Well hello again!
Just wanted to send this message tonight as we are anticipating a few very long days coming up and I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance to write again. As it turns out, today, Wednesday, when we were suppose to take the children to Nairobi, is the day that Nairobi is on the “power ration”… so we are traveling to Nairobi tomorrow instead… when they have power and we don’t here in Nyahururu… and so it all works out!
The children are so looking forward to this trip! They have been talking about it all day long! We will in fact be up by 5:00, to PACE by 5:30 to help load up the bus and hope to be on the road by 6:00 am. Please do pray for this day, which is the highlight of camp for many of the children. Pray for safety on the road and as they engage in water activites, and for energy and perseverance for the team and national leaders… it’s going to be a long one!
The last couple of days at camp have been so much fun for the children, and for us to. Some highlights… a couple of the teenagers told the national leaders that they have enjoyed the morning Bible/life lesssons… WOW… yes teenagers said that… I must say, as I’ve been with this group for these sessions, the teacher, Mr. Waweruh has been so good… not easy subjects, but he’s so engaging and fun to listen to, yet such wise teaching that the teens can really relate to. Today’s lesson was on “Peer Pressure and it’s Dangers,” so much wisdom for someone at any age. Though it’s interesting, although we see many influences of the West starting to take hold here… many of the examples and scenarios he uses to get the point of the lessons across are so different from what we would use for our young people. When he talked of “falling in with the wrong crowd,” he used the example many times of teens getting involved with one of a number of terrorist groups that are engaged here. And we think street gangs are a problem! Just goes to show how important it is to reach young people and help them understand they are here for a purpose and God has a plan for their lives… no matter where they are growing up. He made the point that many people get involved in the wrong crowd because of poverty… the point he was making is that it is still an individual’s choice to make as to what one will get involved in… he said “Imagine if everyone in the world who lived in poverty joined a terrorist group??” We each have a choice to make as to how we will use what God has given us to contribute in a positive way in this world. I’m amazed at what these folks, who we would consider as living in relative poverty, are able to accomplish together using what they have and together coming up with creative ideas to implement change for the better in their community. I’m so looking forward to getting to know these teacher and leaders over the next few months and understanding better how we can assist them in growing leaders in many areas in which they work and serve here.
I must say to that our team of ladies has been such a blessing here. Talk about creative! The children have reported that they have really enjoyed many of the new activities that the team has introduced to them. Yesterday, Phyllis, Mary and Val led a game whereby each child tied a balloon to their ankles with a length of wool. Then they formed a BIG circle and by age group, took turns getting into the middle of the circle then trying to break each others balloons. It was a hoot… what was really great to see was that the the children really got engaged in cheering each other on, even when it wasn’t their turn. Even the teenagers. I was commenting to Wachira the Director at PACE today, about how great the teen boys have been at helping out and encouraging the younger children. Of course, they do spend time on their own and in their own activities many times, but when the group is together, they are taking an interest in the younger ones. This is so encouraging and is a testament, we think, to the teaching and values that are being taught here. And some of it is cultural to, perhaps… we are finding that young people here are so respectful of others generally, they have a different level of social skills, perhaps since they don’t have access to electronic distractions that many other cultures have… so they have to really engage with people of many ages… and have more responsibilities as well… many factors contribute, I think.
Yesterday, we got ingredients together and made chocolate “chip” cookies with them to. Well, sort of chips… we had to buy chocolate bars and smash them up.. but hey, chocolate is chocolate… they loved them! We made two big batches… and as we were making the batter, a couple of the teachers were scrambling around trying to get this gas oven here hooked up to a gas tank. They managed to get it going just in time, and each child got to drop a cookie on to the “cookie sheets”… which turned out to be a very large pot lid and a roasting pan… we had no measuring cups or spoons so Val and I winged it… and by some miracle, they turned out pretty good. Even though they took over a half hour to bake ( as opposed to the usual 10 min.) as we could only get the bottom burner in the oven working and we had to tie the oven door closed with a piece of wool. Many of the kids asked if we were making them again today. That was a good sign! We served them last evening along with marshmallows and S’mores… which was a big hit again of course. We had lots of marshmallows and there was one group of young boys… probably 6-9 years old, who I think were having some kind of competition to see how many marshmallows they could eat! They were coming up to us a proudly exclaiming… “I had 7 marshmallows!” ” I had 9!’ “I had 10!” We were thinking… YIKES! First, how did they get all those, and second, how many tummy aches will we have tonight! Again… praise God… there were none… though I’m sure they didn’t get to sleep anytime soon with all that sugar in them! Ahhhh, camp… brings back so many memories! 🙂
One young Pastor’s son in this group… who told me the other day that the first time he had marshmallows, he didn’t really care for them. He said last year, he had three… I guess he’s decided he liked them after all. Well, just before I left camp last night to come home… he ran up to me and reported that he’d had 9 and next year he would eat 18!! I think if I come back to camp next year, I’ll miss marshmallow roasting night… even the thought of that makes my teeth curl!!!
Yesterday the children went horseback riding again… and Mr. Kago who takes care of the horses, insisted we have a ride. So Franklyn, Mary and I took him up on it! That was fun… and I think Mary’s first time for this to (So many firsts for this very courageous lady!)… though she looked pretty comfortable considering the horses want to “GO!” It helped that one of the boys would run beside it urging it on to go fast! Those horses got a work out… not only did all the camp people go, but Mr. Kago gave every child in the immediate community who came out to watch, a ride to. He is such a kind hearted man and though he seems very proper, even strict to some, he really has a heart for people, especially children.
Oh, and speaking of driving, while some of the children made Mandazi (the donuts) for the trip tomorrow, the teen boys and Mary took a driving lesson from the driving instructor at PACE who runs the “Sweet Times Driving School” in Nyahururu. Mary did return herself, the truck and the boys in the back in one piece, but I heard that she was told once was enough for her driving in Kenya! 🙂 The road out here in pretty tricky… I wouldn’t even attempt it!
The children have enjoyed more crafts, singing, games and roasting… tonight it was sausages… thankfully no sugar tonight so they will hopefully sleep well! Phyllis also kept a large group of the younger campers engaged this morning by reading them a couple of books she brought along for the PACE children’s library. She will be working with the head teacher before she leaves to help him set up a system to allow the library to be properly used and able to lend out books to the children.
The Kenyan’s have been enjoying some rain this week to… oh, yes and it did start when Mary was driving the truck… that would have added to the challenge! All of the people here talk about the lack of rain this year… but thankfully in the last few days they have had rain… and when it rains here… it POURS! We had another storm come though again today. And though it’s an inconvenience for camp… nobody cares… they have their priorities and rain is IT! The crops are suffering, so we are thanking God for the rain when it comes and praying for more.
Well… I should end here and get to sleep. I hear some snoring… which is good… even though the dogs are barking and crying outside again tonight, it seems the team is getting used to it and it’s not really phasing them anymore. That and I think we are all pretty tired… we’ve been working hard and spending a lot of energy each day! It’s been good and the team has been just awesome with the young people. It’s been great to see how the Kenyan children are really connecting with us visitors this year… even the teens. It’s been very encouraging and a great blessing to us all!
We hope all is well back at home. Please continue to pray for us as we cannot to this on our own or in our own power! We have seen many prayers answered already and we trust that God is even doing so much that we cannot see with our own eyes! We appreciate everyone who has partnered with us with support and prayer! It is a great investment we are all making in the lives of these children & these national leaders which we all pray will spill over into their community and their nation.
Be blessed in the knowledge that God is indeed at work in this place!
We hope to write again soon… at least one more time before the ladies return home.
With love & thanks,
Sheryl, Phyllis, Mary, Val and Franklyn