Monday, June 30, 2008

My Brain is Tired

Today in my Swahili lesson I was learning times of day. WOW!! Talk about brain strain! I learned my numbers a few months back. So one would think that times of day would be easy. But no, the system here is complicated. The clock doesn't work like my American clock. Here seven in the morning is one. So twelve noon is actually six. Which is difficult enough. Then you put the numbers in a different language.

So when my teacher tells me it is kumi na robo I mentally translate the numbers to mean a quarter after ten. But if I answer in English that it is a quarter after ten I'm wrong. Because it's actually a quarter after four in the afternoon. UGH!!! I keep praying one of these days I will be zapped with a miraculous ability to understand and speak. But in the meantime I'll just keep chugging along at my my pole pole (slowly by slowly) pace!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Flovia Then

Day One, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

Day one as a resident of the Chebaiywa Health Dispensary.

Flovia Now

Flovia and Victoria, originally uploaded by momentswithmichelle.

Two months, and lots of TLC, later. She has gained eight lbs and is doing great. She has a baby doll she loves to carry around on her back. Click on her picture to see more of her improvement.


Jeptoo is the mother of the five girls living next door to us. Some days we feel like we are making great progress with the family. Other days it is two steps forward, one step back. Then weeks like this one feel more like one step forward, two steps back.

We are having a hard time getting her gainfully employed. She doesn't seem to have much motivation to work or provide for her family. It's hard enough to find a job for someone who is ambitious and hard working. So we are feeling some concern about how we are going to help her stand on her own two feet. Plus last week she fell and injured her right arm. So now she is even more limited in what she can do.

We want so badly to see the girls thrive. But it is so hard to know how best to help them when their mama doesn't seem to have anything to give. There are days when I so wish we had social services here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chelagat Update

"Chamgei baba?" That means "How are you dad?" in the Kalenjin language. William reported to me that this is what Chelagat said to him when he came home from work the other day. He was glowing. He has never asked the girls to call him dad, but they are really liking having a kind and caring man in their lives. All five girls are doing great! It brings joy to my heart to hear them laughing and watch them run around the yard without a care. I even enjoyed Jepkemboi's temper tantrum the other day. When we met these girls the three youngest didn't show any emotional expression whatsoever.

Stovetop Lasagna

So for the past six months I've been cooking over a flame of some sort. It has ranged from charcoal, to kerosene, to my lovely-wonderful-magnificent two burner gas stove! Did I mention I love the stove!! However I have not had and probably will not have an oven anytime soon. So I recently decided that it was time to experiment.

My first venture into the world of stovetop baking was pizza. I made pizza, put it into my big skillet, sealed it with a lid and simmered for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good. So I decided to venture into the world of meat and tried meatloaf. It was delicious! SOOOO last night...... drum roll please! Lasagna!! And it turned out. It was so so so so good.

My fellow missionary Jenn Davis has told me you can make banana bread on a stovetop. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try it yet. I'll let you know if any great new experiments wind up turning into missionary classics.

By the way, I still haven't gotten around to bringing my camera to the clinic. But I will try to remember this week!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Movie Time

I’ve been promising Victoria (Flovia’s primary caregiver) that I would try to bring a movie with the computer one of these days. So Friday I decided it was the day. I rushed through some projects in the morning then made some fresh buttery popcorn after lunch. We watched The Little Mermaid at the clinic while we munched on popcorn. Flovia had a blast. She would scream whenever the birds or fish appeared on the screen. I think I’ll try to bring either Aladdin or Anastasia next week.

Flovia is doing really well right now. She was a bit confused about where Felix disappeared to. Several times she has pointed at his cup enquiring about where he is. But I think she has adjusted to “only child” status very well. She has always needed a lot of attention and is really getting it right now. She has grown so much it is amazing. I’ll try to get some before and after photos up later this week. The difference is pretty amazing.


William and I are doing pretty well. Yesterday we had a bit of a scare with our new kitten. We have had him for almost a month now. His name is Jack and he is adorable! We have really gotten attached to the little booger. Well he is in that kitten phase where he likes to attack virtually everything in the house. The other day he was sitting on top of a cabbage doing his best to kill it.

Well I decided that he needed some outside time so I locked him out when I went to the shower. Let me just clarify that our shower is attached to our cho (outside pit toilet). So I boil water, mix it with cold, then carry it down to the shower. So I told Jack to go and play while I washed. When I finished I locked up the shower and didn’t see him anywhere. I noticed the back door was cracked and figured he must have gone back inside. After a thorough search he was nowhere to be found. Later William came home and made a search without any success. Two searches and six hours later we were getting pretty worried about him. He has never left our compound before. We started to think maybe he was either kitty-napped or carried off by a village dog. I was feeling sick for making him go out against his will.

Before bedtime I made one last trip down to the cho and was calling him all the way. Then I heard a little meow. I called again and realized the sound was coming from…… the shower!! As I was picking up my washing bucket he must have snuck in around my ankles. The poor guy was locked in the shower for six hours. Thankfully he is none the worse for the wear!

Back Online

We have been internet-less for long enough to get frustrating. But we are now back online; gotta love life in a third world country!! When it rains the power goes out more frequently. Since this is the rainy season we are dealing with quite a few power outages. And when the power goes out the internet needs to be re-set. Sometimes it needs to have something actually re-loaded and re-configured by our computer tech.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Welcome Home Felix

Sunday morning, June first, Felix went home to be with Jesus. I confess that I cried when I heard the news. We have been pouring so much into that little one. He was more than a patient, he was adopted by the clinic staff.

My emotions are so mixed. I know that he spent the majority of his short life fighting, struggling and suffering. I know that now he is free. But I will miss him dearly. We were envisioning a future and a hope for that little boy. He had gained weight since coming to us. We really believed he had a fighting chance. But the combo of HIV, TB and malaria were just too much for his little malnourished body to take.

I remember the first day I met him and Flovia. Flovia was so weak she was just laying in bed not moving. She was not at all aware of her circumstances. Felix on the other hand was super alert. His big eyes never missed a trick. He was always taking everything and everyone in. In the week before he died he was getting strong enough to hold his head up a bit. I remember when we all celebrated the day he cut his first tooth. I have many special memories of that little boy that I will treasure in my heart.

Thank you for your prayers for Felix. I know that he is now in a better place. I told William last night that I had a feeling when I kissed Felix and put him in the ambulance Fri night it would be the last time I would see him. I was right. My heart is aching but I am also at peace because I know that Felix is no longer trapped in his frail body. That beautiful spirit is free to sing and dance.