“Sometimes you get tired, but the joy remains,” said Elicah as she reclined on the couch and closed her eyes. Insects filled the night with their symphony, and the last dregs of black tea floated in our mugs. I had asked her what it is like to be “Mama” to so many, including me. Never have I met a woman with a more joyful, servant’s heart. Every year new daughters from America, and sons from the slums of Kenya come into her fold… there is always room for more. I have a lot to learn about love and servanthood from Elicah Wetindi.
Tired but joyful. I would say that perfectly sums up my December.
Tana and I shared an adventuresome roadtrip to visit nearly 100 rural Kenyan kids in the hills of Machakos, where we planted trees together, danced, sang and prayed with nearly 100 children. Priceless.
On-Field Media took a field trip to the mountains of Kijabe, Kenya to do some filming. I and three families (+kids) hiked into some hotsprings and gathered footage for a film we are working on. Monkey calls, a distant waterfall, and views of the Great Rift Valley far below…not bad for a day at the office!
Christmas came swiftly, but thanks to 80+ degree weather, incredibly caring neighbors, and a healthy dose of Christmas cookies, I didn’t find myself feeling too terribly homesick. I was able to spend Christmas Eve caroling with all my neighbors in a packed joy-filled living room. I then was invited to sleep over with a wonderful missionary family, and woke up to giggles of delight from their two small sons as they ran downstairs on Christmas morning. The beauty of Jesus was magnified this season, and I sat back an marveled at the gift.
I found myself the recipient of incredible generosity once more on the day after Christmas. My Kenyan host family from 2009, the Wetindi’s, invited me to stay at their “upcountry” home in RURAL western Kenya. Kenyans who live in the city often have a rural home where they were raised/where extended family remains. During the holidays the city practically empties as Kenyans head “upcountry.” Lugari is a place where the day seems to slide by slowly, where maize grows high, red dirt roads stretch ever long through fields, and there is always one more cup of tea to be had. 7 hours on a bus, 1 hour on a mini bus, and 1 hour on a piki (motorcycle) will get you there in time for the sun to set. For five days I enjoyed long walks, fresh produce, meat, and milk, no running water, gorgeous countryside, curious kids shrieking “mzungu!!” (white person!), star-filled night skies, and fresh clean air. Every night found me collapsing into bed, completely exhausted but heart full to the brim.
Thank you Tana, team mates, neighbors, and Wetindi family & friends for making December truly incredible.
Planting a tree in Machakos, Kenya
Tea time! Kenyan chai = black tea, whole milk, and sugar
Elicah Wetindi, aka my Kenyan Mama. Lugari, Kenya
Obed and Joseph. Lugari, Kenya
Joab brought us fresh bananas from the river. Lugari, Kenya
1, 2, 3 kiddos on a bike
Joseph, Nico, David, Joab, Rozy,and Benard sharing a funny moment. Good people, wonderful friends.
Apparently I looked strange, haha.
Tree farmer & family. Lugari, Kenya
Walking home before the rain. Lugari, Kenya
Joyful friend Joab. Lugari, Kenya
Gathering wood by the river. Lugari, Kenya
Roy, neighborhood kids and grain for porridge
Nightfall in Lugari, Kenya
Piga Picha (can I take your photo)? All smiles.
So young, so strong
Roasted maize under the stars. Delicious. Lugari, Kenya
Sunrise in Lugari, Kenya.