Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finally here!

Hello!
It is our 5th full day in Kenya, Africa. We arrived to the farm on Saturday evening. It is so beautiful here! The compound we are staying at, Camp Jabez, is surrounded by a thick hedge, and you have to go through two gates to get inside. It is so green here right now! Eric and Julianne both said that they have never seen it so green before. Apparently it had been raining quite a bit while they were back in the States. The flowers and gardens are so beautiful. The normal temperature can get down to around 48 degrees at night, and averages around 90 degrees during the day. Quite the variation!
 

The house is made from stone and is very beautiful. When you walk up the steps to the veranda, to the left is the student’s meeting room. In this room is where the teachings and devotions will be held, and where the students can study. Beyond that room is the girl’s dormitory… it is attached to the meeting room but is not entered through there. Back on the veranda, to the right is the door into our part of the house. When you walk in, you enter into a sitting area, the dining room, and the living room. Beyond that is Eric and Julianne’s room, the future baby’s room/office, and a bathroom. Connected to the living room is the kitchen and pantry, and beyond that is our bathroom and bedroom. The boy’s dormitory is in a separate building. It is almost the same as the girl’s rooms: a bunch of bunk beds in a room with a table in the middle of it.

On the farm right now, there are 7 cows, 7 dogs, a lot of chickens, about 20 rabbits, and 2 turkeys. Our goal is for the farm to be self-sufficient, and the former owners were hoping to do achieve that through the cows. Right now the cows are not producing enough milk, and seem to be just surviving. We have been looking into buying more chickens, and we think we can make more of an income for the ministry through raising chickens.
A few of the student leaders are already here… they all have such a great sense of humor. Philister is the only girl. She is about 26 years old with a beautiful smile. Jonny, Vitalis, Marvin, and Mike are the guys. They are all in their 20’s. I have had a hard time keeping them straight… I think I am finally getting the hang of it. When they are separate from each other is when I have problems… when they are all together, it is easier to pick out who is who. I’m going to feel overwhelmed when the students come! 15-20 more ‘abnormal’ names to remember. Aaaah.

We have a lot to do before the students arrive on Monday. We have been working on getting everything fixed that was broken and putting together the program. Julianne and I took on the “library…” two big shelves with books thrown on them every which way. We created an Excel Spreadsheet and categorized all the books (Bible References, Devotions, Theology, Novels, Biographies, etc), and put them in alphabetical order by author’s last name and title. We also put little tabs on the books so we know which order they go in, in hopes to keep better track of them. We are also starting a ‘check out system,’ so that the students have to sign out each book they remove from the meeting room. We aren’t quite finished yet, but maybe today or tomorrow the project will be completed.

I took my first “bucket shower” the other day! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I heated the water up on the stove in the kitchen (it’s a gas stove), and poured the water a big round bucket. After added some cold water to it, I squatted in the tub and washed. Definitely not as easy or effortless as turning a knob and having streams of hot water pour over your entire body… but it’s manageable.

That probably raises a few questions about the electricity and water. We have some running water… when it rains. When it doesn’t rain, we have to buy the water or get it from the containers outside. But it rained a lot during the last month so we have water for now. It is all put through a fluoride filter and then a different filter. We do have to heat it up, like I mentioned earlier, for bathing. As for electricity… a generator typically runs from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, but it flickers on and off, and we often cook dinner and eat it by candle light. It hasn’t been too dependable lately. Our hope is to someday have solar panels so we can have more dependable and frequent electricity. 

One thing I have been learning to do is to cook from scratch more. I thought I did this a lot in the States! I think I did pretty well; we didn’t use the microwave often or eat meals from a box, but compared to here, cooking absolutely EVERYTHING from scratch was not something I did. Not going to lie, I had never made spaghetti sauce from scratch before, but now I can say I have. We rarely have meat… mostly because we have no place to store it: there is no freezer or refrigerator. We have access to a garden (called a “shamba”), and have been using vegetables from it for every meal. It’s a growing experience for sure; but one I enjoy.

Going to the outdoor market is definitely a different experience. Weaving between many aisles of beans, chickens, food, clothing… stepping over animal feces… trying to keep up with your group as people cut in front of you… it can all be overwhelming; not to mention being bombarded with requests to buy a certain vendor’s products. “Buy from me, buy from me, my sister from another mother!” Many little children will follow you tirelessly at your heels and request money.

Another thing Jake and I have been adjusting to is the ‘personal display of affection’ aspect. In Kenya, it is not looked upon as a positive thing to show affection in public. Apparently those things, even holding hands, are for ‘behind closed doors.’ Jake and I by no means were all over each other back in the States, but it definitely is an adjustment to hold back the quick kisses or loving grabs. Oh well; that just means we get better at reading each other’s thoughts through the looks and glances ;]

In closing… we would love it if you would pray for us… here are a few specific needs:

*the students who are arriving on Monday. Pray for open, soft hearts; ready to learn.
*the student leaders; that they will have opportunities to disciple and lead.
*for Jake, Julianne, Eric and I, that we would recover quickly from jet lag, have Christ-centered attitudes all the time, and find joy in hardship and struggle. Also pray that we would be disciplined and motivated in overseeing the students and student leaders during this ten month program.
I think that’s all for now! If you would like to contact us…

E-mail: hawkins_08@live.com [Laura] - hawk_man@live.com [Jake]

You can get our phone numbers from any of our parents, if you’d like. Texting and calling can be expensive, but hopefully our internet will be totally set up [and be reliable!] soon.

You are all missed and loved :]

2 comments:

Dan D. said...

By now i bet there is no longer only 20 rabbits...

Praying for you!

kellifleck said...

Post some pictures if you can! :D