Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Could Be Worse - It is for Many

I’m sitting in a restaurant where I’m dining alone. It’s another unplanned evening, displaced so to speak – I’m making my way to a temporary place to sleep. Just two more nights like this.

The burn on my forearm reminds me of several ‘wounds’ from the post flood days. I’ve cut myself with a razor blade through my index finger while cleaning old paint off the bathroom tiles. I’ve cracked my toe against the base of a ladder so hard it split the toe nail right down the middle. There are other small damages done, probably some I can’t even remember.

It’s not so much that I’m absent-minded (though, that might be part of it) but sometimes the small moments of being careful seem less necessary when bigger things have been lost.

I wonder if there would be more earthquakes survivors if people weren’t frantic but careful. I suppose it depends on the person, and maybe past experience too.

I have actually suffered very little from my muddy flood. I lost very little. I read in the local paper last week that 93 people in Kenya had died from the flooding in different areas. Some 60,000 are displaced. (I wanted to tell the journalist, “Make that 60,001.”) I imagine though, that all those displaced lost everything.

Some of the areas that have been flooding are normally arid, desert-like. Probably people in those areas are not very familiar with how dangerous a deep flowing river can be when they usually cross a dry riverbed or only wade through at ankle deep. You just put your baby on your back and whatever you are carrying on your head and cross. No one will ever the amount of livestock lost, which is some communities is like losing cash.

I’m grateful for how little I’ve been affected – but it’s taken me some weeks to get there. It would great if I could truly rejoice in all circumstances. Perhaps this experience will help me the next time. My mind has mostly healed, my body will too. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

Post Script: After leaving the shopping center, I got stuck behind a matatu (public mini bus) with the slogan on the back, God knows and He provides.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thinking of Something Else for a Moment

Really it's thinking of someone else for a moment.

Today is May 21, 2010. If she were still alive, my mom would be 84 today. She died almost 5 years ago following heart surgery. I have very few photos of my mom with me here in Kenya. All that I have are scammed in the computer. So here's one from probably the late 50's.

I still miss my mama!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Day at a Time

It’s Sunday evening. I moved almost everything yesterday to the new place. It went really well but the truck I hired had to take two trips. (I have too much stuff!) I had a lot of good help! Thank you, friends! And thanks to God for working it all out. I think this new place will be good, it’s just the slightly longer commute to work that I am not thrilled about. Still, it’s not bad, more space, no loud upstairs neighbors, closer to church…

It was a dry day yesterday and for the first time in ages, it didn’t rain overnight. Today was sunny and I had hoped that we’d have one more night of no rain so I could pull my carpet under cover to finish drying. But alas, it’s pouring again. In fact, it’s just about this time last Sunday night I was looking up from my laptop to see the flood pouring in. Tonight it’s not coming so hard that the drains aren’t keeping up, at least so far. And pretty much everything is up off the floor now. I’ve learned my lesson.

Tomorrow I will try to finish packing it all up (mostly just kitchen stuff remains) and get some help with ‘cleaning’. I will continue to try to sort things out as I stay with a friend over the next two weeks until the person living in the house I moved my things to, leaves for the US on May 31st. I wish I were more organized and prepared for this kind of living. But at least I will be settled by June 1st. There are still a few potential snafus ahead. For example, I may need an actual work permit to legally get electric and water bills coming to me.

One day at a time.

Here are a couple photos of the old place - next morning after that flood and then a week later.

Photos of the new place once I get settled.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Practical Update

I keep going back and forth with how to write about a recent event. Thus it's kept me from writing. But I just decided that instead of being careful and cleaver, I would just tell you.

On Sunday evening, my house was flooded again. This was much worse than the last time and it has badly damaged the floors. Basically my little nearby flat is uninhabitable. It's a shame.

I'm fine, but it's put me in a bit of a tizzy looking for somewhere safe to live. I have found a nice masionette (townhouse) but it's not so close to work I can run home over lunch like I often do. It's not that easy walk so I can have Daystar guests over for supper and so on. Other than that, it's a great place and I am looking forward to being high and dry!

Right now it's only 4:30 in the afternoon and it's very dark with thunder and lightening. If you are inclined to pray, please pray that my place doesn't flood again before I move out. It's possible, and honestly it will be far harder to get the water out because the wood floors have now all buckled.

Thanks, more as I am able to write.

Update: It's pouring again. really hard as I write. I could go home to another flood.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Remembering Lee

One year ago today my oldest sister passed away. She had struggled with physical disabilities since age 11 or 12 (my whole memory of her). The last time all my siblings were together was at Thanksgiving 2008. This is a photo of her talking with our nephew, Nick.

Remembering Lee is helping to fuel a little bout of homesickness, I'm going through. I didn't spend a ton of time with Lee in recent years, but she and I shared a passion for creating things. I miss that piece of family. I miss her.
One of her paper collages. (More about Lee can be found in my posts from May of last year.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kitengela Glass

I took a couple of our visiting faculty wives on a field trip to Kitengela Glass last Monday. We had a good time looking through all the weird stuff there. I have to admit, I love this kind of place. I could totally live in the funky organic surroundings I found myself in. A family started this company over 30 years ago in the sticks outside of Nairobi. I hadn’t been to see the beehive-shaped glass blowing house since the mid 90’s. So off we trekked.
This foot bridge was made of pipe and wire, decorated with glass beads.
This is the fanciest pit toilet I have ever seen.
In addition to blowing they make little hand made glass beads. Needless to say, I bought a few.
Blowing a vase, the next photo shows it almost finished. And it shows the hot fire it came from.

This guy turned out a beautiful platter. I hope to post more photos of this beautiful place. I've already got a few community development students interested in checking it out too.