Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I think I could chalk yesterday up as a useless day. I did a few things but compared to the 24 hours in a day, I was affective for about an hour. I don’t like that. It makes me feel crummy. Fortunately I went for a 1 hr 10 min run last night, which made me feel better. I kinda didn’t know where I was for about 20 minutes of it. Had some good conversation with Kamotho a couple days ago about street ministry and Rohi. We were talking about the goods and bads about Rohi, what we think would make it better and whatnot.
There was a solar eclipse this morning. They say the next one won’t be seen from here in this lifetime. All the students and staff were looking at it. Don’t they advise you to not look at solar eclipses?
I have 15 days left in Kenya. I am looking forward to going home. I feel like my time is over here. Like yesterday, I was nearly useless. There are times when I would be ok if I leave in the next couple days. Other days things are good and the thought of going home never enters my mind. Am I bipolar?
There are complications on where street church is going to be. ACK, the place where it was before, was charging a bunch of money, and then they said that they didn’t want us there anymore because the street guys were causing problems. Then last week we went to the old town hall, and it seemed good. But apparently the municipal council doesn’t want us there. The guy was making up excuses for us not to be there. Kamotho and Juma are frustrated about it. We are trying to help people and these people are trying to stop us. What is that? Street church will continue despite the challenges.
In town the other day I was talking to the usual market guys. A new guy came by and started talking about one thing, then switched to a new one, and continued doing this. I would begin to answer just before he changes the subject. It was kinda amusing. The other guys were just laughing. He saw my track shirt and said he could beat me in a 100m race. He then bet me that if I win I would get a masai blanket. He said he wanted 1000 shillings ($13) if he won. I was thinking about it. I had my slipper shoes on and wasn’t in much of a mood to race. He said he was fast, and the other guys said he was fast. I had my doubts cuz he was puffing on a cigarette, didn’t look amazingly healthy or fast. But looks can be deceiving. I was weighing the pros and cons. The other guys wanted some entertainment and I figured it would make for a good story to tell. So I said, “OK, let’s do it.” I said let’s go and started walking to where we were going to do it. The guy then started walking away. The race didn’t happen. I guess it is still a good story, but not quite as good as if it happened. So here is what would have happened. I walked over to where it was going to go down. The group of five growing to 10, then 40. Finally the crowd was close to 100 by the time we reached the road/lot. Meanwhile everybody was making bets. I would guess about $1000 was put on the betting table, because Kenyans are so rich. They began to line up down the 100 meter stretch. And remarkably it was 100m to the inch. I jogged a bit and did some high knees to prep my body as much as possible. Don’t want to tear anything. It’s important to warm up, but they were hurrying me, so I wasn’t able to get myself properly ready. Meanwhile, my competitor was putting on his spikes that he pulled out of nowhere. Not only were they spikes, but they are signed by Usain Bolt! I only had my Sanuks (like slippers). “Oh my,” I thought. I walked up and toed the line, not going into the full starting position, at the “On your marks” command. This guy had some blocks and backed into them like a seasoned pro. I could not worry about him though. I took a deep breath when the started said, “Set.” I relaxed my muscles to the point where they were ready to explode forward. “Go!” My arms shot forward, driving and hammering alongside my body. My knees began to lift. The blood and adrenaline was surging through every inch of my body. Cheers were going up through the crowd, but I heard none of it. It was like I was running through a tunnel. I could only see the light at the end of it only. Knees continued to lift, and I thought about nothing but floating with extreme speed forward. My competitor was huffing with each step on my side. We flew down the road, faces blurring by. Within seconds we were on top of the finish line. It was no contest. I had beaten him by a good two meters. Unfortunately, I had rubbed a hole in my Sanuks from the speed. I ended up not taking his Masai blanket, and I bought him a cup of tea.
Evans, the boy I sponsor, came by today. Because he is going into Form 1 (9th grade) he does not start school until Feb 8. I was afraid I was not going to be able to see him until next time I come. I’m glad I was able to see him before I left.

Went over to the high school to see what they were up to. I placed soccer with them and in the first five minutes I went up to head a ball that was up a bit high. I came down awkwardly on my right ankle and heard several pops and felt a shock go up my leg, kinda like when you hit your funny bone. I thought, “Oh no.” I sat and assessed the damage. Pain, usually not an issue for me, and it wasn’t hurting much- good. I checked to see if there were any odd protrusions or abnormal curves, none- good. Then I tried moving it a bit. There was some popping occurring- not good. I wondered if it was dislocated. Rolled it around a bit to assess some more. Some of the boys came over to check on me and help. I got up and tried walking. I was able to put weight on it- good. Then it started swelling- not so good. I sat there for a while and had John Mwangi tug on it a bit. There was a pop- I think it was good, maybe it set it closer to where it was before. They sprayed some icy-hot stuff on it. That stuff doesn’t really do anything. Then I wrapped it with a bandage they had. Thanks guys. Then I watched the rest of the game chatting with those on the side. I walked from the high school to home, maybe 200 meters. Now I’m sitting here after putting a wet towel and water bottle in the freezer for ice. Thank God that Mama has a freezer. Took an aspirin. Got it elevated. It doesn’t hurt much, but it is swollen. It hurts to move it laterally (side-to-side). You like that word laterally. That is what my kinesiology major taught me. And R.I.C.E.- rest, ice, compression, elevation. I am running a half marathon a week after I get back (3 weeks). If I can’t run within the next couple days I am going to be bummed.
-5 hrs later: yeah, it’s pretty swollen. Diagnosis from Dr. Ben- mild sprain. Treatment: Cut it off. Or see chiropractor to put it back where it belongs.

My ankle was hurting when I woke up this morning. It sort of woke me up. More swollen than last night. I tried to walk on it like yesterday. Wasn’t happening.

Papa and everybody insisted that I go to the hospital. I said ok and went. I got x-rays. Sure enough, it was broken. The distal part of the fibula, that’s the bump on the outside of the ankle. So I had two options, get a plaster cast that will take 6-8 weeks to heal or surgery with potential to walk in a week or two. After weighing the options with Troy and Eston, so happy they were here, I decided to go with surgery. The surgeon has done this surgery many times and is considered the best guy around. He trained in S. Africa and is confident. He gave me the options, told me he leans toward surgery cuz it has shown the greatest benefits, but said casting will be ok as well. This showed me that he wasn’t so eager to get money through the surgery. Anesthesia was the other question. I am going to get the epideral, which seems to be the better option considering. I am not at Troy’s house. His wife just had their baby. Becca’s mom is here for a bit, so she is also taking care of me. Cool people. I am going to sleep now with my foot elevated to get the swelling down. I will wake up and head to the hospital ready to get cut by 9 am. Wow wow. I am not nervous. Thank you God for who you are.

Got my surgery yesterday. It went well. I got the epideral, so my legs were numb for many hours after. Not a good feeling. I didn’t sleep too well last night. Combination of some pain and other stuff. The doctor ended up putting in nine screws and a plate! I looked at the x-ray and was surprised. Troy has been awesome in this whole thing, as well as his family. Also the rest of the Rohi people. They are all really supportive. Mama and Papa came and visited, Kamotho, Anthony, Henry and others.

Just went to the doctor. He said it is looking good. I’ve been having a headache every time I sit up. I’m told it is because of the epideral; it messes with the fluid and causes an imbalance of fluid in your skull. Hopefully it will be gone soon. My ankle feels great. Troy was with me at the doctor and was admiring the stitching of the wound and getting some instruction on how to do it. He has to stitch up animals every once in a while. I watched “Jungle Book” a couple times yesterday with the girls, and part of it today. I’m going home in 8 days. Wow wow.
One thing I don’t like, when you are in somebody else’s house and the toilet doesn’t work properly.

Today is the first day since the surgery that I haven’t had a headache. Yippee! I’ve just been keeping my foot elevated the last bunch of days. Haven’t even been outside in a couple.
Just saw pictures from my ankle surgery and a bit of video. Totally excited to post them on facebook.

I came back to Rohi today. Everybody here is so awesome. Everybody is asking how I’m doing, praying for me, and helping any way they can. I wish I had another crutch. Hopping around with one is not easy. I found a stick to help me temporarily.
I finished all 100 sudoku puzzles on my phone a few days ago. So proud of myself.
Things that I have always been thankful for, but I am reminded of while here in Kenya for 12 weeks: reliable toilets, driving, having my own car, paved roads, my friends, my family, my right ankle, having two crutches, health insurance, loving people who care for me, American television, fast internet access, facebook, email, people who follow rules of the road and are courteous to others, my pantry of food at home, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves and ovens, the sound of kids laughing and playing, God’s mercy and grace, my bicycle, walking outside without sunblock. rain, forks, trustworthy people, America, unlimited text messaging, quality showers, drinking out of the tap, the abilities of others (especially when I can’t do what they do),
There are going to be a lot of stuff I’m going to miss. All the people I’ve had the chance to get to know is number one on my list. Some of them I may never see again in this lifetime. I do plan on coming back, but some of them will be gone. I will periodically see how they are with email and for some facebook. I love technology.

My sister’s birthday! Happy birthday Ellie! Kinda bummed that I’m missing it. I’ll be home in a few days and will celebrate it then. I’ve just been sitting in the Kamotho’s office. Type a thing or two and then sit for the next while just chatting and whatever else. Real exciting stuff. I hope to go to town tomorrow. I think I might buy a cane so I could move around on the plane. Hopefully I will be able to put some weight on my ankle by that time. I’m gonna leave the crutch at Rohi for them to use.
What makes a person amazing and admired? Books and movies are created with these people at the forefront, usually. We look up to people who do remarkable things and live a remarkable life. I think of Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, Walt Disney. These people have left a huge positive mark on society. Do these people have special abilities? Yeah, to a certain point. Jesse Owens was extremely fast, but he had to work super hard to get that way. Mother Theresa was nothing impressive that would make you look twice. Rosa Parks was the same way. These people at some point in their life, and every morning after that, decided that they were going to do something that was risky and against the norm. Walt Disney wanted to be creative and use his talents to entertain and make people happy. Nelson Mandela saw inequality and made the steps to correct it. Rosa Parks simply decided to stay where she was seated. We stand up and applaud these people and say, “I wish I was like them.” Well, why don’t we try to become remarkable people? It’s scary and risky, that’s why. We don’t know what could result because of it. “I could get hurt. People will look at me weird. I will offend somebody. I’m not good enough.” You know what? All those things are probably true. But what is life if it is not lived? You cannot truly live if you simply play it safe. As a person who believes that Jesus Christ died for my sins to give me eternal life and while I’m still on earth a life worth living, I can make a good guess that it is okay and good to not play it safe. I was recently reminded of a quote by CS Lewis, talking about Aslan. Aslan was described as “He is not safe, but he is good.” Wow! That is something I want to be a part of. I want to be like that. If something is good, won’t it be worth whatever it is at the end. Injury, risk, pain, and suffering may occur along the way. But if the result is good won’t it be worth it? I think it is. I think people have something to offer to at least one other person that will mark their life in an amazingly positive way. We may not defy Hitler with our extraordinary physical abilities or travel to the other side of the world to comfort the dying or create an industry that will leave children laughing and having fun for generations. But we can become extraordinary, admired people to those God has placed in our life.


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Philip Vose said...

i miss you brother. and in a way i kinda don't know how to describe, i'm saddened a bit knowing that all the people who sincerely care about you over there are all going to have just a little bit of happiness taken away from them by you coming home. i've been thinking a lot more about what it'll be like for you coming back than what it was like for me. not sure why. i guess i was able to see how everyone would stop whatever it was that they were doing just to shake your hand and give you a smile and that you would do the same. and, for some reason just seeing that all the time, the wonderful friendly nature, really made me feel so good that you were in a truly loving living situation. i know there is a loving family waiting for you at home with loving friends, and i know that'll be a relief. ben, i'm just dang happy for you. i feel like crying thinking about your heart and our families heart and who we focus our attention on and God's unfathomable love. geez. well, i'm praying for your safe journey to your california homeland. i hope to talk to you in a bit. benny, you did it! couldn't be more proud of you having gone to kenya and spread a little benjamin vose love, love from a much higher source. i know i know i know you did more than good things...