Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kenya 2012 Photos

 Click on this photo to see all of our photos from Kenya.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fair well and goodbye for now

Our job is complete for now. The library opened to the public today. One-hundred fifty school children from Shalom Primary School and many others from the community gathered packing the library to overflowing. We don't know who was more excited - the villagers of Gikumbura or members of our team. The Woman's Guild and the Pastor of the church offered prayers; the children performed songs and a dance bringing all of us up to join in their dance. We were given beautiful paper necklaces and Ethel was given a broom after taking pictures of one of the ladies sweeping (see previous post). It was an exciting morning. Words cannot express the many emotions we experienced as we bid farewell to these beautiful people with whom we have grown so close. Many of us shared tears as we departed, hoping to return one day.

Tomorrow the library will blessed and Peter Kenneth, the Kenyan deputy minister for planning and development and presidential candidate, will dedicate it. A surprise plaque will be unveiled thanking Fredrick's parents for their part in making this miracle happen.

Eight of us depart tonight with our lives changed forever.

Asante sana & Thii na wega

Thank you and goodbye (Kikuyu)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday last work day

We did not think it would happen - all books are processed and cataloged and shelved. The furniture has been built and painted. The floor is freshly painted and Joseph, a young student, has painted murals on the walls. We met Joseph last year when he painted murals on the school library walls. Joseph has not been in school recently because his family could not pay the school fees. Fredrick hired Joseph to paint murals to earn his tuition - a little over a $150 for the rest of the year.

Tomorrow morning we will move the furniture into the library and open the library to the public and it will be dedicated at the Sunday Service. One of the team members came to help build a library and was excited about that idea. She wound up making some Kenyan friends that she hopes she can stay in touch with for the rest of her life. They are a special, joyful people, living under difficult circumstances, who praise God for the blessings He has bestowed on them. We all feel richly blessed by this experience.

Thursday-internet down

Things are going well both in the construction of bookshelves, tables and benches - seating for 103 people and the sorting and processing of 7000 books. Friday is our last full day to work and we are very hopeful of finishing and moving most of the books into the library. The local volunteers and workers have been amazing. They have worked diligently learning new tasks such as cataloging books. Fredrick's dad, Gituku, has taken over the power saw and has been the leader in the building. Thomas, the librarian, is enthusiastic about his job and is taking books home to read to see if they are appropriate for the library.

Tonight we had dinner with the Kenyan Presidential candidate, Peter Kenneth. He will attend the dedication of the library on Sunday. We continue to be struck by the warmth and joy of the people and the beautiful children all so curious about the library and anxious to have a book. The concept of a library is a new one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seeing the World Through Different Eyes

It's always fun to visit a new county whether on business, for pleasure or in this case on a mission trip. On the surface, a visit to Kenya can be many things. Our first three days on safari were as expected ... exciting, unlike anything I've ever done ... seeing wild animals in their natural habitat ... but the most lasting impression will be from the second phase of our adventure ... seeing a small slice of this country through the eyes of our new friend, Fredrick Gituku.

On the surface I would say that we are observing extreme poverty, but once inside the world Fredrick knows and loves, I can only see riches that anyone would envy.

The Kenyan people are warm and friendly and make us feel welcome. I find myself wishing that I could do more to help where there is so much need, but to be a part of Fredrick's effort to help those who nurtured him along the way ... from the local shoemaker to people we meet on the street ... I find it's enough.

Kenya is an emerging country where their institutions are behind the developed world. There is no social safety net here. The people we are visiting don't have running water, paved streets or even addresses. I'm impressed however that the people always have a smile ... especially the kids who are everywhere ... and clean clothes to wear even when they are a bit worn.

I will come away wishing all Americans could visit a third world county. I think many opinions about our own circumstances would be changed.

John Wyle