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Entries from October 2011

Bipolar Faith

Dictionary.com defines " target=_blank>bipolar as: characterized by opposite extremes, as two conflicting political philosophies.

That describes my faith walk perfectly.

Sometimes I feel all giddy, like I’m walking in the clouds with Jesus. I have a sense He is involved in my daily life, and cares about what is going on with me. It’s like my faith is so big and trusting that anything is possible.

Then there are those times when I can’t even see the clouds. I can’t pick Jesus out of a line up. It feels as if he could care less about my life. Feels like there is no God, and no point in worrying about Him.

I’m currently in one of those down times.

I’m walking along the beach, looking back and seeing only one set of footprints, my own.

Not necessarily doubt, but more of a feeling of distance.

Looking forward to the upswing.


Life Changes

macadamia-nutsI just thought I’d let every one know that we are making some life changes at our home.

We all have decided to change what we eat to make us all healthier. I have to admit, I am a bread addict, and I love sugar… Some of our kids are getting cavities, and well, we need to make an about face so…

We aren’t eating flour, sugar, candy, potatoes, etc… for a while, maybe forever (except on birthdays). Personally, I’m already benefiting from the changes. We are committed for 21 days, but I hope they are life changes, and I’m thinking that with your help, they CAN be.

If you would like to help us in this endeavour, feel free to check out our updated care package list. We could use nuts of all kinds except peanuts. We still love pepperoni, and dried fruit might be a good ‘candy’ alternative. Oh, and dark chocolate, that’s good, too. :) 

Thanks for understanding.

~Kate


On Terrorism

You may or may not have heard that Kenya’s military has started fighting militants in Somalia this past week or so. You might or might not have heard that yesterday there were two explosions in Nairobi. The Kenyan government is making the connection between the two, and has begun a crackdown on Somalis here in Kenya.

In fact ten or so were arrested yesterday here in Nakuru.

First of all, don’t worry about us. The two explosions in Nairobi were hand grenades, and the attacks seem, at least to me, to have been poorly carried out. Besides what will worrying about terrorist attacks accomplish? If they want to through a hand grenade at me there’s not much I can do about it. (Though I have played Call of Duty so I might just be able to lob it right back at them. I do have some skills.)

Secondly our lives will go on just like they have been going. No changes because of conflict. I didn’t even know about these two hand grenades till this morning. We don’t watch the news at night and have begun switching our computers and phones off after dinner.

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

 

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/One+dead+13+injured+in+second+city+blast+/-/1056/1261260/-/140nfwf/-/index.html


Beatings

caning When talking to Ali, our orphan boys’ dad, he recalls that if he DIDN’T get caned at school, it was an unusual day.

I am still dealing with the schools threatening to beat my girls for tardiness or poor grades. (Due to a broken van, they are having to walk to school, which takes them 45 minutes so they are struggling to get to school on time, which is 7 am. Teachers aren't there at that time, of course, but students must be.)

IF I complain, the girls will be hit even more, from what I understand, AND it doesn’t seem to matter which school I put them in. I’m hoping this new school, St. Ninian’s, will be more understanding.

Today I wrote them a letter encouraging more modern types of discipline such as cleaning the school compound, writing compositions about the student’s misbehavior, or time-outs. Hopefully, the teachers will embrace the ideas.

I’ve been doing research today on the topic to see what actually is legal and whatnot. Here’s an interesting article from 1999. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,HRW,,KEN,45d1adbc2,0.html

And recently, the law has banned corporal punishment in the new constitution (as of Aug. 2010). http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/news/kenya-prohibts.html

However, there are NO consequences, that I can find for the schools who still follow their old ways of caning. I’m not sure how change will come about, but I’m hoping that I can at least nudge ONE school in the right direction.

It is my hope that they learn other means of discipline for the precious children of Kenya.

~Kate

caning_LARGE


Day FAIL

Can I just start this day over?? So far the day has been a big FAIL, and it’s only 10 AM.

This morning I woke up and one of the girls told me that the head teacher says if I don’t call the school every time one of the girls is sick, they’ll expel them for 2 weeks. (We’ve had a virus going through the house, so someone has been home each day). So I wrote a note to this teacher explaining that my 8 orphans-no-more can easily tell the teacher when one of their sisters is ill, AND if she expels them for MY mistakes, they will never return to the school. Keep in mind, I pay them to teach my children. It’s all silly really. There was no need to threaten me or the children with potential expelling, but just ASK me to call. That’s the grownup thing to do, right?

Then, as I started teaching my History class, my students were sluggish, so I asked them to wake up fresh… as I was joking about starting the day afresh, I got the phone call every mother fears—Teresa, my 12 yr old, was HIT by a cyclist while walking on the way to the school and is at the government hospital. I asked Johnny to go and see what was up as I was in the middle of teaching.

A few minutes later, Andrew informed me, “Mom, you’re being called by Daddy.”
“What do you need Johnny? I’m teaching.” I shouted from the classroom. Again, Andrew mentioned that Johnny was still calling me, so I stepped outside to find him lying flat on his back in the mud. At first I was frightened, then I thought he was just joking with me. “I’m hurt, and I can’t get up.” he whimpered. YIKES. In his rush to get to Teresa, he slipped on the wet steps and hit his knee hard on the cement walkway. It was swollen. I put a pack of frozen beans on it, and left him lying there with doggies sniffing and licking him, the baby sitting on him, and Emma asking him for sweets. He had to fend for himself as I went to check on Teresa.

No one should ever go to the Government Hospital in Kenya. It’s a horrible place. However, Teresa was hit by a cyclist while crossing the road right in front of the hospital, and my girls took action and brought her there. By the time I arrived, Teresa was just coming out of X-Ray, They X-rayed her chest to check for broken ribs. As soon as she saw me, she started bawling. I just hugged her and comforted her. She was having a hard time breathing from being hit in the side, a bit of hair was skinned off her head where she hit the ground, and her knee was badly scraped. I couldn’t help but think about Johnny lying there on the ground at home with a hurt knee waiting for me to come back, as well… It was rather surreal. The doctor said she had no broken bones and told us to get her a pain shot and a Tetanus shot. While we waited, we heard screams from ill patients. One lady kept screaming, “Help me. Help me….Oy oy… help. Help.” Then we heard vomiting and others moan. It started to get to me. Finally the doctor said he could only find the tetanus shot but NOT the pain meds. He removed the needle without washing his hands or putting on gloves and tossed it on a dirty piece of paper. I noted it, and informed him. He put gloves on and, without cleaning the injections site, jabbed her upper arm with the vaccine. He told us to wait for him to come with bandages and the pain meds. After a while of watching him walk around the ward like a lost puppy, (I began wondering if he was really a doctor or an escapee from the mental ward), we decided to stop waiting on him to find the pain meds and band-aids. After all, I am a MOM. I can do wound dressing at home so we just paid and left the hospital.

After arriving home, we found Johnny walking around pressing through the pain. He’s ok, Teresa is cleaned up and is ok, so all is going to be well... However, I received an email from a dear friend as I walked in the door. There was a misunderstanding… which is never a good thing.

Then while typing a very long email in response to her, Johnny’s computer got the blue screen of death….

That’s where I leave you at this moment. Johnny’s computer is rebooting. Hopefully things get brighter!
We did get a new puppy this week, and we have food, clothing, water, shelter… Things aren’t all bad, but it IS the 2nd child I have taken to the hospital this week, and it’s only Tuesday. Yesterday it was one of my older girls who has PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and possibly Ulcerative colitis as well. We have to take her back for a barium x-ray in 2 weeks. Labs, x-rays, meds, viruses—it’s just life with so many people.

Thank you for caring for these children like we do. Keep sending your love and encouragement, ok? We need it!


picture of the week

IMG_0265

We actually have 11 clothes lines strung about all over the yard to accommodate the drying load of our huge family. Here’s a picture of some of them. It’s a drizzly day so these will be on there for a long time.*

~Kate

 

*I saw a DRYER at our local supermarket for the FIRST time since moving here 7 years ago! Imagine that!


lack of knowledge

Just now at the dinner table, 3 of my Kenyan ‘orphans no more’ were whispering and laughing, saying, “Makena said, ‘1000 years BC!’ snicker, chuckle, snort…

I inquired as to what was so humorous. Then Beatrice told me her whispers out loud. “Makena said, ‘1000 years BC!’

“Do you know what BC means?” I pried.

Three dark, braided heads shook NO as they giggled. I said, “It means before Christ, and BCE means before the common era.’

They still laughed at Makena, and I felt a little offended that they would snicker at her because of THEIR lack of knowledge.

It’s one of the many things we deal with being a morphed family. I just thought I’d give you a glimpse of it as I walk through these issues each day.

I love my Kenyan kids, and I have them buried deep in my heart in a place that desires to protect them from all harm, but it’s not always easy to understand and deal with the lack of knowledge and the differences they have from our biological children. Still, we have grown together over the years as a beautiful, mixed family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

~Kate


culture difference

IMG_0257Living in Kenya for 7 years now means I don’t notice many of the culture differences I once noticed when first moving here.

But on days like today, sometimes I just have to laugh at my Kenyan kids and the things they do differently than what American teens would do .

I just walked into one of the bedrooms where I found my girls, Mercy 15, Teresa 12, Sarah 14, and Mary 12, hanging NEWSPAPER on their walls. Really?! They like the advertisements because they are printed in color so they cut them out and tape them to their walls. I wonder what these girls would think of real posters? We don’t have them here, but I guarantee they’d flip over them!


I’m a Contrarian

Those of you who know me should have realized by now that I’m a contrarian at heart. I pretty much will disagree just for the sheer enjoyment of disagreeing. If you don’t know this about me or you are thinking to yourself, “but he’s so agreeable” there could be a few reasons why:

A) You simply haven’t gotten to know me well enough to realize I like to side with the minority.

B) I don’t want you to know me that well. So I just agree or keep silent to keep you happy and far away. Or you could be a family member, in which case I have to be agreeable because we are stuck with each other.

C) I don’t know you well enough and do not want to offend you with my unfriendly like nature.

I routinely drive Kate crazy with this quirk of mine, or at least she regularly yells and throws things at me. Why would I want to be like this? I don’t know, it’s who I am. I believe who God made me to be.

A contrarian spirit comes in handy in my life. Often I need to side with someone whom society has ganged up on. The children we love and care for were minorities in their communities. Ostracized for losing parents. Left to fend for themselves. I stand with them against their extended families and communities.

The folks we assist in the community are outcasts. Sickly, drunk, sinners, children, dirty, smelly, and mostly poor. This attitude helps me to stand by them when all others are against them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do take it too far at times. That could be why Kate is in my life. A well aimed pot can do wonders to on overly contrarian attitude.