Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting Back in Touch

So if you hadn’t noticed… we’ve been out of touch for a little while. It was a busy last week at Neema and a busy weekend at Kakamega and has been a busy first few days in Mawego. So, I’ll just give you a list of some of the adventures we’ve had lately:
1. About 4 hours before we left Neema on Friday, 3 new children arrived. Two of them are babies from Sally Test whom we had met previously when at the hospital. Samwel is 2 months old, pouts his lips all cutely, and is what I thought was the smallest baby ever. Seth Moses is 1 month old, premature, and actually is the tiniest baby ever. The third child, Wellington, is equally as cute as the mini ones. “Welly” is 3 and a half but, because he was extremely malnourished, could pass as a 2 year old. He is very weak and cannot walk, but he isn’t too weak to smile and giggle. Fortunately Joseph follows Kenyan time very seriously so we got to spend a few extra hours with the newbies, just enough time to teach Welly how to say “wow!”
2. We spent 5 hours in church on Saturday. I now just have to so much respect for K-dog Strongy for his limiting of church services to 1 hour. We arrived at 9:09 AM and left the church at 1:59 PM. However, though there were hours filled with Swahili in which I wished desperately that it wouldn’t be offensive for me to sleep along with the other Kenyan attendants, I found the service very interesting. I may not agree with much of it, and may question the length of their services, but I find their unconditional faith impressive.
3. I got a weave, AKA my usual Sunday afternoon activity. In actuality, I just got my hair braided, but this does involve curly black and red false hair. It took about four hours and there were some moments where I was close to passing out from pain, but I gave Kakamega some good entertainment as many stopped to watch the mzungu getting her hair braided. I did this because my locks have been spoiled by Herbal Essences and shower heads so a place like Mawego, where one must shower from a bucket, is not a friend to my hair. Whilst I have my weave of glory, the whole washing thing will really become a piece of cake, something that I would very much like to eat at this time. Yikes.
4. We learned that the true way to a Kenyan teenager’s heart, especially if she’s a girl named Lucy who lives in Kakamega, is through the words “beat it” heard harmoniously from the lips of dear Michael Jackson, whom Lucy may or may not have pleasures for. Oh my.
5. We moved to Mawego Girls Secondary School on Monday afternoon and in 7 short hours were already taking part in one of the best dance parties of my life. It started out as a getting to know you session, then into an “Annie and Callie watch the girls dance ridiculously well” into an “all of the girls stare at Callie and Annie attempt to dance and laugh at their inability to shake it.” It was actually quite enjoyable… now to come up with the promised “American cultural dance” for Saturday night. Suggestions?
6. We semi-mastered the “squatty potty”; there is no toilet at Mawego, just a pit latrine… AKA a whole in the ground filled with cockroaches. These are the times when I think boys got off easy in life.

We’ve been doing other activities like attempting to teach a typing class, walking to lagoons, and getting marriage proposals on the streets. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to say that we love it here and feel right at home. I once read from someone that each night before they go to bed, they ask themselves if they are proud of who they were that day and if so, they believe that day was good. I’ve been asking myself that question recently and I’m not sure I’d say I’m proud of myself, but I’m happy, and if I’m able to make someone else happy, if even for a moment, then I’m okay with the day. So tell me: will you be proud of who you were today?


  1. Yo! I love the new moniker. Maybe we'll put K-Dog out on the marquee.

    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful stories. With your permission, I'd like to share part of your blog either this Sunday or next. This Sunday I'm preaching on "Unlikely Friendships" and next Sunday, "Faithful Failures." You can probably guess the stories that caught my attention in your blog.

    Thanks for sharing your stories, pictures, ideas, and inspiration with us. We think of and pray for you often.


  2. Your concluding question made me think of the following Mary Oliver quote:

    “Instructions for living a life.
    Pay attention.
    Be astonished.
    Tell about it.”

    When it comes to cockroaches in the squatty potty, I would add one more instruction: ALWAYS carry a flashlight!

    Love to both of you,
    Mama Ellen

  3. Wonderful post! And I really, REALLY wish I'd known about the new name for Kevin -- er, "K-dog" -- before staff meeting.

    You're doing a great job helping us all learn and live these moments right along side you. What a blessing.

    Grace & peace,
    Teri Crouse

    p.s. I agree with Ellen: carry that flashlight!

  4. i want to see a picture of your hair!! :)

  5. K-dog Strongy, you have my full permission to use the blog... just so long as I eventually get to read it. Also, I would really enjoy it if, since I am providing you with your sermon, maybe you introduced yourself as K-dog Strongy in church from now on. Maybe get a new name badge? Just a thought.

    Anne, pictures of my hair will be flowing in November, I am sure. There are also some rather unfortunate pictures taken during the process which I'm sure Annie would love to share.

    Thanks for reading, all!

  6. greetings from hannah and parents!
    callie -- really enjoying your posts, love your writing style. it is so great to see and relay the humor and universal love of fun we all share. we are so much more alike than we are different and travel teaches us this more than any book, any lecture. loved the kids art too -- hannah just drew a pic in school that i will send to you via email. hope you can access it: it's a monkey in high heels. so typical of hannah's own little brand of humor! hannah misses you and looks forward to seeing you again. hope you can still find some time for us when you are back in the good ole us-of-a! wishing you continued safety and grand adventures ----
    kimann and family