I write now accompanied by the symphony of the rain. It comes in torrents, holds off then comes again as if a bit unsure of whether it will unleash its fury or not. The village is quiet tonight, usually there is the sound of singing that finds its way from the village darkness into the house until late hours of the evening. It has been weeks since I last wrote a post and so much has gone by it is hard to keep up. Jay is currently in Nairobi a supply run and medical check necessitated he try and go and come back before school starts. He arrived safely, but we are not sure how or when he will be able o find a way back… so we wait…..
I have always held up somewhat of a resistance to being alone and always marvel at other women who seem to manage so well when their spouse is away. Alone is not my forte. I am more of a tag-team type of person, the reality of being grossly outnumbered by four children is enough to scare me away from any thought or desire to win the ‘self-sufficient’ mother award. Tonight I find myself alone with four children, 6 chicks a cat and a snake in the thatch roof. I pray we scared him off this afternoon in our attempt to get him, but unfortunately he got away. Jesus protect us! We are thankful for Grant and Loki just next door and a text away. How wonderful to have partners.
Highlights of the last weeks…
Someone somewhere must have been praying,- or God has simply chosen to pour his grace onto us this past month. Although, in some particular moments it felt far from grace and more like some kind of test of patience, strength and sanity!
A few Monday’s ago, Jay gave the Mayfield Guesthouse morning devotional and spoke quite sincerely on his conviction and soapbox of many a year, that God is a God of redemption and He uses the circumstances in our life (both good and bad) to work in each of us His character. Little did we know that God was desiring to work some more character into our lives this week!
Monday afternoon brought a rather interesting experience. While sitting in a traffic jam, Jay took a phone call from the AIM AIR flight scheduler. The police also took note of the is call, and dodging the matatus driving down the sidewalks waved Jay to the side of the road.
Now there is that feeling in Canada when the red and blue lights brighten behind you and the police flags you down,- it is something like guilt, annoyance and injustice of having just had your hand caught in the cookie jar. Generally, a speeding fine or parking ticket of a nominal amount. But in Kenya, the laws have changed and there is no such thing as a simple fine or a small penalty. Driving without a reflective jacket for a motorcyclist could mean 3 months in jail. Many missionaries we know have endured jail time on false charges. So, as we are being waved to the road side we felt the raw energy of fear mingled with silent prayers and pleas that whatever we would be able to find our way through to the other side of this incident. Long story short,- Jay was out on bail later than evening,- and had to return to court the next day. Our “Mayfield family” rallied around us and Mr. George spent the day with Jay helping him at the courthouse to pay the fines so that he could be released from his holding cell. (Jay did say he had quite an informative time in jail, learning how to create a make-shift knife with a tin-can lid, compliments of the other ‘inmates).
Psalm 121:1,2 I lift my eyes unto the heavens. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD who made the heaven and earth.
Since our return of nearly two weeks to Kurungu, it feels like we have been working at a frenetic pace to get things here ready and sorted for whatever is ahead. I say ‘whatever’ as it feels that we can not anticipate nor identify all it is that each day brings. The things that we have been involved in since coming to Kurungu has certainly been a bit out of the job description. April is an “off” month for the school system here for which we are thankful as Jay has been busy simply working on a smooth transition into Kurungu. The water tank needed repair, the airstrip had been washed out by the rains so much so that no plane is currently willing to land; he is caring for our 6 chicks so we can (eventually) have a source of eggs; he is involved in ‘spraying’ the house ( a huge job to do when you have 30 ft high thatch roof) to ensure that we are protected from animal invaders; he started helping to find a way to create income for the pastors (Andrea and Isaiah) of the church by purchasing and straining Samburu honey to sell in Nairobi; And he has inherited the role of overseer of a school sponsorship program involving over 30 youth. For the last three days he has been managing their ‘work’ component of the sponsorship. He has yet to make contact with the girls school, although has made many attempts. He will try again once school is in session. Pray for Jay, his days have been full. It takes so much energy and work to simply live here. One of the real blessings in the last few days is the installation of a satellite dish so we can have ‘contact with home’. It is amazing to think in such a remote location we have the luxury of internet and email.
My days are filled with homeschool, household maintenance (baking lots of bread), overseer of the station finances (paying the workers), treating the 2 or 3 patients a day who come to the door, continuing in my quest to learn both Swahili and Samburu and assessing the best way to do so. So far I know some household words and some greetings. Mama Lanterna a widow who I employed to sweep the floors of the house is an eager teacher, as is Samuel our day guard, gardener and translator. We have daily contact with a few people who come for chai or a short visit from the village and we endeavour to go into the community as much as possible. Right now we are focusing on trips into the village every other Friday for the Samburu Soko (market), and then visiting mama’s from the church on the Fridays that there is no market. Pray for this,- it is a challenge to get out into the village with the entourage of 4 small children in the hot sun, knowing little of the language but we so want to begin making connections with people in whatever way we can.
Dreaming of 2 donkeys and a wooden cart….
There must be some way to help transport patients to the clinic. I have started dreaming/thinking of a way to get those who are too weak or sick to the South Horr clinic for further treatment. For those of us from Southern Ontario, it is like walking from Brantford to Paris to get medical care, except in the scorching heat, through rough bush, through riverbeds and mountain. Having no vehicle, my mind mulls over ways that I can assist people to this end. Even if there is a vehicle, often it can not reach the far-out mynyattas deep in thick bush. Over the last two weeks I have seen and treated many. Today I went with Grant in the car to help a mama who was having trouble delivering. A young boy, about 8 years old showed up around 830 am requesting we come to his village to help his mother. The mynyatta about an hour walk away was in the bush in a place the vehicle could not pass. The mama was unable to walk and therefore was placed on a cloth and carried by 5 ladies to the car (dodging thorns, goats and cow patties). We could only assist by driving her to the Catholic Clinic in the next village over, hoping they might be able to help. The mama we were told had been in labour for 3 days. It appeared as if there was an attempt to force the baby to come, yet it was still too early in the labour for delivery. From what I was able to understand there are no trained midwives to assist women in childbirth here. Other mamas just show up to help as they are able. I pray she is well holding a newborn by now. Later in the afternoon a mama with a bad scorpion bite, and again 3 or four other patients with minor issues came to the door. Yesterday there was a young women with pneumonia. She was too weak to walk to the clinic, as it was I am not sure how she managed the walk to the house. As my medicines have yet to arrive, I was only able to help with some medicine for the fever.
12 days in and I have seen about 20 or more patients ranging in age and severity of symptoms and conditions ranging from pneumonia, scorpion stings, 2nd/3rd degree burns, open sores and Tb related illnesses. Although my goal is to go out to the mynyattas to treat, with so many coming to the house, we are looking at a place in the house where I can examine a patient properly… as the front porch does not really provide any privacy.
How are the kids holding up?
We are glad to report the kids are doing well. There are a few days where they are tired, hot or cranky or not wanting to engage in homeschool. There are a few days where they miss home or grandparents or friends. But we are thankful for those who are praying the kids would have a smooth transition. Mornings are full of homeschool, but the afternoons are usually lego construction, slingshot practice, reading, craft and art time and free play.