17 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part Four: an amazing visit at Shimba Hills village, witnessing a miracle

I first met Katunge (seated in the wheelchair) at Shimba Hills in 2002. She was sitting on the ground on market day, making makuti (roof shingles) out of palm fronds. She called out to me, 'Mzungu, kaa hapa (white lady, sit here)", which I proceeded to do. We've been friends ever since then.

Ha, ha! The cat is also posing in this picture, as Katunge and I sit on her bed chatting.

During this recent visit, I found out that Katunge (now 90 years old), had recently suffered a stroke. She was at home alone when it happened and collapsed on the ground inside her mud house, her right leg and arm suffered from paralysis.

Katunge is now back at home after six months in a hospital. Her grandson (wearing a white t-shirt) helps her before he leaves for school and after he gets home, but mostly she's alone during the day. She told me (through translation) that she's not able to do much. She's been praying for a wheelchair and asked if I could provide her with one. I asked Stella (Masudi's mom, in the orange dress), if she knew of any organization that could provide Katunge with a wheelchair.

Just then, Mody (Masudi's nephew, in a blue shirt) heard a motorbike arrive and stood up to look out the door. He turned to us and stated very nonchalantly - "A wheelchair just arrived."

I jumped up saying, "What! Are you serious?"

The boda boda guy chats with Katunge briefly before leaving

Sure enough, a boda boda (motorbike taxi) had just arrived unannounced and dropped off a wheelchair for Katunge! He was there for less than five minutes and refused to say who had sent the 'miracle gift from heaven'.

After it was removed from the motorbike, Linet brought it over to Katunge

Mody and the grandson carried Katunge out of the house and put her in the wheelchair

The boda boda driver says farewell, and left as quietly as he arrived

A big pile of coconuts at Katunge's place, waiting to be sold

There was also more reason to celebrate, this time for Stella (Masudi's mom, who lives just a short distance from Katunge). My Mom had recently made it possible for her to have water piped directly to her house and stored in this large water tank. It has simplified her life in so many ways!

Linet translates as Stella says 'thank you' to my Mom.

A good looking rooster, at Stella's place

Before leaving Shimba Hills, we stopped by to see Emma (Masudi's sister) at her shop

12 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part Three: camels, starfish, bush babies, coconuts, and tuktuks

I've been to Diani Beach many times when these camels are around, but had never ridden any of them.
On this trip, I decided it was finally time to do so! Linet was also eager to give it a try.

The owner charged us $5 each for our stroll down the beach. It was quite fun :)

That same day we joined a few other folks on a glass-bottom boat, going out to a nearby sandbar while the tide was low. It was another first for both of us! This short video shows what we could see through the glass-bottom of the boat.

One of the boat guys gathered a few starfish and sea urchins, so we could see and touch them briefly. Later, while snorkeling, I saw many of that same kind of starfish.

Such a stunning starfish!

Interesting sea urchin 

You heavens, praise God. Praise him, earth.
Also ocean and all things that swim in it.
~ Psalm 69:34, Message

I love snorkeling!

One evening, I took Linet to Stilts Tree Houses to see and feed the Bush Babies (also known as Galago). They're nocturnal animals, waking up around 7pm when it gets dark. They have very sensitive and large ears, plus quite large eyes to find their prey at night. They eat insects, lizards, eggs, birds, fruit, leaves, and flowers.

Linet was a natural at feeding them, with a few small pieces of banana

During our four days at the Coast, we consumed a LOT of coconut water and meat. So, so delicious!
We bought 10 from Mohammed; he opened some for us and we also tried our hand at it.

Godwill took us to our guesthouse with his motorbike, after a lovely evening with his family.

We used a lot of tuk-tuks to get around, and ended up having this polite young man drive us a few times.

10 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part Two: enjoying the lovely Diani Beach

Lazaro and Lekuraki

I happened upon these two friendly Samburu guys while out for a walk on the beach one day. Lazaro has been selling Samburu jewelry at the South Coast for several years, but Lekuraki has only recently tried his hand at it. He's becoming discouraged because business isn't so good for him; he's now thinking of going back home. He said it's time for him to get a herd of cattle and find a wife. Believe it or not, I didn't even buy anything from them... which I now regret :(

We had a hard time hearing each others' names, so we wrote them in the sand.

Normally I avoid 'beach boys', people who try to sell things on the beach. They can be quite annoying and persistent.
But every once and a while, I encounter someone who isn't so focused on making a business deal.

The guys are both wearing the traditional attire of their tribe, the Samburu.
Many nomadic people have retained their old ways, and haven't become so adjusted to the Western influence.

It's been said that Diani Beach, on Kenya's South Coast, is one of the most beautiful in the whole world.

Linet's first time ever to see - and dip her feet in - the ocean. She was so excited!!

One day we happened upon this restaurant right on the beach, where we ended up enjoying a nice lunch of grilled fish.

This day it looked like a storm was rolling in, but luckily it headed farther north of where we were.

I rise early to watch the sun appear
A glorious and quiet event
God paints the sky
Beauty unfolds

- - - - -
The skies were made by God’s command.
He scooped sea into his jug, put ocean in his keg.
Psalm 33:6-7

05 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part One: traveling by way of the Madaraka Express train

It's always fun to watch the scenery passing by from a train

In early 2019 the British Telegraph newspaper ranked Kenya's newly built Madaraka Express line among the most remarkable rails to tour in the world. The multi-billion-shilling Kenyan line, which was opened in mid-2017, was ranked seventh globally. Two trains make the round-trip every day along the 250-mile route. It provides a link between the coastal city of Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya's capital city.

Above paragraph and photo are from Mwakilishi.com

This was my 3rd and 4th time, to ride this new train. Previously I had also ridden the old relic of a train twice.
This was Linet's first time, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Baobob trees grow in a sisal plantation

The train and the tracks were built by Chinese contractors.
Linet enjoyed a fun conversation with this friendly Chinese engineer, when he stepped out to greet us.

We enjoyed the scenery from our comfortable seats

“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places,
all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
~ Anna Funder (1966- ), Australian author

When I rode the train in January 2019, I saw many elephants and other wild animals.
But this time a drought had forced all of them to look elsewhere for water.

03 September 2019

No longer in a foreign land with anonymous people. It becomes home. They are our people, our family.

Celebrating Jeremiah's birthday with yummy goat meat - Jaiden, Joy, Jasmine, Jada

We sang 'Happy Birthday' and Jeremiah blew out his candles

Carol and Jeremiah

A crazy thing happens to missionaries
where you no longer feel like
you're in a foreign land with anonymous people. 
It becomes home.
They become our people, our family.

~ Dave Decker, missionary in West Africa
[quoted by Rick and Debbie Sacra, Liberia]

Getting caught up with Esther, Baby Jay...

... and Masudi, while enjoying pizza and chicken wings

Celebrating Smith's first birthday, along with the family - Betty, Fred, and Jason

We enjoyed pizza, chicken, chips, brownies, and ice cream

I took Linet to her first-ever big screen movie - Lion King (in 3-D)

I took this photo of the screen through my 3-D glasses (not easy!)

It's always fun to hang out with friends at the Lee family's house!

Selfie with the ladies - me, Anna, Annie, Lyz, and Martha

Deb and Debbie (fellow missionary), together for the first time after being connected by mutual friends 
Yet another time Gloria and I met to discuss our current book, and also enjoy some delicious Indian food