Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday Night Fun at the Children's Home

Since stepping into an administrative role at the clinic, I find that I often stay in my little medical world on this side of the village. I live right next door to the compound the clinic is on. And since I have internet through a cell-phone modem I can access the internet from my office at the clinic or even my living room for that matter! Although I see many ELI staff members and children when they come to the clinic for treatment, I find that I don't make it over the the ELI Training Center or Children's Home unless I make a conscious effort to do so.

I recently got the Disney movie "Bolt" and immediately thought of our kids at the Children's Home. It's been a long time since I've done a movie night with them. Like more than a year at least! So William arranged with one of the Baba's (fathers) for us to bring the movie on Sunday night after dinner.

Those kids are so special! I may not spend much time with them, but every time I stop by, they truly fill my heart with joy. I think they are such a symbol of hope. I did their medical intake in 2006 when they were first being brought into the home. Many of their stories and backgrounds are heart-wrenching. Yet when you visit today you will find children full of joy and energy who are living their lives to the fullest.

We drove to the home after dinner. Thank God for four-wheel-drive because our roads are SERIOUSLY muddy right now! When we arrived at the home the children were all waiting in their gazebo for the film to start. They broke into applause as we walked in.

At the beginning of the movie there is a huge chase-scene that Bolt (the dog hero) is filming. This particular scene got a lot of response from the kids. William was enthusiastically giving a play-by-play commentary in Swahili that the kids were just eating up. I enjoyed the movie, but even more, I enjoyed watching the audience!

Hopefully we can make this a monthly event. I would love to actually have the kids over to our home to sit on the lawn and watch a movie projected on the wall of our house. But we will have to wait until the it warms up and the rains slow down for that one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Staff Development Retreat

Thanks to a generous donor, this last weekend I was able to surprise the staff by taking them out for a day of retreat and staff development. It was great because I was actually able to pull off the surprise. They were all convinced that we were going to spend Saturday in our clinic hall having long boring meetings all day. So when they arrived and saw the van to transport them to a field trip they were thrilled. We went to the Kerio View Restaurant overlooking the Kerio Valley. We were able to do some great team building exercises and enjoyed a delicious lunch of nyama choma (roasted meat).

Here are some great views of the Kerio Valley which is part of the Rift Valley

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Termites are Here

Spring, the word brings to mind images of flowers blooming, new life, baby chicks, lots of warm fuzzies! What may not come to mind are flying ants and termites. Each year as our heavy rains begin, we get swarms of flying ants followed by swarms of termites. Last night we somehow were blessed by both on the same night! The termites definitely won the competition for biggest turnout!

Even with sealing up the house, some of them managed to find their way into my kitchen where they settled in the sink. They normally come out in swarms during the night hours. They are strongly attracted to light. Since we happen to have electric security lights they really swarm our house. They then crash their bodies into the sides of our house and windows. So thousands of little bugs (or maybe not-so-little!) are effectively knocking on the window while we try to sleep. I actually put earplugs in last night!

The first year I was here I HATED the termite season. The second year I tolerated it a bit better. Well this year I'm actually feeling the excitement of the arrival of the termites. Many of my Kenyan friends and neighbors will tell you that they are "Tamu Sana!" (Very sweet!) I have been told that they are full of fat and protein. They are definitely a delicacy since they only come around during the beginning of the rains. Here are some pictures from the termite excitement this morning.

When I went outside they were basically everywhere

Friends and neighbors came to collect them to fry and eat later

My kitchen sink was full of termites. Two spiders and a beetle decided to join the party

Percival, one of our nurses, offered to demonstrate the proper eating of a raw termite. First you need to get a good up-close-and-personal look at one:

She explained that you have to pull off the head prior to eating or it will bite your tongue:

You don't eat the wings so you can either pull them off or hold it by the wings and bite:

Yum Yum!:

As I write, there are half-a-dozen children outside my office collecting termites for later and getting a little snack in at the same time. Just another day of life in Kenya!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Water is Coming!

This afternoon there was great rejoicing at the clinic. After many setbacks and a lot of patience (well sort of patience!) the water project is no longer a dream but a reality. The drilling team broke ground this afternoon. As I type my home is filled with the sound of the drilling. Hopefully I'll soon be posting about striking water!

Here is the drill bit being positioned next to the stake that the surveyors marked

Local villagers gathered to watch the process

A close-up of the drilling action

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lex Update

Thank you all for your prayers! It looks like Lex does have RSV but he is doing well that he will be going home later today. He will discharge with home breathing treatments and oral steroids for a little while. But he has definitely taken a turn for the better. Thanks again!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Please Pray for Lex

I'm writing today to ask you please intercede for my dear nephew Alexander James Buckland (Lex). Lex was admitted to the hospital this afternoon for respiratory distress. At this point no one there is quite certain as to what is going on with him. He has been wheezing and coughing which has lead to throwing-up. His oxygen saturation is low so they have him on oxygen and are giving him breathing treatments. Also, he has been placed in isolation. My sister Danielle and her husband, Brett, are at Lex's bedside in the hospital right now.

Please pray for Lex to quickly recover from whatever this is that is going on. Pray for the doctors to have wisdom as they treat him. Pray for Danielle and Brett to have supernatural strength and peace during this time. Thank you!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

There is No God Like Jehovah!

Well let me start out by saying this will be a more personal post and is not clinic/ministry related. It may be a bit rambly (is that a word really?) but I want to solidify my commitment to personal health by publicly posting about this journey I'm currently on.

Last fall I started to seriously think about increasing my activity level and start exercising. The good old contemplation stage! The thinking stage moved into me doing an occasional dance DVD workout. Then our schedule got busier, my parents came to visit and I just didn't make the time to exercise. Shortly after my parents left I came down with malaria and pneumonia and wound up in the hospital with a two-month recovery after my discharge.

Finally at the end of Feb I was ready to start. I decided I was going to do it the Kenyan way, by running. Deep inside somewhere I've always wanted to run but never really have. Well with my current physical condition, running was seeming like light years away. But I began to faithfully get up and walk/jog. Mostly walking! Lots of sweating! In just days I had rubbed some blisters. I pressed on and the blisters broke open, bled and became extremely painful.

So I started in with some exercise DVD's while I waited for my heels to heal. Last week marked five weeks of exercising for at least 20 - 40 minutes between 4 and 5 times a week. William and I will be in the USA this fall and my goal is to be able to run a 5K for breast cancer research while we are there.

I had decided that this week it was going to be time to get back outside. However I tried a new DVD a friend loaned me on Saturday and spent the next two days in excruciating pain (the good kind though) after facing "Billy's Bootcamp Workout". So Monday didn't happen, Tues I did an aerobics DVD because of rain, and yesterday exercise didn't happen due to a combo of sleeping in and a busy afternoon/evening.

Today I'm heading out for a two-day leadership conference. So I realized last night if I hope to even make three days of exercise this week, I was going to have to get up and do it in the morning. I dragged myself out the door at 5:45 AM for my first jogging attempt since the "great blister breakdown".

I'll be honest it was tough this morning. My friend and colleague, Juli, has told me that she wants to walk/jog this journey with me. She has repeatedly encouraged me and told me that next week she is going to start joining me for my morning jaunts. As I was struggling down the road this morning I was full of negativity. "Who are you kidding to think you can run a 5K in October? You can barely walk/jog 2K's!" "Juli shouldn't put herself through this, it's a joke watching me try to amble down the road. She climbed Kilimanjaro for goodness sakes!" And the kicker was that after five weeks of exercise I've only lost two lbs. (Definitely need to attack the eating patterns next!) I was again discouraged, tired, and my muscles and ankles were screaming at me that my body was not meant to do this.

When I walk/jog I carry my CD player with an inspirational CD that I burned at the start of this exercise journey. As I began to get closer to my home Twila Paris singing "Days of Elijah" came on. I decided that with her song, I could jog the rest of the way home. As the song moved into the chorus it began to repeat the phrase "There is NO god like Jehovah!" My eyes suddenly filled with tears.

I realized that I am not on this journey alone. There really is NO god like MY JEHOVAH! Suddenly it was time to run. I ran the rest of the way home. I was jumping over rocks and my heart was soaring. I was thinking about how many things my Jehovah has brought me through. Why is it that this journey should be any different than the past? He has taken me through the loss of people I love. He walked with my family through my father's cancer. He held my hand through the Post-Election-Violence in Kenya and spared our lives during that time and later when we were in a serious car accident on an African road. He truly is a great and mighty! And I cannot tell you how glorious it felt to actually run (even if it was only a few meters).

So I share this with you, the general public of the blogging world, for several reasons. First I want to tell you that there really is no God like my Jehovah. He has walked me through the fire in the past and will walk me through this journey as well. Wherever you are in your life today He wants to meet you there. He will walk through the journey with you if you just ask him. It doesn't matter how high the mountain may be or how low the valley may dip. Once you ask him to join your life's journey, he will NEVER leave or forsake you!

Secondly I want to put my commitment to a healthier lifestyle out there for the public to see. I want the accountability to keep pressing on in this journey. By just reading this you are somehow joining me in that journey.

Thirdly, when I get discouraged I want to come back and read this post and remember that my God will give me the strength and energy to continue down this road to a new me!