They are my favorite and my least favorite. Of the animals that come through our yard, I think they are the most interesting. However they are a menace. They drive our dog crazy, and she will bark for hours. They go in peoples houses if they have not locked their doors. They threaten kids and women. But they are so interesting . . . dog like apes. This video is from a few years ago, when two troops of baboons had a turf war in front of our neighbors house just around the corner from ours. Lots of bluff with little damage, but still scary to be in the middle of it.
I have wondered what it might take for more people to come to visit Kenya and Kijabe. Maybe when the pandemic is over you will get a call from me inviting you personally to see what is going on. I recognized that personal invitations instead of generalized invites apply more pressure, and I have been hesitant in the past to do so. But I feel like there are things to see and understand that cannot be known via blog or stories. So this is one last general invitation (ok, probably not the last), and then you can wonder if I will send a personal invite. Or maybe I will decide that I do not want to pressure anyone. It may depend on the mood. However, if you do come, besides seeing the good work of Kijabe Mission Hospital and Rift Valley Academy, we might be able to hook you up with other good projects going on near us. And even more, you can go on safari. We have been on three safaris since moving to Kenya. They are quite the experience. Here are some highlights.
Some random thoughts this morning. Most often we attend a small group Bible study on Sunday nights. This week we hosted at our place. It is a nice time to relax and enjoy other’s company. It is a good time to pray corporately. Almost always it is part of making new friendships in the transient world of a missionary community. We miss friends back home . . . did you know we have been living outside the US for almost 9 years! It has felt short and long. Our kids were small when we left, and now we send our oldest off to college next year at Abilene Christian University. Time really does fly as they say. It is sad to see him go, especially after such a bummer year with the COVID restrictions. On the other hand I am really happy for him. ACU is a blast, or at least it was. I hope it continues to be so. In the picture below are several of our Kijabe friends. One couple runs an organization committed to environmental protection while encouraging productive farming. Another teaches at the local seminary. Another is helping to establish small clinics in the poorest communities of Kenya. Another is an anesthesiologist at the hospital. There is a lot of good work being done!
Many of you know we have been in a governmental lockdown for the last month. We are over one year into a curfew. Schools have been closed for the past month, and mostly closed for the past year. We did not know if our kids were going to finish school online or in person. We were praying for in person. Today we got notification that everything is open again!. For us this means freedom of movement through all of Kenya. The lockdown spoilt a vacation we had planned for early April, but at least we now have flight vouchers for an obscure regional Kenyan airline. Maybe we can use those next Christmas to go to the coast? Instead we did a trip I have been wanting to do for four years to Amboseli National Park which happened to be within the region we were allowed to travel. Amboseli is a beauty. There were not so many animals as hoped, but the setting made up for it. So although it was no the trip to the beach we had hoped for, it was a nice respite nonetheless.
This is a long story, and so let me cut to the chase. We are trying to raise 6000 USD for our friend Isaac. He is a man who is trying to break a cycle of poverty and family abuse while providing for his wife and three children. If you can help us raise this support we will likely influence generations as he will be able to support himself well enough to send his kids to better schools and possibly even university education. This is straight charity with no tax breaks and no hope of payback, but he is our Christian brother in need. Maybe and hopefully this will have one of the greatest impacts of any of the work we have done in Africa and Peru. Or it could all fail, but not every Christian act of kindness produces fruit we can see. But it all is used by God for his purpose. Read Isaac’s story below.
To give, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp me at +254 700 895 116. We are in great need help for Isaac by the middle of April. Support for this will not be going through our mission agency as it does not technically fit our mission’s goals.
This is a very brief summary. I am happy to give more details in private. Around 18 months ago Isaac’s house that he had built on his family’s property washed away in a flood. At that time a friend of mine who does community development came to Isaac to discuss a project for farming in the valley. It seemed a like a good new start for him, and Isaac was naturally excited. Unfortunately the COVID epidemic messed up those plans, and the man who was the driving force behind this community development has returned to the US. Meanwhile due to bad family dynamics including physical abuse of his wife by his family, Isaac had to leave his family and find a new place to live. He has moved from place to place over the past year trying to find a place his wife can be safe from his parents and sisters. Finally in his eagerness to try and provide for his family he has overextended himself financially, and he needs to be rescued from losing land that he has purchased to try and better his life, support his family, and provide education and way out of for his children. This is a rescue plan for Isaac, and I need your help. I have been employing Isaac since the day I arrived in Kenya. He was almost the first Kenyan I met, and he has worked for me 3 days a week since that time. He is industrious – in fact in the 6 weeks he has had his land he has planted crops, built a house, planted a hedgerow, dug a 35 foot pit latrine, and installed a water tank. I do not believe our generosity will be wasted. However he needs our help. 6000 USD is not much for a bunch of Americans working together. For Isaac that is 6 years salary. Please help me help him if you can. Please email me for more details of why he is in this situation and how to send money to help. Thank you.
No picture yet, but last night I arrived in Kijabe at about midnight. Not a soul was stirring, and I was wide awake. So after dropping my bags, I got a glass of filtered ice water, sat down on our sofas and thought about the previous 72 hours and all it takes to travel across the world in a day, and how incredible it is that we can do it so easily. My flight was easy. I managed to sleep around 5 hours on the second flight which is a record for me. I do not sleep sitting up very well. Then I cleared passport control without a hitch, grabbed my bags, met our friend Philip for the drive home. Being home before midnight is incredibly efficient for that flight. It has been good to be together again. The girls got me caught up on all the happenings. Peter planted some flowers. David went to hang with friends. Life is back to normal.
Today, after multiple attempts, Allison and the kids flew out to Dallas toward Nairobi. Allison received her tourist visa this morning, and so we got up early and had the tickets changed and put everyone but me on a plane today at 3PM. I am so glad for them. It allows them to avoid sitting in a 2 week quarantine in Kijabe before they could attend school in person. So tomorrow around noon our time in Dallas, Allison and the kids should be landing in Nairobi. Yeah!
All tests came back normal in regards to COVID. Everyone is negative. So Allison and the kids fly out tomorrow for Kenya. Everyone is looking forward to arriving in Kenya if not the trip. I am staying for a little longer. I will try and work some, spend some time with friends, and then will fly out at the end of the month after I get another dose of vaccine. So things are looking up again in the Caire household, and life in Kenya will soon be back to normal.
We were supposed to fly to Kenya today. It did not happen. Kenya requires a negative COVID-PCR test just prior to flying to be allowed in the country. We did ours and one of our tests came back positive for COVID infection. The rest of us were negative. We all feel great! Not a symptom among us, including the one who tested positive. And so we are staying home for at least 10 more days while we try and sort out a 6 out of 6 negative for COVID series of tests. To say there is some frustration and disappointment in the house would be an understatement. However, I am interested in how the next couple weeks play out. I sent a message to my friend Tony telling him we had tested positive and he said “Wow…who knows what God will do with this little twist.” That is a great way to put it. A twist!
One nice part of it is that I got to get my first vaccine dose today. So that means I may fly back a little later than the family so that I can finish the vaccine before going back to Kenya. That sort of stinks to think about, but maybe that is the best plan. I am glad for the extra time to rest before going back strong at Kijabe (this is what I am telling myself).
Thanks for remembering us and for praying for us. We really are eager to go home.