I'm so glad you found us! We love to share our story of what the Lord is doing in and through our ministry in Kenya. If you are a reader, please click the link on the right-hand side and "Follow Along!" And stop back by anytime! Karibu sana!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friends in Ministry - Joshua in Africa

I love this place! And I love the people God places in my life in this place. 
Some amazing people, doing some amazing things. 

This week I want to introduce you to some of my friends (new and old) and highlight the ministry they are doing here in Kenya.

I am starting with a new one. Joshua Curtis. Actually, he just gave us a shout out on his blog, so I thought it only fair to shoot back. Also, he is new and just beginning his on-the-ground blog, so this way, you can get in on the beginning of his "life in Africa" experience, hopefully shedding light on typical life in Kenya. 

Joshua is a long short-term missionary who just arrived here last week. He has come to assist my friends, Jerry & Deborah with Days of Elisha Ministries (more of them later this week) and to drill a well in a place in desperate need of water.

Thanks for coming to see our babies, Joshua! And thanks for sharing our ministry with your readers. I know you will have an amazing time here and can't wait to see what God does through you. (And by the time you leave, Julia will be your friend.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hanging Out

A follow-up to my favorite Flip diapers....

We currently have six babies (and one staff baby) who are in diapers. That's a LOT of diapers, and a lot of work that must be done.

I said I would not buy a dryer here in Kenya, but I may have to eat my words. If the sun is not bright and shiny one day, the nappies do not dry...and we are still in the warm, dry season. When our cold, rainy season hits in July-August, we will have issues. Yikes! And we should have more babies by then, too! 

So, next time you do laundry, you can think of our girls and be happy you don't have to wash so many cloth diapers by hand each day! They work HARD and we are so blessed to have them!

Daisy, on the other hand, does not work so hard.

Happy Birthday, Jeremiah!

Jeremiah celebrated his first year of life yesterday!! And what a life he has to celebrate! His first few months were fraught with abandonment and desperation, but now he has been met with acceptance and unconditional love!
  He doesn't look so happy in this picture. He didn't care for the hat.

And to add to his special day, he started walking!! His first steps were actually taken the day before; two and three steps. But what a difference a day makes! He was walking all over the place and loving every minute of it! We don't know if he was more excited about his new accomplishment or the excited attention he was receiving as a result.  
We love you, Jeremiah! (aka Meremiah, Miah-Miah, na Baba) You a very special boy and you make us smile each time you smile! We love to hear your loud, giggly scream when you are playing with your sisters. 

You are our first big boy at Haven of Hope and we so blessed that you joined us. We will remember you always...as the serious little man who grew into a joyous little boy who shares that joy with all of your family. It will be such an exciting day when you are able to share it with your forever family!  

Jeremiah, you were given your special name because we believe in the Lord's promise for you...that He knows the plans He has for you; plans that will prosper you, plans that offer you a hope and future! (Jeremiah 29:11) I pray you always remember that...that you DO have a Hope and future in Jesus Christ! I can't wait to see the strong man that you will go to be.  God's plans for you are GREAT! 

We love you, little man!
Mama Trena and all of your HOH family (and your Auntie Jackie in America)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Favorite - Flips!

I LOVE our new Flip cloth diapering system!!

Thanks to Wes and Kailyn Lowe, we got a complete starter set of Flip diapers for all our babies! These are amazing! With a house full of babies (all in diapers), using cloth diapers is quite an ordeal. Needless to say, disposables are definitely not an option here! 

Let me tell you about the Kenyan way of diapering. I know, if there are any men who read this blog, you have just tuned out and well on your way to another site.  But...seriously, this is a GREAT thing for us and I just HAVE to share!
The "diaper" is more like a kitchen towel. No, it is exactly like a kitchen towel.  These particular ones are one and two months old.  You can see how easily they wear out, requiring us to purchase new ones each month. (By the way, we call them "nappies.")

Over the nappy, we use tie pants. I have yet to find any plastic pants here that come close to working. These spoil (oh, look! I'm using Kenyan terminology!), or tear, VERY quickly. The one on the left is less than two weeks old, the one on the right has lasted one month.

The nappy is folded and then wrapped and tucked. Obviously, bulky, not at all form-fitting, and definitely LEAKS!

The tie pants are tucked behind, then wrapped and tied in the front. I had to work long and hard, along with a few helpful volunteers (like Terry!!) to train our girls to tuck the cloth nappy UNDER the plastic! It seems logical to me, but proved to be quite a chore to convince the staff that the purpose of the plastic is to be a barrier between the nappy and the clothes! I cannot tell you how many times I had to explain that the cloth part gets wet, soaks through, and goes onto the clothes!
 Also, keep in mind that we (or "they," I should say) wash them by hand and hang them on the line to dry. Diapering is a major deal in a baby house!

So...when I was home in December I began researching cloth diapers.  Thanks to so many people who offered advise, I finally decided on Flip diapers.  Thanks, also to Kailyn Lowe who did a LOT of research as well!!  Then, an added blessing: Kailyn and her husband, Wes, offered to buy us a complete starter set of Flip diapers!  
This has been one of the BEST things that has entered our house! It is a HUGE time saver, money saver, energy saver, and clothes saver! Our staff really appreciates them.  And although our babies cannot express themselves in such ways, I am SURE they also love them.  How could they not?!  They seem SO much more comfortable than the Kenyan nappies they had been using.

One more note: Due to the rainy season coming up, we will have a hard time getting laundry done and dried in enough time to reuse.  We would love to purchase a few more sets for that reason, as well as to have enough when we add our next babies.  If you would like to donate towards that, please follow the link at the top of this page.  

I know I just posted about another need yesterday, Elizabeth's therapy. I do not want to always be asking for monetary support, but these are two of our current needs that I want people to be aware of.  That is what it takes....all of us working together to help these little ones who truly depend on us to meet their needs.
Thanks to all of you who help make this possible!  And, thanks to Flip Diapers and Cotton Babies!! We LOVE your product!  (Sorry, I'm not one of those cool bloggers who know how to connect with products and give fun, great give-aways!  But you can go there and find out about them yourself.)


Elizabeth Needs Your Help

Elizabeth has been invited to attend Heshmia full time for additional therapy and a full day of developmental instruction. This would be a GREAT opportunity for her! However, there are a number of costs, which include transport to and from (we live way "out") and additional personnel to go with her. Please consider sponsoring Elizabeth's therapy. The total cost for all of her needs is $75 per month. 

If you are interested, please go to the "Donate" page of our HCO website (http://www.hischerishedones.org/donations) and be a part of making a difference in this little girl's life!!

Elizabeth has made HUGE progress in the past few months, and most specifically in the past month. We would love to provide her with the opportunity to continue that. Not only has Elizabeth learned to sit unassisted, she is gaining control and able to sit for longer periods of time. I cannot tell you what this does for the little girl's motivation! She loves the cheers she gets when we watch her sit and play, and she loves the independence of being able to sit like the other older babies.  

  (This was taken just after she pulled herself up from a face-down position after falling forward. Not only can she sit, she can get herself into the sitting position.)

Our new caretaker, Anne, who was hired as a temporary/substitute staff to cover while the other girls take leave, loves to try new things with Elizabeth. I think it was a good thing that she came in later and did not even know or realize the limitation Elizabeth came with. She has even taught Lizzy how to hold herself up to look out the window and watch the goats from her bed!

Thanks for your continued prayers for little Lizzy! Let me know if you would like to help with her therapy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


The Kiddie Table

Well, I am back. I took a short little hiatus while my mom was here. We had a lovely time, by the way, and I am sure I will post more pictures of that in the next week. 

I am back to "work," which means more new, strange (American) things for my girls to do! One thing I have talked about with them since I came back from America and realized how BIG our babies are, is letting the big babies learn to feed themselves. Julia is with me most of the time and is really good at eating finger foods.  To them, (the staff in our house and most Kenyans) allowing a "baby" to feed themselves is a foreign and strange concept. They spoon feed their children (or use their own fingers) until they are a few years old, giving them HUGE bites and keeping the mouth full!! Opposite to most Americans who will give small bites and make sure the child finishes one bite before giving the next.  

I have been talking to them about the importance of making foods that they can use their little fingers to pick up. I have tried explaining the basic developmental benefits of self feeding, like fine motor skills and developing independence.  Well, as with any other thing I want done here, it will not be done until I do it myself (over and over and over again). It takes a lot of work to get them to buy in to a new idea. 

In this particular venture, there are several "crazy" things I am asking them to do:
- Have the little sit at the kid table
- Let the kids use their own fingers
- Eat peas - I had cooked them earlier and they were no longer hot, which is apparently "CRAZY!"
- Eat grilled cheese sandwiches ("Sandwiches are not for babies." and "Babies do not eat cheese. It is not good for them.") 
- Use lessos (pieces of cloth) to tie them in the chair so they don't fall out or walk off (This was not such a crazy idea to them. It is something they do in other situations. But may be crazy to other people.)
 Here is the result...  
- The kids LOVED it! They ate the food and they loved sitting in the chairs.
- Jeremiah ate TWO sandwiches! The girls were shocked. 
- They could feed themselves when they were ready for another bite. They were not having to wait for an auntie to feed another, and they were not rushed.
- "It took too long."  (That was one of the girls' responses.)
- "It was good." (The only other response I got.)
I can't wait to try it again! I put sliced turkey, cheese and carrots (yes, cooked carrots) on the menu for Friday. When I told the girls that we don't cook the turkey and cheese, I got some very bad looks. Linet said she would cook Tracy some warm food, and since the others are "mine," they will feed them what I say. They are convinced that feeding a baby cold food will make them sick, give them a cold.  Keep in mind, we are only feeding this table food ones who are all over a year old!  

Oh, Lordy! I LOVE these girls and I love my job, but sometimes I just have to laugh at the challenges of it all. I CAN'T WAIT for some of you - you know who you are ;-) - to come and share in this joy with me!!  And anyone else interested in coming, we would LOVE to have you!!  

Now, go eat some cold finger food, maybe even a dangerous sandwich...and enjoy! 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Court Report

It has been a busy time since my mom has been here. Obviously. I haven't even had time to write about it!
Yesterday, we started our day off bright and early, leaving the house at 6:30am.  Well, it was early...but not so bright yet.  We made it to Kibera (down the dreadfully horrible Ngong Road in morning traffic) in just less than an hour and a half!

Our court is in Kibera. My mom was a little amuzed at where we drove to get to this official courthouse.  She wasn't really expecting this.....
I should have known to not be worried or stressed about being on time....TIK!! (This is Kenya) Once there, our assigned police officer told us that opening had been delayed until 9:00.  No big deal, just one hour. Seriously, that is NOT bad. So, we just hung out for a little while. 
Julia thought she was such a big girl to sit down just like Mama.

Once the courts opened we were fast enough to get in and get a seat. Good thing, we were here for the long-haul! Our little girls did a great job. Well, kind of. Julia was talking too loud so I took her out and got her to sleep.  Kate went to sleep fairly quickly, but woke up in a very talkative mood. She had to be in court to appear before the judge, so we tried to keep her quiet so we were not ejected from the courtroom. After sitting for just a few hours listening to some interesting cases ranging from assualt, to theft to murder, Kate's parents were finally called up. Just two minutes too late. Literally. TWO MINUTES!! Irene had JUST walked out with Kate! 

The judge was not in a mood to wait so she put the case back down, going to the bottom of the pile. The bottom of the pile. The last case. The case was not called again until 4:00pm.  

I had an appointment with our landlord at 4pm so Mom and Julia and I left earlier in the afternoon.  Poor Irene and Kate (and all the people involved in the case) had to wait there ALL DAY LONG.  

The synopsis of the hearing: The wife to Kate's father testified against him! That is a BIG deal.  She stated that Kate's mother brought the baby to the house. She took the baby, called the father who came home from work, took the baby away and came back at 10pm without the baby and in a very "mad mood."  The wife never asked where he took the baby. 

Kate's mother testified that she approached the father on numerous occassions to assist with money for her care. When Kate got sick, she could not afford to take her to the doctor so she took her to the father. The father's wife agreed to help and took the baby. Kate's mom could not find her when she went back for her.

The father still testifies that he is not the father and has never seen the baby before. 

The judge's action?? Come back for a second hearing on May 28th. Nothing decided, nothing ruled, nothing even mentioned.  Simply, "return for second hearing on 28th May, 2010." 

So...Kate is with us for at least another three months!!  And we are SO happy to keep her!  In this case, we are caring for an "abandoned" baby who really was not abandoned. It is confusing, but we are actually caring for a baby whose mother really could not afford to care for her, and is now caught up in a court case that could take a long time to play out. Please pray for the Lord's will to be done; that Kate's mother would be using this time to efficiently prepare to take her back and care for her; and that Kate would know how much she is truly loved by God and the people in her life.  

Sorry for the long post.  I know there are a few people out there who have been dying to know the whole story so I wanted to share.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nana's Here!

Yea!!  My mom arrived safely at about 9:30 last night.  And all six crates made it, too.  

We came home and she finally met little Julia. Julia stays in my room, but the rest of the babies would have to wait until morning.  Mom was a little hesitant  to wake her in the middle of the night, not knowing how she would react to her.  But, here is how it played out.....
We're looking forward to a great two weeks!
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