Diane Greenwood

Thinking about…

The Equator and Hot Pools, Lake Bogoria

Rebecca’s mum click here to get to her blog 

The morning started early, I went over to the house to meet with the architect again to see the progress of the plans. While I was waiting for Nick to arrive I made toast for the children – it was great to see them this morning cause I had not seen them for a while as I was at Mission 2 and also out for Peta’s Birthday.

While I was in the kitchen I heard Mary preparing a bunch of the children to come with us on our outing today. It was a bit of a change – not much working – we went to Lake Bogoria. It is about 2 hours from Nakuru, MIA. Along the way it was so nice to see some villages with mud huts, local stalls as we passed through and also the many donkey, sheep, goat, cow and even a flock of ostriches. One of the things that really stood out to me was the villages that sold honey – seriously there were these wooden stalls with just jars (big and small and long and short and wide and thin) full of honey – as we passed they waved honey at us in the hope that we would stop and buy some.

Also we passed the equator! Which was a highlight for me! YAY …  

A honey stall along the way

The group at the Equator

Neil and I at the equator

So we went to the hot pools at Lake Bogoria. Before we left we were all paired up with a little one that we had to look after for the day. It was filled with so much fun. Splashing, laughing, floaties, balls and lots of chatter. Firstly we swam in the hot pool – I could not get over how hot the water was. At one point I had to get out just for a rest. Then we all got out and all had lunch. The children where just over the moon with their chips and sauce. I had a really nice fish with chips, salad and spinach.

 

Me with Jacob (my buddy to look after), Ben at the back with Amos, Neil in the middle with Isaac, and Jason

Jacob (Chucky), Me and Millie (Peta’s buddy!)

All the children with Mary serving the sauce – with their chips on the rug for lunch

Alanee and Esther – buddies – eating their chips

After that we went over to the cold pools which was a great relief, much cooler, had a great little swim and then we piled back into the car. Jacob and I slept the entire way back, with Ben and Amos next to us, at one point I remember waking and seeing Amos lying with feet on Bec, body on Ben and head on me next to Jacob. We all made it home safe, thank you Tim for driving so well. I am going to be having a good nights sleep.

26th, 27th, 28th and 29th …

Okay … so I have not had access to the internet for a couple of days. Here we go …

Boxing Day – 26th

This day was actually the Sabbath for MIA and so we had a Christmas Service that MIA invited the community to. Having the gates open and letting the community in was an amazing feeling. Everyone from Glen Waverley was asked to help in the service and we led some songs and also sung for the service. It was a great day and the Christmas message really focused on the hope that Christians have when they believe in the birth of Christ. A special service that ended with a prayer for a very sick baby that we all pray/ed for to get well. 

Anisha singing, Me on flute, Jason on Piano and Neil on Guitar – the Sabbath Christmas Band. We should also mention our Mandolin player Mary who was missing from this photo!

Our singers – Rebecca, Ben, Rosemary, Peta, Bethany, Nikki, Alanee, Kat and Anisha

The community at Church, filled to the brim :)

We then had a very big lunch where we fed everyone who came to the service. It was again a special moment when we saw lines of people eating. We saw Ivan and Mary greeting people from the village. Amazing day and thank you MIA for having such open doors in this place. 

Tracey, Neil, Jason, Alanee, and Rebecca serving up lunch to everyone

This is on the steps of the salon/shop, all the visitors along with Ivan, Mary, Sarah, Rachel and Sarah. This is the total crew that spent Christmas together – thanks for a Christmas to remember! 

 

Sunday Free Day – 27th 

Today was a roster free day and so we headed into the markets in Nakuru and we spent the morning collecting little goodies. We had lunch at Gilani’s with Clinton, David and Samuel from the market. When we came back to MIA we spent the afternoon playing football. It was such a good day and spending time with each other was a time to catch up with what everyone had been doing. 

Kat, Peta and I returning from Nakuru on motorbikes!

The football match under a rainbow

Jason going for a header!

Monday – 28th

Today was a great day! It was fantastic. It started with meeting with the Architect of Mission 2. We had a great discussion from the plans that we had last time. Ivan and Mary really know how these places run and it is so good to just chat through the planning. Thank for this opportunity and I hope that I am helping!

Nick the architect and I having a little meeting!

Then Rebecca, Alanee, Neil, Jason, Ben and I made our way to Mission 2. This place is a mission connected with MIA for some older kids. We were all able to play volley ball together, play football, play basketball and rugby. Rebecca and I did a puzzle with Joseph and Boyle and then we played card games with Margaret, Jacinta and Hannah. Alanee had an interesting game taught to her by some of the kids – a card game called AK47, Ace, King, 4 and 7 :) you can see Al grinning right now as she played right? It was just after some games we asked if there was a place to get some water. Dickens and Kevin took us on the most amazing tour of the town. As we walked up the dirt street we saw the life of the town just pottering away – donkeys on the side of the road, coal sellers, milk sellers and little stalls. On the way back we were taken to their school, Good Samaritan School, and they were so so proud of the place. Dickens told us about his schooling and he really is an amazing boy, coming from 3 years behind, now 2nd out of 500 …. WOW! 

Volleyball – we stopped playing after we won 1 game! Ah natural talent.

Kamau with bubbles!

Flora and Rebecca reading a dinosaur book together

Joseph and Boyle with their finished puzzel

Playing duck-duck-goose with the littler children at Mission 2

Neil and Jason playing rugby

We came home and had dinner, followed by a service where the kids sang heaps of songs for us. Baba Matha gave us such a welcome with his address, saying that even by traveling across the world we were there to show these children that they are loved. I thought to myself, how much change can we do in one night in the place – and after that message I realised how much we can do by holding a had, or giving a hug, or looking into some eyes and just saying that they were loved. 

We helped everyone to bed and hugged and was shown all their beds. Carol latched onto my hand and asked me to come with her. She took me to the managers room where there was a bench with medications, her HIV antivirals, and she took them as she held my hand tight. A moment I had to fight back tears :( 

 

Tuesday

Today we awoke in time for breakfast (omelette and toast – YUM!). Then we took the children into the girls dorm and fitted them with shoes from MIA. For the children we did not have shoes for we measured their feet for us to collect shoes in town. For the rest of the morning we face painted, took their stories and photo’s, played cards, played basketball, drew with them, played puzzles and just laughed and played. These children are so special and cause they are a little older we were able to bond and talk about some really cool things, about their dreams and about their stories. 

Alanee tracing a foot for sizing

Pauline and I trying on her shoes

Neil and Gloria with her new shoes

Rebecca gave Leah a note written on the Megasketcher we gave Mission 2

Dickens with his ‘pretty colourful’ horse

Pauline and her ‘neon’ butterfly

Darma and her butterfly

As the kids had lunch we thought we would duck into town and get the shoes we needed for the rest of the children. We also managed to get a pair of socks for each child as they currently do not own any – a pair for Sabbath we thought. We rushed home and handed out the shoes. 

Neil and Alanee purchasing the shoes in town at Bata’s

MIA was there to pick us up when we got back as it was Peta’s 25th Birthday today and we were going to a restaurant to celebrate. We rushed into the cars saying our goodbyes to the beautiful people we had just met – in fact this was hard to do – in one day and we had done so much – and there was so much love. It was pretty sad to leave. 

We had lunch at Maili Saba Restaurant. It was an amazing lunch and it was filled with laughter, food and chatter. We caught up and shared stories about the day that we had all spent apart. Peta was surprised with a birthday song from the chefs and the meal was great. Happy Birthday Peta! Hope you enjoyed your day. 

Peta and the staff singing to her for her birthday 

Alanee and Bethany waiting for their desserts

Neil and I with the ‘luxury tent’ accommodation offered at Maili Saba

We also caught the bikes home again from the corner – this time Neil came too!

We now sit in our little mud hut with it raining outside again. I miss my husband. Russell we will have many nights to talk about the things I have seen, but maybe just one day we can come back here and you can see it too :( Miss you.

Christmas Day

So in all Christmas Day here was not much different to a ‘normal’ day here at MIA. When I think about it I wonder how easy it would be to change and up-lift a routine for 44 children and all the carers/staff/visitors. NOT EASY!

We did however have a little ‘special touch’ to the day by Alanee and Kat face painting the children with their ‘professional’ talents. First of all we painted our faces to assure the children that everything was alright.

Kat painting Peta’s beautiful butterfly

Alanee painting Tracy’s princess

Bethany’s tiger

Rose and Bec’s butterfly

Neil as Michelangelo and I am just a swirly princess thing that Al did for me

Sarah the princess

Alanee painting Diana as a princess

Jayden (the birthday boy!) getting painted as a tiger

Kabibi as a snow leopard

So tomorrow we are having our Christmas Celebration and service (on the Sabbath) with MIA and the doors open to the village. We just finished our singing rehearsals and I am a little excited about seeing everyone and hearing everyone singing. 

We have just retuned to the mudhuts and Rosemary handed out the letters from Church Council. Thank you so much GWUC for the support and the wonderful words in the letter. Many inspiring things for us to bring back to GWUC. Thanks heaps. Also Kat and Nikki came over with the presents from Dean and Anne and I would personally like to say thank you, thank you … so so much! 

What a wonderful different Christmas – filled with laughter, children, painting, food and singing carols together at the end. Christ is born and as our letter reminds us this is the first step in the journey to Easter. Let’s hope that our Easter can be as inspiring as this place was as well. 

Thanks everyone for all your wishes today. 

 

Christmas Eve

Hi there everyone, Merry Christmas to all. Just like to thank all the people that have been constantly supporting us over here and for all the messages, phonecalls, texts, prayers and thoughts you have been sending our way. We really have been doing good work with all the support that we have been getting. Thanks for also keeping up with all our journals, Kat and Jas and Bec. It is good to get stories from lots of different open eyes.

So anyway today, here is what we did: Bec was in the laundry, Alanee was morning care time with the children, Neil and Bethany were in the kitchen for the day (made a lovely spinach and ugali lunch that we all had to eat the swahili way – with our fingers!), Jas started with painting and then finished the day with cleaning chairs with Ben. In the morning Rose, Tracey, Nikki, Kat and I did some hamper deliveries. We are still trying to get some hampers out and I think that the ones that we missed before Christmas will be done before the New Year. After the morning run Tracey and Rosemary packed some more and did another delivery in the afternoon with Nikki and Kat. 

The first delivery was for Lillian – she was not home at the time, but as a blessing we found her on the road as we were driving away so we stopped and told her about the package. This is Lillian on the side of the road.

This was a delivery for Mary, and it was one of the most beautiful places I have seen. The pride in place was amazing and it was so clean and I just was in awe at the simply beauty. 

This is Mary from the beautiful room. She was telling us that she had to eat soft foods cause she has no teeth and so we gave her a lolly pop and she was so excited she popped it in and wanted some photo’s.

There were also little goodies that we handed out to some of the children who came up to us as we were delivering. This little boy got a bouncy ball, which he loves.

Delivery for Sophia and her family. Her two boys are perfect candidates for the school that MIA are opening in the New Year. 

Sophia’s house was in a rental area and there where heaps of children. Kat had lots of fun chasing and playing with them.

Some children that Mrs. Pastor gave some teddies to at one of the stops. They loved them so much and their father came and thanked us before we left. 

Sese and her hamper with a baby pack for her little child.

Mama Rebecca and her daughter Rebecca with their hamper

During the afternoon Bec also had a sewing machine that Pattie had given her to bring here. Mary was so happy when she pulled out the Brother machine as she had a Brother and all the bobbins that she has now will work in the one that Pattie has donated here. Thanks so much! So gald it made it in the travelling. It works and is all “installed” on the bench!

Bec with the sewing machine all working – thanks again Pattie

Also how can we forget to mention that today the staff of MIA took on all the visitors in a game of soccer. We did let them win this first game (2-0)but wait till next Thursday. Bring it on!

Neil giving a great kick in warm up

Jason in warm up with the tractors behind him

Anisha’s swahili intimidation strategy – Sarah had briefed us that our secondary moves were to throw the cow pats from on the field!

In all a really really great day. We ended the night with some singing in our mud hut. Jas on guitar and me on the flute – singing some Christmas Carols. Jason played some of his songs as well. We also had Melanie, Phillip and George from MIA with us (as well as Ivan and Sarah). They sang a couple of swahili songs. I can remember closing my eyes thinking – we will never have the time again. What an amazing Christmas Eve, in the true spirit of Jesus’ birth today we gave hope and light to a few families in need. 

To all of our families back home – WE ALL SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS! See you all soon. Thanks for all your support again.

Lots of Love, Di, Neil, Nikki, Kat, Jas, Rose, Alanee, Bethany, Rebecca, Tracy and Ben xoxo

Right into serving – and Mission 2

So today was the first day of rostered activities for everyone here. In the morning it was like we all just got to it and on with our jobs. Neil, Jason and Ben were all on painting duties, they painted the cubby house in the playground. Kat was on laundry duties for the day. Nikki was on morning care time with the children – her shift started at 6.30am! Tracy helped Nikki in the morning and then was on caring for the afternoon with Rebecca. Alanee and Rosemary were in the kitchen. Bethany was working one on one with the children getting them to draw for their sponsors with Sarah. In the morning Rebecca, Peta and Tim were on delivers for Christmas hampers, Kat, Jas, Bethany and Peta did some in the afternoon – we are trying to get them all out by Christmas!

I was working on a plan for the new orphanage for Mission 2 with Ivan. Ivan had a very good idea of what he wanted and had a plan so I spoke with him about the parts that he would like adjusted. I am planning to have something for him so that we can look at getting a sponsor to fund the place. It was really good being able to have the opportunity to put some sketches together. I feel blessed that I am able to help in this way and that I am here at this time.

In the afternoon the carers had a staff meeting and it was left for us to mind the children for them. Well I am not sure how they do what they do, it was like there were 44 children and all of us just constantly running and trying for peace. They loved having us there and I think were so hyped that none of the usual carers were around that they just had heaps of fun. In the end they were quiet when Jas pulled out his guitar, and apart from trying to have a strum with him we managed to teach two new Christmas tunes. 

I think that that was the day for all of us … 

Neil, Ben and Jas getting the cubby ready for painting

Bethany looking at the handy work of the boys painting 

Nikki playing with Zippy on lap, Lucy blowing bubbles and Inna on back

Tracy and Fraha playing outside with hibiscus’

Rebecca with the children while we were looking after them

Me telling a story while we were looking after the children

Alanee with Ellie and Fraha while listening to the story 

Today I was reflecting a lot on the place that MIA holds in the community and also Kenya. A lot can be said about giving to charity and getting your hands dirty in the local community, but this place really speaks to both equally. These people have given up their life to serve these children and as a secondary note they have built the relationship with the community. It amazes me that they have done all this so fast in this country – in 5 years – and it assures me that God is working through them, and giving us the opportunity to be vessels for his word, work and love. Thank you MIA for creating the connections, the support and the love for both the children and the village here in Nakaru. 

Deliveries, Piave Clinic, Paint + Children

Okay so this is going to be hard to report on everyone going everywhere. So maybe I will report what the group did as a whole and then put up photo’s that I have taken for the day.

Today was packed with goodness. Some of us started the morning with deliveries into the community, then we dropped Nikki + Rose at Piave Clinic where they had immunisation day, some played with the children with bubbles, on the trampoline, we also painted tables, sorted through some of the containers. Packed, packed, packed and not much jetlag which was good.

The bed maker putting the beds together at Sho Sho Esther’s house.

This is the spot where the small boy sleeps before the bed and matress

After we had installed the bed and matress (still to be added the mosquito)

Ivan and Sho Sho sitting on new bed (with her son)

Piave Dispensary – Nikki and Rose

Ivan and Mrs.Pastors with a Christmas Hamper we have just delivered

Jason and Neil delivering matresses to a family

Neil with the new matress and she was so excited that she cleaned the bed immediately to put it on

Neil driving the tractor to the school with some joinery to be delivered

Right now we are all sitting in our mud huts sharing stories. We are about to go to bed … for a nice long sleep.

A big day!

So there are two reasons why this is a big day. I will start with Nikki and I. Today were rostered on to the kitchen duties. Well I had been in and out of the kitchen – washed a few plates – made a few loaves of toast – peeled a few potatoes – but seriously was not prepared fro what Lillian does each day.

So we served breakfast, cause by the time we got to the kitchen the porridge was already made and hot. After that we made lentil soup with rice for lunch, we chopped and chopped and chopped. I will never complain when cooking for 2 – let’s just say that there was a lot of veggies to feed a lot of people.

Nikki and I chopping

Chantelle came to visit us in the kitchen – and Mr.Fly on my arm

The little kids lunch

David praying for lunch

Lillian with all the big children’s lunch ready to serve

Big children’s lunch time

Sophie praying

While i was in the kitchen the plumber for the new mud huts came with Mary and asked if they could look at our mud hut to see where he should put the plumbing points. I took him along and he came inside, had a look and on the way out he found a stone (he was carrying a big knife – who knows why?) then he proceded to note down the layout on the stone. Like a little plan. He he … I asked if he wanted a pen and paper – he said “You have pens?” I said yes and then gave him something to note down so he could take it with him. The african contractors way!

The stone with the plan – not too easy to see

The second big thing is … the group arrived … I sit here with everyone in their mud huts. Thank you God for getting them all here safe and I hope that this is the begining of a VERY big adventure.

Sabbath, Biscquit Run + Nakuru Town

So yesterday it was Sabbath. I started the day with a little bit of reading, then we went and helped the children get ready for Sabbath school. Nikki and I came back after Sabbath school to cook a quiet breakfast. We have been savoring our time together because 9 others are coming soon and we really wanted to just spend some time together. Should just say that we have done some amazing things together and we will cherish moments together and how we have been given the chance to give.

Last night we were talking to Mary about Sabbath and 7th Day Adventist’s. It is really interesting to think about a whole day just focused on God. That means everything from washing to business exchanges (buying anything) from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. One of the good things though is that on Saturday’s sometimes Ivan does bisquit’s run. God’s work on Sabbath Day, giving, is part of Sabbath.

Ivan got the car ready and as we waited in the driveway he told us a few things. We prayed for the children that we were about to meet. He prayed for their patience and also that they would not be too rowdy. We were soon to find out why – who could blame them, we were handing out free biscquits.  In Kenya, people pronounce this buscquit word as it is written. “BIS-QUIT” “BIS-QUIT” “BIS-QUIT” so as we went down the road the commotion started. 

Our first “BIS-QUIT” handout – Nikki and Josh

Isaac handing out a “BIS-QUIT”

Me with Bonnie on my lap, Isaac under my arm and Josh in the red in front all with “BIS-QUITS”

Josh handing out as we stopped

Franko and Josh with a baby calf at one of the stops

Franko with a chick at the stop

It is so important to note that as we drove through the village we saw so much of MIA in there. There were water tanks here and there and we stopped at the Maturi family, who were a family that suffered from multiple mental illness’, Ivan and MIA had been able to get some money together to get them into a lockable home as the community were taking advantage of them. A very horrible story and so much better for having MIA in the community. The work of MIA stretches more than just visibly through this community. Ivan had people running to the front of the van to greet him with hugs, “my brother” one lady told us, another told us that “God was with us”. This place is so much better off with MIA in the community. MIA give to their community as well as their children – thank you for that MIA. If people want to give to GIFTS IN ACTION I highly recommend that it will be money spent that you will see the rewards for, money that you can trust, delivery and love included.

In the evening we went into Nakuru for dinner and a boogie, needless to say this is Kenya, so the boogie came before the dinner – the dinner was late!

Left: Darma, Nikki, Me, Kennedy, Lorrene, Peta and Wesley

TODAY

Was a very quiet day. Nikki and I started in the kitchen early. To say that we peeled a potato is an understatement. We did about 100 and I will not appreciate more when I get home cooking for Russ and I, maybe we only eat 1 potato a meal – if that!

We headed into town to do some shopping for the arrival of our friends. We got some water, some welcome treats, and some decorations. We also went to the market and brought a few things – Nikki actually brought me a beautiful Christmas present – Russ it is amazing and going on a wall in our new house (whenever that happens!) Also, Peta who we went in with dressed up as a Masai and was scaring everyone on the street, she is one hilarious character!

 Peta in Masia outfit, with her carrot hands (yep we got potatos and she got carrots)

Water Tanks + HIV Testing

YESTERDAY

I didn’t post yesterday as again I spent the day in bed feeling pretty unwell. We reflected on a few things over the day while in our little mud hut:

  • again how amazing it was to be here in such a family atmosphere
  • how much this place is involved in the community
  • how when we were putting the hampers together Mrs. Pastor she reminded us of many bible stories and where biblical names came from and who was married to who

Pretty much a quiet day in the house for me and then I went and had some dinner and went bed after laughing really hard with Nikki and Peta.

TODAY

So today Nikki and I split up for the first time since we had really been together :( Nikki spent the day here at MIA doing HIV testing and had a really special time with Mary/Carers/Dr/Sarah and the children. She said that there were times that nothing was said and silence filled the room awaiting results.  The children were so brave as they had their tests, there were a few screams, but nothing a kiss and a cuddle couldn’t fix. The time was special and something that Nikki will not forget. 

While Nikki was at MIA I went into the village with some other volunteers and installed a water tank. It was a Grandma’s (Sho Sho) house. We met the grandchild, Mercy, who watched us for the whole project.

We began by removing the old guttering and facia from the old tank

We removed an old timber platform in the location for the tank and also dig the base for the tank to sit on and also the hole for the bucket to be filled up in. At the same time we also made sure that the water run off on the block was diverted around the tank; a bit of civil infrastructure

We connected the brackets for the gutters to sit on, with lots of help from John and Bill (??) making sure that they were level and fell into the tank. Gavin (a MIA volunteer who is also a plumber) made the final connections and also connected the tank to the guttering.

We connected everything up, added the MIA sticker to the front (this is a donation from someone). This is Mercy and her Sho Sho watching as I sticker their new tank.

In all, about 3 hours later, a fully installed tank and donated tank from MIA into the local community.

I can say today was a great day. Another day that MIA has put it’s fingers and roots into this community and village. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. It is sabbath here tomorrow so I can’t wait for a rest and rejuvenation. 

Christmas Hampers

So today we helped put together the Christmas Hampers that people all donated through Gifts in Action.

Nikki and I got up early and met Lillian (Mrs. Pastors) at the MIA General Store. We were given a list of families that had been identified to receive packs. We sat together and put together and measured the flour, sugar and ugali (maize). It was so nice to do some good work for others. Packing we reflected on the great Christmas dinners that we had and also how lucky we are to have most of the things that we were packing for families in need. 

Ugali all measured out ready to go in the hampers

The sugar and all the laundry soap ready – Lillian (Mrs. Pastor)

Family packs on the way to being ready

Me, Nikki, Lillian putting some last touches in the packs

The pack included: sugar, ugali (maize), flour, rice, cooking fat, cordial, matches, candles, laundry soap, sweets for the kids with biscuits, salt and tea. 

The last things we have to do is put the toys and the clothes. If the family has a small child we will add a baby pack, if they need a hygiene pack we give them on of those. 

After packing we wondered back to our mud hut and spoke about if my computer would play DVD’s. Nikki and I got some DVD’s in Mombasa. We came back to the mud hut and gave it a go and yeah it worked! The story gets better … the other night I saw Mary making popcorn in a pot with oil, so I thought why not. Nikki found some popping corn in the cupboard and I went and got some oil. We watched the movie and Nikki reminded me that we are here to live the opportunities we have right now. 

Popcorn – who needs a popcorn machine! 

Nikki and I set up with the laptop and a DVD – we watched the afternoon away!

After movie it was a typical night of dinner routine, worship, getting kids ready for bed and then dinner for us upstairs. Nikki and I were able to eat tonight – yay – we had spinach on toast! Yum!

Now we too are off to bed. 

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