Plan once, shop twice

I guess you could say this was our first official day here at the orphanage and the welcomes continued. There were lots of hugs as the Aunties we worked with last time came on for their shifts. We spent most of the day shopping, buying supplies and planning for our projects ahead of us. We met with our hosts and discussed what the most important things that needed to be done. Some of the projects are to large and complicated for our short visit and some we will begin and go as far as we can go.

Kakamega Town

Jack, our driver, took us to Kakamega in a borrowed car that had its share of ailments, but made it back safe and sound. Our first stop was the tile shop. We have been asked to continue the work we did in the children’s play room and tile the cement dining room. It is another fairly large room – 14×28.

We dragged George along and between Jack and George we were able to find and communicate what we needed. I will be posting the fundraising site tomorrow to help pay for the materials with of course the labor by yours truly and Mr. Tom.

20 Liters of Cooking Oil

Next stop was the food+everything-else-store. We needed to buy food and water for our first week. We also asked what the home needed and the ask was some of the basic staples – cooking oil, sugar, diapers, laundry and bar soap. Industrial sizes, please!

Can it all fit? All but the tile – back tomorrow with a truck to pick it up

On our way back we had to make our way around there HUGE trackers pulling giants wagon 14 foot long just harvested sugar cane. Because the tractors were going so slow, folks along the street would walk up to it and pull a rod out. It did not seem to bother the driver LOL. No, I did not ask what they make with sugar cane — who would ask that? For those that are asking, yes, it is sugar. We later found out that because of recent weather conditions since 2020 Kenya has been able to increase their crop growth by 50% and is helping many farmers.

What would a home away from home be without a cat and of course with the Cat Whisperer in residence we have one.

Another special blessing

Tonight around 830 as we were sitting in our room making plans for the next day we heard this beautiful sound of African women singing in harmony coming across the grounds. It was the Aunties in a devotion. Tom, George and I went over to peer in the window and listen. They were standing in a circle singing in perfect harmony, eyes closed and arms stretched out wide. After the song they each turned around, kneeled and leaned on a chair and prayed out loud. It was a moment I will not forget.


Yesterday’s mantra was Bukura or Bust and today’s is BUSTED. We headed back to the airport at 7am for our flight to Kisumu.   As I mentioned yesterday, George is with us, and this is his very first air flight. It was a quick flight and we were only in the air for 35 minutes from take-off to touchdown.  His favorite part was being above the clouds and was sad when we had to go descend.  He handled like a pro and is looking forward to many more flights – especially to see New York city someday.

Bust #1 = What is Wrong Officer?

Lauren and Jack were temporarily detained on their way to get us from the airport. They were stopped for a “safety check” and had to have the nice policemen go through some quick inspections. Well, wasn’t it just their luck that they were able to pay for the infraction right there and then without having to go to court.

Bust #2 = Are We On Fire?

Something you really don’t want to be asking going up a hill just outside the airport. We were told that the home’s car was not in good shape and that we would need to look at it while we were there. And when I say we I mean Tom. This car is extremely important to get to the store, church, medical appointments and school for the children. Without it they need to take public transport, taxies or a PikiPiki. Well, sometimes the lord wants you to experience things first hand to enhance your convictions to serve. Thank you lord, I know what goes on the fundraising list.

What happened next was just your typical car break down scenario. Someone waits for the tow and the rest take an UBER-like-service. We were still 30 miles away and had the most lovely conversation with our driver. The President, National Assembly and Senate are in August and it is primary time in Kenya. The Kenyan elections have proven to be a volatile time in the country with decisions coming down to tribal lines which have escalated to extreme violence from the losing side. He explained to us the situation and I have to be honest it did not seem so different than how we act towards others in our own country for having different political beliefs. It is a fairly new democratized society and he and others are hoping for a more calmer outcome.

Bust # 3 = Bubbles of Course

We got to Rehema and it was like we never left. I will be sharing more of the grounds with you throughout the week. This afternoon was to unpack, see if the kids remembered us and introduce our self to the 9 new babies that have joined the family. What better way to start back up the relationship but some good ole’ bubble busting. It was great to see them having fun and hearing their laughter.

Yes, there are 9 new babies in the home and it literally is all hands on deck – or on the floor in this case. There are two Aunties at anyone time taking care of these children and the other 25 others. At anyone time there is someone that needs something. This is the scene when I brought them the toys that Rachel Dewey bought them. When I arrived they had no toys and as you can see they are all playing with something. Thank you Rachel, more pictures to come and Mark and Michelle say hi!

At the End of the Day — not a total bust, but a blessing.

Every night at 7 is the children’s devotional time where there are songs in praise of God and thankfulness to Jesus. A reading of the bible and a special prayer from Aunt Karen and it is off to bed for them all — and us.

Bukura or Bust

It is Thursday, 530pm in Nairobi and our first flight left at 730am yesterday and we still have a ways to go to get to Bukura. We were thrilled that everything went smoothly so far. The flights from Rochester to Boston to JFK to Nairobi were all on time. Even, our four 50lb-stuffed-to-the-brim suitcases, and Manny’s walker arrived.

200lbs of donated materials

Toto (who gets this?)

And just as we came out of the airport it started to rain. Mathew our driver said that we are blessed since the rain happened as soon as we arrived. Well, it is the rainy season, but we choose to believe it any way. Speaking of the rainy season(s) we are in the “long rains” from late April, May to early June. The typical pattern is for rain to fall as a torrential downpour, lasting perhaps half an hour to an hour, with the sun then coming out and drying the wet ground in minutes. It will be interesting to experience this.

Our driver took us to our B&B for the night and we were met with Michele and Mark Tewksbury, missionaries at the Nairobi Rehema Home who took us to exchange dollars into shillings, get a sim card and lunch to catch up on everything that has been going on since we were here two years ago.

Tomorrow we are up at 6am to catch a flight to Kisumu and then and 1 1/2 drive to Bukura. We are bringing with us a special guest. George Mwangi is graduate of Rehema Home Nairobi and is employed by the organization as their communications manager. He has never been on a plane or been to Bukura. I suggested that he come with us to gather photos and video’s of the home for him to use in his work. I am looking forward to seeing the kids and the home and discover what my next two weeks will hold.