Saturday, May 31, 2008


A few posts back I told you about Felix and Flovia, the two HIV positive children living at the clinic right now. I'm writing with a heavy heart. Felix is very sick right now.

On Tues night he began to run fevers and increased his coughing. He's being treated for TB in addition to having the HIV and malnourishment. Wed morning he tested positive for malaria. He did ok on Thurs and then crashed yesterday. Last night we were called to the clinic because he was doing poorly.

His temperature went up to 105 and he was in severe respiratory distress. Juli and I decided that he needed to get to the hospital immediately. Juli went with him in the ambulance to the emergency room in Eldoret. She took the ambu bag (for performing CPR) in case he should go into respiratory arrest on the way.

He was placed on oxygen and had multiple tests performed. I understand that today he is still on oxygen and still having high fevers. He has been through so much in his short life (a year and a half) but he has always been a fighter. Please pray for this precious little one. He truly is a little angel, all 13 lbs of him!!!


I just received an e-mail asking if we had a billion dollars if we would buy Adele a new Land Rover. The answer is YOU BETCHA!!!! In fact William and I feel a definite responsiblity for replacing Adele's "wheels". We have no idea how or what it will look like. But it is on the reality list, not the dream list.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mama Update

This weekend William's mom is being baptized!! Please pray that she will stand strong in her new found faith. She comes from a long history of alcoholism. She has many health problems and is looking at probable surgery later this year. The baptism will take place here in our Kipkaren river on Sunday morning.

My Turn

OK, so in the blog world there is something called being tagged. And I was tagged last month by Amanda. When you are tagged you are supposed to answer random questions about yourself and then tag other people so that you can learn random things about them as well.

Well I'm not following the rules exactly right, my friend Adele was tagged a few months ago and I liked her questions better than sharing seven random things about myself. (Sorry Amanda!) So I'm borrowing her set of rules for my turn as "it".

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was Doing 10 Years Ago
Leading a short term team to Madagascar with Teen Missions International. I knew that I wanted to pursue medical missions but I wasn't exactly sure of all the details yet.

Five Snacks I Love

  1. ICE CREAM!!!
  2. Chocolate
  3. Cookies (are you getting that I love sweets?)
  4. Pizza (ok, maybe it is not a snack but I crave it a lot lately)
  5. Popcorn with lots of butter

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire

  1. Tithe the first 10% to the Lord
  2. Pay off my school loans
  3. Give a bunch of money to some very responsible charitable organizations
  4. Found a business which would produce jobs and generate income in remote areas of Africa
  5. Pay off my sister's school loans
  6. Buy everyone in my family a car (William and I have decided that the Toyota Rav4 would work pretty well for us in the village).
Five Jobs that I have had (most recent first)

  1. Medical Missionary with ELI
  2. Family Nurse Practitioner at the UCLA clinic in the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission
  3. Emergency Room RN
  4. Medical Surgical RN
  5. Gymnastics Coach
Three of my Hobbies

  1. Reading a good book or watching a movie with my husband
  2. Traveling and exploring new places
  3. Crocheting

Bad Habits

  1. Tuning out when the conversation is in Swahili (I need to be trying to understand what's going on, not moving to lala land!)
  2. Jumping to conclusions before I hear the whole story.
  3. Feeling the need to be in charge or in control all of the time.

Five place I have Lived

WOW! Would you believe I lived in the Rancho Cucamonga area of Southern CA all of my life before moving to Kenya? However I have visited: Brazil, Mexico, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, England, Vanuatu, Australia, and Bulgaria!!

Five things not many people know about me

  1. I really enjoy crocheting.
  2. To re-charge I need some quiet time alone with a good book and a nice candle burning.
  3. I can milk a cow.
  4. I coached gymnastics before becoming a nurse.
  5. I enjoy singing but don't do it public (believe me this is a good thing!)

Five People I Want to Get to Know Better: (a nice way of saying TAG!)

  1. Kimberly from The Huffmans in Kenya
  2. Hollie at Scraps from Africa
  3. Sheila at Clutterstop
  4. Jill at Wellas World
  5. Juli my colleague in Kipkaren

Friday, May 23, 2008

With the Family Animal

Seeing the baby elephants was such a highlight for us. The elephant is William's family animal.

All ten of the baby elephants at he Sheldrick Orphanage were orphaned in one way or another. They are cared for until they are big enough to be re-introduced to the wild.

They are usually around age three when they go back to the forest or savanah. They get re-introduced to the wild in groups. Then they integrate into a new herd. Historically they do very well. There are currently three living at the orphanage who are getting ready to go home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Michelle and Cheetahs

Michelle and Cheetahs, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

Today we had a relaxing day. We visited both the Elephant and Animal Orphanages in Nairobi. The highlight of the day was getting to pet and interact with three adult female cheetahs!

William and Cheetah

William and Cheetah, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Excellent News and Frustrating News

I have my visa!!!! Starting today I am a permanent resident of Kenya. That is as long as William and I are married and he is alive. So I told him "No dying allowed!" And what is really really nice is that I only have to pay $3.50 a year for unlimited entry/re-entry through Kenyan customs/immigration. Considering it used to be $50 for a 90 day temporary visitor's visa this is really excellent news.

The frustrating news is that I'm going to need a work permit after all. I had three different officials tell me before that once I had residency I would not need to get a work permit. But today we were in the office of one of the bigwigs in immigration. And she says that I absolutely need to have a work permit. However she says that it will be half the cost of the "normal" missionary. Which means that it is either going to be $850 or $1,700 per year.

I also went to the nursing council today to start the process of getting my Kenyan nursing license. I have to get loads of original documents and supporting statements from the USA. So I'll need to start that process as soon as possible.

However, another positive thing was that the bigwig said that she will send our file down to the passport department. Since we already have a file open it just might speed up the process for getting William's passport. Tomorrow we are hoping to take advantage of my new resident status. We are going to see African animals at the Nairobi Game Reserve. Our new friend Anna is coming along with us. We'll try to get some pictures.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Felix and Flovia

Victoria and Felix, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

We've had two little guest living in the clinic for about three weeks now. My colleague Juli works in the Home Based Care department. During the course of some of her home visits she discovered two malnourished children who are HIV positive. Both of them were really failing to thrive. After prayer, discussion and planning Juli made the call that they should be moved to the clinic for intensive intervention.

Felix is one and Flovia is almost three. When they came to us Felix weighed just 4kg and Flovia was 6.5kg. Flovia couldn't walk and Felix could not hold his head up. Felix also has TB.

They moved in and went on around the clock feeding schedules. They are receiving 24hr care from Victoria (in the picture) and the rest of us at the clinic are checking in and helping out as much as we can.

I'm so happy to say that both are doing great! They are both steadily gaining weight. Felix is becoming more and more alert and even trying to hold his head up a bit. Flovia is now walking all over the clinic! She is a little handful. That girl is one temperamental two-year-old! She has determined not to like me. But I keep trying!


Flovia, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

Back Online

We are staying at the Mayfield Guest House in Nairobi. It's a missionary guest house where many missionaries spend a few days as they are traveling through Nairobi. When we arrived we met a new friend named Anna. She is a nurse in southern Sudan. She happens to be the only white person for miles and miles. Her life is pretty intense. We enjoyed sharing stories about life as a rural medical provider. Her village is very blessed to have her.

In the course of our conversation we mentioned how we forgot our computer charger at home. We told her how we unsuccessfully spent a few hours driving around to computer stores yesterday to see if we could find a new cord. It turns out that she has a Sony laptop as well. She is loaning us her cord so we can get the battery charged up. Yeah! Back online!

Yesterday we met with a lady in the immigration department. She told us that I should have my visa by tonight. We left my passport with her so that all the appropriate stamps could be stamped. So hopefully I'll have good news about my visa to share soon.

Then we waited in lines for three hours to apply for a passport for William. We were waiting in line together until some official realized that I wasn't an applicant. Then I got kicked out of the room. For the next hour I kept being told "You can't wait here! Move!" Finally the application process was completed. We are told that it will take a month. Then we will have to come back to Nairobi to pick up the passport and apply for the American visa. This is William's third time trying to apply. Pray that the third time is the charm!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Yesterday William and I arrived in Nairobi. We are here to hopefully pick up my visa and MAYBE try to get him a rushed passport. It normally takes at least a month. But we know someone who knows someone, so we will see....

We had car issues and almost didn't make it to the airport on time. We still had to pay for our tickets. And we walked in the door just 20 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave. Thankfully the flight was delayed by about 40 minutes so we were ok.

But let me explain the reason for titling this post ugh. After we arrived I got online to check my e-mail. I was looking for somewhere in the room to plug in the computer. Then we realized that only half of my adapter is here. Somehow the piece that actually plugs into the wall got left at home.

I was so frustrated. While in Nairobi we have a great high speed internet connection and I'm always able to get a ton more done here than at home. I had planned to get photos uploaded, do some more malaria searches etc. So I was pretty frustrated. William has high hopes that somewhere we can find the plug at a store and be back in business. I'm not so sure. So if you don't hear from me the rest of the week you will know why.

In the meantime please pray for success in the many official offices we will be visiting. Hugs to all from Kenya!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Some days I want to say TOSHA! Which means ENOUGH! Lord I have had enough of starving children! But I have a feeling that God feels the same way sometimes. I know that the situations I've been encountering must break his heart too.

We have a new patient. A young lady of 16 years with Type I diabetes. My colleague Juli (also an FNP) was asked to visit her at home. When she arrived she was shocked at how bad the situation was. The girl is thin as a rail and not receiving proper care. She is also blind. She told Juli that she wished she could see so that she could go look for food. Her grandmother who used to care for her recently passed away.

Juli prayed and felt the Lord leading her to bring Emily home. So now Emily is staying at the training center. As I was just loading my last two blog posts I heard a bone chilling scream followed by sobbing. I have to confess something. I knew all day that Emily was there. I had heard her story this morning. But I’m so tired of suffering that I had chosen to avoid the room. I said “Lord I just really don’t want to deal with anymore agony today.”

When I heard the screaming I knew that I could not ignore or avoid. When I ran into the room I found a thin young girl in the fetal position rocking back and forth. She cried out “Jesus oh Jesus!” between the sobs. I got on the phone with Juli to learn what the medical plan of care was. I learned that just as I guessed, she has horrible neuropathies. This means that the nerves in her legs and feet have been damaged by the diabetes. She is not on any pain medications at this time.

Although I know medically Tylenol will not do any good for neuropathy I decided to try. I thought maybe the placebo effect would at least do some good. I raided Adele’s house and found some Tiger Balm. I returned and gave Emily a massage of her legs and feet. By the end of the massage she was almost sleeping. Then I prayed with her. My heart was so full in that moment. And to think I did not want to meet this young lady….

Lord please use me as an instrument of your love. Please help me to get past myself and my hang-ups. Walk me through these situations. Use my hands to minister your touch.

The Sound of Music

I realize I’m overdue for an update on Jeptoo and the girls. I’m running a bit behind this week. I’ve been fighting off some sort of intestinal something. I spent a few days down and now I’m having fun playing catch up. You know that great saying “Two steps forward, one step back”? I feel like that is what we are doing right now.

Today the girls got their new dresses. William and I decided that each girl deserved to have a brand new dress of her own. But since finances are a bit tight we were trying to figure out how to swing it. Then I remembered that my colleague Adele had given me some material and some curtains. I told her if I couldn’t use the curtains I would find someone who could. As we were discussing dresses I remembered the part in The Sound of Music when Maria makes the children clothes out of the old curtains. So the three youngest girls now have dresses that used to be curtains!

William and I had just arranged for Jeptoo to get a job carrying water to a construction site. It’s definitely physical labor, but it pays well. And then she told us that she might be pregnant. Sure enough she is. So now we are working on finding work for her again. We are also realizing that our original plan of getting her on her feet in four or five months is probably not going to work.

The girls are doing very very very well though!! And guess what? Chelagat smiled!! She came up to the window while I was cooking dinner the other night. She spoke to me and asked habari yako? (How are you?) I told her I was fine and asked how she was. She smiled and said fine!!
All the girls got new clothes last week. I had planned to send our social worker, Ruth, to the market while I was in clinic. Something came up and Ruth was unavailable. So she sent Rashid and Henry, two young single guys. They went to Jeptoo’s house and measured all the children. Then they took the money and headed to the market. When the kids modeled for me I was trying so hard not to laugh. Chelagat was wearing a cute pink and white shirt with shorts cut from a green football print. The oldest had on snowpants. Snowpants in Kenya???!!! But at least the clothes are clean and don’t have holes or tears. The three youngest had never worn shoes before. Watching them put them on was a riot. The girls were walking really funny and staring at their feet.

Operation Rudi Nyumbani

Do you know what an IDP is? Last year I had no idea. I now know that an IDP is an Internally Displaced Person or People Group. And that basically means that a person has become a refugee within his or her own country. Operation Rudi Nyumbani is a big deal in Kenya these days. Rudi Nyumbani means Return Home. During the post-election violence approximately 300,000 Kenyans were displaced from their homes. The government has recognized that the country currently has many refugee camps full of her own people. Therefore they have decided that in order for Kenya to move forward something needs to be done about these camps; thus the launch of Operation Rudi Nyumbani.

This week military trucks can be seen all over the country shuttling people back to the places they were displaced from. In our community they will be arriving on Saturday. Posters have been put up informing the community that they should accept and welcome the displaced people back into their communities. I asked a colleague today where the people are supposed to live. Most of them had their homes burned and all of their possessions stolen. I was told that they will be allowed to keep the tents they have been living in, in the camps while they work to rebuild their homes and lives. Please join us in praying for the IDP’s as they make the journey to their homes. Pray for true deep reconciliation to occur. Pray for peace and healing.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Back to Square One

William has been trying since the fall of 2006 to obtain a passport. He first had to get an ID card before being eligible to apply for the passport. He has been jumping through hoops, chasing down documents, paying fees, and traveling all over western Kenya in the process.
Well yesterday was the big day when he went to go pick it up. He had a three hour drive in public transportation (vans that stuff about twenty people inside). I was praying all would go well, but at the same time not holding my breath. It seems that very little goes right on the first try for us. So I wasn't shocked when he sent me a text message saying he would be coming home without a passport.
When he arrived they told him that they never even started to process his application because there was an error on his birth certificate. His birth city was listed as being in the wrong county. They put North instead of South (or South instead of North, I'm really not sure which it was supposed to be). So not only was he denied the passport but he had to go back to his birth city to apply for a new birth certificate. He made the journey immediately and got home late last night.

Today he has gone back to hopefully pick up the birth certificate so that he can once again apply for a passport. Pray for doors to open and paperwork to be processed correctly. We will be going to Nairobi a week from Sunday to work on getting my visa. We had hoped that we would be able to start the process for his visa as well. But it looks like that may be postponed now.

Please pray that my residency visa is really ready this time. Last time we arrived and they told us that it had not been denied but that it was not ready yet. Having residency will open many doors for us. For one, I will not be required to obtain a work permit which costs thousands of dollars.

Some days I wonder why we get to experience so many challenges. But I do know that God is in control. I know that He is walking through each of these challenges with us. And his grace is sufficient. And it is a blessing to be involved in some of the incredible things that are currently happening here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Neighbors

If you've been following along you will know that William and I have been trying to get Jeptoo and her five children re-located for at least a month now. Well this week we were able to acquire a small house next door for their use.

Yesterday we told Jeptoo that the house had been located and that we wanted her to come and clean it today and then move in on Saturday. There is no cho (pit toilet) and we wanted to work on that over the weekend.

Well last night around 8PM we got a knock on the door. It was our night security man. "Do you have the key to the house next door? There is a lady and some children here asking about it." It was sprinkling and pitch black outside. We figured she must be pretty desperate to make the move considering she would bring five small children across the river with nothing but the clothes on their back in THE DARK!!!

So we took a deep breath and started looking for the blankets and extra lantern I had bought for them. Every time I go to town I buy something for the Jeptoo plan. We've been compiling a small pile in our guest bedroom. Blankets, basins, soap, beans etc. Then we realized that the girls had not eaten. So we were digging around for something to put in those little tummies before bedtime. Actually by the time we got back to the house everyone was asleep on the floor and had to be woken up to eat.

This morning we went over to check on them. We had a chat with Jeptoo about things that we are expecting from her. Taking the kids to church, no alcohol, no men in the house, finding work etc.

I'll try to get some pictures sometime next week. In the meantime please continue to pray for us. William and I are on unknown territory here. We want to help but we don't want her to become dependent on us. And we really really want to see Chelagat smile. I'll keep you posted.