26 August 2007

Finding Our Friend, Mark Deng Deng Meyer

NOTE – The following is a rather long story. However, let me encourage you to read through to the end! I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed!

Email from my friend, Myrna (received on August 13th, the day we started on our trip):
Hi Deb,
Have caught up on your "doings" and as usual, you amaze me. God is certainly smiling because of your willingness to share His love for those who are so often misunderstood and unloved. God bless and keep you and will be praying that you will stay well.
Love in Him, Myrna
Verse I'd been meditating on:
“Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out to the exhausted, pulling them to their feet.” 1 Thessalonians 5 (The Message)

Introduction to Deng Deng

The peaceful village of Mark Deng Deng Meyer was attacked in 1997, during the civil war in South Sudan. At the innocent age of ten, Deng Deng’s family was wiped out. He personally witnessed some of them being viciously killed. The tranquil life he’d known, that of primarily tending his family’s cattle, suddenly came to an end. He and an uncle were captured and chained up for weeks; Mark bears the scars on his legs to this day.

One night, they managed to escape. Mark, who was mourning the loss of his family and the only home he’d ever known, was also scared for his life, confused, exhausted, hungry, and dealing with the horrific memories of what he’d witnessed. They were on the run for two to three months, hiding from the rebels in the daytime and only traveling at night. Often they’d go days without eating anything of substance. Actually, it was more important for them to find and carry water as they crisscrossed hundreds of miles on foot.

When they finally reached Kakuma Refugee Camp (in the Northern Frontier of Kenya, near the Sudanese border), Deng Deng and his uncle were registered as refugees. They were able to relax a bit. Like thousands of others that had also fled, they were given a food ration card, a blanket, a plastic basin (for bathing and laundry), a sufuria (pot for cooking), and a few other bare essentials. Mark, who was able to attend primary school, began to learn two foreign languages – English and Swahili. Things settled down into a new sense of normal for this young boy.

Off and on, the neighboring Turkana tribe raided the refugee camp and stole food the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) supplied to the refugees. Apparently the Turkana felt like these strangers had invaded their ancestral land. At the peak, there were 100,000 refugees – 75% Sudanese, but also Ethiopians, Ugandans, Rwandese, Burundians, Congolese, and Somalis. To top it off, the refugees were given free food from the United Nations, while the Turkana were barely surviving.

In 2003, the violence escalated and many were killed, including Mark’s uncle. On that fateful night, pandemonium broke out in the refugee camp. Many refugees fled, including Mark (who was now 16 years old). Some ran back to Sudan, saying they’d rather return to the ruins and ravages of an ongoing war than face the Turkana raids. Mark and others were given a free bus ride to Nairobi. He arrived in that city of 3.5 million for the first time in his life. He didn’t know a soul!

Absolutely alone in the world, petrified, and far away from his home, Deng Deng had no idea what to do. A policeman told him where he could find other Sudanese that had just arrived in the city. Soon after he found this group (near the Wimpy’s hamburger joint), a “Good Samaritan” invited him to his house, offering him shelter and food. Once again, he settled down into a new normal and eventually he was able to attend school.

[I marvel at the way Sudanese willingly reach out and help complete strangers. They’ve established a fairly well-run, yet informal, network of assistance and dispersing news. I guess it’s because they’ve all suffered so much.]

In God’s sovereign design, Mark found Karen Vineyard (2006) and started attending our homegroup. Besides me, at that time our group consisted of some young Kenyan men and a few other refugees (Sudanese, Ethiopian, and Burundian). We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Deng Deng. He’s a quiet and humble young man, with a great sense of humor. He’s a very serious pupil at school and very respectful towards his elders. My friend, Kim, aptly uses the word “stellar” to describe Mark. Kim and I especially got close to him and came to greatly admire him.

Mark had endured so much in his short 19 years of life. Yet he never complains. He has accepted his circumstances and does not expect handouts or sympathy. He doesn’t have the attitude that the world owes him something. In the time we’ve known him he’s been without shelter and daily food on more than one occasion. But his primary concern and focus is always his education. In fact, he’ll pass up an offer for a free lunch because he wants to study.

[No matter how long I stay in Kenya, I don’t believe I will cease to marvel at how disadvantaged African youth highly value their education!]
(continued below)

Finding Our Friend, Part 2: Two Journeys to Turkana Land

These three photos are of a Turkana village. They don't especially like having their photos taken (and I don't especially like upsetting them), so we attempted to take these three photos very discreetly. Sorry they're not the greatest photos. You can go to some of my archived stuff (March of this year) to see better photos of the Turkana people.

This gorge was formed by a sudden seasonal river. Collins and this other boy enjoyed throwing rocks into the remaining wet mud.

We watched a woman and her children harvesting water from this hole in the sand. First they have to dig the hole. Then they fill their jerry cans, one cup at a time. Then... they have to carry it home. They may have to walk several miles with it! Can you imagine doing that every day of your life?

Kim and I first traveled to Lodwar and Kakuma last December. Our desire was to get Deng Deng back into the system of UNHCR. We’d heard from other refugee friends that there was a head count at the camp and that voluntary repatriation (returning to ones homeland) was being encouraged. Anyone who didn’t show up for the head count would be removed from the registry.

However, when the two of us didn’t see Mark at church for a couple of weeks, we went ahead and ventured forth on our own. Both of us have been endowed with a wanderlust spirit and the Northern Frontier of Kenya beckoned us!

This hot, windy, dusty, and arid expanse in the northwest corner of Kenya is known as Turkana land. The Turkana are a people group in Kenya that modern time has seemingly skipped past. They still live the same way they’ve lived for hundreds of years. The men wear three-inch wrist knives and some women wear smaller thumb knives; both are used for hand-to-hand combat.

Many of the men decorate their hair in a rather unique and interesting way – with colored mud and ostrich feathers. Virtually all the women wear their hair in braided Mohawks. The women adorn themselves with row upon row of brightly-colored beaded necklaces. A few of the adults have various objects pierced into their faces – pieces of bone, wood, or metal. Most of the adults do not wear modern clothing; in spite of the year-round heat, they cover themselves with a “shuka” (a woolen blanket loosely draped over one shoulder).

I love to watch them walk. The woman always follows about five feet behind the man. If several women are together, they walk in single file. Often they sing a rhythmic song to maintain their cadence. The women carry the majority of whatever load they might have – usually including several “jerry cans” (plastic five-liter containers) of water, cooking oil, etc. It’s not at all unusual to see a woman carrying a large, heavy bag of charcoal – on her head! The women have an unusual gait and extremely good posture when they walk. Perhaps it comes from years of carrying water and charcoal on their heads.

I find their culture and diehard adherence to their traditional way of life to be quite fascinating. Being among them is like stepping into the pages of a National Geographic magazine! The really cool thing, though, is that they’re real people going about their normal daily routines… and we have the incredible privilege of interacting with them! We get to smile at them and wave to them. We get to chat with them and share our snacks with their children on the bus. The whole experience almost defies description.

For centuries, the Turkana tribe (unanimously described as being aggressive, confrontational, and warlike) has lived a very spartan life in this harsh environment. In fact, they struggle just to survive. One travel book says they engage in cattle rustling and slaughtering their neighbors in the same way the rest of the world competes in sports!

The landscape of the Northern Frontier is dotted with thousands of eight-foot tall termite hills. The distant horizon in every direction features interesting peaks of extinct volcanoes. Scattered scrub brush and acacia trees are the only vegetation. Camels are not an unusual sight. Women and children can be seen tediously harvesting water – one cup at a time – from deep holes dug in the sand of dry, seasonal river beds.

Kim and I recently made our second journey to Turkana land; Collins also joined us. As it turned out, the experience and information we gleaned during our first time at the refugee camp was a great help. We strongly desired to find Mark for the sole purpose of encouraging him. With no living relatives and having been relocated numerous times in the past ten years, we wanted him to know how much we valued him. We wanted to demonstrate that he had someone in his corner and that we cared deeply for him.

The first leg of the trip was m-u-d-d-y! We left from my place at Matunda, where it’d been raining every day for weeks on end. The mud made the road to the Matunda market almost impassible! Our boda boda guys really struggled. By the time we reached the market, my shoes were covered in mud and my pants were quite mud-splattered.

After arriving at Kitale via matatu, we found a bus. It took over three hours for it to fill with passengers. As we got on our way, an armed soldier positioned himself strategically in the front. This is common practice, as the area where we were headed is notorious for bandit raids.

For much of the journey, the bus was overcrowded with extra passengers squeezed and standing in the aisle. Enduring a foot on my toes, an elbow poking my shoulder, or a butt practically on my lap became the norm for the entire trip. With a road that’s all but non-existent much of the way, the trip is long and oh… so arduous!

The first night (14 hours after leaving my house) we stayed in Lodwar, a very unpleasant and unwelcoming dusty town. Both times I’ve been there, its many bizarre personality quirks and frustrations make me think I’ve accidentally walked into an episode of The Twilight Zone! All I can think is – “Let’s get out of this place!” Both Lodwar and Kakuma (the smaller of the two) have the same captivating mixture of people groups, but I like Kakuma town so much better!

A descriptive telling of our companions on the overcrowded, two-hour bus ride from Lodwar to Kakuma town would likely make a complete story on its own! We three were certainly in the minority, being among the very few who were not Turkana. Our hair style, clothing, and adornment seemed rather bland and boring compared to our seatmates! Being in the company of such fascinating people has a definite advantage! No one stares at me or even gives me more than a second glance. Apparently, even with my white skin, I look fairly normal!

Our first stop, upon alighting from the bus, was High View Hotel. Kim and I had eaten there numerous times when we first visited the area. Owned by a Somali refugee family, their chai is delicious! Many Kenyans use a powdered spice mix (“masala”) to flavor their chai. But, after complimenting the owner’s mother, I was told this café uses fresh ginger. In spite of the flies it attracts, their fried beef is also incredibly delicious and cheap! Actually, I’ve drawn my own conclusion after being in Kenya for almost six years: The higher the population of flies in a Kenyan hole-in-the-wall café, the better the food! We shared our more fatty pieces with the five cats that hovered around our legs.

Well fed, we walked about a mile to the refugee camp. We summoned Kim’s friend, Immanzo (Immanuel). He agreed to let us keep our bags in the office while we looked for Deng Deng. He’s worked for Film Aid (an agency of the UNHCR) at the refugee camp for two years. The first time Kim and I visited the refugee camp, he did an excellent job of hosting us and showing us around the place. In fact, it’s because of that prior experience that we were comfortable traversing the camp on our own this time.

(continued below)

Finding Our Friend, Part 3: Looking for Deng Deng

These two guys became buddies with Collins while we were on our walk. This trip was the first experience for Collins to meet both Turkana and Sudanese.

These are some homes at the refugee camp. The roofs are constructed out of flattened tin cans. The cans once contained some sort of rations (cooking oil, etc) that were distributed to the refugees. Nothing is wasted!

Some Turkana boys we met on our walk. The bag contains yellow peas. We're standing in a dry, seasonal river bed.

We didn’t really know how to find Mark and he didn’t know for sure that we were coming. But we were determined. We hired three boda bodas (bike taxies) and headed to the first of three secondary schools in the camp – Kakuma Secondary School. Our taxi guys didn’t know where it was, but we had been told it was near the Don Bosco Catholic Mission and they knew the location of that.

We maneuvered in single file through the heavy foot and bike traffic, in and out of the various rough main dirt roads. Often an overhanging branch would slap us in the face as we whizzed by. Kim hollered to me (from the back of his bike taxi) that we should look for Mark’s face among the dozens and dozens of people we rode past. I frequently prayed, “Lord, lead us to Deng Deng. You know exactly where he is.”

We finally found the correct gate allowing us into the school compound. At first it seemed unoccupied, as there was no noise at all. We did find one student sitting outside, studying in the shade. We approached him and inquired whether or not he might know Deng Deng Meyer. “Deng Deng Meyer? No, I don’t know that guy. He’s a pupil? What form is he?” As we told him he was in Form Three, two or three other curious but polite students came out from the mud classrooms. Although none of them knew Mark, they encouraged us by suggesting we try Nevada Secondary School, saying, “It’s just nearby”.

Reuniting with our waiting taxi guys, we walked with them to Nevada. Almost the exact same scenario repeated itself. The answer, after asking three or four young men, was the same… “No, I don’t know that guy.”

Our last chance was Botown Secondary School. It was a fair distance away, so we hopped back on the bikes. Again, we scanned every face we encountered. We were hot and our taxi guys subtly let us know they were getting tired. Upon reaching the compound, it took us a while to find the proper gate. Once we entered, we saw that this school also seemed unoccupied.

We approached a lone young man under a tree. Not having seen us, he was just about to walk away. Kim got his attention and we inquired whether he might know a Deng Deng Meyer. He listened closely, but his answer was so discouraging, “No, I don’t know that guy.” Kim and I felt like this school was our last chance to find Mark. It was beginning to look like our efforts would be fruitless.

Five or six more curious students gathered around. Suddenly one especially tall fellow, named Angelo, asked, “Is he called Deng Deng Meyer or is he Deng Meyer Deng? I also know a Deng Deng Deng Meyer. Which one are you looking for?” Kim and I answered in unison, “He’s Deng Deng Meyer.”

“Deng Deng Meyer – I know him. He was once in Nairobi at Kawangware.”

Ah! That was music to our ears! We chorused, “That’s him! How can we find him?” He rattled off directions: “Go to Zone 3 of the camp. Near the water spot of Group 31, ask for Deng Tiok Mel. He’s the group leader and is the one Deng Deng stays with.” Angelo told us it wasn’t possible for him to take us to Mark that day; instead, he wrote down the details and assured us we would find the place.

A young man that had just arrived began to make a suggestion, “No, this is how you should find him…” Another interrupted, saying, “Let’s not all give directions. Only one should speak.” But the other one persisted. “No, this is what you do. It’s simple. Angelo, you take them!”

Next thing we knew, Angelo agreed. “Okay, I can go with you today. Just let me change my shirt. I’ll show you where to find Deng Deng.” We easily found another boda boda and headed to the fourth destination in our search.

Angelo, just in front of me, pointed to the water spot. “This is the entrance to Group 31.” We paid and released our taxi guys and continued by foot. Several curious onlookers stared at us. Now and then, I scanned the faces of various young men sitting in the shade of trees. I was so eager to see Mark, but to be honest, a part of me worried that Angelo might have the wrong person in mind.

(continued below)

Finding Our Friend, Part 4: Finding Mark Deng Deng Meyer

This is our good friend, Mark Deng Deng Meyer!

As we stopped in front of a mud house, intriguingly built with the floor a foot below the ground surface, Angelo hollered something. In a matter of seconds, Mark – our Mark, the one called Deng Deng Meyer, “previously from Kawangware” – stepped up through the doorway.

I cannot explain the joy I felt in my heart! He unabashedly hugged me. “Deb! Deb, how are you? Deb!”

He hugged Kim, repeating the same question. He then came back to me and repeated the same thing once more. He again repeated it with Kim. He briefly greeted Angelo and Collins and then came back to Kim and me, repeating his greetings over and over. “Deb, how are you? Kim, how are you? Deb! Kim!” It was a very poignant and emotional moment for all three of us! Simultaneously, it was almost comical. I laughed, but at the same time, tears welled up in my eyes.

God had led us to our friend. It had been like finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack”! Indeed, the Lord had gone ahead of us and prepared our way. He had led us to one of possibly only two people (out of 60,000 Sudanese refugees) that knew Mark Deng Deng Meyer!

Mark invited us into the tiny one-room house he shares with Deng Tiok Mel. We each took a seat on one of the two beds. Sitting on a stool was Mark’s stack of “exercise books” and textbooks. It turned out that he schools at Kakuma Boys’ Secondary School twenty kilometers away, and not at one of the schools in the refugee camp.

Angelo explained why he knew Mark. “You see, he just re-entered the camp not long ago, after being in Nairobi for a few years. When he returned, we met briefly. I remember him because I think it’s possible some of his relatives were from my clan in South Sudan.”

It had taken us three hours of zigzagging around the camp to find Mark. Amazingly we’d spent almost $10 on boda boda rides. It was now late, though. We’d been told by more than one person to not be in the camp after 6:00pm for our own safety (the Turkana still occasionally raid the camp). We found different bike taxis and headed to town to find a room, stopping to get our bags first.

Our hotel room had power, but in both the smelly and dirty toilet and in the “bathroom”, we were forced to use a candle. I “showered” and also did my best to wash a few items of clothing in the near dark.

It had been quite hot during the day, and it didn’t let up much at night. I slept with minimal clothes and without a mosquito net or even a sheet over me. Of course, I should have known better! In the morning, my legs were covered, not only with mosquito bites, but a spider bite or two! Somehow during the trip, I also developed a very irritating infected blister of some sort.

(continued below)

Finding Our Friend, Part 5: Another Day With Mark

Collins eating "njera" at Franco's

The following day, we treated Mark to “njera” (fermented rice with meat, vegetables, and a boiled egg) at Franco’s (a fascinating Ethiopian restaurant in the camp; ha, one of the "fascinating" features is the toilet - you walk through a labrynth of crudely constructed corridors, past the goat, and into the doorless "squat" toilet). It was great to catch up with Mark and to hear about his schooling. I told him that I would always remember our reunion from the previous day. Kim and I also told him about our difficulty in finding him and how excited we were when he stepped out of his house.

Very soberly, Mark explained, “You must realize I miss all of you from homegroup so much. All these faces here, they’re new to me. I don’t know any of these people. The refugees I knew from before, they’re all gone now. I think of all of you in Nairobi so often! Thank you for your struggle to find me. Thank you! Even the others in my community, they’ve said, ‘Your friends were serious about finding you.’”

We decided to leave the restaurant and go to Mark’s house again. Kim and I were tired of boda boda rides; the roads through the camp are very rough and with all the traffic, it’s rather nerve-racking at times. So, we opted to walk. Aye! It was a hot hour-long walk! The sun in the Kakuma and Lodwar area is oppressive! The wind – when there is one – blows dust on your face and in your eyes. For half of the distance to Group 31, we walked in a dry, seasonal river bed – of course it had absolutely no shade! It seemed like we would never reach his house. One interesting sight though, was three bare-chested Turkana women making charcoal in the hot sand. One of them waved at me.

Because the house would be hot in the middle of the day, we sat under the shade of a tree. Deng Tiok Mel joined us, introduced himself. He explained his duties of being a group leader and told us that he was allowing Mark to stay with him, his wife, and newborn baby during Mark’s August “holiday” from school. He then invited us to join him for a soda, his treat. We walked a ways to find a café that was open.

While we had our sodas, I asked Mark to tell his story to Collins. Collins listened attentively.

[The following day, I quizzed him to see how much he had really ascertained. Dramatically holding up one finger, he asked incredulously, “You mean… Mark doesn’t even have one brother?” Kim silently nodded his head and I replied, “He has no one in this world.”]

We hired an extra boda boda for Mark and he “escorted” us to the bus office to see us off. Immanzo also came to see us off; Kim introduced the two to one another. Imanzo (a young man who chooses his words carefully) well knows the harshness of the environment and how tortuous the trip is. He told Kim and me, “The two of you are an inspiration to the rest of us!”

Our eleven-hour bus trip back to Kitale was at night. On the way, we stopped for snacks. The public latrine (at a café, no less) reeked with such a potent stench, our eyes watered! Sleep was impossible until we were three-fourths of the way and finally on relatively decent roads!

At about 4:00am, just as I was able to fall asleep, our bus broke down. We were told to disembark. As I did so, in the complete darkness of the night, I fell headlong onto the muddy road! I wasn’t hurt, but my pants certainly were muddy. Soon, another bus came along and some of us were told to board it. We had to stand, tightly squeezed, for the remainder of the trip.
By the time we rolled into Kitale I was generally feeling miserable, dirty, and bone-weary!

(conclusion below)

Finding Our Friend, Part 6: Conclusion

Collins in front of our bus at Kainuk, our half-way stop for a snack and toilet break.

Collins and Kim near Kakuma town and the refugee camp. We'd gone for a stroll early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.

Sure, our journey to see our friend, Mark Deng Deng Meyer had numerous difficulties associated with it – the heat, the dust, the mud, the long uncomfortable and crowded bus rides, mosquito and spider bites, disgusting toilets, etc. However, compared to the plight of Mark and all the tragedies he’s suffered … our inconveniences were nothing!

Without a doubt, I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to be in Mark’s shoes for the past ten years! My hat’s off to him. He’s a survivor and he’s overcome all the odds. I greatly admire him!

“Know this for sure, God is never interested in cutting corners, rushing things, or “foam padding” the crosses upon which His disciples are to deal with their self-life. Thank God that Jesus didn’t come to rescue us with the least time, effort, and devotion possible. Thank God He poured every last fiber of His being out for us.” (John Marquez, Christ-Life Ministries)

06 August 2007

Snacks Readily Available on the Streets of Kenya

Inside these paper cones (usually recycled computer printer paper) are "groundnuts" (peanuts). A cone like these in the picture sells for 10-bob (14 cents). Sometimes smaller ones are available at 5-bob. I like them!

This guy is fanning the coals to keep them hot. He's preparing "roasted maize" - another favorite snack of mine in Kenya. A whole cob also goes for 10-bob. Or you can get a half of one for 5-bob. It's rather chewy, but I like it. Yum, yum!

This lady is selling sugar cane. It's not really one of my favorites, but I do get it once in a while. When it's juicy, it's pretty good. She'll peel and cut up one of the long stalks for 20-bob (28 cents). It's a strange item to eat. You bite off a piece and chew on it for a few minutes. Then you spit out the fiber.

I love the availability of such snacks on the streets of Kenya. You can also get fresh fruit - pineapple, avocado, bananas, papaya, oranges, and sometimes apples - most anywhere for very reasonable prices.

Bishop at His Church

I took this photo just a few short days before the building was destroyed.

04 August 2007

My Matunda House

I had received word while I was in the States, that my mud hut had been broken into a 2nd time. Collins had told me that all the furniture was still there. He wasn’t sure what might be missing.

My Thoughts
Concern, much time praying about it, “Is it really worth all the troubles I encounter by living there?”, apprehension regarding what I might find when I arrived.

“I will apprehend that for which I was apprehended. I will forget what is behind and stain toward what is ahead.” (Phil. 3)
I meditated on and proclaimed these verses as I traveled from Eldoret to Matunda.

My Arrival on Thursday
Discovered that my key wouldn’t open the gate padlock. It was very rusty! My friend, Ben, happened to come by and was able to jiggle it open! Nathan told me later that he’d been unable to get it open that very same morning. “It defeated me, completely!’

Dirty, but no more than normal really when I’m away for long periods. Nathan had done a bit of tidying up. First glance seemed to indicate that not much was missing.

Hours Cleaning
Five the 1st day and three the 2nd day. But, I really went through things and got rid of some stuff. It’s now cleaner that it’s been in some time.

Not Gone
My Oswald Chambers journal (likely my most treasured possession at the house), photos (my kids, grandkids, parents, and Pastor Martin’s family), wall hangings, solar panel battery, all bedding, all dishes, etc.

Solar panel cables (seems to indicate it’s the same thief as the first time), flip flops (and in their stead is a strange pair, likely those of the thief’s), clothes pins (of all things), flashlight, straw hat (that Collins liked to wear), fleece jacket and other clothes, magnifying glass, a few tools, and other small miscellaneous items.

Who is the Thief?
Who can know? Everyone and their brother has a theory. I'm not concerned with finding him/her, nor am I concerned with the things that were stolen.

My Final Thoughts
Oswald Chambers (Aug. 2nd) – “An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different. God does not give us overcoming life. He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength.”

(Aug. 3rd) – “We have no concept of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague.”

I’ve never completely understood why exactly God has me at Matunda. This I do know: I maintain sort of a love/hate relationship with the place. I’ve endured a myriad of trials there. This is but the latest in the series.

But... I will continue on there - through the strain - until He says otherwise.

“The lines of purpose in our lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.”

Colossians 1 (The Message)

Neighborhood News
There’s a white cat hanging around my house. He likes to nap on my bed or in my lap. I like him. Hopefully he’ll keep any and all snakes and rats away!

I hung a sheet on the doorway to my choo, in lieu of a door. It’s wonderful to use my own private toilet!

Nathan and Alice had another boy, born on July 30th.

The school on the compound closed yesterday. Ah! The sound of silence! I love it!

The trees are okay. The lantana hedge isn’t looking the greatest. Nathan has planted some other plants to hopefully fill in some of the gap areas. It’s been raining a lot. This year’s rains can truly be called “long rains”. The nights are chilly, but the afternoons can be hot (if it's not raining).

My long-time favorite boda boda driver, Wycliff, has “shifted” to Narok to make charcoal. I’ll miss him.

Collins and I are in Kitale today. Tomorrow (Sunday) we’ll travel to see Agnes and her new baby.

Nairobi News
Bishop’s church was once again demolished (yesterday). He had just constructed this one a few months ago. They just finished up some of the final touches this past week.

Those of you that know him personally or through my book, please be in prayer for him, Margaret, and the entire congregation!

Margaret's Fabric Shop

I've had one problem after another trying to post photos on my blog lately. But I did manage to post this one the other day.

Margaret amazes me with her undying attempts to make ends meet. Her latest venture is this fabric shop. Please pray with me that it will do well!

Nothing is easy in Kenya. But she perseveres, in spite of all the difficulties!