Monday, 12 December 2011

MEDICAL NEEDS - AMONGST THE ORPHANS AND ADULTS AND HOW WE ARE MEETING SOME OF THOSE NEEDS

MEDICAL NEEDS AMONGST THE ORPHANS   
Christine
Thanks to generous gifts we have been able to provide medical treatment for many children and adults.  The Saturday Orphans gathering has disclosed additional need for these children to get to the hospital clinic for treatment.  Here are Christine and Lydia.  Christine has a serious chest infection.  Violet is arranging for her hospitalization.  Lydia has an unknown disease attacking her legs; at last report Violet was still trying to find a doctor who could treat her.  She requires treatment by a dermatologist and the ones that can treat her are about 200 miles away.  These girls are 10 and 11 years old.      

We meet medical needs for many children and, not all of whom are orphans.  One little boy, not an orphan, has been having seizures.  Violet was able to get him to the hospital, and through our medical fund he is receiving medication that has brought his seizures to a halt.  Imagine that!  

Here is a prayer point that you might consider: an additional factor that must be dealt with when working with villagers is deep-set cultural mores and superstitions, especially among the older people.  These sometimes impede getting things done as quickly as they should be done.  Things rarely move quickly in Kenya!
Lydia's Legs
SOME MEDICAL SITUATIONS AMONGS THE ADULTS
We told you about Mariko a couple of newsletter ago.  He hadn't been feeling well for some time and when we heard of his situation we asked that he be taken to the hospital clinic in Kisumu.  He has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is now being treated.  We told him we would like his photo, so he met us at the church one afternoon for a "photo op".  He put on his best clothes and even had his Mzee hat with him.  An older man is called an mzee (mmm zay).  When a man reaches that stage in life he begins to wear a broad-brimmed hat - usually, but not always, black.  Older people are given special respect in the Luo culture.  BTW, John is an mzee!  We just received an update on Mariko.  He is receiving medication/treatment, in fact recently had another treatment on 12-10.  The decision has been made to perform surgery; however the doctors in the Public Hospitals have gone on strike and to have him operated on privately would double the cost of surgery.  Surgery would be approximately 40,000 KES ($400/291 GBP) in public hospital - 80,000 ($800/576 GBP) in a private facility.  Paying double the cost would deprive others of medical treatment.  Therefore the decision has been made there in Kenya to continue with his medication until the strike is over and then have surgery.


Another mzee in the RCC daughter church in Korwenje has a chronic infection in one of his legs.  We met him at one of the house building events.  His leg was wrapped and when we questioned it we found that he has an open wound that has been that way for a very long time.  Arrangements were bing made for him to get to the hospital as well.  That is a very complicated procedure - getting folks to the hospital; especially from that far away.  Korwenje is up in the mountain area and very, very remote.  There is also some resistance from his family to allow him to be treated.  So, the leaders of the church in Korwenje are patiently encouraging everyone involved in the situation.


We can also report that 13 people have had cataract surgery as a result of the eye clinics held in September.

Without the medical fund that friends and other interested people have made possible, these children and adults would go untreated and continue to suffer. Although we can reach only a relative few, their lives are being changed and, in some instances their lives are being saved.



US contributions can be sent to:  DCF Lebanon, P.O. Box 37, Lebanon, PA 17042  (a tax receipt will be sent to you.)

UK contributions can be sent to:  Emmanuel Christian Centre, Neatherstowe, Lichfield, Staffs  WS13 6TS

Please note how you want the funds to be used.  You can indicate "African Projects" if you just want to have it used in general, or you can be specific; e.g., Orphan Medical Fund, Eye Clinics, Goats, John and Marty Personal Support, etc.

We Thank and Bless Each one of You!
WE WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS                     AND
A HAPPY, PEACEFUL, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

John and Marty


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

THE SATURDAY ORPHANS

                                                                                           OUR E-MAIL IS:  johnandmartys@aol.com


FOOD AND FUN EVERY SATURDAY

Violet has a real heart for "total" orphans.  What, you may ask, are "total" orphans?  In the village there are many orphans; the ones with one parent living are "partial" orphans and the ones with no parents are "total" orphans.  Violet determined in her heart to see that the total orphans, who are usually raised by their widowed grandmothers, get a substantial meal once a week. Every Saturday afternoon about 30 total orphans come to Violet and Hesbone's compound where they are provided with a nourishing meal,  entertained, play games, are taught from the bible and are loved on.   She took a leap of faith, trusting the Lord for the food; she has no extra funds to feed them.  Yet, every week she is able to buy and prepare the food - the provision is there.  For example; Jeremy and Kirsty, through their church in the UK, were able to give Violet enough money to feed the children through mid-December.  Her eventual goal is to increase the number of days, starting with one additional day a month. When Jeremy and Kirsty, and also Anna were in Kenya with us they took several Saturdays between them with the orphans, and had a wonderful time with them.  It was a treat for all; the children loved having foreigners there with them and the feeling was mutual.  One day Jeremy and Kirsty, as part of their bible lesson, were teaching the children, outside under a tarpaulin, how to make the sound of rain.   As they were doing all of the actions and noises, it began to thunder and lightening and everyone had to make a dash for the shed where the crops are kept.  

The Sound of Rain


                             
                                         And the Rains Came
Pencil Cases, Pencils, Erasers, Crayons and Colouring Books 
That day the children each got a pencil case with pencils and sharpeners and erasers; also, crayons and a colouring book.  Many had never had such a thing.  They were thrilled! Below you will see them in the shelter, waiving to us and showing the gifts they received!  Happy children!!

Some of these children walk several miles to come to their special meeting on Saturday.  They love coming!



















Thank you for your love and support!


WE SPEAK GREAT BLESSING INTO YOUR LIVES!

John and Marty

Saturday, 22 October 2011

MEDICAL, MATTRESSES AND MAASAI

CHRISTINE'S MIRACLE
Here is a WONDERFUL story, thanks to your contributions to our "medical fund". Actually it is "The Rest of the Story"!  You may remember the photos we sent of Christine.  She is the beautiful young mother in her twenties, who had a huge keloid on the side of her face.  When we saw her we asked if she could be helped.  The answer was yes.  We authorized Hesbone to use whatever money was needed to take care of the surgery.  We knew that she had been through the surgery; we had before and after photos, but we didn't know the full story until we came this time. It seems that keloids will not grow back if they are treated by radiotherapy (radiation therapy) within a short period after surgery.  The surgery and radiotherapy procedure could only be done in Nairobi; about 250 miles away - but many hours by auto, or more by bus.  Christine is a village girl, and has little education!  She has never been to Nairobi (wouldn't even know how to get there) and she's probably never been farther than Kisumu.  She knew no one in Nairobi.  But Hesbone and Violet made all of the multitude of arrangements for her to go and all the arrangements for the procedures.  Hesbone's brother and wife took her into their home and cared for her the whole time, and saw to it that she got where she needed to go for each step of the process.

We have come to know  and love Christine and have heard her tale first hand.  As she tells of her miracle - that's what she calls it, and she's correct - she lights up.  She positively glows as the tears of joy fall down her lovely face.  But first, some background.  Christine was truly disfigured and in her culture many consider that to be a curse.  She told us that people would actually say to her, in a mean, hateful way, "You are going to die and we will be at your funeral"!  When she would go to market they would point at her and make fun of her and call her names.  Her husband had left her because she was ugly, and she was left with 3 children to raise herself.  But, what's more, this growth weighed a lot and it was hard for her to hold her head up.  Additionally it was very painful and gave her tremendous, continual headaches.  Eventually she couldn't stay awake because of the effects it was having on her whole system.  She would sleep almost 24 hours a day and couldn't take care of her home or her children.


It is hard to write some things without crying - this is one of them.  So, one day she "just happened" to be where we were and we saw her.  That is just the way God works.  Questions were asked, wheels were set in motion, and Christine's life was changed!  How wonderful!  Her husband has returned and he went to the church and stood in front thanking them for what they had done; amazed that they would do that for Christine.  She continues to regain strength and says over and over that she wants to serve the Lord in return for what He has done for her.  She just keeps praising Him and saying how much she loves Him.  She is amazed at His love for her!  She is very, very happy!  She is healthy and well!   Although, she complains that as of yet she is only strong enough to carry 20 litres (5.28 US gallons) on her head!  Yes!  We saw her lift big tubs of water and carry them about a half mile on her head!  She came over to the farm regularly while we were there to cook for the workers and to help in general.  What a servant's heart she has! 





Christine on right w/new dress
Helping on the farm
We truly thank all of you who make these im-possible things become possible!  We are blessed to witness them first-hand, but hope you can vicariously ex-perience them as we try to communicate to you about them.

Below is a photo of a dear   man, Mariko, who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  He has gone to the hospital for evaluation and we await the plan of action for his treatment.

Additionally one of the children in Magwar is suffering from seizures. He has been sent for an MRI and the beginning of the diagnosis process.  He is being seen by neurologists.

Mariko - he dressed up for the photo!
THE MATTRESS AND BLANKET SURPRISE!
More reason for tears of joy!

We have been in many homes here in Kadawa, and have noticed that most people sleep on reed mats on the floor.  We developed this strong conviction that old ladies should not have to sleep on the floor.  Their old, tired bones should be able to rest on a mattress!!  We shared our vision to get mattresses for all of the destitute widows with some, and a friend contacted us saying that she would sponsor the entire lot!  We went mattress shopping and were able to get a volume discount at a local manufacturer.  We aren't talking "Beauty Rest, or Sealy Posture-Pedic" here.  The mattresses used in Kenya - even where we stay - are a foam; they come is soft medium and hard and in a few different "densities" - whatever that means.  But we found some substantial ones that will last a long time and not go flat after a few weeks.  We got 24 at 2860 KES each (about $28.60 or £19).  We also bought them blankets - it gets cold at night at Kadawa's altitude.  Some other lady friends sent some tote bags and flip-flops which we distributed at the same time as the mattresses. There were exactly the number of flip-flops to fit the ladies.  

Hesbone notified the widows to come to the church - but we didn't know that he hadn't told them exactly why they were coming. There are several reasons for that - not all apparent to us - but one reason was just to surprise these ladies.  And that they were, indeed!  An aside:  It is interesting to us that whenever they come to the church they will put on their best clothes.

When they all got there he explained to them what was happening.  The only problem with not telling them in advance was that 90 percent didn't have anyone to help them to carry the mattresses.  What a scene!  These women were so happy and excited!  You should have seen them.  They went around to the back of the church to get their mattresses and blankets after they had been given the tote bags and flip-flops  A Luo woman almost always has a leso with her (a large 3X5 piece of material that has multiple uses).  Here was a wonderful example of their use.  This one little, itty-bitty lady put her blanket, bag, and flip-flops in her leso and tied it to her back so she could take her mattress (see photo).  Lorna didn't get a mattress (she was given one by a visitor last year) but she did get a blanket.  Our friends Anna and Maggie were there and Maggie took a couple of photos of Lorna with her blanket.   Marty watched as she showed Lorna her photos in the camera.  Lorna cracked up.  She laughed so hard and hugged Maggie and laughed more and looked more.  Marty just stood there crying because a year ago Lorna couldn't have seen any of that - she was blind!  There she was, happy and laughing and holding on to her blanket and praising God for it.  This was such a major and powerful thing to happen to and for these women.  We had no idea of the impact it would make!  
Later on Hesbone said to us that he wished we could have understood what these women were saying.  A couple of other people told us things as well.  Some of the women were just stunned and didn't speak at all because they were overwhelmed.  Others said that they never would even have thought that they would receive a mattress like that "in their lifetime".  One was just leaving when she turned around, came back to the group and in front of us all began to tell God just how wonderful He was and how thankful she was for what He had done.  When Hesbone tried to get some to wait until later so that someone could come carry it for them they told him that it was their very own mattress and they wouldn't let anyone else carry it - they wanted to carry it themselves.  We will ever forget the picture of them walking down that dirt road from the church - in both directions - all in a line - carrying their mattresses (see photos).  Some walked with a walking stick in one hand and balancing their mattress on their head with the other.  What a witness to the village.  Here were all of these women walking through the village with their mattresses on their heads for everyone to see!  
Lorna with her blanket in her tote
and wearing her new pink flip-flops!



              
  Wrapping her goodies in her leso -
not letting her mattress out of sight!

  
Another lovely thing - there was an old man there, a member of the church - who takes care of the hedges that entwine the fence.  He does it because it gives him a sense of purpose; he's very old and bent over due to some injuries that were never treated.  He is always barefooted.  He saw the women getting flip-flops and asked Marty and Maggie if he could have a pair (through sign language mostly, since we only understand a very little bit of Dholuo).  We looked at his feet and saw that the toes on one foot were very short and webbed.  Flip-flops wouldn't have worked for him.  Now here is the neat part.  (we are sure you will realize that there is no personal horn tooting here).  Marty had a pair of Crocs (casual rubber shoes) on that she was going to put in the barn to use them next year.  She gave them to him.  They actually fit pretty well.  He was so very excited!  Later on we found out that He had been asking the Lord for shoes for a long time and he had been reminding Him that day that he needed shoes badly.  Also he was praising God for providing him with such a wonderful pair of shoes; such as he would never have thought of receiving.  It is mind-boggling that a person could be so happy and excited over a pair of used rubber shoes. 

MAASAI GOAT PILOT
Oh dear!  No - we aren't talking about a supernaturally gifted goat that can fly a plane!  We have a pilot-project going in Narok - the town we visited when we went to Maasailand.  We have invested some money in goats with the goal of realizing a profit to put into the development/operation of The Widows Farm.  If it proves to be good business we will continue next year.

Our goats with their shepherd!
Maasai are herders.  Their wealth and status is in their livestock - cows, sheep, goats - their wives and children.  Maasai are especially fond of goat for their Christmas celebration meal.  At Christmas time a goat will sell for a great amount of money - especially Christmas Eve.  On the other hand, at the beginning of the school year many goats are sold to pay for school fees, so the market is full and a goat can be purchased for a relatively small fee.  These are not comparable to the goats we buy in Kadawa.  It is a different breed and size goat and an entirely different market.   In August we purchased four goats for 12000 KES.  We will sell them in December, near Christmas, and can get up to 12000 each for them.  The cost for feeding and veterinarian fees (inoculations, etc.) is 500 KES per month.  Marty prefers not to name the goats as knowing their ultimate fate she does not want to get the least bit personal with them.

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We Bless You All and Thank You All for Your Prayers, Your Love and All of Your Support!  

We are in the UK now taking care of administrative tasks and medical appointments and will be going to the US the 25th of October, initially for more of the same.  

The next letter should be out in two or three weeks.  Life will be slowing down a bit more by then.

Let us hear from you - we really enjoy feed back.

John and Marty




Thursday, 15 September 2011

SMALL ANNOYANCES OF LIFE IN KENYA - HOUSE BUILDING - MAIZE PROCESSING COMPLETE

MINOR NUISANCES
Baby gecko near mosquito net hook on ceiling!
 We have these geckos here!  They are not like the cute green little Geico Gecko; they are an insipid shade of opaque yellow (or the babies are brown) and vary in size according to age - the largest about 7 inches and smallest 3.  They are harmless and don't bother anyone.  They cling the ceiling, high up on the walls, or the screens.  Yes, our flat has screens - another nuisance.  These lizards come out mostly at night, and once we are in bed and it's dark they no longer stay high and on the walls.  They explore!  We always know where they have been because they leave their evidence!!!!  The first time Marty saw this she thought we had a rat and went out and bought a rat trap!!  She does not LIKE rats!!!  The smaller evidence looks like a mouse has been there.  So, every morning there is "dropping patrol" to clean up after the little monsters.  For some reason they are very fond of the desk around the laptop.  But, a real annoyance one morning was a deposit on top of Marty's hair spray can.  Now, how on earth did that little beast manage to balance on that small top? 

Ah!  The screens!  Yes we have screens on the windows - they are intended to keep out insects; however the mesh is fairly large, so a mosquito is not the least bit hindered; additionally, the screens don't fit square, so there are great gaps between the window frames and the screens.  The same ill-fitting problem applies to the doors as well.  But no large bugs get in to the place.  

Then there are the mosquito nets!!  The net hangs from the ceiling, but is never over the bed.  So we must move the bed out every night to get it under the net.  Then we have a sacred mosquito-net ritual.  First, we check inside it to be sure that no mosquitos somehow got in and are lurking, ready to dive-bomb after we have gotten into bed and the lights are out. Then we stretch it out over the four corners and tuck it is securely on three sides.  Carefully raising the free side, we fold ourselves as low a possible and go under - then tuck the rest in from inside and re-tuck what came un-tucked when we entered!  Of course it never fails that we neglected to turn out the lamp or forgot to shut the window, or didn't bring the clock inside the net.  So then we have to repeat much of the ritual!

A fourth minor annoyance is, of course, the power going off periodically; usually, in the middle of some important internet work.  We have fairly well sorted that out by purchasing a small modem that plugs in like a memory stick.  You have to love those satellites!  Of course, also periodically, the satellite has a hiccup.  

Having said all of that, David Livingston didn't even have the benefit of inoculations or malaria medication, he did everything on foot (chronically without shoes) or canoe, and for years at a time no one knew if he was alive or dead; there was next to no communication!  Needless to say, he had no hairspray!  So we aren't really moaning - just giving a few amusing details of life out here!

HOUSE BUILDING
Jeremy, Kirsty, John and Marty went to Korwenje to be part of building a house for Margaret - a widow, whose house was falling in about her and the straw roof had big holes in it.  Your contributions have made her new house possible.  We hired a team of young "fundis" to construct the frame and roof, and her cell group got together to do the other parts.  Korwenje is in the mountains and very remote.  The road almost disappeared by the time we got near our location; then, we had to walk a quarter mile to get to the site.

Mzee (old man).  Note cock on dish rack in back of house.
When we arrived there were a lot of observers; especially, old folks.  This was a big event for the area and people were coming from all around to witness a house being built in one day (it was finished enough to be blessed and Margaret was in it that night).  It was a great testimony to the whole village to see a group of people together showing their love for Margaret and building her a house.  Apparently people heard of it, but didn't quite believe it. So the observers came and went all day long.  Some chairs and couches were brought out for the older people who wanted to stay all day and watch.  What a celebration!!!
                                                 
As we came to the site we saw 18 posts in the ground as the basis for the framework.  Several more were added inside to separate the "rooms" - three in all.  There are no tape measures and no levels.  String is the level gauge and plum-bobs are a rock and string.  A hand saw is occasionally used, but a panga (machete) is the primary cutting tool.  They are very accurate with them.  Of course they do use hammers and humongous nails.  Three-legged ladders are constructed on site.  Then the trusses were made of young trees and hoisted into place in a very unique way.  One fundi seemed to be the expert roof builder.  He was the only one up there and certainly could have a second career as an acrobat.  

Remember, this is a remote area - nowhere near any water, which is needed for mud to make the walls.  So, at a specific juncture of the carefully choreographed building process, a couple of young men began to use a tool that looks like a bent shovel to hack at and dig up the ground around the new structure, and about the same time a small herd of donkeys appeared, carrying many 20 liter cans of water.  They were herded by a little boy of about 9 or 10.  These water cans were dumped into large oil barrels and then poured by buckets full onto the freshly-dug dirt.  The water is mixed in while the digging goes on and these young men tread the mud to make it the right consistency!




















Then, the women get  involved! Of course they have been preparing food for lunch and the evening meal while the men were doing the frame work.  Kirsty and Marty put on their leso (cloth wraps), took off their shoes, and joined the ladies in the mud - making big mud balls and shoving them in between the sapling slats (Luo lathing).  The two of them were not nearly a fast as those experienced women, but they helped K and M by making mud balls for them.  So, those early years of making mud pies as little girls were preparatory for the mission field!  It was a wonderful experience and a good time was had by all.  We gained a deeper appreciation for the Luo women.  They work so hard and are so strong - and seemingly tireless.
Jeremy had a hand (or 2) at making the walls!









Jeremy, Margaret and Kirsty beside new house!
THE MAIZE PROCESS IS FINISHED
Kirsty and Jeremy were recruited to be part of the maize processing.  They arrived when we had about 6 bags left to winnow and prepare with preservative before bagging.  We haven't quite figured out how the people manage to put the maize in 80 kg bags (176 lbs.) and distribute it.  It takes the two of us to even carry 28 kgs - which is the amount we put in each bag so that we can move it around the storehouse and also distribute it easier.  (We probably are considered weaklings, but there is great grace given due to our age.  We seldom use the "age card", and we didn't in this situation, but our age factor has come in handy here on occasion.)  All of the maize has been processed and is ready for distribution.  We have sacked  approximately ONE AND A HALF EMPIRICAL TONS (1.36 TONNES).  Although some maize was spoiled, it was not wasted, for it is used to feed chickens and cows.  Additionally, the empty cobs are used for fire wood, and even the chaff that is winnowed from the kernels is used.  This fine (lighter than feathers) chaff and the maize silk that blows off is used to line the chickens' nests when they are brooding.  It is soft and also an insulation that helps warm the eggs.  Also, corn husks make wonderful tinder for helping to start the cooking fires.  Now all that remains is to distribute the maize to the widows.  We have to sort the timing out for that, but we surely want to give them some for Christmas.

Our next episode will include a visit to another hard-to-get-to cell group.  Jeremy drove and has really earned his Kenyan-driving merit badge.  

BLESSINGS AND MUCH AFFECTION!

John and Marty

Monday, 29 August 2011

COMPLETING THE HARVEST & THE MAASAI EXPERIENCE!!

THE HARVESTING PROCESS NEARLY COMPLETE


Bottoms Up
Florence, Seline and Christine sorting the last few ears to thresh.
We have been working really hard, physically, right now - and at the end of the day we surely feel it.  We are pretty tired by the time we get home.  Often we take a shower - it's pretty grubby work - and then go out for a meal, so that Marty doesn't have to cook.  We have had a few people helping us this last week, so we made sure to have tea and bread for lunch.  That is a typical snack or lunch, and we have grown rather fond of it.  We added some bananas for dessert. Marty learned how to do the fire (everything is cooked outside on a wood fire) it's easy (making the fire).  The water for the tea came from the hand-dug well and the water is cloudy because of recent rain. Well, we definitely claimed Mark 16:18, drank our tea, and have suffered no ill effects.  We worked all week, but had to take three days off (Wed., Thurs, & Fri.) for the First Annual Youth Conference at the church.  On the Thursday, Charles - the wonderful man that overseas the land at the Widows Farm - came and got us to come see what they had been doing.  He and three ladies had continued to work even though we weren't there.  We hadn't asked or expected them to do it.  Their heart was to relieve us of the continual concern of the harvest not getting done because we weren't there.  Marty returned on Saturday morning and with Charles and the three ladies we finished getting the maize off the cobs, bagged all that was dry (after winnowing it - the old fashioned way) and now all that remains is to finish drying what was shelled that day and winnow and bag it.  Later we will spread all of it out again and add a preservative to it before bagging it in bags that hold 80 kilograms (about 175+ lbs.)  We have actually dried and bagged (temporarily) 1000 kgs (2220 lbs) and have about 360 kgs left to dry.   The last few ears were really small or misshapen and it was difficult even to do them by hand.  No problem!  Charles put them in a feed sack and if there was anything evil in that corn he beat the devil out of it with a big stick.  IT WORKED!  All of those funny cobs were clean and we added the kernels to the lot.                                      

Each day we gave the empty cobs to the people helping us - they were delighted, for they are used as fire wood.  In fact, we used them in our fire.  Rain damaged some of the maize - in that it wasn't harvested quite soon enough and if it was opened and water got in some of it got a mildew-type disease.  But that isn't wasted - they took that home and use it to feed chickens and cows.  Nothing is wasted!  Even what falls to the floor is swept up and sieved to get the dirt out.  If it is too bad it goes to the chickens.  


Seline making chai with new sufuria

We used a cooking pot and tea kettle from the church to make the tea (chai - tea with loads of milk and sugar added, all boiled together) the first day, but having worked through the process a bit, Marty realized that it is time for our own utensils - so off she went to a couple of local household suppliers in Kisumu to get things (Violet gave the name of a good shop) and with the help of the Lord, the little bit of experience she has gained, and using a few dazzling Luo words was able to find sales clerks who could advise her and show her a good selection.  In both shops it was men who helped her; they were so very helpful and seemed really pleased to give advice and see that she had the right stuff.  What fun she had - 1 huge aluminum tea pot,(about 8 or 9 liters - 10 quarts) 2 heavy-duty sufuria (spell check just went crazy - changed that word to safari), one size 23 (which can make tea for 8) and a size 27.  She also bought a dozen plastic mugs and soup bowls and a dozen spoons. A really big sufuria and 2 or 3 more sets of cups, bowls and spoons will be needed for when the land is prepared for the next crop.  Marty is determined to make the next fire; all it
Our kettle is about the size of the one in back
requires is 3 rocks (we used cinder blocks from the house) - to set the pot on - some paper, twigs and bits of wood, corn cobs, and matches.  Then, the trick is to keep pushing the sticks and corn cobs in under the pot a little at a time as it cooks.  The women are very patient and happy to show Marty how to do these domestic things.  However, the dodgy water issue has made us even more determined to get the water-harvesting portion of the farm development completed.  That way rain water is collected and there will be no problem with worries over contaminated water.  The well wasn't dug for drinking/cooking purposes, but to water the crops.  We will encourage bringing water down from the church for cooking the next time.

THE MAASAI EXPERIENCE
We went to Narok - in Maasai land - for a weekend and had an amazing time.  What wonderful people.  Not easily accepting of the Gospel, but once one person in a small village (manyatta) comes to know the Lord the rest will accept and believe through that person's changed life.  It seems to be a pattern among the Maasai, and it is often through a woman.
This zebra was rather annoyed with us for disturbing it!
The manyattas (the village compounds) are in the bush - the nearest is perhaps a mile off the highway - and zebras are roaming freely in sight, but other things are in the midst of the bush; lions, leopards, and at night, roaming elephant herds.  The Maasai know how to live amongst these creatures and how to fend them off (usually) when necessary.  An interesting situation befell the pastor who we were visiting and his wife and a couple of other people with them.  A short while ago they were ministering in the evening in the bush at the Maasai church and when they left, the driver took a wrong trail; it had rained and the vehicle got stuck in the mud.  However, a herd of elephants showed up, so the folks couldn't get out of their vehicle to push it out of the mud.  Elephants and other wild animals there pose a genuine danger and one doesn't get out of their car at night in the bush.  These elephants were not interested in going too far away. When they came too close to the car  the driver would start the engine and turn on the lights, which was enough to cause the elephants to shy away.  The engine and lights were used several times in the night; needless to say there was a whole lot of prayer going on, and no one slept.  Elephants can topple a car with no real effort.  They were rescued the next morning.

Because it is harvest season, and elephants love maize, they tend to come out early in the evening to forage the maize fields.  They have been known to ruin entire crops.  Additionally, they LOVE ugali  (oo gah lee) - a very stiff maize-meal dish (it is formed into a "cake" shape and sliced) that is eaten daily by most Kenyans, as far as we know.  Elephants will tear a house down to get to it.  So, during the harvest, because these herds are out and about at supper (tea) time rather than later, the Maasai have their main meal in the afternoon, including ugali, and then they clean up everything very carefully to remove any scent of the ugali so that by the time the elephants have come out they won't be able to smell it.

Women build the houses in the Maasai tribe.  When we arrived at one manyatta, the matriarch of the community and some other younger women were building a new house.  They are made of sticks covered with a mixture of cow dung and mud.  Marty helped tie a couple of the roof beams together.  These homes are very small



and there are lots of poles inside .  On the left rear  is a "room" where the wife and children sleep - about 3.5'X6' - on the right rear is where the husband sleeps - same size.  Between these two "rooms" is the living area with the fire in the middle (keeps them warm at night); this space is about 4'x6'.  In the right front and at a 90 degree angle to the back was an L-shaped area for a cow and baby goats.  The smoke has nowhere to go, although some goes out through the window, so the house if filled with smoke when the fire is going - of course it gets cool at night and the heat from a fire is welcomed.
The men are all at the market on Saturdays!
An acacia tree is a great place to sit to hear preaching!

The Maasai church in the background
Thank you for your love and prayer support!  Please don't stop either of them.

Blessings,

John and Marty

Thursday, 18 August 2011

VISITING THE WIDOWS AND THE HARVEST & THE "THRESHING"

Well, we hit the ground in Kisumu/Kadawa with a soft thud and were relatively inactive for the first week.  Actually, not inactive, for it takes several days to get settled in to our surroundings.  The first two days here were spent in a guest house, until our normal accommodations were available.  As it turned out we could move in two days early, which made life a bit simpler.  Then we spent time getting groceries and various supplies (it's almost like setting up house) and re-visiting places in Kisumutown where we have established relationships.


The Klines at the Equator
 Then, our friends, the Kline family, came - Charlie, Heidi, Clarissa, Philip, Cory and Jeremy. Charlie and Heidi pastor a uniquely active church in Myerstown, Pennsylvania - The Fireplace - which faithfully supports the ministry at Kadawa.  When we were there in 2010 young Cory - about 8 or 9 at the time - took his savings account of $300, which he had been saving for a certain goal, and donated it to provide a year's supply of water for destitute widows in Kadawa.  Life became exciting as the Klines came into the Kadawa village to see first-hand what they are sowing into as a church and a family.

First, we visited 3 elderly widows who receive water weekly.  They were delighted to meet the Klines.  When we told them the story of what Cory had done they were well pleased and thanked him very much.  A couple of them explained that because of their age they no longer have the strength to go get water and carry it home on their head.  Each widow we visited adopted Cory as their grandson. 

Cory with Alice
In each home one or more of the children prayed for the widows and laid hands on the ones who said they weren't well, praying for their healing.  It was profoundly touching, and a wonderful, weepy time was had by all.  It certainly was a life-changing experience for these youngsters. (Might have been for the adults as well).



THE HARVEST PLUS
Harvesting the Maize
We want to emphasize that the drought in Kenya remains horrifically intense.  Here in Kadawa the lack of rain hasn't been as bad as in other parts.  The planting is done according to the "long" rains and the "short" rains.  This is the time for the short rains, but they are lasting longer than usual, whereas the long rains were shorter than usual. This has cause a lot of confusion about when to plant.  Many of the crops have been very poor, including the small crops on the villagers' land. This is due to the unusual rain- patterns and drought in between. The strange weather patterns are being attributed to El Nino. 

However, as you have seen in our previous photos, our land and the church land has prospered.  The Lord has truly blessed our fields and that, along with good managing techniques that He has taught us - proper fertilizer, weeding, and managing the water when the rain does come, has resulted in a crop that far surpasses the first one we did.  God has truly taken care of his widows and orphans with this particular crop. 

We bought this gadget for "shelling" the maize.  It's a corn thresher - or maize sheller as they call it here.  We bought this hand operated one ($35), had a stand made for it out of steel ($15) and we tried it out..  One of the widows - our neighbour, Florence - came over on some business.   We invited her into the store/barn to see what we had bought.  You see; traditionally the maize is all stripped off the cobs by hand and it takes a whole bunch of people a long time to do it.  It is a great fun time - all sitting on the mat on the ground, or on the floor chattering and laughing and, of course, having a meal because it is an all day (sometimes all week or several weeks) event.  We didn't want to interfere with the camaraderie, but also DID want to speed up the process.  Well, this one-man machine, which is actually an Amish contraption, isn't going to break up that kind of thing, but it will help speed the process up.  You put the cob in the top, turn the handle as fast as you can, and the cob spins around, the teeth force the kernels off the cob, and the when the cob is clean,the machine  turns it and spits it out the back.  Pretty slick!!  Back to the neighbor:  she speaks very little English, but when she saw it and watched John operate it she was grinning from ear to ear and then said "I must do this work".  Translated that means "Oh boy!  Let me have a crack at this!" She caught on right away - recognizing when the tension needed adjusting and was turning the various wing nuts and bolts.  



The maize extends down the 15 ft. wall and around trhe other corner!
 The two of us began the shelling the maize on Monday.  Then found the stand for the "thresher" needed some modification.  So John and Charles - the pastor who helps on the farm - went into Holo Market - the market place at the entrance to the village - and had a welder do the modifications.  Removing a steel bar, putting a longer one on a bit lower down, cost less than $1 (60pence).  Then we worked in earnest all day Tuesday.  We found out a few more modifications to be made to the stand, but can continue to go right along in the work.  It is hard and still takes a long time, but it was just the two of us.  On Wed. Florence came by again and she stepped right up to help us.  With 3 people working at it the task went much faster, and we really got a system going.  Each bucket holds 14 kilograms (about 31 lbs.)  We spread the shelled maize on tarpaulins to dry - it takes two days in the sun - and then we bag it. (We need to winnow it - the old-fashioned way) and then will add some preservative to protect it from weevils.  In three days we have done nearly 1000 lbs. - the two of us on Mon. and Tues. and the with Florence on Wed.  We haven't done even half of the harvest yet.  It is hard work - especially hauling in the maize after it has been drying awhile - but it is a great source of satisfaction at the end of the day.  And BOY are we learning a lot.  For instance Florence showed Marty how to tell by feeling a hand full of maize if it is dry enough to be bagged.  John has found out how to go about modifying the stand and finding the right people to do the job.  We have both learned how to sort and shell and winnow, and how much to pay for tarpaulin material, and that chickens and cows can eat any maize that can't be used and the cobs are coveted fire wood. 

We will write more within a couple of weeks.
NYASAYE OGWEDHI (nia sah eay o gway dee)  - GOD BLESS YOU!



Thursday, 14 July 2011

LATVIA, ESTONIA, AND BACK TO KENYA

MAIZE DISTRIBUTION
In the market at Kadawa maize ordinarily sells for about 40 Kenya Shillings (KES) for a 2 kg tin.  Because of the drought the cost has skyrocketed to about 120 KES per tin.  Many cannot afford to buy it, and they are at the end of their last harvest of food that they would have planted on their own patch. Thanks to the generosity of many people, recently we were able to buy several large (80 kg/176 lbs) sacks of maize to distribute to some of the poor and destitute in the village of Kadawa.  
The distribution wasn't announced ahead of time and after church on that Sunday the persons who were selected were called back to another room in the church, where they were given the maize.  Such surprise!!!  Violet received messages and calls for many days afterward thanking everyone for the food.  In all, 300 families were helped with either 6 or 10 kg parcels (13 or 22 lbs).  Some folks hadn't eaten for 1 or 2 days and the food was most welcome. The day it was distributed the people called it Miracle Sunday. The next harvest will soon be in (late July or early August).

One lady left after receiving her maize, but came back and stood in front of the group and prayed aloud for the people who sent the food to her and the others.









PRAYER MISSION TO LATVIA AND ESTONIA
Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania are known as "The Baltic States".  Their Western borders are on the Baltic Sea.  Being very high in the Northern latitudes they are very cold in the winter and have a short growing season.  In June it is still light out at 11:15 PM and the sun is up at about 3 AM.  Conversely, winter is very dark for a very long time each day.
   LATVIA - RIGA
We went to Latvia on June 28 to join our friends Carl and Elizabeth Harper who are from Lancaster PA.  We spent a week with them  going through Latvia and into Estonia.  As our team leaders, they were taking us to various YWAM (Youth With a Mission) projects and ministries with whom they are acquainted.  We are so excited to report that there are many new, creative and cutting-edge ministries ongoing and developing.  We had the privilege of praying for and ministering to them.

Notable amongst them in Latvia was a young woman in her early thirties named Tatyana (Tanya).  She has started the Karosta Children's Day Centre.  Karosta is the most underprivileged area in the vicinity of Riga, the capital, and largest city of Latvia.  The children are from broken homes, abusive situations - physical, mental, emotional and sexual - homes where alcoholism and drug abuse is rampant.  The centre is in an old barracks on a former Russian naval base.  She also has a children's club there, and the children are also taught and ministered to by a Russian pastor whose church is in the building where the children's centre is.  She feeds them one meal every day. She has several volunteers working for her and now has 4 paid staff. Her vision is to build a boarding school for these deprived children.  Her background is the same as these youngsters.  Her father was an alcoholic; she was abused physically and emotionally, she was raped twice. She had a baby and married at sixteen; her husband continued the abuse.  She heard the gospel and accepted Christ as her personal saviour and deliverer.  Eventually she realized that she wanted to and could receive her education, and now has a degree in psychology.  She is a woman of faith and vision.  She knows that the Lord has called her to this ministry and she is passionate and strongly determined.  Being with her and hearing her vision as well as her personal testimony we are convinced that she will see her vision come to pass and it will spread to other areas of the nation.
     THE VIOLIN
Tanya's daughter wanted to play the violin.  Tanya was determined that her child would go to music school and learn.  She took her by the hand, went to the music school and told them that her daughter must learn to play the violin.  The school took her and the child showed great talent.  However after awhile the school told her that they could no longer teach her because she needed a larger violin.  Tanya knew that this child was to continue her music education.  She took the girl to play her violin in the street.  Her talent attracted a passing journalist, who, after hearing her story, took her photo and put it online with her story.  One day, a Jewish man in Germany  happened across the article and photo and he was so moved by it that he sent money for a new violin.  The girl was able to return to school and continue her education.  God is amazing!
   LATVIA - WINGS FOR WHEELS


EVELYN
STAFF MEMBER
Evelyn and Kaspars, a young couple, have a ministry to mobile-challenged persons - working with individuals in wheelchairs and those with cerebral palsy.  All have normal intellect, although some are a bit slower to learn than others.  Several years ago Evelyn was in a conference where one speaker gave the following facts.  If the mobile-challenged were a people group they would be:
-  The third largest country after China and India;
-   The poorest country
-   The least employed
-   The largest unreached people group.
She felt called to have a ministry to the mobile-challenged community.  KasparsYaaaaay God!!  During the camp they teach crafts, have games, do physical therapy (some have never had any), work on socializing skills, and will even take all of the "campers" rafting on the nearby river.  The name of their ministry is WINGS FOR WHEELS! (Clever!)

There are no public facilities in Latvia for handicapped persons; i.e. no handicapped accessible public transportation, entries into building, bathrooms, and many places that have more than one story have no lifts (elevators).  Often these individuals stay home and do not go anywhere or do any socializing.  For some of the ones in camp it is the only time they venture outside all year.

Evelyn and Kaspars' vision is to have a centre in Rigal where the disabled can be brought and receive help.  Based on their passion, commitment and the favour of God on their ministry it is a certainty to see their vision fulfilled.

   ESTONIA - TALLIN
Now we introduce you to Marillo - a Brazilian who also spent much of his teen years in the USA.  He is a member of the YWAM leadership team in Estonia.  One day in prayer, when in YWAM training for ministry, he had a vision.  In that vision he saw many, many white people and he heard the Lord say to him that He was calling him to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  He had no idea what or where these places were - if they were the names of towns, or what they might be.  He deduced that since the people were white it might be somewhere in Europe.  However, he was certain that the Lord was calling him.  Shortly afterward he was in a morning worship service at the YWAM training centre, when the leader stopped and pointed Marillo out saying that he had a word from the Lord for him.  He said "Marillo, you are called to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  This leader had no idea of the earlier vision that Marillo had seen.  Marillo had just arrived shortly before we met him and was super-excited to learn Estonian immediately!!!

                          
Marillo, Elizabeth, Cheryl

Old Town Square, Tallin
BACK TO AFRICA
 We return to Kenya on the 26th of July.  We will stay in Nairobi for 3 days to have meetings with various people and businessmen.  Then off to Kadawa.
The rains came and forestalled the completion of the caretaker's house/barn due to inaccessibility (no vehicles could get to it because of the mud and soft ground) but the rains have stopped and work can resume.  Marty is excited to see to the plastering and painting, etc.
The corn crop on the Widows Farm has done very well.  There are trenches dug around the perimeter and also a large one across the middle of the field.  The purpose of them is two-fold:  1. To catch rainwater which then can seep under the crops by osmosis, thus supplying moisture; 2. To keep the top soil from washing away.  In addition we feel that the Lord has especially blessed this crop so as to have an increased provision for the widows.   You can see the photo of one of the ears of maize and it looks really healthy.  The maize is left on the stalk until it dries (about 99% dry).

That will be the end of July or early August.  Then it will be harvested by hand and the husks removed, the kernels removed and spread out to dry and then stored in 80 - 90 kg sacks until needed for distribution.

We will be having another eye clinic while there and have a nurse coming along with us, with her daughter to help at the clinic.
Jeremy and his daughter Kirsty will be coming in September to further minister to the villagers and make other plans for the future.

Blessings and Much Love to you all!!!

John & Marty