Jambo everyone!

I’ve heard things are starting to warm up a bit on your side of the world! Here in Kenya, we are expecting rainy season to start anytime now. We will soon be fighting mud instead of dust…. it’s always one or the other!

In Step Children’s Home has been busy as always! With 190 kids and 66 staff, how could it ever be otherwise? There’s always something going on and plans in the works for other somethings to go on!

Last month, In Step Academy was approached by another primary school in our area, with the idea of being sister schools. The Head Teacher liked the idea and arranged for some students and teachers from that school, Littiik Primary, to come on a Saturday for a visit.

The kids hit it off immediately! After some entertainment from both schools, along with a few speeches and introductions, our kids showed their new friends around their home. Both groups of kids had lots of questions for each other concerning their very different situations. Our kids had lots of questions about the others’ houses; most of them live in mud houses or very small brick homes. The Littiik kids were curious about the running water and the dorm where the kids stay, and were a bit jealous that we have cooks who prepare all of our meals! LOL! (The best part, though, was when one of our seventh-grade girls told me, “Mama Carla, today I made a friend. Her name is Alison!”)

School is about to close for a three-week break, but we are planning to continue with this sisterhood, getting the kids together at least once per term. It blessed my heart to listen to the kids talking with each other, while walking across the campus holding hands. Some were playing soccer. Some were playing with the dogs. Some were helping milk the cows. It really made me feel good to see how proud our kids are of their home!

Some of you know that Jeff and I are members of the Rotary Club of Kitale (the nearest town). We have found that being involved with Rotary has given us a way to help the people of Kenya, not only the kids who live at the children’s home. I am so proud of our club! We have recently completed a borehole project in West Pokot, which is a semi-arid place about three hours from us. The project was sponsored by a Rotary Club in The Netherlands and implemented by the Kitale Club.

Yesterday, Jeff and I, along with another Rotary member, took a road trip to visit the project and see how things were going. The people are so happy! For the first time in their lives, they have access to clean water…. and at certain times of the year, any water at all! We were there for five hours and there wasn’t one single minute that nobody was there collecting water! Some of them still have to walk quite a distance, but at least they know that once they’ve made the journey, there will be water! Sure beats digging and digging, usually with their hands, hoping to find a few drops of dirty water!

In many ways, the day reminded me of when we first came to Kenya. The people of Pokot have their own language, which, of course, we didn’t understand one single word! It was just like the old days when we didn’t understand any Swahili! A very uncomfortable feeling, but we quickly came up with other ways to play with the kids! They loved looking at pictures and videos, especially of themselves! Jeff had also thought ahead to bring lollipops and watermelon, which was a huge help. Next time, we’ll remember to take soap with us, as that’s what all the mamas were asking for.

Another thing that reminded me of when we first got here was the children’s curiosity about my soft hair. I let them pet me and run their fingers through my hair. Jeff also let them pet his arms and legs, as the Pokot are very smooth-skinned people.

Probably the most fun part of the day was seeing the people’s reaction to touching an ice cube for the first time! The kids were literally fighting over it and the older people were treating it like it was a hot potato! They had never in their lives felt something that was so cold!

Several little vegetable gardens are popping up close to the borehole. Each individual garden is surrounded by thorn bushes to keep the goats and camels out. Throughout the day, mamas would come water their gardens, pick vegetables to take home with them, fill their water jugs and head home with their water on their heads, vegetables in their hands and smiles on their faces! It was so heartwarming!

I can’t even tell you how many times during the day, I told God thanks that I didn’t live in this area of Pokot! The sun is scorching! There’s no water. No toilets. No food. No way to grow food (until now), as during the dry season there’s no rain and during the rainy season, they often experience flooding! No shops. No schools. There is literally nothing there except little huts scattered across the desert and a shell of a building under construction (but no sign of continuing construction) which will hopefully someday be completed and used as a dispensary. I have no idea what these people do for medical care now.

Good news about Linda! (For those of you who are new to receiving Jambo! letters, Linda is a two-year-old girl in our children’s home, who is receiving chemotherapy treatments for a cancerous tumor in her abdomen.)

Last weekend, Linda went back into the hospital for round four of chemotherapy. She tolerated it well and bounced back pretty quickly! Her doctor ordered an abdominal ultrasound for the purposes of measuring the tumor to see if it was shrinking at all. The best news is that IT HAS SHRUNK! The treatments are working! And Linda is the happiest we’ve ever seen her and has the best appetite she has ever had! Praise God!

Thanks to all of you for caring about our kids! We appreciate each and every one of you! Without your prayers, financial support and the many other ways God uses you to take care of us, I can’t imagine where we would be!

GIGATT! (God Is Good All The Time!)

Mama Carla

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