Friday, November 28, 2008


As I prepare to get in bed (yes at 8:30 PM!!!) I was mulling over just a few observations I have made about life these past few days:
  • The toilet paper in America is a whole lot softer than in Kenya
  • Jet lag seems to get harder to recover from with each passing year
  • Women in the western world wear a lot of makeup (especially airline stewardesses)
  • In America I get to take an AWESOME, HOT shower with GREAT water pressure, even when I don't really NEED a shower; in Kenya I sometimes skip my bucket bath because it is so inconvenient even though I probably really do need it!
  • American grocery stores are truly amazing. Seriously! I almost got lost in Albertsons the other night
  • I'm back to using Kleenex instead of a hankie to blow my nose
  • It's wonderful to be around close friends and family where you can just be yourself
  • The dogs here are larger than in Kenya
  • The cars are larger, newer, and go faster than in Kenya
  • The roads here are amazing! As in you can get from point A to point B without any teeth rattling out of your head
  • Not only can I buy tortillas, but I have like 15 different types and brands to choose from
  • William and I have been blessed with some incredibly special and supportive people in our lives. Without them we couldn't be in Kenya. Connecting with just a few of them so far has been great!
  • It is wonderful to put on a pair of trousers (in Kenya the word pants is equivalent to panties) and actually wear them outside my home. I'm used to always wearing skirts in Africa.
  • Life in general is way more convenient here
  • I don't really feel at home in CA anymore; but I don't really feel at home in Kenya either. Does that make me a nomad or something like that?
  • And lastly, I'm very very very tired. I'm sure I will make many many more observations about my home culture in the coming weeks. But for now I'm going to study the back of my eyelids and crawl into bed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


After nearly a year of marriage I'm officially becoming a Kiprop. I spent most of yesterday going to Social Security, the DMV and the bank to get paperwork processed for changing my name. My mom and Ashley came along to keep me company. William was kidnapped by my father. While we were waiting in eternal lines they were enjoying In-N-Out and experiencing American stores like the Bass Pro Shop, Target, Home Depot and Big 5 Sporting Goods.

Anyway! I drove into what I remembered being the social security office and found it closed. In the next parking lot over I noted a building in the same style with the same color paint. So I figured "Oh, they moved next door." I pulled in and noticed that all the characters (at least a dozen) hanging out in the front looked a little rough around the edges. But I figured that all types show up at Social Security. As we walked up to the building I was getting the feeling that I just may have been wrong. I asked a lady leaving if this was social security and the response was "Heck no, this is the parole office!". Oops! I did find the new just office about a mile down the street.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Tomorrow William and I will leave the village and beginning three days of travel to head to the USA for two months of re-connecting and support raising. It is amazing to me all that has happened in my just-over-a-year of being in Kenya. Some things that stand out about this last year:
  • Getting married!!
  • Post Election Violence (with homes in our neighborhood burning down)
  • A crazy, scary, car ride through multiple illegal roadblocks on Jan 31 when one of our parliament members was shot to death a few blocks from us
  • William's alcoholic mother moving in with us for a few months
  • William's mother sobering up, giving her life to the Lord, and being baptized!
  • Being a suburbia girl suddenly turned farm-girl (yes I know a lot about cows and chickens now!!)
  • Rolling, and totaling a friend's Land Rover
  • Living to tell about the car accident
  • William changing departments in ministry (He now works in Agricultural Development with our Home Based Care and AIDS patients)
  • Starting a new charting system and opening a well baby clinic at the ELI Dispensary
  • Rescuing several children who were starving to death
  • Losing a few of our clients and attending an AIDS baby's funeral
  • Rejoicing that I could hold a 60 second conversation in Swahili with a 5-year-old
  • Losing my grandmother and not being able to tell her goodbye
  • Getting electricity after months of doing without
  • Encountering some really scary snakes (and also living to tell about it!)
  • Building our house up around us as we lived in it
  • Surviving interesting tropical diseases
  • Meeting and making friends with some really special people here in Africa
And many many many many more!!! Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of the Kiprops!

Michelle Update

Here is the cutey pie! She is doing great! Her and Victoria came over to our house (just next door) for dinner the other night. Michelle slept through most of the visit though.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Day of Victories!!!

Today was a day that saw many dreams come true!

William has his visa!!!! He had to make three separate trips to the US embassy to pick it up but he finally has it in his hands! We will be arriving in the states before Thanksgiving and staying through the end of January.

Well Baby Clinic Launched!!! I've been dreaming, planning and working hard towards starting a well baby clinic at our health center. Today was our first day implementing the new plan. We did physical exams and started medical records for the first nine babies. One baby was referred to a specialist for treatment of a foot deformity that will likely require surgery. Being able to refer that little boy was a reminder to me of just why I wanted this clinic up and functioning. It is my hope that we catch physical problems while the babies are still young so that early intervention can be performed. It was great to have the first payoff on the first day!!!

We had a delivery. Okay, so delivering babies in our clinic is really nothing very new or unusual. But it is always a miracle. The mom arrived at 8AM and delivered a healthy baby boy at 8:15AM!!! She walked home carrying her son at 11:30AM. Yeah, these Kenyan ladies are pretty hard core. It was a wonderful delivery without a single complication. What a wonderful way to start a wonderful day!

Well I confess that I am now thoroughly exhausted. I was ready for the day to be over by lunch time. But it is a wonderful day for which I thank the Lord! Now I get to go back to scheduling our USA trip. It is amazing how many details need to be worked out in just a week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baby Michelle

I am pleased to announce that baby Michelle has gained two lbs in her two weeks with us at the Home Based Care office. She is now two months old and just over nine lbs. She is very alert and loves watching the adults around her make funny faces. My camera is currently missing in action. I'm sincerely hoping that we are looking right at it and just not seeing it. But I don't know where it could be. Once I find it I will get more pictures of Miss Michelle uploaded. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Diagnoses

Well I finally wrapped up my visits to the tropical medicine specialists. The final consensus was that I have two bacterial infections and lots of worms. Fun stuff! So I'm now on strong drugs to kill all of the above-mentioned critters. I'm also battling a sprained ankle and some bruising from a fall on a bus in Nairobi. I feel like the walking wounded!!

But the good news is that everything should be taken care of by the time we travel before Thanksgiving. I'm hoping to go see baby Michelle this afternoon. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Coming to America

After two years of working towards a visa for my wonderful husband I am pleased to announce that we have success! William is hesitant to share the news here in Kenya because he doesn't actually have the visa in his hands yet. He comes back to Nairobi to pick it up on Nov 12th. But the interviewer assured us that "yes, this was the last step in the process and yes it was approved"!!!!

We will be in CA for all of December and part of January. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you. And I'm excited to introduce you to William! It will be nice to have a Christmas in CA. My last two have been here in Kenya.

Things William will miss about Kenya:
  • Watching out for our animals (Cows, sheep, chickens, dogs and cat!)
  • Eating ugali Kenya's staple food
  • Taking chai from freshly boiled milk
  • His cell phone with the free incoming calls
  • Hearing and speaking his mother tongue
  • Knowing everyone within a 5 mile radius of the house
  • His clients and the work that he does with them
Some things he is looking forward to:
  • Meeting my extended family
  • Experiencing snow for the first time
  • Traffic that drives on the right (as in correct) side of the road
  • Seeing the Pacific ocean
  • Finding out about this "Starbucks" that his wife always raves about
  • Catching up with friends who have come on teams or for visits here in Kenya
  • Finding out what it is like to sit on an airplane for hours and hours on end
  • Going to my home church with me
  • Seeing the whales at Sea World (I have two free tickets that have been burning a hole in my pocket)
  • And of course, sharing with you about our life here in Kenya!


I realize that eeyyyyaahh is an interesting title for this blog. But I am in an interesting place. This week so far has been rather eventful. Let's start with Obama.

So Obama has been a craze here ever since he visited in 2006. He is a "son of the soil" and loved by every Kenyan I meet. You would think he was running for office in Kenya the way all of the country is talking about and campaigning for him. In fact every day this week he has been on the front page of every newspaper with no less than 6 articles inside the paper about him. Immediately following McCain's concession speech President Kibaki (Kenya's president) declared that tomorrow will be a national holiday to celebrate Obama's victory.

Which brings me to my next point. Let me first give a disclaimer here. Those of you who don't like reading/talking about bodily functions or medical stuff can skip the next two paragraphs. For the last seven or eight months I've been having all sorts of gastrointestinal issues. Every two to six weeks they come on and last for 1-4 days and then go away. Sometimes I play doctor on myself. Once I had a malaria test. But the entire time I've been rather baffled at what the source is. I've had several friends recommend a tropical medicine specialist in Nairobi. But ever time I'm in Nairobi I feel great and thus I don't go. Well the interval between episodes has decreased. And I'm getting ready to make a trip back to the USA for the holidays (yes, there will be more info on that one) so I decided I better get this taken care of now. Especially since I have no health insurance.

So today I decided it was time to go to the specialist. The doctor was wonderful. He is married to a mzungu (white lady) from Europe. They have been married for 28 years! When he heard I was a medical missionary he gave me a discount. After some basic tests we discovered that I have a chronic infection of some sort (my WBC's are off for those of you medical people out there). But unfortunately I was not able to produce THE sample that was needed to determine if I have worms, parasites, etc. They are also strongly suspecting that I have an ulcer. So they want to do a test for the bacteria which causes ulcers. Unfortunately said test also requires the above-mentioned specimen that I could not produce. All day I tried. I walked several miles, and ate salad and fruit. When I got back to the lab I was told "try coffee, really strong coffee". So I went to Java House and ordered a mocha with an extra shot of espresso. Now I probably won't sleep tonight and I wasn't able to produce the desired specimen. Due to this fact I now get to spend two more days in Nairobi. That's right, TWO days. Because tomorrow everything will be closed to celebrate Obama. So Friday I'll finish my workup and get the meds I need to hopefully cure what ails me!