Kibwezi Partnership Update

July 2014 Work Camp Updates

View the album of 2014 work camp photos.

July 29

Back home!

July 28

Boat ride on Lake Naivasha, hippos again! On our way by bus now to Nairobi Airport.

July 27

Today was a day of glorious worship celebrating the dedication of Bethel Church. Our partnership was honored on multiple occasions. Our song of All Are Welcome was well received, including a demand for 2 encores of the Fifth verse. Then came the tears of goodbyes with friends you've learned to love in just 3 weeks.

Not all goodbyes had tears.

The farewell committee in Kibwezi included 75 beloved Kenyan children and school staff and one goat. We got a rousing and loving farewell. We still miss them. Given that we had eaten goat for lunch that day, however, the goat stood alone saying, "don't come baaaaack".

We arrived safely at the PCEA Guest House in Nairobi at about 6:45 p.m., which is more than I can say for the sheep and goats who tried to cross the highway about an hour ahead of us without a herder. We had dinner and evening vespers soon thereafter. During vespers we said a brief prayer for the sheep and goats and their owner, and then reminisced about the friends we made and the joy we shared in Kibwezi. Eager for the first hot shower and soft bed in 3+ weeks, everyone is now in their rooms.

Tomorrow we travel north to the Rift Valley and a tour of a tea factory. Then straight to the Nairobi Airport.

July 26

The women campers (Director Jane on left) clean up nicely.  

July 25

Zach and Renee singing tonight at a dinner hosted by the Matron. Sing in' for supper at its best!

July 24

Whitewashing the historic cemetary is our list work project.

Singing at primary school's devotion this morning.

July 23

Gifts given at the rural preschool. This is a photo of preschool children at Burke introduced to the kids at Muusini through the photo.

Preschool at Misuuni.

David has completed his Masters in chipati making from matron Hellen.

The roofing sheets on the new building are being added today.

July 22

There is a new monument in front of the school. It shows the history of the presbyterian churches in Kibwezi.

July 20

It's dusty in Kibwezi!

Today we worshipped for our last day at the Nendeni (bush) churches. David preached at Kikauni and Taryn, Renee, and Sierra demonstrated the Cup Song percussion and sang Down to the River. Pastor Jonathan preached at Kilema and was joined by Rick, Carol, Sarah, and Benjie. Sarah did a solo and Benjie read Green Eggs and Ham after the service to the children. Rev. Lakesha preached at Makindu and I am assuming that Zach sang a solo there, not Barbara. Rev Philo preached at the big Bethel church, with Cannon singing accompanied by his Guitar.

All are healthy and well-fed.

July 19

The Sunday School competition is today.  The events are drama, recitation, memory verse, and singing games. The Usalama children who competed are shown in the attached. Otherwise it is a free day until movie night tonight.

Yesterday we finished our painting project. The Machinery preschool project is coming along well and will be done in August. The group split for dinner - small groups at teachers Rebecca's and Patricia's house and a large group at the Mote's.

Old building and under-construction building at Machinery.

Cannon and a microfinance client. Can you see his DAILY Coca Cola?

July 17

Primary school devotion being led by Rev Philo.

Reverend Lakesha preaching at the Polytechnic devotion this morning.

Cannon singing for the polytechnic students at morning devotion.

Baboon tree on left. Camp site on right.

July 16

We returned safely from Maasai land on Tuesday full of gratitude for the hospitality of our hosts. Despite a difference in language, we shared the gift of song and our common devotion to our faith.

On Wednesday, Benjie and Sierra worked on the new preschool at Machinery; Rev Lakesha preached at the morning Polytechnic devotion; Rev Philomena and Sarah worked all day at the medical clinic at the school which also serves the community; Rick, Carol, Taryn, Renee, Zach, Barbara, and Benjie painted the old church on campus; Cannon visited two micro finance groups and learned to dislike the food Ugali served by the groups he visited; and David went overboard in making us healthy and meat-free (and Ugali-free) meals.

We caught up with Mwaniki in town. A few of us were present in 2009 when that Work Camp team first met Mwaniki, who had a disfiguring growth on the side of his face the size of a half-softball. During that trip we arranged for him to have surgery to remove the growth and visited him at Kikuyu Hospital. His scar is barely visible now and the growth did not return; and he runs a large cloth and tailoring shop in Kibwezi which has been patronized by several campers. Of course, he remains very grateful for that gift.

We have learned that we are not the 2014 Work Camp but are instead the 2014 version of the Kibwezi Work Camp teams.  We are a part of past relationships built and deeds accomplished, and future Work Camps will be a part of what we do. As to this Camp, our meal times and evening vespers are full of sharing of the day's events, and each of us feels that they are a part of a team and share in the specific accomplishments of the others.

July 15

We visited the pastor's Maasai home and received gifts!

July 13

We returned safely last night from the safari park. We saw about 30 different animal varieties, including wild ostriches. We then had dinner at the home of the Orphan Care director, Carol Rithaa. Everyone went to bed early to avoid sleeping at church, as if that was even possible in Kenyan churches where His praise is unfiltered and loudly proclaimed.

Today Reverend Lakesha preached at the large church on campus, Bethel Church, and Zach sang two solos, The Lord's Prayer and Brung Him Home. David preached at Misuuni, the building we helped build three years ago. The building looks amazingly good.

David was joined by Taryn, Barbara, Benjie, Sierra, and Sarah. Reverend Philo preached at Machinery Church, where we are building a new preschool. The work is already above the window levels and more of us will return to work on Monday.

Rick and Carol also went to machinery and enjoyed Cannon's guitar playing and singing of How He Loves. Reverend Ole Mapena, Kathy, and Renee attended worship at Mwanyani, a far piece away. Renee sang a solo - You Raise Me Up.

We are enjoying a little free time before we leave to have dinner at the Orphan Care home. Zach's overdue laundry occupied the whole clothes line. Go Zach Go!

Dance time at the orphan home!


July 12

Safari day at Tsavo West. Hippos!

July 11

The traditional photo!

We are in the midst of a soccer match against the primary school students.  All tied up. Apparently some of our players have their own fan club.

Post game handshakes. Team USA wins.

July 10


July 9

All is well.

We went on more orphan care visits and camp life is Spartan but bucolic. Connections with Kenyans abound Parents beware! - Reverend Philomena is not the only camper who had work done at the hairdressing school.

July 7

On Sunday, Rev Philo, Barbara, Cannon and Sierra and Kathy worshipped 5 km up the road at Mt Moriah Nendeni church; Carol, Rev Lakesha, Benjie and Renee worshipped at Usalama; and David, Sarah, Zach, and Taryn worshipped at Muusini. Rick stayed home at Bethel Church.

A rousing game of wiffleball introduced baseball to Kenyans, who also complained of pitchers who looked like belly itchers and batters who looked like broken ladders under the song tutelage of Sarah.

After a great Sunday evening fellowship sharing our experiences, we rested up for the Monday start of school. Kathy, Zach, Lakesha, and Sierra visited orphans in our program with Carol Rithaa. Benjie, Barbara, Carol assembled the preschool supplies. Cannon (aka "Ken" due to Kenyan confusion over his name) began working the micro finance program by meeting with Linus and Mote.  Renee taught third grade (her new favorite grade) all day under the loose supervision of Paul Mutinda. Dave and Taryn had meal duty all day.  Sarah channeled her inner and outer youth with two preschool classes.

Renee, Taryn, Sarah and Benjie led energizers on the soccer field for 75 Kenyan kids.  Despite the well-known Kenyan aversion to snakes, the moves to Istanbul were well done.   

The Burke-ay choir sang a rousing version of "Down to the River" for the Polytechnic students.

Spirits are high and souls are inspired. Cohesion rules. Still accepting prayers though . . .

July 4

Made it safely. Tents up. Eating dinner in 10 minutes at the Director's house.

July 3

Greetings from the PCEA Milele Guest House in Nairobi. The guest house has a web site if you care to Google it. Our journey has been without adverse events.  We had a long layover in London and arrived in Nairobi on time. We traveled by bus within the airport compound to the arrivals area. There we were greeted by an airport chaplain, Samuel Njoroge ( husband of the Kibwezi Education Centre Director) even before we cleared customs. He assisted in our luggage acquisition and moving our 56 suitcases and 14 backpacks to the bus. We gave Thanks for safe travels and rode by bus 20 minutes to the Guest House, where we had a late dinner and all except me have gone off to bed. Tomorrow in the morning we will have breakfast with Clement, an orphan who was in our orphan care program who now attends university in Nairobi. Then we will leave for Nairobi at 11 am.

The Kenya phone will be set up tomorrow so I will then be able to give out another emergency number. FYI - we are 7 hours ahead of East Coast time.

Bwana Asifiwe (praise God) for traveling mercies.

July 3

We arrived at Heathrow in the UK without incident at about 7 am local time. Our flight is 4 hours later so we are drinking tea and coffee and bonding. Thanks for the prayers.