The way the cookie crumbles

One of the things I like to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle is keep a container of cookie dough in the fridge. There are just so many emergencies that require a cookie fix. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies and I feel so mom-ish if my kids come home and I have some freshly baked snacks and that warm cookie smell in the kitchen. I have been working on perfecting a chocolate chip recipe for high altitude, but in the meantime I try new things all the time. These two recent discoveries are revolutionary. Try one today!

Big Fat Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction You can feel better eating cookies with oats and the protein in peanut butter. These are beautifully substantial. Get out a glass of cold milk!

For a fancy flight to France, try World Peace Cookies by Pierre Herm̩ and Dorie Greenspan. These are astonishingРa truly terrific texture and a deep chocolate experience. Like no other cookie I have made before. The video in the link is helpful as you journey into preparing these unique bites.

Seasons of Bugs

Some here we mark the seasons not by the weather, but by the insects that make themselves know in massive quantities as the weather changes. We have recently passed through a moth season which we are lucky enough to have never experienced. We are familiar with the termite seasons and the grasshopper/locust seasons. Our homes are not well sealed, so when the insect seasons come we turn down all the lights inside, pull the curtains tight, put towels under the doors, and try to hide from the oncoming wave of flying nuisances before they swarm into the house. We had short term visitors over during the moth wave, and we commented on how romantic the setting was as we ate around lantern light while the moths banged against the roof and windows. It is so fun to live here . . . . right?!

Our most recent moth season.
The grasshopper season.
Termite season.

Turnover

We started in Costa Rica for a year where we were always a “new” family. The “long timers” were wary of us, and we did not really understand why. Then we lived in Peru for almost 4 years. We started as the new family, and by the time we left we were old hands. Except for a couple families, no one had been there longer. Now we have been almost 5 years in Kenya. When we came we were again the new family. Last night after saying goodbye to friends, Allison and I started trying to think of who was still in Kijabe that had been living here when we arrived. There are quite a few missionaries here, but we could only think of just a few families that were “longer timers” than us. A sadness of medical missionary life is that the turnover is frequent. Good friends are made and then off we go from one another, either to other mission sites or home to the US. I can understand the wariness of the older missionaries in Costa Rica, Peru, and Kenya who kept a bit of distance. But there is joy is in making new friends (if not always time to do it well), and seeing how God provides. And the greatest pleasure is in doing good work that God has given us to do.

Goodbye Jeff and Julie

Hello?

We are still here in Kijabe! It may appear our life is always interesting. But our life is more normal than you probably expect. Allison goes to teach at RVA. I go to the hospital and take care of patients. Our kids have successes and failures as do we, the parents. Sometimes I want to pray and read my Bible. Then I have stretches where it is hard and I watch Instagram Reels instead of praying. So the point is that life is normal no matter where you live, and it gets hard to think of things to put on the blog. And then sometimes things are hard and you do not want to do the blog. Or work and life is busier and it is hard to find time. However, I will give it another try, because I feel responsible to those of you who pray for us and support us to let you know what is going on. And really it is a joy to share how we get to serve God, as long as it does not become too narcissistic. Thank you for anyone who manages to check this again after months off the internet. Enjoy some pictures from the past several months. . .

From Thanksgiving. Our first without David in Kenya. He was missed!
We had David back for Christmas . . . and went to Lake Naivasha. One of our favorite places to rest about 1 hour from Kijabe.
Dr. Mark Gingerich worked with me in Peru at Hospital Diospi Suyana. It was great to have him with us for a month in Kijabe Hospital.
Sarah had a Jane Austen inspired birthday party. Fourteen years old!
My team on the men’s ward at Kijabe Hospital. Those are medical interns, clinical officer interns, and nutrition students. And my face does not really look like that (I hope)!
Baboons like cactus fruit! They also like to come in our houses and take our food. Lock your doors!
Sarah in the junior high play. RVA has a new outdoor amphitheater that is really well done!

Traffic Kenya Style

There is a rally in Naivasha this weekend. Everyone wants to go, but after seeing the video below, I think I one of the those who does not want to pay the price to see the race. The second video is a bit of information about the race. When traffic gets stopped in Kenya it is a free for all and everyone goes wherever they see an opening no matter if it is in the oncoming traffic lane or in the appropriate direction. It can be on the median or the service road or over the field next to the road. One time a group of students from Nairobi to Kijabe got stuck in traffic for 8 hours. That trip is usually around 2 hours maximum. Ouch!

What You Might Find Surprising

Today it was 48 degrees outside when I woke up. Yesterday the thermometer said 45! It is winter time in Kijabe. We are barely south of the equator, and yet by some miracle of altitude and weather patterns we are always temperate. And currently it is cold. It is not “USA winter” cold, but chilly nonetheless. As I walked to the hospital yesterday I marveled at the temperature. It felt like the first true autumn chill in Texas. And it stayed cool and cloudy all day. I came home and built a fire at about 4:30 PM (the fireplace is the house heater), and at just that moment the sun came out. (Typical timing. It is like when the power goes out. Just as I get all the candles and lanterns gathered and lit, the lights will come back on.) Despite the sunlight, the outdoor temperature did not warm much, and as the sun set over the valley the autumn chill returned. This time of year the girls wake up in the morning and the first thing they seek is the space heater. In the evening everyone gathers around the fireplace, sitting in camp chairs to be close to it. It is good for family bonding although it can get a bit crowded. I think we will all enjoy the hot summer in Texas when we fly home for a short visit in July! Time by the grandparents pool with the hot sun on our faces. We’ll see some of you soon!

Local Leapord

A visitor to Kijabe was coming up the local road when a leopard jumped on the road in front of their car. They slowed down and despite the its camouflage were able to get it on video. As I walked by this spot yesterday with my dogs, I took my headphones out of my ears and kept a better lookout than usual. Today riding bikes with David, we blew by it quickly. It is very cool to have a leopard nearby. We have baboons, hyenas, and now leopards right around Kijabe. A bike ride away I have seen elephant droppings in the forest. If you go down to the valley there are all sorts of grazing animals like giraffe, buffalos, and zebras. When we camp by the lake, sometimes the hippos come It does not feel wild around here, but we certainly have a lot of wild animals.

The map from yesterday’s bike ride. The arrow is where the leopard video from below was taken.

Driving on Small Rural Roads . . .

. . . you might be surprised when rounding a corner, come to a complete stop, and then grab your camera! I know this is just a normal thing for people who have grown up here, although even Kenyans generally get excited when they see the big animals up close. However for a kid from Oklahoma, these sightings are always exceptional.

Strava Fun Africa Moment

I went on a long hike this week. I am not a runner. I have been a cycler in the past. Currently I am a walker. Few exercises are more enjoyable than a long walk with a good podcast or book. This one was long . . . almost 8 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain. You can see small out and back spurs from the main road when I followed untravelled trails that ended up being dead ends. The best part was an “Africa” moment. As I crossed a creek my older dog went running and barking around a bend. I came around the corner and saw what I suspected I might see. On the small cliffs and trees over the creek were a troop of baboons. It looked like a what a zoo might create in the baboon cage mimicking an African setting. A small river with cliffs and trees and baboons. It was a little far for a good iPhone picture, but take my word for it that it was awesome.