Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Photos Are Uploaded

It's been an entire week since we arrived home. (Its amazing to me how much faster life goes here, than in Kenya.) I have slowly been processing the photos from the trip and have finally gotten to a point where I am ready for everyone to see them. The good news is that my favorite photo hosting website ( has donated a pro-level account to Made in the Streets and we are hosting all of the photos there. The best part of that is that YOU can purchase prints right off of the website and the profits from ALL sales goes directly to MITS. That's right, you can purchase any photo and it will be printed and shipped directly to you. Prints are available in sizes from 4"x"6 snapshots to 20"x30" mounted canvas prints. You will NOT be dissapointed in the print quality, so make your purchases knowing that the prints will be FANTASTIC and that ALL of the profits will benefit Made in the Streets.

The photo galleries are at Enjoy!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We're Back!

We made it back to DFW safely last night about 7:30. After several flight delays and a total of 35 hours of traveling, it was so nice to get back home. We'll have some follow up posts here in the next few days, so keep checking back. Just wanted to let everyone know and thank you all for your prayers. (Especially our family back in Kenya)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Last Day :-(

Its a really sad day at Kamulu, made more dreary with the light rain and overcast skies this morning. We all said our good-byes during chapel and have exhanged letters with many students. I am happy to be getting back to Texas to see my family, but still reluctant to leave knowing I'll miss the relationships I've built with many of the students and staff. Everyone here works very hard every day to keep things running, and I would like to stay and help. I have been thinking about some things this morning and will try to sum my experience up in a few major points.

1. God is bigger than we think.
2. Miracles still happen on a daily basis.
3. The parables about the one lost sheep and the prodical son are real.
4. Everyone should visit Africa once in their lives to gain perspective.
5. I shouldn't have waited 39 years to come to Africa.
6. A smile and a friendly nod is part of the "universal" language everybody knows.
7. We don't need 9/10th's the stuff we think we need.
8. I hope that God will lead me back to visit MITS at some point in my life.
9. I have been blessed beyond my expectations and beyond what I deserve.
10. I do not want to spend the next 24 hours sitting in a plane.

We leave today at 10pm Kenya time and arrive at DFW on Friday at 6:00pm. I am sure we'll have some follow up posts once we hit US soil. Pray for our safe travels.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bargain Hunters

So we set out on our shopping trip this morning...74 people loaded up on two buses and we set out for Gikomba the 2nd largest market in Africa (yes that's right 2nd largest on the entire content). There were 60 kids and 14 staff-this included some of the kids and staff from Eastleigh.

You are going to imagine what 74 people can do with $450 U.S. We all split up and each student received 450 Ksh which is equivalent to about $7. (now i consider myself a bargain hunter/shopper) THESE KIDS ARE AMAZING...Every student was able to buy a pair of shoes, and each one of them was able to bargain their way into a deal of at least one shirt and even a air of pants/shorts. I asked one of the kids, Charles, what he purchased and he showed me, a pair of shoes, 2 t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a half ear of corn and 5 sweets(candy). FOR $7!!! All of the kids were able to shop, we then went back to Eastliegh for lunch...all 74 people were able to then eat lunch, still under the original total...Can you believe it?


One of the rules for going shopping today was that we could not be around the kids when they were shopping, because if a white person is around the child will not a get a bargain. The kids knew this as well-but what they did was so sweet. When Jerram and I were walking around we would see the kids and they would look at us and not say anything, but i would wink at them and they would SMILE and giggle and squeeze my hand and keep walking straight past us. AWESOME.

The only think I bought today was a Coke, 4 sausage links, 8 ears of roasted maze(local favorite) for 64 Ksh, which equates to a dollar...

Today was a great way to end our three weeks! Everyday the kids end Chapel with an encouragement and the SMILES we saw today will be my encouragement for a long time!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shopping Day

Wednesday is shopping day! Jerram, Emily and I have pooled enough money to take all the kids shoe shopping in town. After chapel in the morning, all the students and staff will load up on the buses and drive in to Nairobi for what should be a very interesting trip. Each student is going to have 450 shillings (about $7 US) to spend and we'll just turn the loose at the market. From what I understand, this isn't going to be your typical trip with the kids to Target. Keep in mind that I have yet to see ANY clothing items for sale that appear brand new. The students will be bargaining and negotiating on their own with vendors whose inventory is laid out on the sidewalk or next to the street on a blanket or possibly set up in a small open-air kiosk. My prediction is that these kids will REALLY surprise us with how savvy they are in finding what they need and closing the sale. We'll make sure to post photos and stories when we return.

Finishing Up Our Work

Our time at MITS is quickly coming to an end. As we reflect on what we have accomplished, we feel pretty good about everything we've done. Here's an overview...

We installed Windows XP on the eight desktop computers in the Learning Center. This gives them a total of fourteen XP workstations at the Learning Center and twelve at the Computer Shop. The virus threat on all of their machines has been least for the time being.

We were able to get the three wireless/radio antennas mounted at about twenty-two feet in the air, connecting the computers at the girls center, with the computers at the shop and at the Learning Center. This allows computers at all three locations to access the file server and media server. This is a BIG deal.

We installed all of the audio and video files and teaching and learning resources onto the file server. All together, there was about 200 GIG worth of resources copied over. We were also able to install a lot of productivity software on the work stations...Open Office, Picasa, Audacity, iTunes, PhotoStory, etc, etc, etc.

We went into Eastleigh and visited the bases on two occasions and ventured into Mathare Valley once. The primary goal was to get photo and video footage to be used in future MITS presentations. We have enough footage (both on the streets and back on the farm) for several feature-length movies. The real work on this will begin once we get home and start editing.

We introduced blogging to the students and staff. This morning, we set up a blog at that the students and staff will HOPEFULLY begin posting to soon. There are so many people all over the world that care about them and pray for them, I really hope they will keep us all posted on a daily or weekly basis. This could make the biggest change for them of anything we've suggested, so I am hoping they will follow though.

We spent a lot of time with Moses and a few other teachers and we feel confident that they are capable of moving forward with the upgrades we've suggested. We have been really careful during our visit trying NOT to impose our agenda or way of doing things on the staff. We want to support their work without taking ownership from them. They are already doing SO MANY things well, we didn't want to American-ize their system. We are leaving everything in VERY CAPABLE hands.

I am not going to list the time we have spent getting to know the kids, visiting with staff, walking and talking, throwing the frisbees, roasting corn around the campfire, hugging and handshaking, listening to life stories and visiting classrooms, because it hasn't seemed like work at all. That time has been the most rewarding and will produce more benefits than anything else we've done. My hope is that I will be able to return next summer and pick up right where we leave off this visit.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Great Thou Art...

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

I used to watch both my mom and grandmother sign this song in church, I would even catch my grandmother singing it around her house from time to time. Both of them have even sung it to me as they lay me down to sleep. I am blessed to have memories like these.

There are times I question how great God truly is when I see people living in the conditions they do here (Eastleigh), when I hear of terror and hate in people all over the world, why is there sickness, why is there hunger, why do people die,why does God allow these things?

I question because (I think) it is human nature. Then I even go as far to question myself- Am I a bad person to question God's greatness?

I have seen his greatness here as well as at home in the states. Here there are over 50 kids who have a safe place to live, food to eat, clean clothes and that are not on drugs or glue. In the states I have a home, a career, two beautiful children, friends and family.

I guess I can answer some of my own question-The greatness of Eastliegh is the students that have lived the was they did making the choice to move out here and learn a better life, they were given a choice, a chance if you will...

And back to my grandmother she died almost 17 years ago and when she did I was very angry and still am from time to time that she is not here. But the greatness comes in the fact that I had time with her at all, I got to know her and love her...and the calmness comes because I know I will see her again.