Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some more


            It was Kamotho’s birthday a couple days ago. So I got him a cake at the bakery a few blocks away. I brought it to the office. He was super thankful and said, “This is the first party I have had.” I was happy to do that for him. Also made me a little sad that nobody has ever done that for him. Maybe it’s a cultural thing that many don’t have lil parties. He brought the remaining cake home to his family.
            There was a time (and I still fight this urge) when I would always think, “Am I making a difference in this person’s life/ making a difference for God/ making a difference in the world?” That sort of thinking, at least for me, is like wearing chains. It binds you to a standard that is not for you set. (Hold on! Fatty spider on the wall. Too big to let that thing live in my bedroom. Dang! It escaped under the door. Hopefully it won’t attack me and suck my blood.) And it limits you. And it makes you focus on something that is not supposed to be focused on. In my somewhat humble opinion, which I believe to be true, we are supposed to focus on God. By focusing on God and pursuing him, he puts things in our path that will be handled by us properly (making a difference) because God is working through us. And we make a difference in that person’s life and our life is changed and our relationship with God becomes stronger. When the goal is making a difference in someone’s life and we fail, which is not uncommon, we fail, and our life revolves around our success or failure. But if our focus is on God, and we inevitably believe that it is God who ultimately makes the difference, then the pressure is taken off of us and we can then pursue people with a heart that is truly free. None of that probably makes sense. But I don’t really care at this point. Just getting stuff out of my head. What made me think of this was that I was reading what somebody wrote to me. They said they saw how I interact with other people (I’m being vague) and how they look up to me. When I see this I kinda laugh because I don’t feel like I do anything to try to get people to look at me. I just try to pursue God. God is constantly changing me to be who he wants me to be. Looking back at my college and before days and even after, I always felt like nobody (as in most, other than my mom. Love my mom) saw me. It was like I was working in the shadows.
            As an introvert by nature I don’t crave the spotlight. It’s ironic cuz I have been placed in a leadership role that is in front more often than my skin wants to be. It’s a funny thing how God works. I long to see what he sees.
             I ate my first apple in over a month, and by golly, that was the best apple I’ve had in a long time.


            On top of the little mountain behind the school is a decently large cornfield. We went up this morning and harvested. For someone who doesn’t grow his own food, it’s pretty cool to shuck the corn and be amazed at how food grows out of the ground. You mean it doesn’t grow out of grocery stores? No mam it does not. How reliable on God are we? More so than I could even imagine. I can’t make that stuff grow. It is purely by God’s grace. Walking through the field doing this with the dozens of students, getting stickers all over my clothes and socks from the weeds, I realized that this was good. After getting through it all and piling up the maize in piles throughout, we got big bags and filled them up to be carried down the mountain. And it gets pretty steep. So I loaded my bag almost completely full and heaved that thing over my shoulder. That sandbag training I did with Kevin paid off. I might have been a bit ambitious on the first load. Probably 70 lbs worth, and it was awkward. I adjusted it so that it was as balanced as possible on my neck and both shoulders and headed down. I realized as I was going that if I tripped and fell forward, that would be the end of me. From top to bottom is maybe a little less than a ¼ mile, if I had to guess. Dump the bag where we have church and head back up. I made a total of three trips. Going up was the hard part. The bags were probably about 6o lbs each. The students didn’t complain at all, at least not in English.


            Not much to write home about. When it rains it pours… literally. Coming home from town today it began pouring. The short walk was quite slippery. Mud and a lot of it. My pants and shoes that the guys happily washed are now not so clean. Sorry fellas. It seems like whenever the front little walkway in front of this house gets washed, it rains the same day resulting in, you guessed it, mud. I finished my 920 page book yesterday. I think that’s the most I have ever read in 12 days. Three books down. Got to find something else or I’m gonna be writing on this thing a lot which will lead to jabbering on.
            There appears to be some changes on the horizon. Pretty excited about them. I don’t get terribly, heart excited very often. But this time I kinda am. We will see if they come to fruition. One of the things is that I am going to be teaching a two week class on social justice in January to some students at Fremont Christian HS. Have I ever done this before? No. Do I know what I’m doing? Not really. But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Kirstin told the lady organizing it about me and said that I was all about it. So if it doesn’t go well, I will blame her. If it’s great, I will take all the credit J. I’ve realized that when things have been super great in my life, it has not been because of my greatness… at all. This is very humbling, and it’s important that I remind myself of this often or I’ll get a big head. And there is nothing worse than a big, bald head.
            Dinner time. What’s for dinner? Funny you should ask. I’ll give you two guesses. Umm, guthiri! Nice guess but no. Ugali and beans!!! Ding ding ding! You got it. Tell him what he’s won. More ugali and beans!!!!


            Washing machines are amazing. Washed my clothes by myself this morning. And it did not take a short minute. The advent of the machine that washes clothes saves an amazing amount of time. I’m certain that if every Kenyan had a washing machine, Kenya could have one of the most powerful nations in the world. They would have so much more time to solve problems like poverty, cancer, and understand that using butter in their baking delights is so much better than margarine.
            I just attempted making spaghetti. It was horrendous. There’s no sauce in the stores, but they had tomato paste. I watered it down, added some salt, and was going to add some beans that they were serving with the ugali tonight. But they had cabbage instead. First time not having beans. Haha. So I threw some of the cabbage in. No bueno.  I would have been better off eating the ugali and cabbage. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 1/2 weeks in


            The students finally got all the facts straight. The school director, who is located at the girls’ high school, made sure that they have all the information. Now that wasn’t so hard. All of the boys decided to stay except one. I’ll tell you something, people want to be listened to, they want to know the facts, and they want to know that they are cared for. When those things are taken care of, so much more can be accomplished. I still think I’m right with the entire issue. And I won’t comment further even though I kinda want to say a few things about people. I’ll just say this, I don’t think the students “complain” as much as is let on by some people.
            Went with Haron and Gitau for over 5 hrs looking at different schools for some students who might be leaving Rohi. At a high school I saw a few kids doing triple jump 40 yds away, my coaching specialty, while I was waiting for the other two in the office. I decided to go over to see them and maybe give them some advice. But as soon as they saw me they stopped. I attempted talking to them but they were just looking at me like I was crazy. Then it was time to go. I guess I am a bit crazy. Then at our last stop we went to a primary school where about 100 5-7 yr olds were leaving school. So cute in their light purple uniforms.


            This whole thing with the Form 3 students and the principal is becoming tiresome. Communication with the principal and students is horrendous. The students are telling me one thing and the principal is telling me something slightly different. The two boys’ families were called this morning for them to be picked up. The boys said that Mr. Maina had sent them away because they thought about staying for next year an extra hour. If this is the case, it is extremely ridiculous. Today, the families came to pick them up. I finally asked Mr. Maina what was happening, and he said, “About what?” even though 5 seconds before he was talking to the family. I said, “About this whole thing.” The students were convinced that they were getting kicked out. But Mr. Maina just told me that they have one week to decide. He said that the two students didn’t make up their own mind for themselves. It wasn’t until the other students made their decisions that they decided to stay. During this process of waiting to see what was happening, I let Kamotho talk to one of the students. So clearly the student wasn’t trying to “pull a fast one.” Still, Mr. Maina sent the two boys home with their family, even though they had already decided to stay. I told them as they were walking out the gate that they have one week to decide. They didn’t know this. Whether Mr. Maina told the families, I don’t know. Either way I think this whole thing is sketchy and I’m rather frustrated with how it is being dealt with. Just another thing to add to the list.


            So, it turns out there was a former teacher at Blesco who was feeding the students with this wrong information. The students were not making it up as some had assumed. I’m glad it is cleared up. I still think much of this strife could have been avoided if proper communication had occurred.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



            Went to town yesterday. It wasn’t nearly as busy as it usually is. Then I remembered it was a holiday. I think it was their independence day. I got to the town office and only Haron was there. And he was only staying for a few minutes. He apologized for not telling me that they wouldn’t be in for the day. So I made my way over to Java House. This is a restaurant where all the foreigners and richer Kenyans go for food. The place serves good food, but they are more expensive than the other places. And they have wifi. I ate my fruit with yogurt and did my usual internet searching. Good to just sit and rest with nothing pressing to do.
            I got back and took a few of the guys on a run, Peter, Noel, Ngatia, and Lupui. I thought it was going to be an easy run, a little less than 4 miles, but Lupui decides to start running. He is 20 yrs old from northern Kenya, 6’3”, soccer guy. I was surprised he was able to run that well. If he had proper training, I think he would be a pretty good runner. Then we did some pushups after, which they are horrible at haha. Last night Mr. Maina called me into his office, I thought he was going to reprimand me cuz I was asking a couple of the teachers about the what they thought about some of the comments he made during the meeting yesterday morning. But he told me that the students were not appreciative of what he and the other teachers were doing for them, which is probably true for the most part. But at the same time they are next exactly heart warming. So I suggested a couple students that we could have a meeting with so that we can get it all out in the open. The students have their concerns and Mr. Maina has his. I have my own as well. So I’m gonna be a bit of a mediator. Hopefully it goes well and they both see their shortcomings.
            Gitau, Kamotho, and Waititu came to Blesco today. We all discussed some of the issues and I suggested that we bring in a couple of the guys so they can understand and help communicate with everybody else. It was supposed to be a discussion, but it turned into a lecture, even though they said it was a discussion. When people feel like they are getting lectured, especially high schoolers, they tend to shut down. So after a long while we ended and went to the Form 3 and explained one of the issues about changing registration for next year. Kamotho said he was only going to talk for 10-15 min. It turned into 40 minutes. Then Waititu said something, then Gitau, then Maina, and the next thing you know it’s nearly two hours later. The students asked a few questions and responded but eventually began to shut down. I wanted to leave. I guess it’s a cultural thing that if you lecture and talk more you will get your point across and the audience will inevitably agree with you. It happens in churches too. By the end all but two of the 12 students who were there wanted to still register at another school next year for exams. I consider this a failure. I would do things so much different if I was in charge. They say that this place is only a school, not your home. So you should focus on studying, education, and all that. But at the same time, these students are here 24/7. How can they say that this is only a school? They are not cattle to be driven to a watering hole where they will survive. I don’t know if this is my battle to fight. Maybe I’m wrong. The students confide in me. I’m told by those in charge that this is the “Kenyan way.” Maybe the Kenyan way is wrong. And just because all the other Kenyan schools are doing it doesn’t make it ok. Could this be a part of why Kenya is not doing well on so many levels? Am I being judgmental? I don’t know. Maybe. The American way is by no means perfect. Neither is any other institution. But some seem to be doing a bit better than others. I was watching a Morgan Spurlock documentary show. He was looking at the education system and went to Finland where they consistently are at the top of the world rankings for testing. They are in school about 5 hrs a day with maybe one or two hours of homework. And have fatty recess time. Oh how that differs from Blesco’s 11.5 hr days of being in the classroom. I just don’t know.
            …Just talked to the guys. The information they received from other people on the outside is different from the information given to them by the people here. Therefore they want to be registered at another school for exams next year. I asked that if what the people in authority here says is indeed fact, would they stay. They said yes. It’s funny, I talk to the students and they have no problem telling me what’s on their mind. But when an authority figure comes, they don’t say much. Listening goes a long way.
            On a side not, I bought a couple small pineapples, about the size of a grapefruit for about 55 cents on the way back from MCF on Sunday. And that was hecka good. Good way to finish the day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Shower in a Week


            Just over 6hrs of sleep every night… I don’t know how these students do it. I know I sleep more than the average person (I value my sleep), but 6.5hrs of sleep on a good day is cra cra. They are in class either being taught or studying over 11 hrs M-F. Saturdays for about 3 or 4 hrs. Sundays for about an hour or two.
            Tried watching one of the bootleg movies to no avail. It did not work. Haha what should I have expected? I’ll bring it back tomorrow when I’m in town. I bought a new book called Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. His other book that I read, Pillars of Earth is a good one. Read 100 pages today. I had to supervise students in their exams, so I had plenty of time.


            Day started of early. Once I got to town, it was still slow. After a while a student came in who was expelled from the school he was at. He was causing trouble over a period of time. It was deserved. After a couple weeks of being out he finally came to the town office wanting to go back to school, any school. I’m not entirely sure if he’s genuinely sorry. We will see what happens.
            That whole thing with people coming into the house a couple weeks ago, turns out the principal owes on his dowry. So people came together to negotiate. On Saturday I’ll be going along to see what this whole thing is about, although I’m sure I will have no idea about the negotiations that are occurring. Should be interesting.
            Went to one of the former student’s grandmother’s home. She lives only a couple miles away from the town office up the hill that overlooks the town and Lake Nakuru. We rode on the back of a motorcycle. I thought for a moment I was gonna fall off on a few of the bumps. I was making a plan on how I would properly fall. It’s beautiful up there. And twisted in an awful way. The road/path leads through an area with several dirt houses (pretty much one room). As we are walking up the path to where she was, kids starting coming out of the woodwork yelling, “How are you?” This is typical of Kenyan kids who see a mzungu (white person). We find where she is and say hello (she doesn’t speak English). Haron does all the talking. Meanwhile all thedirty kids are gathering around. A few start holding my hands. A girl smacks a boy younger than her on the top of his head decently hard for some reason. He starts crying. A couple 4 or 5 yr old girls are pushing and hitting each other while trying to do somersaults. One kid is picking his nose, and I realize this is probably what the kids were doing who are holding my hands. Sometimes hand holding is more important than germs. A boy with one piece of junk rollerblade is rolling down the dirt hill. On the left side looking toward the town about 100 meters away is a golf course. Also about the same distance down the hill are a bunch of well-built houses. Haron said they are building them closer and closer to where these people are living, trying to push them off their land. It’s just weird/wrong/problem with our world that there’s this line that is so thick that separates two different peoples.
            I was getting into the front seat of the matatu on the way back and hit my knee on a piece of metal that was sticking out a bit. Tore my pants and cut my knee. I was almost angry, and then I thought, “Why am I getting angry.” I watched as the hanging piece of material start to soak with blood. Not much though. Glad I got my tetanus updated before I left.


            The last couple nights I have been on duty. The students are supposed to study until 10pm. They tell me, and observation, that many of them go to sleep with their heads on their desks. They start studying directly after dinner at 6:30. The last few nights I have let them go to bed at 9:30. They get really happy and go directly to sleep. The second night I let them go at 9:30, and Principal Maina, who stays on campus, calls me and says, “They are going to sleep? They have to stay until 10.” I said they were leaving because they were done studying. That was the end of the conversation. He wasn’t here the following night. Then tonight I just got a text saying that the students must stay in preps until 10pm. Five minutes later he sends a teacher who stays here at the school. She said she was sent by the principal to make sure they stayed until 10. That got me boiling a bit. I called him and asked why he sent Madam (that’s what they call the female teachers here) to stay until 10 when I was here. He said he sent her to tell me that they need to stay until 10. I told her that she doesn’t need to stay. She went back to sleep a few minutes later.
            On a separate note, but not really, why do some people in authority feel they need to have 100% control and lord it over people. No bending the rules! You must do as I say! They think they can tell people what to do, and they don’t say please or thank you. That bothers me. Maybe more than it should. Sometimes, it’s part of the culture. Honestly, I don’t like when cultures have that. Children speak when spoken to. That sort of thing. It makes people feel like they are entitled to their position, and makes other people worth less, a superiority complex. I don’t think that reflects who God is or how he created it. There is submission involved, but not like there is one person better than the other.


Anyways, I’m going to the principal’s dowry thing tomorrow. If I’m sitting near him on the way I will ask why it’s so important to stay up and get up so early to “study.” I will use some research of the importance of sleep to back me up. I will do this with gentleness and respect of course.


            I just took my sock off after stubbing my toe this morning. Looks like I bent the nail back enough to make it bleed. Didn’t think it was that bad. On another note, it has been a full last couple days. Yesterday I went to Mr. Maina’s dowry negotiation thing. We stuffed a matatu full of people along the way and drove about 45 min to a little restaurant/bar (although we originally left at 8:30 and didn’t arrive until about 11). Then there was a discussion in Swahili or Kikuyu or something else. Then the men and women split up and discussed more. Then got together again and had another quick discussion. Then we were back in the cars again and headed to the highlands where a bunch of Masai live. It was pretty cold up there. The landscape was beautiful. We got to the top and there were no more mountains around us, so I figured we were pretty high up. The initial meeting was just with the principal’s side of the family. After another 45 min of driving that finished on a dirt road, we arrived at his wife’s family’s home. They have been married for I’m guessing 10 yrs but did not go through the dowry process to begin with for some reason. The women went to the fence and started singing. This was the attempt to allow them to be let in. Then after a couple minutes the wife’s side of the family start to sing, as if to recognize that they are and they can come in. It’s a neat custom seeing this happen. I wonder what family has ever not let the other group in. The we all (about 40 of us) sat in this mud room with cardboard lined walls. They had chairs for everybody. There were introductions then they served the food. OH MY SWEETNESS! The plate was so full. At least a couple pounds of chapatti, mukimo, peas, carrots, cabbage, potato, rice, meat, and a mix of onions, tomato, garnish stuff. It was around 2:00 at this time, so I was starving. I thanked God for the food and asked him to not let me have any problems (if you know what I mean) before I got home. God delivered yet again. The food was so good. Then the main people from the families went to another room and negotiated the terms. After about an hour they came out singing. Apparently it was successful because the women were carrying crates of soda into the room singing as if it was the ark of the covenant. Everybody knows it’s tradition, so there was an air of laughter and fun. It was pretty fun to watch.
            Then today I got a call from Haron at 4:10am saying that we were going to Mulli Children’s Family (about 3-4 hrs drive). I knew I might be going but thought he was going to tell me last night. I was supposed to meet him at the center in Mbaruk at 5:30am. I gave myself 10 minutes to get there. At this time in the morning it is very much dark. I ran part of the way partially out of fear of getting my head chopped off with a machete and not wanting to be late. I had my flashlight so it wasn’t bad. Jogging by the cornfields is interesting in the dark, but some of them have begun to be harvested. I waited about 10 minutes and got a call from Haron saying they were running late and if I could meet them on the highway. So I started walking, another 10+ minutes. The sun was turning the sky grey at point. I got to the highway and waited until almost 6:30. It was ok cuz the sky and everything around, except the truck spewing out smoke, was beautiful. It’s really cool seeing the landscape change so dramatically. Half way through, we are driving through mountains that are carpeted with amazing green tea plants. Entire hills covered. There are banana trees, mud houses, people standing around on the side of the road. It’s pretty amazing. God made Kenya, and it was good. MCF, like many high schools, had a prayer day where families are invited to encourage the Form 4 (12the grade) students on their exams. These exams are pretty much the sole thing that will say if they are going to college and which one, and how much they will have to pay. If they do amazingly well, the government will pay for them. If not, well, the options are limited. Long stinkin day.
            And my week of waking up stupid early has come to an end.
Mr. Maina is not a bad guy. We just looking at teaching and youth very differently. I think I’m right though J

Monday, October 14, 2013

So much Guthiri!!!!!


            Bought a couple bootleg movies, Man of Steel and Star Trek. The students get Saturday evenings free, so I figure they could watch something other than High School Musical and the show Nikita. And the great part is that they only cost 50 shillings (55 cents)! I could handle the sound getting off timing a few times.

            Spoke at church today. Then just hung out on my doorstep with everybody with the radio inside turned up. Sat there until lunch. Ate rice and beans. The meals are not diverse at all! I’m surprised the students don’t revolt against everything. They complain to me once in a while about the food, lack of free time, always in class, nothing to do. And for the most part, all that is true. But they are very respectful. For example, yesterday I was walking through a bunch of weeds and got tons of stickers on my socks and shoes. When I got back I sat down and started pulling them off. Then three boys came around and started helping me. That’s pretty cool.
            A black and white bird flew into my window. I grabbed it with a bed sheet as it was trying to get away as it was trapped against the window and the bars. It relaxed when I grabbed it I have that calming affect :). Then I let it out the window. I saved a life.

            Woke up at 4:15 this morning cuz I’m “on duty” at the high school. That means I supervise the students. Even though I don’t really think they need it. Hecka dark! Stars shining bright. Pretty stinking cold. I had to do some running in place to not freeze. Students got up at 4:30. Too early. Then 5am for 15min of “devotions” although they’re half asleep. Then study til 6:30. Clean til 7. A cup of tea and a chunk of bread for breakfast. Assembly at 7:40. School starts. What a sucky way to start your morning. I read my Bible, wrote a bit, sat, walked around, listened to some Mumford and Sons. Not a horrible way to spend my morning. Then walked to the matatu then hit the bustling town, trying not to get hit by a car. Gonna be a long week. God is good. I’m happy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013



            Went for an exploratory run. Rain started coming down the last five minutes. And then it came down hard. Complete with thunder and lightning. A lot of thunder. The deep rumbles that last up to 10 seconds or more is amazing.
            I love my Grandma.
‘God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming "wise and prudent."’ –Oswald Chambers

I have my guilt and I have my shame
I did my best to shift the blame.
He had his party. He had his fun.
I am the brother of the prodigal son.

Doing good and working hard to earn my reward
I was not aware I was indeed my own Lord.
But day by day and night by night
I was drawn ever closer to the Light.

It was not me.
It was only He.
He was the One who called me by name.
He was the One who took away my shame.

As He drew near
It was a strange kind of fear.
My heart wanted to flee
But at the same time reached out to be free.

I was in awe of His majesty’s glory
And could do nothing but fall on my face and tell Him my story.
He said, “You’ve tried to make your own way,
But it is only my Son who could stand in the fray.”

“My Love for you is not something that can be earned,
Nor is it something that can be learned.
It is a gift from the great I Am
And only through the blood of the sacrificial Lamb.”

With head down low I cried out for this Love
That can only be sent from the Lord up above.
My good deeds and prideful thoughts were not enough.
For I needed the blood that was spilled by His Love.

“King, I’m sorry,” I said with a sorrowful heart.
“Be my all in all and may you never part!”
With a smile on His face, upon my head He set a crown
And around my shoulders he wrapped me with His gown.

Then He said with a breath,
“My child, you can start afresh.
For I have eaten your pride and your cold hearted chill
On that day upon calvary’s hill.”

“Now stand and breathe in my life to the full
And know that you have been made clean and whole.”
It was at that moment when a mighty wind came
And whispered in my ear a brand new name.

My body tingled with delight
To the point that I thought I’d set off and take flight.
But I did not move nor make a sound
As my feet stayed firmly upon the ground.

You see, the Reedemer was not quite done.
He had a path for me to run.
Spreading the Good News of that redeeming day;
The Lord was more than happy to stand in the fray.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


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       The guys had a pickup soccer game against some of the other high school boys and other guys from the community. A bunch of people came out and watched on the community soccer field. It was neat just chillin and watching the game and having kids out there (no parents there to supervise).            


        Lupui helped me wash my clothes yesterday. Several of them came to help but were called away to do something else. They kinda laughed when they saw me.
            I hate mosquitoes with a deep passion. I haven’t gotten good sleep in the last three nights cuz they keep buzzing and sucking my blood. I had a makeshift net using a bed sheet. But apparently that’s not working. I will buy a legit mosquito net when I go to town. I’m tired.
            Finished The Reason For God. Read it. My internet modem isn’t working. Did a nice workout that included running hills and a bit of rock lifting. Feels like my lungs have restrictions on them. Maybe if I’m running enough here I will enter in a half marathon and try to break my pr. Chomped down on a couple stones in my guthiri today. Thought I may have broken my tooth on the first one. They are still intact.


            It’s inevitable that money will come up in conversation when you’re talking and getting to know people. Things like where you live, how do you get around, and all that. It leads up to you having a house, owning a car, having a job, etc. I have never struggled financially fro a number of reasons. All the reasons boil down to God deciding to bless me in this way. When talking about money, possessions, and whatnot with the some of the people I am getting to know, I am careful about what I say. It’s so easy to say that I’m not rich. But in the grad scheme of the world, I am. And I have to be honest with myself about that fact. Trying to convince myself that I’m not rich so I don’t feel guilty or make other people feel bad (although I’m pretty sure they don’t) denies what God has given to me and his joy in doing so. As an American, I have ingrained in me that having wealth is better than being poor. But I truly don’t think this is truth at all. Neither is being poor better than being rich. I had no control of where I was born. It is through God’s decision that I was born in the Bay Area and my friend was born in a mud house in Kenya. Neither is better nor worse in and of itself. However, both can become evil and far from good. It depends on what you think the meaning of this life is. If you believe that (ready for this?) the meaning of life is to get to know God (which I do), then having more money than somebody else or less is no problem. I’m trying to figure out how I’m fleshing this thought out. God wants himself to be known to each and every person. If a person is born into poverty, then God will make himself known appropriately through that. If you are born into wealth, then God will make himself known through that. For example, I have more money than many of the people here. But with that money I am able to give it away or use it the right way. And in doing this I am able to get to know my God better. I feel his giving, generous heart in doing so. And am thankful for him giving me the opportunity to do so. It’s kinda like when you’re a kid and your dad gives you two dollars to put in that donation box for the charity. The money isn’t really yours. It’s your dad’s money. He just allows you to be a part of his giving. And in doing so you find joy (if you give happily) and your dad delights in having the appropriately placed joy. Now a person who is in poverty, they see God from a different angle than the wealthy man. The poor rely so heavily on his provision. When God provides (however that might be) when seemingly all is lost, those people thank God with every ounce of themselves. They find joy in him.  Now you can up with some “what about this.. statements. But I’m going to stop there for now. Except to say that I pray that I use my wealth to bring glory/honor/reverence/joy to God. I don’t want my possessions to be my center and security.

            Went to town again. Walking back to the office after lunch a boy named Job who used to go to Rohi and has been on the streets since the last time I was here came up to us. He asked for money for bread. Kamotho gave him enough for a bit of food. I’m trying to figure out when I/ a person is supposed to stop giving and let somebody suffer for his own decisions so that he can live and give his life instead of taking all the time. I suppose this is when wisdom takes over. I’d rather give him some work to do, then pay him. Kamotho knows this kid far better than me. I asked him about him, and he said there are times when he gives and times when he says no. He said Job will not figure this out until he finally gets arrested and hits bottom. All the organizations know who Job is from all the giving (financially, help) to him they have been doing.

            After a few days of no rain, the sky opened up with rumbles of thunder and lightning. It started coming down hard right when we (Brian, a new student from Rohi) were getting to the matatu. They we sat there for 45min waiting for it to get full. Fortunately the rain nearly stopped when we arrived at our stop and had to walk the 10 minutes to get to the school. And it wasn’t super muddy.

            Got a mosquito net and hung it up with tape. Gonna sleep well tonight.

            Best run I’ve had so far. Helped one of the workers do a bit of digging until I started getting blisters. That didn’t last too long. I thought my hands were a bit tougher than that. Went to teach computers but one was working. Issues with the power. It takes an awfully long time to make food when you only have one gas burner.
            Climbed an acacia tree. Got about 20 feet up and thought I’d better stop. I’m not terribly keen on heights. I got down and was walking through some tall grass and saw a couple kids about 30ft up. I giggled to myself.
            It’s 7:45pm and the power just went out. I have an awesome Black Diamond headlamp that I had to feel around for next to my bed. The students were still in class and you could hear them hooting and hollering. I went outside and it is sooooooo dark. With the corn fields… umm eerie. I gave a few of my candles and matches to a few of the teachers who stay here at the school. I will continue to read my book by candlelight for the next lil bit. Good book called The Last Sin Eater

Saturday, October 5, 2013



            There are so many misconceptions about pretty much everything under the sun. I think many people view Africa as a place full of poverty, AIDS, and lions. And those are certainly true, but only part of the truth, which ultimately is not true if that is ALL you think. It’s funny when some people I know think I’m a certain type of person because they have only known me for a period of time and in certain roles. And this is true for everybody. I have certainly had misconceptions about people as well.
            When it comes to the Gospel (the Good News, Christianity, saved by grace) I know for a fact that the majority of the world has a very large misconception of what the Gospel truly is. Much of this was spurned on by a Tim Keller sermon I was listening to last night. Here is a snippet of my misconception of Christianity. For the longest time I thought this God thing was about me, sort of. I kinda knew it wasn’t about me, but at the same time I was trying to be a good person, live right, and all that good stuff. By being a good person, I thought that I would earn favor with God. When a person on Oprah who was a drug addict then turned his life around and is now going to college (or whatever) I thought to myself, I have been doing what is right since the beginning and I don’t get this favor. What’s up with that God? As I began to grow in my relationship with God, this outlook began to change over time. The story of “the prodigal son” was a story that helped me to see things in a different perspective. To me the story was about the son who took his inheritance and wasted it away. He lived a “bad” life, but God’s mercy allowed him back in. I identified with the older son who stayed home and obeyed his Father and didn’t get the party thrown for him. It wasn’t until much later, and hearing this story many times that this story wasn’t only about the Father’s mercy to the bad son. But it was about the Father’s pleading with the “good” son to come in and celebrate.
            The Gospel in my mind was always about being “good.” But that couldn’t be further from the Truth. That is “religion.” Religion is about earning favor. When I do this or that, then I deserve the reward. If this is not pride, I don’t know what is. Tim Keller says this, “It’s not, ‘the good people who are in and the bad people who are out.’ It’s ‘the Humble people who are in and the proud who are out.’” This turns all human conceptions on its head. We want so bad to earn favor. But God is not a God who can be bought and coerced. It is his for the choosing. It is through a humble repentance that problems can be solved.
            The misconception that Jesus addresses the “bad” prostitutes, cheaters, and drunkards only is a common one. Jesus addresses the moral, upright, and nice people just as much if not more than the “prodigal son.”
            It is in this Gospel, as I become more and more familiar with it, that I become more and more in love with my God. And more and more thankful because it is nothing that I have done in myself. It is through the humility of Jesus that I can say this. What a beautiful reality.
            There is so much more than this. But I believe I will stop now. If you want to listen to Tim Keller’s sermon, youtube “Tim Keller The Sin Against the Holy Spirit.” Journey on friends.


            I wonder if my hair will ever grow back. It’s been nearly a year since it started falling out. Here are some benefits to not having any hair: don’t have to buy shampoo, wake up and not have morning hair, save money and time on haircuts, you can drive with your windows down and not have to look in the mirror to make sure your hair is set properly, don’t get eyelashes in your eyes (cuz you have none), good conversation starter,  don’t have to shave or trim anything, don’t have to worry about getting hair in your mouth and food. Downsides to having no hair: when you do get hair in your mouth or food you know it’s not yours (gross), you have to wear sunblock or a hat all the time when outside, have to wear a sweat headband when working out cuz sweat gets in your eyes from lack of eyebrows, you look even more pale than you already are. Things that are funny from having no hair: people feel they can just touch your head whenever they want, kids comment on how you look like Voldermort, people assume you’re a swimmer, when you look in the mirror you sometimes think how you need to watch the movie Powder again.

            People talk about first world problems, and they are usually true. Here are a few to add to the list that may continue throughout the next couple months. Scenario 1: The hot tub isn’t warm enough vs. the boy down by the river just got bit by a hippo (true story). Scenario 2: I don’t want peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a banana cookie, and juice again vs this is the 16th day in a row of eating guthiri (beans and corn stew stuff) for lunch and dinner and biting down on stones (running joke that is fairly accurate). Scenario 3: I don’t want to go to school anymore vs I can’t go to school for a while cuz my dad broke his leg and can’t work, and I have to get a job to help feed my five younger brothers and sisters (true story of a worker here at the school named Jefferson). Scenario 4: “Mom! I don’t want to wake up early to walk 6 minutes to school! Give me a ride!” vs. walking to school along the highway 30 min in the rain with no umbrella.

            Most evenings I look out west and am completely dumbfounded by the sheer beauty of the sunset. I don’ think in all history there has been an exact same looking sight. Tonight it looked like a painter took his paintbrush and left the strokes in the sky. The clouds, the silhouette of the trees, the colors. I can’t describe. It was so subtle, and at the same time brilliant. Just before I went in the clouds turned to look like a silhouette of an island in the distance with a couple boats out in the water. You might think I’m ridiculous at this point, but I just wish that you were here to see it for yourself.

            I knew Kamotho, Harun, and the principal were supposed to come over today and discuss some stuff. But this was different. Kamotho, Principal Maina, and his wife and 1 yr old son came in. Kamotho brought sweet potatoes to cook, and said to make tea. Kamotho helped. I only have one burner off a gas tank that took some coaxing to get working. I really had no idea why they were here… and in the house. After a little bit another person came over. Then a couple more. Then another. Then like three more. I felt like the Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit when all the dwarves kept coming in and he didn’t know why, but they wanted to eat. After a while of some logistical discussion in Swahili and Kikuyu, somebody else came in. With no place for her to sit I gave my seat to her and left to hang out with the boys outside who had just finished doing laundry, which was I was planning to do before I was bombarded. I still don’t know what the whole thing was about. I will find out soon.
            Because it’s Saturday, the students have free time after 2pm. Some of them sit in front of the stereo and blast it to the maximum and sit there and listen to American and Kenyan R&B and rap. Sometimes they dance. Sometimes just sit and veg as if they’re high for hours at a time. Most of the students turn on the small tv and watch some burned copy of a movie or show. Tonight it was Stomp the Yard, High School Musical (until they realized it was in French and subtitled French), Camp Rock, and Camp Rock 2. I didn’t know that was how Demi Lavato got famous. I got to the last movie and couldn’r stay any longer. It was too much for me. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oooh Da Lally!


            Well today was better than yesterday. I ate my peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast. The bananas are really good here. Typed up a thing for Nakuru Children’s Trust, that’s the organization that came out of the whole Rohi thing. Read and did some other stuff. Listening to Phil Collins “Sussudio.” What does that even mean? Anyways, ended up “teaching” the Form 2 guys some computer stuff. I was surprised to see how little they know about making a Word document. There’s a Rohi graduate in college now who is really good at typing and all that stuff, and I thought that these guys would sorta follow suit. Not so much. I think just showing them the basics will be just fine. The Form 1students actually get tested on stuff from the textbook, which there is only one of, and I have it. Makes it a bit difficult for them to learn.
            Watched them play soccer and talked with them a bunch. They are full of questions. It’s pretty great. I’m getting to the point when I could pick on them a bit and everybody laughs. They’re teaching me some Swahili. I’m a really slow learner. As I try to recall what they just taught me, I can’t think of anything. I’m lame.

            Went to town. 10 min walk next to corn fields, over train tracks, on a path next to mud houses. Jumped into a mutatu, a public transportation van, and waited 30 min for it to fill up. The drive from Mbaruk to Nakuru is about 30 min. But when we stop periodically to drop people off and pick people up, the time adds up. It’s quite humorous when we have so many people packed in that the “conductor” (the guy who opens the door, collects money, and says to the driver when to stop) has to straddle a woman cuz there’s no room to sit. Once we get to town at the “stage” chaos occurs. At least it’s chaos to the uninitiated. Over 100 matatus crammed into a dirt parking lot going every which way with people walking around trying to sell you everything from peanuts to large knives. Then I had to chase down the conductor for my change he owed me (the dude tried getting away without paying me!) HA! He didn’t get away with it. And he knew it too. Then from there it’s about another 10min walk through town to the office where I met with Kamotho, Harun, and Stephen. I helped with some stuff in the office and listened to a conversation, partially in English, partially in Swahili. Two graduates had their house broken into and their clothes, some important papers, and a dvd player were stolen. I thought it was kinda serious, but Kamotho has a different take on things. The whole thing was a bit humorous. Kamotho looks and deals with things from a non-worldly perspective, which is a very good thing. He ended up giving/loaning them some essential things. The interaction between Kamotho and Stephen with these guys and other students is refreshing (and a bit confusing). But Kamotho, along with Stephen and Harun, are so respected by these students. One former student bought a bike with loan money. He is now paying back 100 shillings ($1.11) a day. He’s using the bike as a botabota to give people rides for business.
            Went to lunch and had a beef stew/soup and chapati. That didn’t settle too well.
So after a day at the office I went back to the matatus, found the one that had a sign on top headed for Mbaruk and hopped in. Sat there for 25 min then got on the road. Then we stopped randomly to drop something off. Then stopped for gas. It was at this point that I thanked God for that bathroom at the office. Otherwise… well, it wouldn’t have been good.
            God is good.


            Mr Maina, the principal, took me up the hill/cliff/mountain behind the school. There’s a tiny trail that goes to the top through the trees/forest. I kept on thinking he’s leading me up here to kill me with a machete he’s got hidden in the bushes. Once we got to the top, the view was absolutely stunning. Beautiful. Just one clue that there is indeed a God. Mr. Maina continues to lead me through the corn fields, and I was thinking, “Hopefully my years of training has paid off to survive this.” A couple school girls saw us and they went running and laughing. Then as we got deeper, we saw three ladies bent over weeding. One lady had no shoes, and you could tell her feet were used to this type of work. Turns out Mr. Maina did’t want to kill me. He just wanted to show me some of the property.
            Mr. Francis, the owner of the school who is letting me stay in his house came by. He brought some groceries, cooking supplies (pots, utensils, a gas tank with a single stove on top), and other stuff. He really is a giving, generous man. I guess I won’t be doing this camping thing that I’m doing in this upstairs room anymore.
            I gave the talk for “Christian Union” tonight. The guys plan everything out. I love listening to them sing. It fills that tin sided room so beautifully. Where they are in their relationship to God, I don’t know, but their song is soothing to my soul.
            I’ve been reading the encouraging notes that were given to me. Just one every once in a while, so they will last. I am thankful for all those who wrote one. I’m thankful for those who didn’t write one too.