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 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.

A new season

We are now in our last month with our sending agency, Church Mission Society, and we are so very grateful and appreciative for our time together and their professionalism in preparing and sending us to Kenya, as well as our after care.

Our return to the UK has not been without its challenges.

David has not yet found work, but we are thankful as Liza has been welcomed with open arms by the school at which she taught before our departure, and the salary will meet our immediate needs.

We have been happy to re-connect with old friends and gradually pick up on the threads of UK living, always a challenge when one has been living cross-culturally.

Liza misses her Kenyan friends; she misses their kindness and selfless care for others, their resilience under pressure and their faithfulness to God and humanity even when they themselves have so little. Community Based Rehabilitation continues in our absence, as we hoped, but it remains woefully underfunded, and there is no obvious rescuer in sight on any horizon.

But we are encouraged by the news of the hard work of our friend Paul Korir, the newly appointed and first Bishop of Kapsabet. As we mentioned before, an example of his application is his rapid visit to the Borderlands (where David was carrying out peace-building work) as soon as trouble broke out- a new departure for the diocese. His energy and dedication to the health of the new diocese are breathtaking.

So as we have noticed the early signs of a new season here in the glorious countryside of West Sussex, we acknowledge that we personally are entering a new season and who knows what lies ahead? Just as when we first went to Kenya we greet each new opportunity with some trepidation and much joy!