Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My African Hut

I wanted to give you a video tour of my house, but a 30 second video took an hour to download, so that tour is out. You'll have to come to Kenya to get the personal tour. Today you'll get the picture tour in no particular order...

My bathroom with a shower and bathtub separate. Our house has three bathrooms. I get this big one all to myself!

Our dining room with a swastika in the center of the tile.

Basement used mostly for hanging laundry and storage.

Kitchen filled with friends.

Living room with a view of three story mansions out the window.

More living room with furniture that needs to be recovered to match the walls. That will come soon we hope.

Outside of house with friends' cars in the drive.

Entry way - the first thing you see when you walk in our front door.

My bedroom - the wall is painted Masai red now.
There are two more bedrooms and two more bathrooms, but you'll have to come to Nairobi to see those. As you can see, I'm really roughing it in my African hut. There's lots of room here, so all are welcome any time.

Anyone Know?

Do colds last longer at 6,000 ft? It sure feels like this one is worse than my normal head cold. Hopefully, I won't get another one this year to come to a scientific conclusion. For those of you who have worked with me, you know how much I like science experiments. This is one experiment I don't want to experience. But I'll take answers from anyone who can speak from their own experience or who googled it. :)

I'm on the mend from severe sinus congestion. I suppose my body is still getting used to Kenyan germs ("pathogens" for my former fourth graders). Fifth grade, however, is going well. We're into our groove and learning much. I love that I get to teach for a living. There's no other job I'd rather do (even with a head cold).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

School...

School has been in session for two weeks at Rosslyn. We're in the thick of it, and I've got the runny nose and head cold to prove it. My annual fall sick days are here, but they came a little earlier than they usual do in the states. I've got the weekend to recover, so no need to make that substitute teacher folder yet.

Fifth grade!... The year started a little strange for me: winter weather instead of fall heat, an empty classroom instead of bulletin boards and books, new curriculum, parents, and kids to figure out. Despite the changes from my comfortable five year tenure at Veritas School in Oregon, it is going very well. I'm getting to know my kids and their quirks. The parents are similar to those at Veritas - involved and caring. My classroom now looks like a classroom. It feels good to be here. I admit that there have been times I missed my old school, the kids and families, the routines and procedures, and the comfort of knowing how things work. I keep reminding myself that this will become comfortable too. Give it a few months.

The kids here are amazing! To give you an idea of the diversity, let me tell you about Grace. On the first day of school I asked the kids to put a pin on the map in the country they come from. Grace, a blond haired freckled American girl, came to me saying she didn't know where to put her pin. She was born in Japan and had lived there the last ten years, but her parents were from America, and now she lives in Kenya. I asked her where she felt like she was from. She decided to put her pin on Japan. So the blond American girl is from Japan. Grace is one of many students at my school who are sort of displaced like that. I'm excited to be a part of their lives, and it's confirmed again to me that this is exactly where I should be.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Haircut in Kenya!

Here I am straight from the hair stylist - back to my old short-haired self. She did a great job.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Road Rage

Nairobi traffic is much like traffic in other countries I've visited - different. Most Americans would call it crazy. In Nairobi there are three kinds of driving I've experienced...
1. Suburban roads with potholes big enough for my entire body to fit in.
2. Urban areas where pedestrians, vendors, and cars meet in a maze of confusion, with lots of honking horns and car accidents.
3. Down town where the fastest way to get anywhere is by foot because the vehicle traffic is at a constant stand-still.
Here is a video of my roommate, Wendy, and I running some errands on Saturday in the Westlands, one of the urban areas of Nairobi with great shopping. The traffic that day was actually quite good, but you get to see a little bit of the round-about action we experience in Nairobi.

video

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kenya Friends

The moment some of you have been waiting for... PICTURES! Here are a few pictures of my new friends. First up, the roommies. Christa is on the far left and Wendy in the middle.
Christa is Canadian, with a fun Saskatchewan accent. We have a lot of fun together because she's sarcastic and teases me all the time, which makes me feel right at home. Wendy is from the South with the accent to prove it. When I come home with strange speech, you'll know why. Wendy and I have many things in common: we like to throw parties, are neat freaks, and have birthdays in the same week. I'm truly blessed with awesome roommates.

Christa is engaged to Stanley, whom she met at the university campus she lived on for a while. They're getting married in December.
Won't they have the cutest kids?! I have to say, this is a horrible picture of them. They were both super tired when I took this picture, so the intoxicated look is not their normal appearance, but you get to see who I hang out with these days.

Last Saturday we threw a party at our big house. Everyone brought a dish to share, and we enjoyed a great time of hanging out with kids running around in our basement and gated yard. It was a great time for all and we got to show off our new living room paint job and new curtains to match. Now we just need to cover the hideous furniture with Southwestern designed pillows and abstract deco-art couch.
I'll send more pictures later, including a tour of the house. For now I just want to say, thank you for all your prayers and support. There is not a day that goes by that you're not thought of, family, friends, and old co-workers alike!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Missions in Africa

On Friday I experienced the most awesome teacher inservice I've ever been a part of. Our entire staff (over 120 people) split up into six groups to visit different mission organizations of which our Rosslyn families are a part of. It was amazing to see the various ways people minister in Africa: providing clean water, Bible translation, HIV care, children's homes, and more. In the course of the day I got to visit four organizations of the 70+ that Rosslyn families work for. MAF, one of the many acronyms used around here, provides air transport for many of the other organizations. Their whole mission is to fly other missionaries throughout Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. Another organization, CMA (don't ask me what all these acronyms stand for :), does many things, one of which is teaching people how to filter their water from disease using only the sun and clear bottles. My favorite was the New Life babies home that takes in over 50 HIV positive babies at a time. Most of the kids are adopted by age 3, and many of the children running around my campus came from that home. We also heard testimonials from a few parents who are able to do their work because their kids can go to Rosslyn Academy.

Seeing and hearing all the work going on totally touched my heart. I held back tears several times throughout the day because I was overwhelmed by the fact that God wants me to be here, to be a part of all the amazing things going on. I feel so honored to be a minute piece of God's big puzzle. I'm very blessed to teach kids whose families are doing so many awesome things throughout this continent. I can't express how grateful I am that God is using me to do something I love.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

URGENT!

My roommate, Christa, is having major visa permit issues. Worse case scenario involves her being kicked out of the country, leaving behind her Kenyan fiance, missing her wedding in December, and putting a halt on the ministries she's involved with here. Please pray! This not only affects Christa, but all the new staff's work permits and Rosslyn Academy's reputation with that office.

Pray that...
1. The Kenyan immigration office in Nairobi would show Christa and Rosslyn Academy favor.
2. Christa would be given a work permit.
3. Christa and Rosslyn administration would have peace about God's hand in the situation.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

It is day three of my work week, and I'm as busy as ever. There doesn't seem to be enough time to even go grocery shopping. "Winter Kim", as my friends often say, is kicking into high gear. My classroom is coming along, there is tons still to do, and I have a lot of curriculum to weed through, but it is all good. I'm excited about the new year and the amazing people I get to work with. It is an adjustment after teaching at the same school for five years (I have to remember not to compare). I kind of feel like a first year teacher in many ways. My classroom was an empty shell when I arrived with only a few old shelves, filing cabinet, and teacher's desk. Now I've got bulletin boards, desks, newly painted shelves, and some curtains I sewed by hand (I don't have a sewing machine). I'm learning how to get things done around here - my new best friend at school is Stephen, the Kenyan man who does it ALL on campus. So onto lesson planning I go, thinking of all my co-workers at Veritas at the same time. For my dear Veritas family, enjoy your last few weeks of summer vacation!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Church

In my short time in Kenya, I've attended two churches. The first Sunday was spent at an international fellowship that meets right on my school's campus. It's purpose is to feed and fill expatriates who give to other ministries throughout the week. It is very much like most Christian churches you'd find in the States. Today I attended a Kenyan church with a small handful of other mzungas (white people) in the congregation. It meets in a very large tent with sound equipment, stage, and big white screen for worship. It has an English service with praise and worship containing English and Kiswahili songs. I really liked the Kenyan church. It focuses on social justice (I know my Oregon family will like that.) and community building and outreach. Although I may try some other churches with friends, I think I might have found my new church family - Karura Community Chapel.This picture is a good representation of Karura, which is a little smaller than what you see here. But the red dirt, surrounding trees, and few cars give you an idea of my Sunday morning experience.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Today's Shopping Trip

I went shopping for fabric with four other gals today. On the way we got stuck in a traffic jam, which is very common in Nairobi. The traffic is horrible here - worse than China, worse than anything I've been in. While we were stuck in the jam, a man selling maps came alongside our car. I needed a map for my classroom, so I rolled down my window to discuss a price for a world map. At first we couldn't agree and traffic started moving, so on we went with the vendor running after our car. He decided my price was OK, and he agreed to sell it to me. Through the window he gave me the map and I handed him the shillings. I bought my classroom world map while in a traffic jam without ever getting out of the car. It was great. The rest of the afternoon was spent fabric shopping, which was somewhat successful. There is much more shopping to be done, but that's never been a problem for me. :)

On a different note, many of you have requested pictures of my roommates and house. I don't have internet on my personal computer yet, so I cannot post pictures yet. Hopefully it will be coming soon. Be praying that I get internet at home. It's still up in the air. When I get it, I'll post about all those details and give you a video tour of the house. I also want us to finish decorating before the tour, so please be patient with me.