Traveling back to Kenya this last week was a whirlwind experience that I had the pleasure of doing with Lauren Tennison and Tommy Culver. Our ministry that started just a few years ago has grown due to the willingness of many of you readers and friends to give of your time and money to help us change the world. It's always amazing to me the Network HE has already laid out, that just by saying YES to Him that one time, He inserts the people who act as His angels helping us find the places He wants us to support and give to. This last year on our trip I told you all about the poorer school we found: Munyu-ini Primary School. What I didn't know at the time I heard God calling us to do this school was that it had 460 kids versus the 278 we normally have been supporting at Nduchi Primary School. But God knew and He had already worked out the funding, the givers who gave so that on this trip we could do deposits of half to all those who are making the uniforms, jumpers, socks and shoes. Then He has already started the second half of the funding we needed. We have our 2nd annual BBQ Baked Potato fundraiser on April 28th and a donor who will remain anonymous who has generously given us $5,000 in matching funds for a campaign to raise the $10,000 needed for the second half of these contracts we made. I don't cry often, but when someone gives you $5,000 to help these kids, it makes me tear up. Because it's more than just the money, it's someone doing their part in HIS work for HIS Glory. By giving they become HIS hands and HIS feet.
Wednesday night at around 2am we finally arrived at the Mayfield Guest House in Nairobi, where after being up for 36 hours we just opened the windows, pulled down the mosquito nets, and flopped on the beds to pass out for 4.5 hours in order to get up and have breakfast at 7:30am and prepare for our journey and many stops on the way to Haven on the Hill. Our previous flight from Amsterdam sat on the runway for 2 hours while the computers that run the plane had to be reset twice then once finally working the route had to be reset manually which added an extra 30 minutes of airtime. Thankfully our driver from the Mayfield, Robert, didn't give up on us and waited the extra 2.5 hours for us. He was likely there for over 4 hours just waiting for us and then drove us to the Mayfield in the middle of the night. The upside to this was no traffic and the blissful breeze of around 65 degrees. But that breeze was blocked and stifled at the Mayfield which is in the heart of Nairobi, so to say it was hot under the mosquito nets was an understatement, but it was probably 75 and thank you Jesus I was able to sleep.
Thursday morning at 7:30 the breakfast bell rang and Tommy and I made our way to breakfast to drink all the coffee they had. Lauren who didn't sleep well stayed in bed. After breakfast we met and Tommy and I decided to walk down to the money exchange to get our day kicked off. Our driver, Issac wouldn't be arriving until 10am and Elizabeth from Haven was meeting us at Mayfield too, to be our translator and communicator for the day. With that decided we headed out the front door of the Mayfield into the bright sun, and down the alley to arrive on the street in the hustle and bustle of smartly dressed Nairobians who were on their way to work or school in slacks, ties, and dresses. The bright colors of their dress filled the streets as we made our way over broken concrete and red dirt. The dust and horns of cars filled the air on our 10 minute walk to the money exchange which was thankfully empty and had all the money we needed to exchange in order to set up our contract deposits. From there we headed to Java House to get our much needed espresso to drink at Haven and a breakfast treat for Lauren. When we arrived back at Mayfield Issac was there waiting for us and after we loaded his car with all our luggage and made our travel plans for the day Elizabeth arrived through the gate. Awe what a JOY it was to see her.
We left the Mayfield and headed to TRM to get the erasers for our pencil pouches for each of the kids this summer. They are too heavy to take with us, when there are other much needed things we need to take from US due to quality and price. After our lunch and our trip into Carrefore, the new African Walmart, we had lunch at Java House, our last real American meal for the next 4 days. From Java House we travel to Gatundu to meet with the Henry Mutega tailors to work out at contract for the boys at Munyu-ini. This shop is set up exactly like you would think a sweat shop would be set up. It was packed to the max with individually made uniforms in all colors and sizes for the local schools and had 2 seamstresses working to make more uniforms. When we entered they immediately got up so Elizabeth and I could go behind the counter to do business. The owner after we made our request was able to do the shirts and the shorts for us for 700 KSh each for the boys at Munyu-ini, which is roughly $7 each, a great price. Then when she found out I was going to get jumpers/sweaters made from another shop, she kept dropping the price until it was 500 KSh or $5 versus the $7 we normally pay. So, I bought one as an example and told her we would be back on Monday with orders for the boys at Haven, the girls from Joy Blessed Children's Home and possibly the order for the boys jumpers. They were so excited to get the contract from us she wanted to send her tailor with us to the school to get measurements, but we were already full, so she made arrangements and sent a tailor right after we left. From there Elizabeth called the Munyu-ini school and we went to make introductions and then make plans for the dates we wanted for VBS. We arrived at the school in a cloud of dust and the children rushed out to greet us as it was the end of their school day. Their happy faces were endless. The head teacher was out so we met with the assistant. He was very happy about letting us bless the children and agreed to the dates we wanted and times and give-a-ways. To thank the teachers we gave them pencil pouches full of supplies. From there we made our way to Ituramiro to stop at a fabric shop to get more fabric for Kathy to make things for our fundraiser. The shop was closed and we were exhausted, so we made our way to Haven and arrived around 4:30 pm where we set up our stuff for the next few days and greeted our dear friends from Haven before the boys arrived home. The boys arrived home, and I don't think they expected us, but after the initial shock of us being there they warmed up and gave us hugs. The one thing I noticed right away as the condition of the backpacks we gave them last year. They were falling apart. Because we had some extra space in our bags on Tuesday before we flew out I packed in some extra backpacks to take. God knew exactly what they were for. We gave each boy with a ripped up backpack a new one and only had one left. It turned out the quality wasn't great, but that was because the ladies had been washing the backpacks regularly with caused the lining to come out. We noticed kids from Nduchi we gave the bags to last year who didn't wash them, these still looked ok. After dinner that night we said our goodnights and headed to bed to get some much needed sleep....