S: Joska, Kenya November 18-27, 2010 410 Bridge
BC: the End!
FC: Joska, Kenya November 18-27, 2010 410 Bridge | Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
1: Leaving for Kenya! | Our team! | Atlanta to Amsterdam, then on to Kenya! | Tommy | Meredith, Molly, and Katherine | Mark
2: During our layover in Amsterdam, we opened our first letter from Erin. In her words: "Get excited...Kenya awaits!"
3: We made it to Kenya! We were exhausted by the time we landed in Nairobi. We could barely keep our eyes open for the bus ride to Heart Lodge!
4: The HEART Lodge
5: we were all very impressed with the Heart Lodge. Great rooms, and great food!
6: Saturday, November 20, 2010 Our first day! We started the day waking up in the beautiful Heart Lodge. After coming in so late last night, it was startling waking up to a rooster crowing at 5:30 a.m., followed shortly by what we think were a couple of geese. But this allowed us to open the windows to a gorgeous sunrise and lush, landscaped courtyard, including several heart-shaped topiaries. We then got together with the group to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast and a great first devotional to start our day. We traveled to Joska, which is about 40 km east of Nairobi, and made our first visit to Ngalalya School. We were all amazed by the incredibly warm welcome we received from the students, teachers, administrators, community leadership council members, and parents!! It took a a while to realize they made such a special trip for us...on a SATURDAY! We got a tour of the school and were entertained with song and dance by the various age levels. May have found a few possible recruits for the Daraja Children's Choir. After the program we played different games with the kids - frisbee, parachute, volleyball, and freestyle football (soccer and American) and kickball. We had the pleasure of serving the children and their parents an afternoon snack of cookies, candy, and lemonade. After stopping for a quick boxed lunch, we headed out to the bore hole site to see the progress of the water project. They said it's taken about three years, but it looks like the water should be flowing in the next couple months. Everyone we spoke with is so excited - as our new friend Thewell said, "Water is Life"! We then had a special, unplanned treat. The water project is just down a small hill from the BigStuf House, an orphanage that currently is home to 31 boys and 11 girls. BigStuf is pretty much where 410 Bridge got it's start, so it was such a gift to be able to meet the children and their leader, Moses. Meredith even pet their cow!! We headed back home for (thankfully) hot showers, another delicious meal, and even got to see a new bride and groom on their honeymoon. We had a great debrief sharing what we all took away from our first day. Such a blessing, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us for the rest of our week!! Blessings and thanks to all of you for your support and prayers!
7: Our first morning in Kenya! We can't wait to get to Joska!
8: Ngalalya Primary School Pre-K thru 8
9: What does school look like in Joska?
10: a morning of | singing, dancing, and...
12: Before leaving the school the first day, we fed the kids a snack of cookies and lemonade.
13: The Water Project After leaving the school, we stopped to see the work being done on the water project. It has been in progress for 3 years and is close to being finished. | The bore hole | Platforms for the tanks | Filtration system | Water from the borehole before filtration | Holding tank
14: THE BIGSTUF HOUSE Home to over 40 orphans
15: What a blessing it was to stop at the Bigstuf house! They welcomed us with an amazing song and dance presentation and tour around the gounds.
16: The Road to Joska | coke is everywhere!
17: The Road to Joska | outdoor markets lined the streets
18: Sunday, November 21, 2020 O Happy Day! Today was our day to experience worship in a Kenyan church in the Joska community. We began the day with a wonderful breakfast and devotion centered around the importance of sacrificial service. Focused on serving others we piled onto our bus to head to church with a group sing-a-long of "O Happy Day." Filled with anticipation, we arrived at the Redeemer Church in Joska. We exited the bus to the sweet sounds of singing and clapping. The sense of joy that filled the air was swirling all around us. As we made our way into the church to begin the worship service, Kristen (our resident nurse) was summoned by our team leaders to a situation taking place in front of the facility. Rushing into a crowd of concerned parents, she immediately began tending to a little girl named Michelle who had suffered a severe burn on her arm. She had put her hand into a pot of boiling bean soup. Although we did not have adequate supplies to treat the burn, Kristen cleaned the area and bandaged what she could. The little girl was so brave and did not cry at all. After the situation had calmed down, we proceeded into church. We were overwhelmingly blessed by the worship experience at Redeemer Church. The joy and passion for worshiping God overflowed from them in singing and dancing. The Church was nothing more than some wooden posts and metal walls, but the Spirit of Lord was in that place and it was filled to the brim with beautiful praises from His people. Andrew and Stephen preached an amazing sermon through the help of a very talented interpreter. Our team presented our best rendition of the song, "O Happy Day" (with hand motions and dancing) to the congregation during the service. It was so much fun to teach them one of our songs and then to hear them singing it throughout the day long after the church service was over! After church, we checked on Michelle again, and it was evident that she needed to be taken to a clinic to be seen. Her arm was swelling badly. After some deliberation, we convinced her mother to take her. There was some hesitation from the mother to take Michelle to the clinic because she did not have any money to pay for it. We talked to our 410 bridge leaders and decided she needed to go the clinic and we would pay for it. The mother accepted our offer and we loaded the bus and headed for the clinic. There, they were able to adequately debrid her burn and put ointment on it. They also gave her some pain medicine and antibiotics. The clinic visit was a humbling experience because even though Michelle was able to be treated, the conditions in the clinic were minimal at best. The supplies were clearly outdated and the environment was not very clean. After dropping Michelle and her mom off at home, we stopped to eat lunch and then headed back to the church. We divided into three teams to begin our "door to door evangelism." Each team consisted of members of the local church, an interpreter, and three of our mission team members. All of the teams encountered unique and life-giving situations. The experiences ranged from: making home visits with community members including a woman who is HIV positive, an abundance of hospitality from single mothers, and interactions with residents of the local slum. The fruits of this labor were overwhelming. As we ventured beyond our comfort zones, we saw the power of the Lord at work. Several people in the community committed to attending church and one person accepted the love of Christ for the first time. Leaving the church after an emotional day of worship, heartfelt conversations, and experiencing the Holy Spirit in action, we are ready for some rest. Despite our exhaustion, we know that God has worked in and through us to accomplish His plans and we were are filled with anticipation about what tomorrow has in store. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!
20: unspeakable JOY! | our kenyan brothers and sisters know the true joy found in Christ!
21: Stephen and Andrew enjoyed the opportunity to preach a "tag-team" sermon with a great translator, James! | What a wonderful worship experience...
22: the pastors and their wives Pastor Francis and Pastor Ben | Andrew and Nelly
23: Ester and her children - one of the families from the home visits | Rebekah with Kristine and Diane
24: An afternoon of fellowship | Stephen and Boyu | 3 Generations!
25: Michelle | The clinic | all bandaged up! | 4 days after the burn
28: Monday, November 22, 2010 Service Day #1 Today was our first planned service project day. Though we were first told we were going to be doing a water project, it was later decided that we were going to be building desks. Once we got the tour of the school, we realized how desperate this need is. There are 215 children attending Ngalalya primary school, which is nursery through class 8. Only one or two of the eight classrooms had any desks, and those were all decrepit at best, and dangerous for the children. When we arrived this morning, some of the fathers of the students were already hard at work, as well as a boy named Bennett. We were so excited to learn that he just finished his national exam (which they take at the end of their 8th year of school), but was eagerly helping his fellow students, even though he would not reap the benefits of the new desks. After a little time figuring out what we needed to do, we finally found our rhythm and everyone fit right into their different jobs, whether it be sawing, hammering, removing nails, or playing with the children as they took their breaks from their testing. It was so great to see how excited they were to help us hold boards while we sawed planks, or help mark the measurements for the different pieces. So wonderful to see the community come together so passionately. We hated to stop working, but around 2pm we were asked to stop. We did get to meet the teachers, who are doing amazing work with such limited resources. Then it was off for our home visits. We split into our same groups as yesterday and each visited a different home. Two of the homes were of single mothers, and the third had a father who evidently spends much of his time in the pub next door. We did household chores such as washing clothes and cleaning floors. Andrew, Kristen, and Molly even got to pet the family donkey. One of the families has a son named Joseph. He miraculously survived being burned when a gas tank exploded next to him while he was sleeping. He was in hospital six months, and his bill was 36,000 shillings (or about $467 US). People here only make about 100-300 shillings per day, when they can get work. So this family has a heavy debt burden. Joseph still needs more surgery, but the family cannot afford it. We are hoping to have a little influence to help young Joseph get the help he needs. He has so much potential, is so bright, and has such a desire to return to his normal life. Please keep him and his families in your prayers. Tomorrow is more of the same - desk building and revisiting the same homes today...and making chipati, a local delicacy. As always, thank you all for your continued prayers and support!! Much love!!
29: The new classrooms for grades 5-8! | The prototype desk | Before using the newly purchased wood, we pulled nails out of old wood that could be re-used for the new desks.
30: under construction!
32: The kids came and helped us on their breaks from testing!
33: Before we left the school for the day, we circled up to pray. We just happened to make the shape of Africa instead of a circle! | Rebekah and Mary | Kristen and Elizabeth
34: Rebekah, Stephen and Meredith at their home visit!
35: Chores included doing laundry by hand, sweeping and mopping the floors. | The Family: Rebecca, holding James (aka Junior), Joseph, and Kristine with Meredith. Sister Dorcas not pictured.
36: Andrew, Kristen and Molly's home visit | What an experience to learn to wash laundry by hand!
37: Pauline was proud to show us her donkey that she uses to get water every morning. It costs her 8,000 ksh which is about $120.
39: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Service Day #2 - Chapati Day Today we returned to Joska for our second day of desk building. Yesterday we were able to complete 12 desks before we left, with the Kenyan parents continuing to work after we left to complete another 12 desks. They had already completed some more this morning before we arrived! It was so exciting to see a classroom full of 21 desks this morning! We resumed our desk making roles with the ladies beginning the process of sanding the desks. By the end of the day, 38 desks were complete - perfect to fill 4 new classrooms, as each desk seats 3 students. After a short break with the kids, we toured a pig and cow farm - and yes, they smell in Kenya just like at home. We then took a walk through a produce farm to the Athi River (the longest river in Kenya). It is used for irrigation of the farms along the river. Although, we didn't see any, it is also home to hippos! They climb the riverbank at night to feed on the produce in the fields. This was a very enjoyable time with the Joska community leadership. After lunch, we separated into our home visit teams from yesterday and returned to our community homes. We brought along with us supplies to make chapati: flour, oil, salt, and sugar, as well as coal for the fire. We brought enough supplies for the dish as well as extra to leave with the families. We then learned the process for this traditional treat which includes several rounds of rolling and kneading and then frying on a cast iron griddle. The Kenyan women then turn and flip the cooking chapati with their hands until golden brown on both sides. Us Americans with soft hands could barely do one each! The whole process takes about an hour and for most Kenyans this is a special treat. It was a great time of fellowship in the kitchen and really allowed us time to connect with the families and pray for them before we left. We were all blessed by their amazing hospitality. Tomorrow is our last day in the community so please lift us up in prayer as we prepare to say good-bye! The week is over too quickly, and we feel we have only just begun. We are trying to remember that we are only a small piece of God's plan for Joska and that plan is so much bigger than us!
40: At the Joska market to buy Chapati supplies.
41: A morning of sanding! | Edgar & Jayne
42: More play time with the kids! | Rebekah and Sarah
43: On the bus! | on the farm! | Stephen with Joey (in the hat) and John (white shirt)
45: The Athi River - the longest river in Kenya | Rehema | Edgar, Mark, and Alfonce
46: on our way back from the river farm, we passed some kids walking home with their lunch of maize and beans
47: Joseph Wambua Kiloti | Joseph, a 14 year old boy at Ngalalya, was burned in a gas tank explosion about a year ago. He spent 6 months in the hospital, but is not able to use his right leg due to the scar tissue. However, he continues to have the most positive attitude and hops around with the biggest smile! He touched our lives in a way that we will never be the same.
48: How to make Chapati: Flour sugar Salt water oil mix together, roll it out, roll it up, roll it out again, cook on cast iron skillet. | Chapati
50: More Chapati and visiting!
52: just playin' around | playing ball with Joseph and test driving the donkey!
53: The boys taught Jayne a football victory dance! | dinner and debrief
54: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 Saying goodbye... This post will be very brief, as we have had a very long and emotional day. This morning we returned to the school and spent time playing with the children. We enjoyed playing volleyball, soccer, parachute, and other games. The girls even braided some of our hair! The children, parents and community members prepared a closing ceremony for us with singing and dancing. They also presented each of us with a handmade necklace as a thank you for the completion of the desks. It was very hard to say goodbye to the children that we had spent the week building relationships with. They are all so special to us! After leaving the school, we went with the community leadership council to a mountain that was home to a catholic chapel. There we enjoyed a home-cooked, traditional kenyan meal together. The view was extraordinary. Following our meal, we prayed over the council and the community of Joska. This was our opportunity to say goodbye and to encourage the leadership that we had been blessed to work with throughout the week. We are leaving bright and early in the morning for Naivasha, where we will enjoy a boat ride tour and then on to Nakuru for a safari. This may be our last post until we return home, as we are not sure if the safari lodge will have internet. We appreciate all of your prayers this week and we are looking forward to sharing our experiences with you all when we return home! Blessings from Kenya!
56: Finished desks!
57: We got to spend the whole morning playing with the kids! The girls loved playing with our hair!
58: Kong, Kong, Kong!
59: Before leaving the school, there was a ceremony of singing, dancing, and presentations from the kids and community members. Each of us was given a necklace handmade by some of the wives of the community council members.
60: The Faces of Ngalalya
62: We hiked up to the Komarock Shrine at the edge of Joska for a traditional Kenyan meal prepared by Reheme
64: Enjoying lunch with a view!
65: Our Team with the Joska Community Leadership Council | Tommy (Team Leader), Alfonce, Patrick (Our Driver), James, Molly, Paster Ben, Mark, Rehema, Pastor Sarah, Stephen, Meredith, Jayne (Trip Leader), Katherine, Manuel (Chairman), Andrew, Edgar (Joska Leader), Kristen, Rebekah
66: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2010 We saw Lions!!!! We had a great safari day today! We got to see so many animals. We spent some time on a boat, walking through the plains and then driving around lake Nakuru. We are sad that tonight is our last full night in Kenya. It has been a great week and we are looking forward to seeing everyone at home soon!
67: Chai and Coffee Fields Near Nairobi
69: From Nairobi to Naivasha... The Great Rift Valley (extends from Kenya to Egypt) The Smallest Church in Kenya (although its really not) God's Beautiful Creation!
70: Boat Tour on Lake Naivasha We saw hippos, birds that run on water, eagles, waterbuck, and pelicans.
72: Walking tour through the plains of Lake Naivasha. We saw many zebras, giraffe, impalas, waterbuck, and wildebeests.
74: Andrew and Mark
75: Rebekah and Jayne
76: Rhesus monkeys populated the front gate to the park!
77: Lake Nakuru National Park
78: As we arrived at the Lodge, we were welcomed by a Masai tribe member, warm eucalyptus towels and fresh juice! | Nice shoes!
79: The Lion Hill Game Lodge | Our rooms were very nice and the staff even carried our luggage to the door!
80: Enjoying the views around the Lodge
83: Baboons were along the roads throughout the park and at a lookout picnic area where they mingled with the people!
84: Zebras | Rhino | Cape Buffalo | s | A | F | A | R | I
85: These impala started fighting right beside our bus! It was amazing to see and to hear their horns clashing! | Gazelles | Impala
86: Lake Nakuru is home to a million flamingos!
88: beautiful views
89: andrew and Mark were more interesting than the baboons! | great picture spot at the top of the park!
91: After much searching we finally saw 3 female lions at the end of the day, and then, much to our surprise, Andrew and Stephen spotted a male lion on the way out of the park the next morning!
92: Entertainment at the Lion Hill Lodge! Traditional tribal dances and dinner
95: The Giraffe Center
96: KAZURI BEAD FACTORY
97: "Kazuri" is the Swahili word for small and beautiful. These beads are hand made from Kenyan clay and hand painted by the primarily single-mother employees.
98: Saying goodbye to Kenya! | Dinner at the Pizza Inn | The KiberaSlums near downtown Nairobi..... 1.5 square miles and home to over 1 million people
99: ...Amsterdam | Lay-over in...