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Klassen Kenya Update #4 – 12/28/09


Good morning from Kijabe, Kenya!
We are getting ready for a day in Kibera slum.  We are doing well and we know without a shadow of a doubt that your prayers are covering us.  God has blessed us in so many ways and there is so much to try and communicate that I feel overwhelmed!  I will try and be concise! (I am editing and was not concise – sorry)  Not easy if you know me.

The 27th we spent the day working in Machani.  Some of us worked on the house for Mary Paul, Yvonne and I helped the ladies make the Kenyan lunch of Chapatis, Irio – a mixture of potato, maize, and peas, and cabbage and carrots, and then the rest of the team helped make rocket stoves for two houses.  It was a great day.  The rocket stoves are made with ash, sawdust and lots of red Kenyan mud so Kenzie, Char, Ashlyn, and Julianne had a great time looking like Lucy with their shoes off stomping around in the large piles to mix the “cement” for the stoves.  In between they played soccer and jump rope with the kids.

Cooking here is incredible!  I was peeling and shredding carrots sitting on a stool over the red mud trying to not waste a shred.  Yvonne became an expert Chapati maker which is an art.

On the way to the site there was a truck in the middle of the road due to all the rain and muddy roads so our leader said ok lets walk- Ben thought he was kidding – NOPE- so we hauled our supplies up the hill to the site.  It started to pour about 3 pm which brings food and life here as I said but is interesting for us as vehicles can not make it up the muddy hills so we walked about 45 minutes back to RVA down the Kenyan railroad tracks.  Quite an adventure we will not forget any time soon!  We were very muddy and soaked to the bone.  We will have one day back there to finish the house and make two more stoves.  The stoves use three pieces of wood a day rather than 15 which helps save the Kenyan trees which is quickly disappearing. They cost us about $6.00 to make!  The Kenyans make a little over a dollar for about 2 hours of work- now that is a perspective changer!

We are all so very tired at night so we have given in to the fact that 8 pm is an acceptable bedtime!  We all are up by 6 am and generally very happy so God has united us in happy morning spirits.  We have been doing private devotions and then sharing around a big picnic table what we learn or with our individual prayer partners. Ben keeps us laughing, Char singing, and Yvonne praising the Lord.  We all still like each other so praise the Lord for that!

Yesterday we went to church at an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp.  The UN set up hundreds of tents for the Kikuyu tribe that were forced out of their homes due to tribal conflict in the last election.  We have heard many horrible stories of longtime neighbors hacking each other with machetes because they were from different tribes.  One Kenyan lady named Margaret with tears in her eyes says the conflict has been the hardest problem she has dealt with in her whole life.  For a people whose struggle to eat and have appropriate shelter that was a serious statement.  I was holding back the tears listening to the heartache. There were about 200 people there.  Different groups performed for us with song and dance as only Kenyans can.  Fletcher, Char, and Loni gave short testimonies with translators and a pastor spoke.  The Kenyans are a warm hospitable people so we spent a long time after visiting.  The kids were enamored with our hair as it is so long and soft to them.  We have many great pictures of the kids braiding Char and Yvonnes hair.

We heard stories of how these people were forced from their homes and communities and were so grateful for the tents in the valley that the UN set up for them.  Habitat for Humanity is building them cinder block homes so they were grateful for that too.  Many of the people loved the Lord so much and were filled with joy.  It was a great lesson for all of us as we interacted with a people who has very little in terms of material things.  As Americans it is apparent that we often think that peace will come when we acquire that “next” thing, new job, right relationship etc.  but it is very apparent here that these are not  the key to peace and contentment.  It can only be in a relationship with the Lord, that crosses all socioeconomic barriers.

After we finished church we headed to Crescent Island- 24 four of us- we took many of our new Kenyan friends to enjoy a day with us.  This island is filled with non predator animals that you can get very close to.  God was so good to us and it was the first day that it did not rain.  We found out later that it poured in Kijabe so we were so grateful for a great day of getting to know Margaret, John, and many others as well as enjoying what most would envision Africa to look like.  Our pictures are phenomenal!

After we ate – an experience in of itself it was very late.  Ben and I feeling very responsible prayed all the way home as it is not really safe to drive here at night.  The police are very corrupt and look for any way to bribe people for money.  To top it off it was extrememly foggy – picuture Fresno fog- and so we all breathed a sigh of relief when our matatus reached RVA.

Sorry this is so long but this is a great way for me to record our many experiences so skim, skim, skim!!!  I have two last stories and then will go.

One is about John the pastor, comes from a family of 10.  Is now married with one child.  One of his brother- in – laws was killed last year due to the tribal conflict and his sister died from meningitis that could have been prevented if she had made it to a hospital.  They left 6 orphans for Johns Mom to care for  who still has 4 kids left at home.  I asked him how she feeds them – he smiled a big smile and said it is very hard and we often just go with out.  He is going to try and take in some of the kids.

The other story is about Margaret who is a teacher at Kijabe boys high school.  He husband is out of work and they bought some chickens to raise to sell for money for her daughter’s school fees.  A cat got in and killed a bunch of the chicks and so they do not have money to replace the chickens.  She is worried about how to pay for every day things like food etc.

Life is very hard in Kenya in many ways.  These people are teaching all of us many things about ourselves and what contentment looks like.  The things we think we need so much may change when we remember these people we have become friends with.

Thanks so much for your prayers.  Please pray for us tomorrow as we are preparing for our 400 plus kids party.  We are a little worried about the logistics to say the least.  Brad and Jen Bell come tonight and Ben and I will go pick them up.  We are so excited for them to come.  Pray they adjust fast as we are only getting busier.  Pray for strength for us and that we will continue to be able to share the Love of Christ that can only happen as He fills us with His love.  Also please pray for us to remain unified as we live together day in and out.  Thanks.

In Christ,


One Comment leave one →
  1. Allie Penner permalink

    Hey, it’s so great to hear about your trip!!! It sounds like you have seen some amazing and life altering things. We are praying here for you and will continue from Thailand!!


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