I usually start my update by filling you in on the weather in Kenya. This time, I won’t do that since I’m not there! LOL!
I have been visiting family in the states for several weeks now and was supposed to fly back to Kenya last Tuesday, but due to passport renewal delays, I wasn’t able to.
Actually, the renewal of my passport wasn’t delayed. However, I still have not received my old passport, which contains my Kenyan entry visa. So, I have a passport but no visa. I mistakenly assumed that expediting a passport renewal would include the expedition of “supporting documents.” I now know it doesn’t and consequently, I am stranded here, waiting on the US Postal Service to deliver my visa to me.
I’m trying to keep a good attitude about it all, reminding myself that there are a lot worse places to be stuck than at home with people who love me! I’ve had a great visit and was able to do lots of stuff with my grandkids that I’m not usually able to do. Things like school concerts, cooking, swimming, camping. I’ve had a wonderful time with my folks, kids, sisters, donors and a few friends!
Jeff has been crazy busy back in Kenya! The second girls house is almost finished!
There have been delays in procuring toilets (of all things!) and our furniture maker hasn’t been the best at meeting deadlines. Other than those two things, the house is ready for the girls to move in! They are so excited!
Getting the girls into their new house will also pave the way to start thinking about, and raising funds for, a major upgrade of the boys dorm. The building itself is great, but there are many repairs to the interior, especially the bathroom, that are desperately needed! We also hope to provide the boys with the same amenities the girls received, such as study areas and locker style closets. When the remodel is complete, the boys will be able to spread out and separate by age group, which will make life easier for everybody!
The other big project Jeff is working on is a new security fence! It’s a lot more work than one might think; felling 480 trees (and trying to get them cut into timber and firewood before they get so dry that you can no longer do anything with them), hiring heavy equipment to move dirt around (especially at the sewer treatment plant where we literally created a mountain during construction), setting posts with concrete, etc. I can’t even imagine what the place looks like without the perimeter trees! But a more secure compound, where the only way in or out is through the gate, is very much needed! Thanks so much to all of you who helped fund it!
Joanie had surgery and I’m happy to report that it didn’t slow her down one single bit! Nurse Abby, who stayed with Joanie in the hospital, said that there was no resting in bed, except for times when Joanie was sleeping! Good thing there was a play area at the hospital!
For those of you who don’t know, Joanie is our almost three-year-old girl who was born deaf and has now been blessed with a cochlear implant! This surgery will give her the gift of hearing, and just as importantly, the gift of speech! I just can’t wait to see her face when sound is added to sights that are already familiar to her; individuals’ voices, sounds of animals she sees every day like birds, cows, dogs, the chaos of the dining room at supper time, babies crying, kids singing, drums and tambourines during church time, music at dance parties (a common occurrence at In Step)… all the sounds that come with living in a family of two-hundred and fifty people!
Joanie is a master of imitating people, right down to moving her lips like she sees others do when they talk. What will she think when she realizes that there is sound that goes with that movement? When there’s sound that goes with running the faucet, closing the door, pushing in a dining room chair, mopping the floor, running down the hallway, stacking metal plates, watching cartoons… all the things she does on a daily basis!
Right now, like any other deaf toddler, Joanie makes lots of noise! But it’s just grunts and squeals and other loud sounds. I look forward to hearing what her speaking voice sounds like! I also look forward to her hearing her own joyful laughter that makes us all smile!
All of this will, of course, be a process. The device won’t be activated for a few more weeks, as she recovers from the actual surgery. When the implant is turned on, it will emit a very slight volume, which will be turned up little by little every few weeks. I had never thought about it before, but to go from hearing absolutely nothing to suddenly have full hearing, would overwhelm a person beyond what their brain could possibly process!
Speech therapy will start in a couple of months. Joanie and I will travel to Nairobi a few times every month for the next year. While we are there, she will receive speech therapy sessions for two or three days, then we will go back home with exercises and activities to practice what she learned in therapy. I will pass the knowledge on to our nurse and childcare aunties, so that we can all work together to help Joanie learn to talk!
She has a long road in front of her, but our hope and prayer is that when she starts school in January of 2024, she will be able to verbally communicate as well as her classmates!
We are so grateful for all of your prayers and financial support for Joanie! What a miracle she is!
As always, I appreciate you reading my ramblings and am so thankful for each and every one of you who love our kids!
GIGATT (God is Good All the Time)!