Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pics from New Camera

This post was a good excuse to take a few pictures with our new camera. Our old Sony camera was stolen out of our employment office. I had taken a picture of a Career Workshop group taught by a trainer from the stake, Denis Mukasa. We print and laminate a picture of each workshop group. One of the members of the class followed me into the office to see if he could get a book so he could study to be a trainer. I must have set the camera on my desk and then I turned to see if I had a trainer manual for him in our cupboard. That was the last I saw my camera, but, unfortunately, we left in a hurry to go home right after that and I didn't notice it was missing for about a day and a half. There have been a rash of these kind of thefts lately among the couples and the employees at the center with phones and mobile phones being the most popular thing to steal. We bought a Sony Cybershot DSC W290 on eBay and our mission president's daughter brought it when she and her husband came to visit. While visiting the Andersons in Chyulu we discovered that their camera had been taken from their truck inside their gated compound with many, many of their mission pictures on it. We looked for another camera like ours on eBay, found one, bought it and then gave them our new one (I'd only taken about a dozen pictures.) Then we contacted the next couple coming to our mission, Elder John and Sister Roslyn Udall. Our daughter Michelle met them in Salt Lake City and sent our new camera with them. We are thrilled with it!

Here I am at my blogging post. Can you tell I am "repenting" and trying to make up for lost blogging time?

You might be tempted to think this blue apron is Scott's new mission uniform. (See the previous post). I can assure you it is not, but I wanted to post a few of the pictures with our new camera. First of all I wanted to document the "spaghetti disaster." The package was opened unbeknownst to my companion, when he reached for the rice. Secondly, I want you to see his latest culinary masterpiece. He has learned to make rice pudding while serving on this mission. He's also become the chief dishwasher. We have an unspoken agreement that if I cook, he will do the dishes. What a guy! How I love my companion!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day 2010

This is the extent of our Valentines Day celebration. Scott bought me some flowers but they were the worst ones we've bought since we've been to Kenya. We've learned that communication can be an issue here. We stopped on a Thursday evening to get flowers and they looked pretty picked over. The flower salesman alongside the road said, "tomorrow," which we took to mean that he would have fresh flowers the next day. We said, "What time will you be here in the morning?" (because we wanted to get some before we went to the office for the day). He told us he would be there at 7:30. The next morning Scott was there at 7:30--no flower salesman. He asked about him and another salesman came running with some very old flowers. Scott bought the best they had and here is the result. The most loving thing we did for each other today was doing the dishes together in our color coordinated aprons and talking about previous Valentines gifts. It was still a very nice day.
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

African Children

On our drive home from Aberdare Park we saw these cute children and stopped to see if they would let us take their picture. We have learned the hard way to ask permission. The children don't seem to mind getting their pictures taken, but you definitely need to ask adults (not church members so much, just people in general). We learned from the other couples that it's handy to carry a bag of suckers in the car with us. They make a nice small gift for a child, a gas station attendant, a security guard who opens the gate for you, and others. If you look at the little boy in the last picture, you will see one of our suckers in his hand.

What I love about the African children is that they love to wave at us as we drive along in our truck. When we wave back, their faces brighten, they smile a big smile and they always look at their friends as if to say, "Look, I got them to wave to me." They are all so beautiful with shining smiles and they are one of my favorite things about Africa. I get so excited to wave to the children that I start waving at everyone, even the adults. The expressions on their face are usually one of puzzlement and hesitation, but many of them will also smile and wave at us.

Aberdare National Park, Kenya

On Saturday 13 February 2010, we were invited by the Esplins to travel with them to Aberdare Park. We were happy to be invited and enjoyed the day very much. Aberdare is a game park that's different from many game parks in that it has a lot of dense foliage. You picture an African game park as one with a lot of plains and savannahs. There are so many trees and shrubs that it's difficult, if not impossible to see animals. We spent most of a whole day in the park and saw only a handful of animals. But, the park has some incredibly beautiful waterfalls.

Lord Baden-Powell Cemeter: Nyeri, Kenya

On our trip to Nyeri, we were able to visit the cemetery where Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, is buried. It's a beautiful little cemetery about a mile from his cottage in Nyeri.

Baden Powell Cottage at Nyeri, Kenya

On Saturday 13 February we were invited by Elder and Sister Esplin to go with them on a day trip to Aberdares Park. On the way there we stopped to see a little cottage that Lord Baden-Powell lived in until he died. He is the founder of the Boy Scout movement. The house has been turned into a small museum for both Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts. It's part of a small resort called Treetops, named for a treehouse he had built in which to entertain guests. Since Scott and I have both served in Scouting positions, it was exciting to see the museum and read about Lord Baden-Powell. We even had an opportunity to sit in some outside chairs which Baden-Powell built himself.

We saw a beautiful peacock patrolling the grounds and showing off for his lady friends.

The first sign hangs on the outside of the cottage. Many Scouters have sent items from around the world which fill the inside of the living room of the cottage.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Farewell to Elams

On the evening of 3 February 2010 we said goodbye to our good friends, Elder Tom and Sister Donna Elam. They have served a 23-month mission in the Kenya Nairobi Mission and we have known them for the past 12 months. The past two weeks we have spent much of our time together as they have trained us to take their place in the mission office. It's been so much fun to get to know them better. What a great opportunity! We have always felt a bond with them because they have the same assignment we had in the Philippines and we understand a lot of the work that they do.

They have worked tirelessly in behalf of the mission. Several of the couples, as they wrote in their book about Kenya given to them by President and Sister Taylor, spoke of them as the "glue" that held everything together for the couples. That really was true. Elder Elam was our representative to the apartment managers. He made sure we were able to get money from home each month. They organized places for couple to stay when they came to Nairobi. They just made sure nothing fell through the cracks. We will miss them.

We've had a lot of fun playing dominoes with them on occasion, so the night they left, we had one last game before they went to the airport. Just as we started to play, the power went out, so we played dominoes by candlelight. It was a fun way to send off our good friends. Getting to know valiant, hard-working, sacrificing people like the Elam's is one of the greatest blessings of our mission.