11 July 2011

Terran, 33 days visiting me in Kenya

Terran Charles Hattaway is my oldest grandchild. Sixteen years ago, I was present as he made his grand entrance into the world! What a delight it has been to watch him grow up and mature into a fine young man!

During the month of June, Terran visited me in Kenya. It was his second time to do so... the first being 2004, when he was nine-years old. Both times he adapted well to my life here.

He has now lived in Delhi, India for two years with his parents, sister, and brother. He has become a seasoned traveler and has come to understand the world outside his country of origin. I think it's great he's had such opportunities.

Instead of cartoons, Terran grew up watching Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the History Channel. He has always been very intelligent and quite well read. His Papa (my dad) exposed him to such things as physics and hydraulics and a general sense of wonder about the world and how things work.

Extremely savvy about current world news, the latest technologies, and new discoveries in science... Terran can carry on an adult conversation with anyone... about virtually any subject. He has very astute problem-solving skills. He is also very social and engages well with folks of all ages and all walks of life. Quite self-confident, he is comfortable in any setting and circumstance.

He has an interesting blend of diverse interests... a rare young man who loves both books and sports. He devours magazines like "Popular Mechanics". Terran's mind seemingly never goes to sleep... as he absorbs and understands virtually everything he reads. He truly is a product of his generation, growing up in the "information age".

Terran is at that age when he will start to face many decisions about his future. Which road will he choose? What educational opportunities will he pursue? Which occupation? Where will he choose to settle down?

What will he choose as his purpose in life? What values will he esteem and hold high? What mark will he leave on humanity?

"Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren." 
- Proverbs 17:6 (Good News)

How true that is! I am very proud of each one of my grandchildren... Terran included!

"Good people will have wealth to leave to their grandchildren."
- Proverbs 13:22 (Good News) 

In terms of monetary value, I don't own very much in this world. For instance, I own two bicycles... but I don't own a house or a car. I used to own a mud hut (made out of dirt, sticks, and grass)... but I recently gave it away.

In the absence of such "wealth", I hope to leave to each one of my grandchildren:

  • a contagious excitement about life
  • an adventurous spirit
  • a sense of anticipation for what's around the next bend

I pray that they will learn from me:
  • to embrace all that God created them to be
  • to be generous to others who need a helping hand
  • to always offer love and understanding... instead of judgment
  • to love their neighbor the same way they love themselves
  • to be a servant... putting the needs of others ahead of their own
  • to take the time to look people in the eye 
  • and to listen to those they meet along the way

09 July 2011

Terran, meeting my friends

My work in Kenya is ALL about relationships... long-term friendships over the course of many life events... the struggles and the joys... births and birthdays... weddings and funerals... the ups and the downs...

Basically it can be summed up by saying God sent me here to obey the second-greatest commandment - "Love your neighbor as yourself".

So... during the 33 days that Terran was with me, we spent quite a bit of time with my friends. Those he had met during his first visit to Kenya in 2004, were thrilled to see him again. And those that he met for the first time were equally thrilled to meet him!

These photos are just a small sampling of the many friends of mine with whom Terran and I visited.

Masudi, Jeremy, Derrick, Linet, and George on top of KICC (a tall building)

Harold, Dedan, and "Mr. Comedian", my hawker friends at Karen shops

Agnes' son, Duane, who is named for my dad

Duane, plus Adu and Zach (two more of Agnes' sons)

Carol and Jeremiah's 7-month old daughter, Jasmine

Carol and Jeremiah's children, Joy (5) and Jim (16)

My good friends, Margaret and Bishop

Getting ready to have an absolute blast riding go-karts with Michael

Collins, who now works for Coca-Cola

Learning about micro-finance loans at Turning Point (an NGO) with Moses

A nice photo after having pizza and ice cream with Masudi, Rose, and Sammy

Nathan and his wife, Alice, in the Matunda area

Three of Mary Alu's grandsons, at Nzoia Scheme

I enjoyed watching Terran interact with my many friends. He was very gracious and polite as he met everyone, quickly extending his hand to greet them. He has a natural knack for conversation and fit in quite easily in each of the various settings.

08 July 2011

Terran, exposure to Nairobi slums

Kenya is a land of much poverty. Whether you're in the rural agricultural parts of the country or in the crowded urban centers... poverty and its effects are everywhere.

During Terran's 33 days with me, I felt it would be profitable to give him some exposure to the poverty found in two of Nairobi's largest slums. We did so in an up-close and personal way... hanging out and laughing with some of the residents.

My good friends, Carol and Jeremiah, pastor a small church in Mukuru kwa Njenga - one of Nairobi's slums. I enjoy attending their church services and worshiping God in the traditional Kenyan way.

I took Terran to their church one Sunday morning.

Terran really enjoyed interacting with the kids!

Buying sugar cane for Joy and the other children at the church

Getting to the church isn't easy, with no proper roads!

The boys really enjoyed him...

... and so did the girls!

"The Turning Point Trust is a fantastic charity working with street-children and their families in Kibera slum, Kenya. They believe in working to meet the needs of individual children and supporting people to become the instigators of their own success."

I know several of the folks involved at Turning Point and they agreed that it would be a great idea for Terran to spend some time there. He visited on three occasions - helping with a jewelry project one of the days, serving tea a couple of times, and playing with the kids all three times!

Moving around Kibera is also not an easy task.

07 July 2011

Terran: adventures of cycling, hiking, camping, and snorkeling

One of the goals I had during Terran's 33 days with me was to share some adventures! We had three memorable cycling experiences, two challenging hiking outings, a night of camping, and a great hour of snorkeling. I hope these few photos will suffice to somewhat represent our many fun adventures.

The two photos above are from a 3-hour cycling tour we did with Cycle Kenya at Mtwapa (on the north coast). Two guides went with us on the grueling, exhilarating, and challenging tour.

We spent two days at Hell's Gate National Park. We cycled for several hours exploring the beautiful terrain. We were able to cycle right up close to the many wild animals - zebra, giraffe, Thompson gazelle, Hart's gazelle, warthogs, guinea fowl, and buffalo. We also did a strenuous three-hour hike in the gorge and camped overnight... with about eight zebra grazing right outside our tent!

Mt. Elgon National Park was another site for a hiking adventure. It took three hours of uphill trekking to reach our destination - Kitum cave. On the way, we saw many wild animals - water buck, crowned cranes, baboon, bush buck, colobus monkeys, and blue monkeys... plus many bats in the cave. We were tired and muddy at the end... but thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless!

Another location for a cycling adventure was Ngong Hills, fairly near my house in Nairobi. It is a very strenuous climb from 6,000 feet in elevation to 8,000 feet. Frequent stops to rest are basically a requirement. In the second photo, Terran is looking out over the Great Rift Valley. It's a stunning sight!

Last - but far from least - was our snorkeling adventure at Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park near Wasini Island. It's a one-hour boat ride out to the coral reef where the fish are so amazingly spectacular! We capped off the day with an absolutely delicious seafood lunch at Coral Spirit restaurant, back on the island.

05 July 2011

Terran: exposure to education

Terran is currently 16 and will be a junior next year. This is the age when many start considering which particular field of study or future career they might want to focus on. One of the aims of his stay with me was to expose him to some of the struggles of getting an education in Kenya as well as a few ways to challenge his own thoughts.

We visited Turning Point, an NGO in Kibera (one of Nairobi's large slums). Some friends from my church run the NGO and a couple of other friends of mine work there. Many children living is such slums are unable to attend school for a variety of reasons. One of the primary goals of Turning Point is to prepare children for primary or secondary school. During our three visits, Terran interacted with the kids and did a bit of volunteering.

Tony is my friend, Agnes', oldest son. Even though he's 18, due to many circumstances outside of his control, he's only reached eighth grade. Undeterred by being one of the oldest students in his class, he is very determined to reach secondary school! Terran offered to pay for the five "revision" books Tony needs to prepare for his Class 8 exams this November.

We also visited Harvest Secondary School in the Mtoni area of Matunda, where Terran spoke to the entire student body. Not only were they thrilled to hear his answers to their questions, they also gleaned some good principles from what he shared. For instance: "Life is always full of challenges. We should just accept them and move on."

We spent the night with my friend, Mary Alu, at Nzoia Scheme. Terran and her grandson, Brian, had a nice conversation while he was doing his homework. Terran picked up on the fact that Brian's interests seem to be pointing him in the direction of some sort of international work. Terran encouraged him to pursue that field. In the photo, Brian is doing his homework by the light of a single lantern, like so many thousands of youngsters in the rural areas of Kenya.

My Sudanese friends, Mawien and Deng, came over one day for lunch. They shared some of the hurdles and atrocities they have faced in their short lives. They expressed their commitment to completing their education as far as they are able. They often say, "We would rather be in school than eat!" They also encouraged Terran to take full advantage of the opportunities he's been given.

I took Terran to two university campuses. This photo is the Fab Lab at the University of Nairobi. Terran spent 3 hours with the guys there, as they demonstrated an environment that facilitates creativity in manufacturing anything the mind can conceive.

We also went to USIU (United States International University), where my friend, Kim is a student. Kim admitted to Terran that he doesn't particularly enjoy being in the classroom, but he sees it as a means to his goals.

Hopefully these various opportunities (and others that we experienced) will serve as a catalyst in Terran's thoughts as he explores his own future.

03 July 2011

Terran, a few final shots of our 33 days together

The guy who loves meat LOVED Carnivore Restaurant!

Buying a soda - one of many - at a roadside kiosk.

Overcoming fear to cross a rickety suspended bridge.

Enjoying a juicy medium-rare T-bone steak at Rolf's.

Creatively looking for "elbow room" on an over-crowded matatu.

Sammy and Terran can put AWAY pizza in no time flat!

Buying a treat for Joy at a duka (small shop).

Saying goodbye at Harvest Secondary School in the Matunda area.

I thoroughly and completely enjoyed Terran's and my 33 days together! I believe he did, as well. After many memorable experiences together, the time came to say goodbye.

I would absolutely love it if my other grandchildren could continue on with the tradition of visiting me in Kenya!