Driving to Mombasa

I am on my way to the Mombasa area to serve as a physician on the Senior Safo (senior trip). I have mixed feelings because I always miss Allison and the kids, although David is on this trip. However, he would probably prefer I was not I’ll try and be unseen! It is great to drive across Kenya. I feel so blessed to be here. I stayed last night at Maneaters Camp near the old Tsavo train depot. This is where the Tsavo man eating lions were killed. The movie The Ghost and the Darkness is based on this story. It was great to sleep in my luxury tent last night and hear the lions making their odd night time moans/roars. Today I finish the drive to the coast and await the Seniors. I am going to lay low, be useless, and enjoy a sort of working vacation. (Truly more vacation than work!)

Almost Done

It has been a weird four years. Moving to Kenya as a freshman and then all the losses COVID caused. David heads out on his Senior trip tomorrow. We are super happy for him! He graduates next Saturday. Hopefully we will have a trip to the our favorite restaurant in Nairobi to celebrate the following day, and then back to Dallas. The group in the picture above were the core of his friends. Not all of them made it through all four years as their families moved home or away, but they flew back this summer after they finished school in the US to have one last hurrah in Kijabe! I am thankful for each of them. We had barely arrived in Kenya in 2017, and on our first full day in town this group walked by the house and invited David to go up the hill with them for a bonfire. That was the beginning and they have been good friends since. God has been good to David with these loyal friends. Now we look forward to how God gives him friends at ACU!

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!

Taking David to ACU / Newsletter Link

I cannot believe that David is 18 and headed off to Abilene Christian University. He considered and was accepted at several other good schools, but in the end the idea of attending the “Harvard of West Texas” could not be beat. Allison and I both went to ACU, as did Allison’s parents. Both my brothers and most of my cousins attended as did Allison’s brother. My sister-in-laws on both sides are ACU Wildcats. It is the family school. We are very excited, and David will be rooming with his cousin. We are excited about that too. We are sad to see him go, but he is more than ready for the next stage of life. God was good to us when he gave us the responsibility of caring for this young man, and we are excited to see how he will serve God with his gifts in the future . . . (Read our entire newsletter at this link, Coming To The USA! There are some nice pictures as well as some small further updates).

If you know a church or individual that might be interested in supporting our work, we would really like to meet them!

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.

Kijabe Hospital in the News

One year ago our hospital received patients from a massive traffic accident. This is nothing new. We have patients from car wrecks daily. Sometimes a dozen at a time. We are just below the busiest highway in Kenya, and so when there are wrecks. people are picked up and dropped off at our hospital. One thing that is interesting is that often people come in the back of passerby’s cars. There is not a robust ambulance system, and so travelers will help out of the goodness of their character. I had a friend who was in a severe car wreck, and as he pulled his family, bleeding and unconscious from the car, he handed them to strangers who put them in the back of their own cars and drove them to the nearest hospital. He thought to himself as they drove away, that is the last time I am going to see them alive. (They lived and were eventually transferred to Kijabe hospital where our team cared for them).

What was different a year ago was that a very important politician in Kenya was one of the victims. We realized something was different when 2 helicopters landed on the soccer field across the lane from our house. He was operated on and then flown on to Nairobi. He has healed, and this past Sunday he walked from Nairobi to Kijabe hospital to raise funds for our trauma department. He had lots of people walking with him including some of our doctors from the hospital. They started at 2 AM, arriving to the hospital about 12 hours later. It is a long walk. It was nice publicity for the hospital, and it was an honor for us to be thanked and recognized for work we do for anyone, no matter the importance. I was impressed this man walked as he did just one year after his accident. It makes me thankful for the continuing ability to walk and work.

The reception after the walk
Feeling tired, but welcomed by his kids
It is a looong walk.
There are a lot of us!
All smiles after finishing
Feeling good!
Nice ride back to Nairobi

Enjoying Our People

For my recent birthday, Allison invited a few people for coffee and sweets on a Sunday afternoon. I was glad to spend some time with a lot of good people, and I was especially glad to spend time with the Kijabe Hospital Internal Medicine team. We have a great group of American and Kenyan doctors working together to take care of the complex medical cases in the medicine wards, the intensive care unit, and the COVID ward. We deal with a lot of tough cases and some really desperate situations, but there is not a day that goes by without this group giving me something to laugh and smile about.

The Lord is Good

Our friend Lisa sent this verse to us. Thank you for the encouragement!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:21-26