Saturday, November 26, 2011


Saturday night, November 20, I met two visitors from Living Word International Church in Tennesse at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. They were coming to Kenya to visit Pastor Mireti in Kisii, but he had made arrangements for them to spend three days in Ngong first. Pastor George who is the pastor at another church and a friend of Pastor Mireti drove us to the airport. Pastor George owns a transport company, a real estate company and an advertising company in addition to being a pastor.

The Bishop of Living Word International Church had been to Grace's and wanted them to come here too. The visitors were African America women, Linda and Yvonka. Interestingly enough, Pastor Mireti was under the impression that they were a married heterosexual couple. While we were waiting for them to arrive he told me he had a photo of the visitors, but he had brought the wrong envelop, so we were all a bit surprised when they arrived! But Linda and Pastor Mireti had been communicating on Facebook and knew one another immediately!

The original plan had been for them to be taken directly to the farm, but Pastor George was anxious about making the trip to Kimuga in the dark and the visitors were tired and needed to get a proper rest, so Pastor George found them a hostel near his home. Pastor Mireti stayed at the hotel with the visitors and Pastor George woke his family up at midnight to organize a place for me to sleep in his house!

The next day I met the visitors at the hostel and we all went to Ngong AIC Church. Grace took them to the Swahili service. So besides being exhausted, they were subjected to three hours of understanding nothing! Poor things.

After church we all headed to the farm for lunch. Grace's son David had come to drive the kids and Grace and John to church and home. We had a nice lunch and then David brought me back to Ngong where we visited with his sister-in-law Gladys for the afternoon.

Monday we had planned to take the visitors to Ilkiloret. I went down with a pick-up truck full of materials in earlier in the morning. The visitors followed later in a safari van. We had a wonderful time. (video to be uploaded soon). We had a prayer service. Pastor Mireti preached. Linda and Yvonka prayed for those who came forward for special prayers. We sang and praised the Lord for at least two hours. It was so beautiful!

Then Janet and I presented certificates to my adult students who had taken their first test the previous Thursday. There were a lot of "E" grades but no "F" grades. I believe in effort not failure!

The Maasai put out a market of their jewelery - I bought yet another bracelet. I have so many, but it was really neat! I was given a necklace. One of my students, Hana, later commented that it looked like an airplane... one of the words I taught them that begins with "A." Hana is 43 and the mother of 7. She got a B+ on her test! At that moment all the frustration was worth it.

As we left we encountered a lorry overloaded with bags of charcoal, blocking the road in the middle of the first big hill leading out of Ilkiloret. We all got out and walked up to inspect the scene. Five men attempting to make the lorry roll back down the hill by putting rocks behind the tires so it wouldn't roll too quickly. All this without offloading any cargo. If it sounds ridiculous, you know exactly what we were thinking.

Finally Pastor Mireti, got some of the bigger rocks out of the way and Elijah the safari van driver drove the van up the hill next to the lorry, which at this point looked like it would tip over any minute.

The conversation in the vehicle after we passed the lorry centered around the fact that men (in general) had less common sense than women. None of the men objected too much after the scene they had just witnessed.

Tuesday we had a prayer meeting at the HomeCare center, located in Ngong Hills. HomeCare is a prayer and counseling group Grace particpates in. The group is small, but they had invited their friends and neighbors who needed prayers. There ended up being about 14 of us. Linda gave a message and Yvonda and Pastor Mireti both gave testimonies. We prayed for 4 hours. It didn't seem like that much time had passed. It was so powerful.

On Monday we prayed in the valley on Tuesday we went to the mountain. I mentioned to those gathered that every verse we had looked up in those four hours had been underlined in the Bible I was using. Divine guidance maybe. Wezesha was richly blessed by Linda, Yvonka and Pastor Mireti.

When I arrived at the airport on Saturday night, I had no idea what to expect. When the visitors left of Wednesday morning for Kisii, I had new friends, sisters in Christ, who will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sweat Equity

The building project in Ilkiloret has become a real pain in the behind. But I'm guessing most construction projects are like that because of the nature of the work and many variables involved.

The project was supposed to have two head fundi's and four helpers. Three from Ngong and three from Ilkiloret. But the "real" fundis from Ngong, complain that the Maasai workers recruited in Ilkiloret are lazy. By the third week of the project I'm told that they can't use unskilled Maasai workers anymore and will only bring one back (after the work stoppage for five days because the head fundi's mother died). They don't end up bringing him back at all. Then two of them ask to come back to deal with family issues. One does not return. I had stupidly paid him for all the days he had worked so far. The other one is one of my head fundi's and returned to Ilkiloret Friday with materials.

The deal we made with the head fundis from the beginning was that I would give them an advance for food. They live down there once they get there. The fundi who left told me he would communicate to the rest of the fundis about this, but on Thursday I found out he hadn't and I had a mini revolt on my hands. Somehow they think I should be supplying food for them while there on the job site. Interesting but not the agreement. Now they are refusing to pay Steven, the current head fundi, for food. What they don't realize is that I can just deduct the money for food from their salaries and pay Steven back directly. Or tell the Maasai community that they are not living up to their end of the agreement. Every tribe in Kenya is afraid of the Maasai! Neither way is conducive to a happy ending so I'm hoping they will come to their senses and pay Steven!

I have also added to their work which didn't help anything. I got permission from Give Us Wings to paint the interior of the building, but that will take an extra day or two so I volunteered to come help paint. I happen to have more than adequate painting skills, which I own to the fact that my parents house was built around me and sweat equity was part of being a member of the family. I also did minor renovations in the house I rented in St. Cloud, which included painting. I went down on Wednesday to put the undercoat on the walls. Only to discover that two of the four walls weren't ready for painting. Grace Laton, one of Wezesha's sponsored children who comes from Ilkiloret and I put on two coats of undercoat on two walls. It was Laton's first time painting and I think the only reason Steven left her continue was that it was undercoat!

Njenga my pikipiki (motorcycle taxi) driver was supposed to pick me up at 4:30 but he never showed up. I walked out to the network tree and called him only to find out that he had a puncture and had gone back to Ngong.

When he dropped me off on Wednesday, Steven had taken measurements of the window glass panes and told Njenga where to get quotes. The place Steven thought would be cheaper was closed so Njenga got a quote from the more expensive place, whose owner I know well. They gave him a big hassle both that day and the next morning. So I finally told him around 12:30 on Thursday just to come back and pick me up!

Thursday morning I had gone to find network and had to walk farther than normal and was unsuccessful. The clouds hung over the mountains like frosting on cupcakes, blocking all network connections. While standing on the top of the network hill, not to be confused with the network tree, I saw a path off in the distance and decided I need to see what lay on the other side of that mountain.

So later in the morning when Laton and I walked back to the network tree and contacted Njenga and determined it would take him at least a half and hour to arrive in Ilkiloret, I convince Laton to accompany me over the mountain.

On the way, is a Maasai compound where some of my students stay. We stopped and had tea with Margaret and then headed up the hill that was full of loose rocks and a bit difficult to navigate. I haven't however seen anything more magnificent than what appeared when we crested the mountain. A beautiful canyon, green mountains, that famous purple-gray mist that blankets the rift valley... all of it breathtaking! (I have pictures and will post them check back.)

There is also network near the compound where we stopped to have tea. I called Njenga again to make sure he was on the way, only to find out he was still at testimony and they hadn't started cutting the glass yet. "Come NOW," I said. "I'll figure out the glass when I get back to Ngong."

Njenga arrived in time for lunch around 1:30 and we ate and then rushed back to Ngong where I ordered glass from the shop that had originally been closed in about 15 minutes!!!

My short trip to Ilkiloret had turned into an exhausting saga. I was thumbing through FB on my BlackBerry when I got home and discovered it was Thanksgiving. So I called my parents and talked to some of the people gathered at my house for my family's favorite holiday!

When I hung up I started thinking about what I was thankful for this year...
1) God's abundant blessings in my life
2) a job/mission I LOVE
3) my children
4) the work of Wezesha By Grace
5) the support and encouragement from churches, friends, family and even strangers in the US who have funded, prayed for and sent care packages for Nomadic Chameleon Missions.
6) health
7) an active prayer life
8) the good friends who email me daily (you know who you are)
9) Facebook - yeap you heard me right, I feel so much more connected to friends and family around the world
10)Peace of mind that I'm in the right place, doing what God wants me to do.
11)-can I have an 11? My new friend Jill who gave me about 15 mystery novels yesterday - I was dying for something to read after my Kindle died! She has an iTouch which she says is way better than a Kindle...God, please forgive my iTouch envy!

My wish - that we are as thankful everyday, as we are on Thanksgiving Day!

Judie is home...

My 22 year-old-daughter appeared at my front door Friday late morning, just as I was leaving for town to meet a fundi and Grace. She is in a boarding secondary school in Ong'ata Rongai, which is about 40 minutes from Ngong. For those of you who don't know about Judie, here is a quick history.

I met her when I was working for nuns and living in a convent in Meru, Kenya in 2005. She was 15 years old at the time. Her mother died when she was 7 years old. And her father left she and her three siblings with relatives and married another woman in a different village. Judie didn't attend school until she was 11 and free primary school was introduced in Kenya. She repeated class 3 because of illness and class 7 because of poor grades in math and science(she could be my biological daughter in that respect!)

I met the fundi and sent him back to the job site with about 75 pounds of glass for the windows and paint for the metal windows and door.

I also met Grace at the POSTA. We had received a notice that we had a package awaiting pickup, only to discover the POSTA had messed up and we had already picked up the package!

Then I caught up on email, because I did not have credit on my BlackBerry to receive email for a few days. Most cell phones here are pre-paid.

That done I met Judie at the bus stage by our home. We were going to go to Karen to buy groceries at Nakumatt, which is like our version of Walmart. I only buy things I can't get in Ngong (which is a lot of things)!

On the way I called a woman named Jill, who I met in the checkout line a week before in Nakumatt. She is retired and doing mission work on a self-supporting basis and lives in Karen.

We decided to meet for tea at Dormand's outside of Nakumatt in an hour. Judie and I were both hungry so we headed to a restaurant at the local Shell gas station. I know that sounds a bit weird but the food is really good.

We had a nice lunch and a chat and then went to Nakumatt to meet Jill. We had a nice time with Jill. She is moving soon and said she had books she needed to get rid of. "REALLY," I said. "My Kindle died and I'm dying for reading materials." Come over and take what you want was her response. The best part is that she also is a fan of mystery novels and Sudoku! So I left her home with about 15 books and 2 books of Sudoku! I was doing a happy dance every chance I had all evening!

Judie and I stood outside her compound waiting for a matatu, but none came. A taxi came and dropped someone off at her compound and gave us a lift back to Karen. It was dark so I negotiated with the taxi driver to take us back to Ngong after we got groceries.

I'm so excited to have Judie home!!! I can't wait for all the fun we will have during this vacation!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tidbits...truth is stranger than fiction!

Two chairs: I mentioned to Charles, my Kenyan son, I was hoping he could come live with me in Ngong instead of at the farm where he stays now because there is no room for him where I stay. He said, “Mom, two chairs.” What he meant was that I could push to chairs together and he could sleep on them. Dear God, I love that kid! I hope living with an 11-year-old boy won’t make me crazy, but even if it does. All I need to remember are those two sweet words – two chairs.

Bald and Beautiful: Last Saturday I went to the farm to spend the day with the kids. I brought them two art projects. I wanted Ian, Grace’s grandson, who happens to be a great artist, to make a stenciled alphabet for my classroom in Ilkiloret and I needed some art for my room in Ngong, so the rest of the kids drew me pictures and then helped color in the stenciled letters. Then we had lunch and I met with Grace. While we were meeting I mentioned that a number of the kids needed their heads shaved. Grace said there was a barber in Kimuka and I could walk down to the kinyozi (barber shop) with whoever wanted to go. So 15 minutes later I was headed down the road with 9 kids in tow. We took before and after pictures and played along the way, singing, dancing and skipping our way home. The next day in Ngong I met a taxi driver I know who said. “I saw you yesterday, skipping down the road with little girls under both arms,” he said. “You looked like you were having a blast.”

“It was pure bliss!” I said.

More snakes: Two new snake sightings in two days. Was on the way home from Ilkiloret on Thursday when my pikipiki driver pulled over to point out a very large cobra about 30 feet behind us on the side of the road. The next day Veronica, who rents a room in the Kingatua compound, but is only there a month or so of the year, was home for a rare visit. She opened her door and flipped her light switch but the bulb was burnt out. She saw something black on a ledge on the wall and didn't remember leaving anything there so she nudged it with the end of a mop and it moved by itself. Veronica appeared at our door and said simply, "SNAKE!"

It escaped but without a light bulb in her room Veronica slept on the couch in my living room. We discussed Ruth, who lives in my living room, moving into her room so it doesn't stay vacant and thus seem welcoming to undesirable guests. Which solves two problems, because then Charles, my son can move in with me!

New friends: Have randomly said hi to a young man who keeps popping up in my life. Today I finally sat down and had a cup of tea with him. He talked incessantly so I didn’t get to ask a lot of questions. He’s a runner – no surprise in Ngong, but he’s a sprinter/short distance runner, not a marathoner. He’s training for the world junior championships in Barcelona in 2012. His name is Mohamed Hassan or Hassan Mohamed - not quite sure, but like I said couldn’t get a word in the monologue. He’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met and I’ve actually met quite a few. He’s incredibly focused and forthright. He also is blind in his right eye. It’s actually missing completely. The reporter in me is dying to get him to shut up for 2 minutes so I can pump him for information about himself, but that will have to wait for another day.

Motorcycle Thief: Njenga was all excited when he picked me up today.

“We caught a motorcycle thief,” he said. “Motorcycles have been disappearing, but last night about 10 pm, we caught one guy in the act.”

“What happened,” I said.

“Mob justice,” Njenga replied. “He was burned.”

“He’s dead?” I ask.

“Yeah, he died.” Njenga replied.

Kenya’s don’t spend a lot of time waiting for the police to act. Mob justice is seen as a good deterent against future crimes. If you scream “thief” when someone runs off with your cell phone or your purse, and that person is caught, the least that will happen is that the thief is beaten by those who come to your rescue; depending on the severity of the crime and the demeanor of the mob that forms, and the availability of flammable materials, a thief can also meet his/her demise.

Negotiations: Not only do I have to do the normal bartering that you do here…I also have to barter down from the mzungu (foreigner) price. Luckily we used the same hardware store for most of our building needs in Ilkiloret. But when I went to see him alone (without a fundi) he started his 'different brand, prices have gone up' speech. “Pax,” I said. (Business owners are often called by the name of their business.) “I’m already over budget, but if you can give me a good quote on interior wall paint, we can talk about the price of cement.”

Pax went on to save me $50 on paint. But we will spend that on ceiling boards that the fundi, Steven, texted me today that we need more of! Lovely!!!

Steven also texted me a grocery list. There is however a small shop near Ilkiloret where they could pick most of the items they need. Why they are texting me and not asking Janet who is at the site and supposed to be helping them with whatever they need, I don’t know. I really wish common sense had been distributed more evenly.

Njenga told me as we were leaving on Thursday that the fundis working on the classroom building are afraid of me. “They want me to bring them back cigarettes but they don’t want you to know,” Njenga said. “So they finally decided they could wait.”

Anytime I can keep someone from indulging in a cancer stick brings me a certain amount of delight, but the fact that I can instill so much fear in men I barely know, gives me a serious power rush!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The label is relative...

Eliza takes break from rolling in the dirt to pose in her secondhand fashions.

Ilkiloret Week 9

Was late to class, because I had to stop and make copies! Arrived at 11 a.m. to a room overflowing with students. We've had a couple of new students everyday, which is great except that I'm giving a test next week as it is our last full week of classes before the December school break.

I had brought a lot of worksheets but they flew through them, so we mostly played games on Thursday. Hangman is a great team sport! We are almost out of chalk so we were hanging a blue person, who I tried to make interesting by giving him or her different hair each time. Once they caught on it was really fun!

The ride down on Wednesday, while a bit slick, was really uneventful. One thing I've forgotten to tell you about is the way the Ngong Hills look when it's cloudy early in the morning. They look like cupcakes with icing on top. Like you could take a big bite! It actually makes me hungry!

We attributed the absence of livestock jams to the fact that the area had a significant rainfall and it was likely that all the waterholes were filled, therefore no one needed to drive their herds far for water.

After lunch I was hanging out at Rebeka's when her husband James, Pastor Moses and Stephen,the class clown showed up and sat down on a bench in the yard and proceeded to take out their worksheets from class. I took this as a hint that class wasn't over and for the next hour we had, "Man Class."

There were some school age kids around who helped me translate. Stephen got caught up on class work he missed because he hadn't been in class in a week! He is really smart but is too busy being a clown to make a lot of progress. You know how 30-year-old men are!

Now here's where the bad news comes in. I was taking photos of the full moon later Wednesday evening and accidentally erased some really great photos I'd taken of the progress on construction, the man class and Rebeka undoing her braids.

Their are photos in this blog but not the really great ones I wanted you to see!

After the men left I helped Rebeka take out her braids - I happen to be getting pretty good at this as I do it for my daughter on a fairly regular basis.

The moon was full, but there were a lot of clouds. I spent about a half hour with a sleeping Eliza on my lap gazing up at the moon. She's still the perfect size to hold while she sleeps. Ezekiel tries to sleep on my lap - but he's slightly too big at 5.

Slept semi-well but woke up with a terrible pain between my shoulders. Rebeka saw my uncomfort and massaged me a bit and put some icy hot like stuff on my back. The pain is still there but not nearly as bad as it was Thursday morning.

Grace and John showed up Thursday morning about half way through my class to see the building progress. They were very impressed. Thank Goodness! But they hadn't told me they were coming, which is typical. Grace had gotten a hold of Njenga and told him not to come and pick me, so all's well that ends well.

The following pictures are ones I took after the tragic and untimely deleting incident!

No Ilkiloret blog would be complete without a Rebeka-in-the-kitchen picture.

The MIDI demonstration garden is really doing well!

Five year old, Ezekiel, "read" while the rest of the family worked in the garden.

Rebeka and I supervising the gardening!

Rebeka getting ready for school.

Portrait of a leader!

I'll try not to delete the important pictures next week!!!


Tuesday mornings aren’t supposed to start like this…

I answer my buzzing Blackberry just before 7 a.m., I immediately recognize the voice of the Samwel the fundi, only he wasn’t in Ilkiloret.
Me: Hello.
Fundi: Jessica?
Me: Samwel. Where are you?
Fundi: I’m in Ngong. I came this morning. My mother died.
Me: Oh Samwel. I’m so sorry.
Fundi: I want to travel home for burial.
Me: Of course. How long will you be gone?
Fundi: Ummmm, five days.
Me: Okay. Has construction stopped?
Fundi: Yes.
Me: Where are the other fundi’s?
Fundi: In Ilkiloret. You need to go pay them.
Me: No, they need to come to Ngong and I’ll pay them when they arrive.
Fundi: You send a piki piki?
Me: No, they can come by public means.
Fundi: I already tell a pikipiki to go pick them.

I’ll admit at this point I got a little pissed… the difference in cost is significant.

Anyway I climbed out of bed and got ready to go to Ngong and meet the fundi. Njenga came and picked me at 8:15 a.m. I met Samwel at the Touch of Spice Café, which is in a corridor full of small shops in the center of Ngong.

The corridor of shops where I spend the majority of my time when in Ngong.

Fast Net Cyber, The Touch of Spice Café and Stella’s massage place are my hangouts and they all happen to be in the same corridor, which is very convenient.

Dennis and his sister Doris run Fast Net Cyber. They have become good friends. Dennis got a generator when I was here last year, now Fast Net is known as the best place to go for internet services in Ngong! All the foreigners come here and eat at Touch of Spice Cafe!

The owner is really sweet woman whose name I've never known. I just call her mom, and that seems to work for her too!

Stella runs a massage business, has an MPesa, and sells jewelry, fancy pots and pans, natural products and today I discovered she sells fabric for a Rwandan refugee who lives in Kenya. I met her last year when I tried using her funny massage machine. The machine didn't impress me, but Stella did. I stop in and we have tea once and while. She also watches my bag when I need to use the public toilet.

There is also a bookshop and juice shop, a lawyer’s office, an office supply store, a tailor, a hair salon, another cyber and a public toilet! Dennis, who owns Fast Net was at one of the tables at Touch of Spice Café so I joined him while I waited for the Samwel. He ended up translating a bit for me, as Samwel doesn’t always get what I’m saying. I paid Samwel and we figured out we would begin working again on Monday the 14th. I told him to have both the roofing team and the masons ready to go on Monday; we’d take them down with the last load of materials. We should actually be on schedule because they can get done in about 10 days (or so says Samwel). Grace and I can take a vehicle to the site on Wednesday and then she takes the roofing fundi’s back to Ngong – they should be done by then. It helps to have a plan, even if nothing goes as planned.

Elijah the piki driver who had gone to pick up the fundi got a puncture on the way back from Ilkiloret so I had to wait for him in Ngong until 2 p.m. I spent the time at Fast Net working on assignments for my students for tomorrow. I would have finished them yesterday but I have to take one of the Wezesha kids to the doctor.

It started raining around lunch time so I went to Touch of Spice Café to grab some lunch while I waited for Elijah who had originally told me he’d be back by 1 p.m. There was no room to sit in the restaurant, so I asked the waitress if she could bring my food to Stella’s, and she said sure. So I ate lunch at Stella’s desk. Then I went to buy Stella toilet paper as I used the last of hers earlier in the day.

I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to pay for lunch until I was doing my expense report for the day. It unfortunately isn’t the first time I’ve left without paying. Grace and I eat there often and once we each had thought the other had paid. That time the waitress went to Fast Net and got my number from Dennis. Small world! I will stop by and pay on my way to Ilkiloret tomorrow! I feel so bad!

After lunch I went to wait for Elijah, when he didn’t show, I went and found Njenga and asked to use his phone…mine was out of charge. Elijah was in Kimuga; it had been raining there so they had stopped. Again another 20 minute wait. So I went to Dottie’s to get out of the rain. Dottie, better known as Mama Trina, is the woman who lives just up the hill from me and has a music/phone charging/hair extensions/pedicure shop in Ngong. She has huge speakers outside her door that blast the music she has playing in her shop.

Dottie,plying her pedicure trade!

I went to see Dottie, to have somewhere to be inside as the weather was kind of a slow drizzle. I already have perfectly manicured toes a la Dottie! She has a glass-enclosed case with mostly cassettes and a few CDs in it. People were leaning on the glass and had broken it on more than one occasion so Dottie had taken things into her own hands and nailed nails in a board along the edge of the case so they stuck out enough to deter people from leaning on the glass.

Dottie's security system! Elbows beware!

At 2pm I called Elijah and he had just arrived in Ngong so I went to the stage and paid him and paid the fundi his wages. Then went to the supermarket and bought some groceries for Rebeka and then Njenga took me home. By the time I finished picking green groceries on my street is was nearly 2:45, but I was home.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on assignments for my students, which I will have to print tomorrow morning as I wasn’t going to brave the rain again.

It’s 9:15 p.m. now and it’s raining again, if this keeps up my trip to Ilkiloret may not happen. I guess I’ll wait to see what the weather’s like and what the first phone call brings…

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday afternoons are all about me. Especially after having sung the alphabet song so many times in the past two days that I’ve started singing it with a jazzy rhythm. I need a mental, emotional, physical (and nutritional) break. Being in Ilkiloret is so other-worldly it takes time to ease my way back into “town” life. I first need a shower…there is only so long I can stand the smell of cooking fire and cow dung out of context! Then I have to address missed communication on my smart phone. Most people know I’ve been in the bush so there are rarely any urgent messages. Then I have to download photos and think about blogging, which is difficult because my body is in rest mode. However when you have a memory that equals the capacity of that of a flea…it’s essential to write while the memories are fresh.

It rained Tuesday evening, so Njenga wasn’t excited about the trip, but as it turned out there was only one bad spot on the road and a path had already been cut parallel to it on the side of the road. It hadn’t rained in Ilkiloret so the roads were good. We encountered about the usual amount of jams - a really dumb dog that just laid in the middle of the road while we past and some dikdik’s (like tiny dear) raced us in the bush next to the road until they encountered a fence. They are really fast. I can’t figure out how they know there is a fence in front of them and stop in time to not run right into it!

We also came across the green lorry that had delivered my supplies the day before. It was parked at the top of a big hill. The story Joseph the transporter gave me was that it had started raining just after they had delivered the materials and so the road was too muddy... the story Janet gave me (after she told me it hadn't rained the day before), was that the lorry had problems with the brakes. I tend to believe Janet!

We arrived to find the walls completely up on the classroom building! They also started on the veranda.

Half of our classroom was filled with ceiling boards and iron sheets. So class was crowded and loud and lots of fun. I ended by taking about 6 women through the alphabet on the board. So far…we’ve got A, B and C down – D and E are problematic. Any thoughts on teaching the alphabet? I’ve started to teach them the alphabet song, and we are making progress… but my goodness is it ever slow. I have other students who I need to find more work for – makes teaching a bit tricky!
My students have decided they need to have a test before we break for December vacation. Boarding school children have the month of December off. So we will take a test of November 17 and have a party and give the tests back on November 23. They had a small meeting to discuss this after class (see below).

The MIDI project did have a demonstration but they ended up starting after our class was finished. Rebeka was cooking for them again and was still cooking when I came back to the house after class, so I went back to the building site and was invited to lunch at Janet’s house. I had ugali and beans and then was told that Rebeka was looking for me so I went home and ate rice and stew… then I went and sat with the women while they got a demonstration about bee keeping. It started raining so we finished up and then I sat with the MIDI folks while they ate lunch and then helped Rebeka take the dishes back to the house.

Rebeka cooking lunch.

James working on his homework before class.

I spent the rest of the afternoon handwriting/copying assignments for the next day. I didn’t have time to create assignments on Monday or Tuesday… so the work we had done on Wednesday had been left over from last week when I arrived late with the lorry.

I don’t write longhand that often and my wrist and hand still hurt! Janet helped copy a bit too, but that was a lot of work! Janet had a good laugh at me because that is how she does it all the time. I’m still trying to figure out if the computer and copier have made me more proficient or lazier!

Grace had said she might come see the construction and talk to my students today. But she was unsure of her plans. Had she come I wouldn’t have needed Njenga to come get me. I stood under the network tree early this morning and finally got a hold of Grace who said she would call Njenga, but I texted him anyway and like magic he showed up about 1 pm! I actually had told him to meet me at the small public school nearby because everyone was going there for prayers at noon. But then I decided to wait for him on the road. I was walking up the path from the house to the road when I heard a motorcycle. I started running and waving my helmet, fearing he would drive by. Thankful he saw me and stopped.

We had an uneventful ride home, except that we say some giraffes near Grace’s house. We stopped to say hi…and I could swear my son, Omondi, has grown a foot in the last week! On the way out of the valley a car honked at us and stopped. I told Njenga it was probably Grace and it was. I ran down the hill a bit and said hi. She was with her son Sammy and grandson Keith. They were headed to the farm to plant some grass.

So now I’m comfortably reclined on my bed with my computer perched on my lap and I’m thinking it’s about time I do some actual relaxing. Maybe even a nap before Ruth gets home and dinner needs to be made! I really like Thursday afternoons!