Sunday, August 30, 2009


So, last time I came to Kenya, I flew from Nairobi to Eldoret (the closest big city to Kapsowar) and then drove 2 hrs from there to Kapsowar. It is certainly the most expedient way to get here, but it didn't allow for me to see a lot of Kenya. So, this time, given the fact that I had 9 pieces of luggage, I opted for the drive. I had been told that it could take up to 8 hours, but I was excited about seeing more of this country.

So, this past Wednesday morning, we took off from the guesthouse I had been staying in. Getting out of Nairobi was like getting out of any big city in developing countries - completely crazy and leaving me marveling at their defensive driving skills. Once we were out of Nairobi, we were soon driving along the Great Rift Valley. What a< site! It looks like a vast crack in the earth with dry plains at the bottom of it - this is where the Massai Mara is (one of the best safari locations). I took a couple of pics, but they didn't turn out :(

After the Rift Valley, I saw zebras running in a field right next to the road, followed by a family of baboons just hanging out on the side of the road. We were on a highway, so we couldn't slow down for pictures. It was at that point that I really felt like I had arrived in Africa.

We stopped in Eldoret for a little bit more shopping and then went on to Iten (where all the famous marathon runners train). Here we went to a lookout that overlooked another valley - the Kerio valley. It was beautiful as well (pics below).

From there, we entered the forest/jungle you have to drive through to get to Kenya. Last time I was here, I had heard that there were monkeys in the trees there, but I never saw them. I was really hoping to see them this time, and I did! There's a picture below of one of them, but we saw a whole family of them. It certainly was a bright spot in the very bumpy drive from Iten to Kapsowar, which is all dirt roads and, I think, bumpier than a year ago.

I arrived safely in Kapsowar to a chorus of "Karibu"s (welcome). It seems everyone has been awaiting my arrival and I was happy to see so many familiar faces. I then got moved into my house (see pictures on previous blog). It is a very cute house and it is slowly but surely becoming mine.

So, thank you for all the prayers for safe travels. Not only was it a safe trip - it was a fun one as well!

Traffic in Nairobi
The Kerio Valley
The dark blue you see is the valley
The monkey in the forest -
I think he's trying to say "Welcome" :)
I think this is called an acacia tree.
Anyways, it seemed very African to me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Commissioning Service

I wanted to back up a little bit. The second week of August, I had the pleasure of traveling to Boone, NC to the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters for a week of orientation. It was a very full week, but I was so encouraged. I knew that Samaritan’s Purse did a lot of work all over the world in the name of Christ, but had no idea exactly how much they did. Mostly, I was so encouraged to know that I am working for an organization that strives for excellence in all they do and whose number one priority is sharing the love of Christ through the Gospel. It was also great getting to know some of the other post-resident families better, many of whom will be just a few hours away when they arrive. We’re already planning visits.

One thing that really impacted me was that every morning all of the staff (about 300) meet together for a devotional and prayer time. During the prayer time, the pictures of all International Field Staff (like me) are handed out and are prayed over individually. Just knowing that they, along with all of you, will be praying for me daily is a great encouragement.

Below are some pictures from the commissioning service they had for us at the end of the week. The one of the man praying is Dr. Richard Furman, one of the co-founders of World Medical Mission.

Front view of my house
View from my bedroom
Dining room
Living room

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I've Arrived!

I had probably the smoothest trip I've ever had getting here. Praise the Lord! It started with a very nice woman at the airport in Indy letting a few pounds for each of my 9 bags slide without overage charges. Then, my plane landed slightly early in Amsterdam, turning my nearly impossible 45 minutes between flights to a very easy hour and a half. Both long flights were smooth - especially the 2nd because I had an empty seat next to me. Then, when I arrived in Nairobi, to my amazement, all 9 bags had arrived safely. So, thank you for all your prayers!
I am in Nairobi now at a guesthouse and will be leaving for Kapsowar in the morning. It will be a 7-8 hr drive, but I am looking forward to seeing more of the country. And, I've heard there's a chance of seeing a lot of wildlife along the way (I'll be sure to take pictures).
I was so happy to see Bill and Laura Rhodes when I arrived in Nairobi. Bill is a general surgeon who has been at Kapsowar for almost 11 years now. He and his wife are amazing and I know that they will serve as fountains of knowledge and support for me over the next 2 years. Although they are currently on their way to the states for 2 1/2 months, I was able to talk with them for a long time today and ask them a lot of questions. I feel much better after doing this and am really looking forward to heading to Kapsowar. I am told that many people are awaiting my arrival. Bill also told me to take as much time as I need to get settled before I even think about going to the hospital. While I will likely just take a few days, it was a comfort knowing that that was an option. He also told me his expectation for me was to just focus on OB/GYN. I'm sure at some point I will need to do something outside my comfort realm, it was nice knowing that that wasn't an expectation. Laura also gave me lots of advice on cooking, shopping, etc.
Today I also got my cell phone and internet access and splurged on a microwave. While I could have gotten by without it, I thought that it might be nice during the next 2 years to be able to heat something up without scorching it on the stove.
So, it's off to Kapsowar. Please continue to pray. I feel that the Lord is already directing my steps and providing in so many ways. I look forward to sharing more and will post pictures as soon as I have some. Please feel free to leave comments as well - I love them!

Monday, August 24, 2009

On My Way

Well, I figured it was high time I update this blog. I am currently sitting in the Detroit airport waiting to board my flight to Amsterdam. From there, it's on to Nairobi. It's so hard to believe that the time has actually come. The last week has been filled with many tearful goodbyes as I said goodbye to very dear friends and my family. It was definitely bittersweet. I know that I am headed out to do the Lord's will and this is what is getting me through. I am excited to see what He has in store for me. I just wish I could take home with me as well :)
Quick updates on this summer - I found renters for my house and am praying that that will go well. So far, there have only been minor hiccups and I am believing that the Lord will continue to have His hand over this. I packed up my house and moved out in 4 days - with the help of my sister and my best friend and her husband. It was a whirlwind, but I was thankful to have the house situation taken care of. So, since the end of July, I was kind of a nomad - first living with my sister and then with my dear friends, the Hubartt family. It was wonderful to have that time with both my sister and with the Hubartts. It gave me lots of time with Amanda as well as my pseudo nieces and nephew - Violet (4), Anara (3) and Edison (9 months). I have many pictures that were drawn for me to take to Kenya so that I could remember them. (Like I could ever forget them!).
The last part of the summer was also busy with last minute packing, trying to widdle down what I really needed (I ended up with 9 bags!), and trying to squeeze in my favorite American foods. I don't think I forgot anything, although it would have been nice to have ice cream one last time :)
The first week of August, I was blessed to be able to go to a lake in Northern Indiana with the Hubartts. We had a blast and I experienced tubing for the first time. Many great memories were made and it was a good time to relax and hang out.
Then it was on to orientation at the Samaritan's Purse headquarters in NC. This was a very encouraging week as I learned even more about the amazing organization that I am blessed to work for now. I also was able to connect with several other "post-residents" who are doing the same program I am doing. It was wonderful to get to know them a little better and establish relationships that I hope will continue (many of us are going to various hospitals in Kenya). Plans are already being made for safari trips and it's nice to know I'll have people to call with the many questions I know I will have.
So, now it's on to Kenya. Thank you all for your prayer support and all the encouraging emails and facebook posts. Please keep them coming! Specifically, please continue to pray for this transition and that I will be reliant on the Lord to sustain me. Please let me know if there is anything I can be in prayer for you all about as well!
I look forward to updating again once I arrive in Kenya. Until then, may the Lord bless you all!