Thursday, April 02, 2015

Week Three in Kenya & Then Back Home.

In the end I am blogging our third week in Kenya from home. It's crazy how quickly our time seemed to fly that last week.

Our week was again filled with ministering to the people in and around Hope and Kindness., but we did manage a couple of little 'outings' in our last week too.

I took a couple more art classes for the little ones, and continued to teach the young girls in the evenings. One evening I wasn't feeling so great, so Rachel stepped in, and she has now taken over where I have left off after coming home. It's great to know the girls will be able to continue being encouraged even now I'm home :D

Paul preached on the Sunday again, and also ministered to the Men's group and the worship team again. It seems his teaching has been a great 'boost' for them all. 

We continued to pray with Dorine each morning and it was very hard to say goodbye to her on Saturday :(

We also continued to meet and study with Terry & Judy each morning, and also with Ian and Hilda, who arrived part way through week two. 

At the beginning of week three H&K were faced with a potentially very difficult situation to work through. We really felt that God had placed us there at the perfect time and we were blessed to be able to support, encourage and pray with Terry and Judy as they faced their trial. Thankfully ~ Praise God ~ the situation was resolved to the benefit of everyone concerned.

The last couple of mornings we were able to be joined by Millie (Social Worker) and Duncan (administrator) and were able to pray together with the whole team ~ which was also lovely.

On Thursday we took a 'team day out' and had a jolly down in Kendu Bay, on the shores of Lake Victoria. It was very interesting to watch the fishing boats come back, but sad to see that so many of them had empty nets. Lake Victoria, despite being the worlds 2nd largest inland lake, has sadly been very badly managed and fish stocks are now critically low. The main catch desired is Tilapia (a delicious fish), but as I say, the nets were mostly empty.

After a COLD drink by the lake, we went to a restaurant (hotel) in the town. Hilda & a couple of others had Tilapia, but most of us had fried chicken. The chicken was VERY fresh, but as the chickens in Kenya are a bit on the skinny side it was much tougher than we are used to eating. All the same it was tasty, and easier to eat with fingers (no knives and forks) than the fish would have been!

Friday morning Paul, Terry and the young lads led the school assembly with their worship band that they had been working together on for the last two weeks or so. Then I shot down to the primary school and took photographs of the 90+ children who still need sponsors (see HERE if you'd like to sponsor a child) ~ which I then spent most of the evening editing!

Late-morning Ian and Hilda took Paul & I down to Simbiri Nan Bell Health Centre

Ruth, who heads up the work there, had been to visit H&K the second weekend we were there and Paul had gone back to visit when Terry took Ruth home. I was having a nap at the time but there wouldn't have been room in the car for me anyway, however Paul really felt it was a project that I ought to see, so we made a special effort to go back there. Ruth is incredible.

The work at Simbiri is hard, but SO important. They run a small maternity care unit, HIV counselling services & treatment, & 6 wards for women, men and children. They save many lives in the local community from falling victim to HIV, malaria and other common illnesses. They also have an on-site mortuary. Death is a much more common fact of life in Kenya than here, and the mortuary at Simbiri has an excellent reputation for treating the dead well. This may sound morbid, but it is not common for this to be the case in Kenya.

Simbiri is an amazing place, but it has been hit by difficulties in recent years and Ruth really needs new supporters for the work to continue, so if you feel you could support this work in any way, then please do visit Simbiri's Facebook page and find out how.

And then it was Saturday ~ time to pack up and say our goodbyes.  I spent some time in the afternoon with some of the girls, hanging out and doing hair ;-). Then in the evening everyone came over and we worshiped together one last time. Paul & I were able to give each of the young people an individual bible verse to encourage them and I have to tell you - it was SO hard to say goodbye to them all :-(

Overnight it rained - A LOT - meaning that our drive to Kisumu in the morning had to take the rougher route (the less rough route can become a bit too slippery to be safe after rain). We left H&K around 8.30am, waved and hugged off by those who were about that early. The road to Kisumu was quite eye opening ~ in parts much like driving along a dried up river-bed. It was extremely rough and bumpy, with great crevices and deep pot-holes ~ and this is the main route into Kosele and Oyugis. The road was supposedly tarmacked back in the 70's, but the contractors ran off with the money having never laid the tarmac. However, as the government now have it listed as a tarmac road it stays just the way it is ~ despite the fact it is quite clearly not! This picture is of a better part.

When we arrived in Kisumu we stopped at the local craft market and bought some souvenirs. This might have been one of the hardest things I did whilst in Kenya tbh. There were so many traders, all selling very similar wares, but each trying to scrape a living from the next passer by. Sadly, these days, since the traders were moved from the town centre, there are not so many passers-by and life is even harder than it might be. The goods were gorgeous and I would have liked to spend money at every stand (to help them), but that was not possible and I left feeling like I had cheated those I had not bought from :(

We then went for lunch ~ and this time I had the Tilapia. I felt I didn't want to leave Kenya without tasting their special fish :D It was delicious!

Finally we said our goodbyes to Terry at the airport and began our uneventful journey home. 

Abbie and Phoebe came with Michelle to the airport to meet us, whilst the others waited at home. When we got home we were greeted by this; 

and LOTS of noisy hugs and kisses!!

Kenya has been an adventure and a blessing ~ and now Paul and I have to work out what God wants to bring into our lives out of it. We both have the sense that this is the start of something new for us, but we're not entirely sure what that looks like yet...

There are MANY more pictures than I can share on my blog, so here's a slideshow from my Flickr pictures;