out of that place.  Honestly, it's not a bad place.  The kids are great, the nannies were very sweet.  I'm sure he wasn't harmed in anyway.  But, when we got into the car he could explain...
He thought I left him there.
Why was I gone so long.
and then the truth came out that it reminded him of the orphanage in China.  wowsa.  That was not intentional at all.  But, I totally get it.  We cuddled, and I reassured him over and over again that I was sorry for leaving him there, and I thought he wanted to go play with his new friends (recall, HE took off running when we got there and couldn't get into the building fast enough).  But, something clicked in the midst of it and he just lost it.

Things must have rushed forward in his little heart and mind that none of us expected.  He was perfectly fine when we were all there together the day before.  But, then I was actually there with him.
Sweet boy.  I love you Lucas boy.  You are mine forever!

November 26, 2013-Meru Hospice-3 visits

On Tuesday we visited Meru Hospice which serves over 800 patients all over the surrounding area.  They have a facility which is kind of like a clinic where people can come and get registered if they have AIDS or Cancer that has already been diagnosed as terminal.  Then they serve the people by going to their homes with their suitcase of medications if needed.  They supply physical, emotional and spiritual support by checking in on each patient on a regular basis--or at least once per month.  Right now they are about to run out of funds in about a year.  The interesting thing we have noted, is how the building itself is adequate but we as Americans might say it needs remodeling.  Tiles tearing up, walls need painting, etc.  But it is evident that the funds recieved for their work doesn't go to those kinds of needs, it goes to supporting the work on the ground that they do.  This is one of the nurses who told us about their work.  They have nothing to help "cure" patients but they do have the meds to maintain their AIDS patients which have become quite effective in helping them to live with it.  There is no chemo or anything like it, but they do have meds for pain management, etc.

 We presented them with one of the Proclaimers in Swahili to share with the patients as they see a need.  I brought along 4 of these to share with different groups.  They don't require batteries and are the entire Bible in the language of choice.  In this case Swahili.

 The first home we stopped at:
 one of the precious children that lives there.

 Telling the story of the lady on hospice with AIDS.

 Here is the grandma who has been on the program for many years.  Because of the help of the program, she has been able to start selling firewood to sustain her family which consists of all these children living with her in a small 2 room hut.  A few of the children aren't shown.  But, they are all her grandchildren and orphans because their parents (her children) are all gone.  Grandma is raising them, herself with AIDS.
 wash day
 just some pics from around her home.
 One thing about Africa...they all cook outside on a fire which I've mentioned before.  The constant smell of campfire is evident everywhere.
 Isaac noticed these shoes laying on the ground outside the house.  They are TOM's shoes.  Tom's is a company that sells shoes which are popular with a lot of people in America.  They are typically basic canvas type shoes but are a bit pricey in my opinion.  However, their slogan is "buy one give one".  Well, I think these people are the recepients of "give one".  These are Tom's shoes.
 These are pet rabbits...
They are pets until they die.
Then they are food.
The natives have been very confused by the fact that we have dogs as pets.  They look very puzzled by that because they say "what good are they?"  "When they die you can't eat them..."  Truly a confusing concept.

This is inside the home.  Several of the people we visited had these decorations on the ceiling of their modest homes.  They are pages from a book cut into these shapes.

 As far as I could see there were 2 bedrooms like this for her and all the kids.
This place did get to Lucas.  There was an odor from the farm animals just a few feet from the house.  Wet soil.  Smoke from the fire. and some other unexplained things.  All of a sudden as Lucas was playing with the kids he began to gag and just puked.  It just overwhelmed him.  He wasn't sick.  It was just a little more than he could handle.  I get it.  Many times it becomes a mind over matter thing, but his "honest" reaction was very real and I think some of us felt the same way.  Yet, these beautiful children, just live that way.
We also had a bit of an encounter in the van afterward with Fire Ants.  It was kind of like they came out of nowhere.  My sister got nailed and Lucas a little and me just slightly.  But, they are vicious little critters.

sweet babies.

Our second stop was a similar home. Another small hut.  But, not a lot of kids hanging around.  It was a husband and wife.  Both with cancer.  He had prostate cancer and then she developed stomach cancer.  Precious family.  They have a son who is mentally challenged that has a daughter about Lucas's age or so.  We asked about that and I guess it is quite the system.  I'm not quite sure I get it, but somehow the family of the "mother" of the child pays the family of the man and because he is mentally challenged he cannot inherit the land so she along with the child will eventually inherit the land??? It was bizzare.

Another moment with John and Isaac connecting and chatting.
A few pics around the home

This is the "mamee" with stomach cancer.  She was having a good day.  You can't see it on the picture but her stomach is very swollen.  The hospice nurse says she doesn't have much longer.
more of the ceiling decorations
This is the man of the house who has prostate cancer.  He has been treated with Hospice care for about 9 years.  At first he couldn't stand, and then he got into a wheel chair, then used a cane for a while and is now able to walk and get around.  It has matastasized, but he seems really great to me right now.
This is their grand daughter.  what a smile!!

around the house.

Lucas loved to chase the kids wherever we went.  His "white" skin kind of freaked them out and they would just stare at him.  After a while he would start interacting with them and they would all just be kids.  Laughing and playing...


oh ya baby.

a very precious man -- he spoke of his gratitude that we took time to come and see him.  Before we left I asked if I could pray over him, and he was grateful.  

Here he is telling Paul of his gratitude.  And Pastor Godfrey is translating.

Slightly off topic...but for my husband...Kenyan Coffee...=) growing near the house.  I have to say, even though these people are "poor" by our standards, they live on some gorgeous property.  Tropical land with quite the views.

This is our final stop.  Lucas was needing a break when we first got there so I sat in the van with him.  But, from what I heard this man had a daughter who now was going off to college and getting a degree in medicine I believe.  So somehow even out of this poverty she has pulled it together to make a change in her own life.

Children that again were amazed by

When we returned to Meru Hospice, they gave us all gifts (t shirts) and thanked us for coming.

It was another emotional day and the road conditions where we travelled were...rough.  We felt so priveleged to see what they do. 

And as a side note...they gave us the MOST amazing Kenyan tea EVER!  I asked what why it tasted so much better and they said they made it with fresh milk (from that morning) from the farm next door--oh my gosh!!!  It was sooo good.

God is at work in Kenya.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 25, 2013--Meru, Kenya-Ripples International-New Start Center and IPI

This is a stark contrast to the first orphanage we visited.  It is well funded and run by more people.  And technically not an orphanage.  It is called the New Start Center and is just one portion of what Ripples International does.  They serve over 8,000 families and children in several surrounding communities in many ways.  New Start is a place for young children to come who need assistance.  Some of the parents are just not able to care for their children right now, so they bring them for care.  Some have been rescued from harsh situations.  Some of the parents are too young to care for them. And there are other stories as well.    It is younger children up to age 5 or so.  

We all visited.  
This is their playground, but because it is the rainy season they cannot use it right now.

 There are about 23 kids there right now.  All of them so happy to see us and play and have fun.
 precious little girl.
 Lucas took these photos.

 There are 3 small babies there.
And such exciting news.  This sweet baby girl has a family waiting to adopt her.  And it happens to be our driver--Godfrey...=)  SOOO excited for her and her new family.  They have to wait until early 2014 for all the paperwork to be completed.

another of the sweet babies
 Linda all filled up with sweetness

It shouldn't be surprising, but John was a total natural at this stuff.  
Precious man.

for younger children
mashed beans, bananas, and maiz.
They feed the tiny babie's cow's milk from a cup with sugar and a little water.

 Isaac helping with the feeding.

 Paul.  "doin' the Waldo".  It's a little dance he made up a while back when he went to visit the kids and when he walked in the door they remembered it.  Hysterical to see these tiny kids dancin and singin'
"doin' the Waldo..oo oo oo" "Doin the Waldo...oo oo oo"
 Of course that then makes him a kid magnet...=)

 John continuing to share the love.
 Isaac playing silly games with kids.

Lucas's tender heart for this baby...=)
and..this is Pastor Godfrey (and our driver in Meru)  and his new sweet daughter that he will bring home in just a few short months.  What a blessing that he and his wife can just stop in and spend time with her anytime.  She is a COMPLETE doll...and so smiley.
Overall, this is as good as it gets.  A very nice facility for the kids.  It doesn't replace being in a family and living in a home, but really at many levels the care is excellent.  Every child gets a medical exam once a month.  That's more than my kids ever got.  They still have needs, but they are doing very well.  And they LOVED the attention and fun for the few hours we were there serving.  

After that we headed a little way up the road to this orphanage and bead work initiative.  They make hand made jewelry and sell it to help sustain their project with the kids.  The beads are made of camel bone.  
IPI also has an orphanage type facility with older kids, not babies.  All the kids are in school also.

 Here is some of the jewelry they make.
 my new neclace...=)
 my attempt to be a Masai woman.  I think I need a tan.
 Isaac being a Masain
 this is how the camel bone looks prior to being transformed into something beautiful...
 This saw is used for cutting it.
 Then it is polished and painted
 Lucas enjoyed playing with some of the kids.
 Then the adults joined in.  Pastor Godfrey, Isaac and John...

 Some of the girls who were playing what I would call playground games.  =)
 The chef and her "stove".  One thing about real life here.  Most things are cooked on a pot like this.  The entire countryside and city smells like a giant campfire.  That's how they do everything with cooking.
 Precious boys with a home made car.
1 old salad oil bottle with 4 covers for wheels, pulled by a string.
 old tires are always fun.
 The "farm" (Ripples has one too, but I didn't see it).  Goats, rabbits, etc.
 Isaac in a hut built for guests I beilieve.

Sir Pastor Godfrey, a gem of a man on so many levels...=)

2 centers for kids in one day can be a bit overwhelming and exhausting, but wow!  Such a blessing to be able to bring just a tiny bit of joy to them.  They all love visitors even though they often laugh at us...=)