Distribution Diary 10.2.17

This first week has flown by- we’ve achieved a lot so I’m tired but happy as I go into the weekend. Revd. Evelyn and I worked together to collate the client assessment forms which she has been completing over the last few months. I then identified which wheelchairs we might need and sent the information on to the Wheels for the World team who are now safely ensconced at Kimilili.

turkana-6

I had a wonderful reunion on Tuesday with our friend Revd. Maritim Rirei. (On the right)

He was our mentor when we first arrived in Kenya in 2012 and our colleague during all our initial peace work here. He has returned to Kenya from South Africa where he was doing research for his Doctorate and he is now teaching at St Paul’s Theological College in Kapsabet. I brought over some books for the students and have been invited to visit the college during my final week here to present the books and give a talk on “The Holistic Mission of the Church”.

Thankfully the talk will be in English as that’s the language used in higher education here. So in addition to preparing for and helping to carry out the wheelchair distribution, I will now need to find time to think about what on earth I will say to those poor students….

Kenya is currently holding its breath and waiting for the long rains. There are already considerable food shortages in the more arid areas as the last rains were not sufficient. This is always a stressful time for those farmers who don’t have irrigation and it’s currently a matter of urgent prayer in all the churches.

One final piece of very special news. Our grandson Huxley has had his feeding tube removed and Christina and James will hopefully be taking him home soon- it’s four weeks today since his very traumatic arrival in this world. Much rejoicing from all of us!

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Distribution Diary 4.2.17

Good Morning from Eldoret.
I am up, clothed and just about in my right mind after sleeping flat out for 12 plus hours. The migraine I had has gone but my head is still quite fuzzy and I feel a bit fragile. I am sure this is mainly because I had no sleep whatsoever on the flight due to everything that happened.
It was awful.
We were late boarding, initially due to the incoming plane running late. Then as we began to board large numbers of police and uniformed border control people arrived.
I duly entered the plane to discover I was seated in the middle of a group of British soldiers. (You can tell they are soldiers even when they’re not in uniform, can’t you? I certainly can having spent my early years as an army kid in Kenya). However they were not bound for Kenya but were in transit for another country where they were joining a UN peacekeeping force.

Once everyone was seated it all kicked off. A man was brought onto the plane by all the uniformed police. He was being escorted by two enormous men and they were seated in the last row at the back. He started screaming and crying, begging not to be sent back, tearing at his clothes, shouting “Undress me! Look at what they did to me! I cannot go back!”
The police asked the soldiers to swap seats with the families who were sitting near the back and the children moved forward, all crying as the man’s distress was contagious. I asked one of the police officers if they could guarantee our safety as he had just referred to the man as a criminal. Other people were complaining about the noise and saying they were not willing to endure it all the way to Nairobi. Still others were saying things like “Put him in the hold!” The policeman told me we would be quite safe as the man had “outstayed his welcome” and was now being escorted home by the company used by border control in such matters. The man was not Kenyan, only in transit back to another country. A country which does not have a good human rights record.
It went on a long time. I put my fingers in my ears and prayed. I don’t know if the man was a criminal. I don’t know what immigration laws he had broken. I don’t know how true the details were. I only know it was awful. If he was acting then he deserves an Oscar.
Finally the decision was taken by his handlers that he would not fly and so they removed him and we took off.

However peace was not restored as two men (not soldiers) near to me talked throughout the whole flight about what had happened and their somewhat less than moderate approach to this and other matters ensured I stayed wide awake. The whole flight.
I arrived hardly able to think straight and transferred to the domestic terminal which (Hallelujah!) now has a Java coffee shop. So I sipped my coffee and put on my phone. Safaricom welcomed me back and I bought a top up card which did not work. It transpires that if the phone is unused for three months they block it- you can receive but not send so I will have to go into the Safaricom shop and get that sorted.

One hilarious moment when I was clearing security for my onward flight. I kept setting off the alarm. The security team held a conference which involved staring at my chest and talking too fast in Kiswahili for me to understand. Finally they waved me through.
Apparently the underwire in my bra was the guilty party…..

My friend met me at Eldoret. It is so good to be back here.
I popped over to the Diocesan office and was warmly welcomed home.
The Bishop asked to see me and was just lovely. With his naughty twinkle he asked if David was still involved in the politics of injustice now he was back in the UK, especially the refugees…..all I could think of was the man on the plane.

I am resting this weekend and will start work on Monday preparing for the wheelchair distribution.

P.S. I am finally warm. It is wonderful!

January

January dawned full of promise and quickly became a battleground.

On the 13th, his due date, our new grandson, Huxley James was born to our lovely daughter Christina and her wonderful husband James.
The delivery was very complicated and Huxley suffered considerably as the doctors fought to get him out. He was taken to the amazing neo-natal unit at St Thomas’s hospital, London and was in intensive care for 10 days. The prognosis was not good but he has so far exceeded clinical expectations. cutieHe came off the ventilator a week ago and is breathing beautifully. He was assessed for movement and sucking and there are some concerns but many positives. We have yet to see what his future needs will be. For now we watch, wait and pray with them all and enjoy this very beautiful latest addition to our family.

Liza’s trip to Kenya was hanging in the balance but with Huxley now stable we have all decided together to proceed with the trip.
Liza will arrive in Kenya next Friday the 3rd February and will begin preparations for the wheelchair distribution.

She’ll be blogging on a far more frequent basis than we have done of late so you have been duly warned!

Relinquishing and resuming

Autumn has given way to Advent and we are learning new lessons in how to both relinquish and resume our grip on all manner of things.

Liza really enjoyed her seven weeks back teaching- the boys face many challenges in their lives and learning and yet they have so much to offer, things they can teach us if we can only find the time to pause and listen, relinquishing our grip on how we think things should be.
David is still hopeful of finding gainful employment and in the interim he has been able to resume many of his skills and help to launch an ecumenical initiative in Chichester which will offer spiritual and pastoral support to older people.

After a break of four years, November saw us gathering with our family to celebrate Thanksgiving, this time with the additional blessing of the presence of two of our grandchildren. This in turn required a renewed willingness to relinquish our eldest daughter Lucy and family as they pursue their vocation to a parish in the Far North of New Zealand.

Meanwhile back in Kenya plans are going well for the next wheelchair distribution at Community Based Rehabilitation in Eldoret. Liza will fly out in February to join the diocesan team as once again they work with Wheels for the World to meet the needs of some of the most marginalised people in the community of the North Rift.

So we’re fairly busy in both being and doing and we are very much looking forward to resuming our family Christmas traditions later in the month.