I hope this update finds you all healthy and happy! I know that some of you are going through extremely hard times right now and I wish I had words that would bring comfort! Please know that the kids and I are praying for you every day!
Mud! Mud! Mud! That’s the story of the day around here! For those of you who have never visited us, let me try to explain what the mud is like here! Matope (ma-TOE-pay) is the Swahili word for mud and you hear this word multiple times per day, during this time of year!
Our soil is red clay, like what bricks are made of. It’s thick and sticky and slippery! The preferred footwear is what we call “gumboots.” Gumboots not only protect your feet from being cast in clay, they also give you a much better footing, reducing your chances of slipping and falling in the stuff! Regardless of the type of shoes you’re wearing, you will most likely be three inches taller when you reach your destination, as the mud adds layers and layers of the sticky stuff to the bottom of your shoes, along the way!
And driving in the stuff? Think black ice, only sticky! Four-wheel-drive is a must, but still your tires will gain more and more matope with every turn. If you have too far to go, your tires become huge and smooth, causing you to slide around even more! Ending up in the ditch is a pretty common occurrence, but most people take pity on you and are willing to help push you back on the road… for a price of course!
The flip side of the rains is that everything turns green, practically overnight! Flowers bloom and limp trees suddenly stand tall! Somehow, it makes dealing with the mud tolerable!
It is important to us that our kids learn how to “pay it forward!” They are so blessed to have a safe home, plenty to eat, spiritual support and training, etc. We feel that learning to serve their community, in hopes that it becomes a way of life for them, is extremely important. We have been discussing ways for this to take place and have begun the process with our older kids. This month, we planted trees not only around the In Step campus, but also at three local schools. This was actually a Rotary Club of Kitale project, but was a perfect opportunity to get our kids involved in service to others. Everyone had a great time!
One of you has asked for an update on siblings Vivian and Kigen, the siblings that were rescued from extreme poverty, after their mother had to flee with only her children and the clothes on her back, to escape tribal clashes.
Both children are doing well! Vivian loves first grade and has made lots of friends! Kigen, who was extremely malnourished when he arrived, is eating well and getting stronger! He’s still a bit thin, but is now strong enough to play outside with the other kids his age!
Recently, Kigen and Vivian were visited by their mom and her sister. It was an emotional scene as the mother was overcome with tears of joy when she saw how well her kids were doing! Kigen was a bit shy and hesitant, but Vivian (after being assured she wouldn’t be leaving with her mom) was a good hostess and told her mother and aunt all about their new home. She especially enjoyed talking about going to school! When Kigen saw Vivian opening up, he relaxed a bit and also enjoyed the visit!
We have seen this before; kids who obviously love their mother, yet instinctively know that going with her would not be in their best interest. It’s like their survival instinct kicks in when they see her… the same instinct that allowed them to go with us of their own free will, after simply being told that we would take them to a place where there was food!
All in all, the visit was a good one! Mama explained to both of her kids that she loved them with all her heart and that is why she wants them to continue to live at In Step. She told them how happy she is that they now have food, their own beds, clothes, medical care and an opportunity to go to school. She promised to visit again and tearfully hugged her children goodbye. (Try as we might, there was no way that Kigen was going to smile for a picture. LOL!)
The first term of our new school year is almost over! This year, we have 168 In Step Children’s Home kids and 59 day scholars (community kids) enrolled at In Step Academy! The year is going along well! A very special day scholar has joined our preschool class; her name is Margaret.
Margaret has Spina Bifida. Her mother brought her to the school asking if we would consider enrolling her in our preschool class. I was hesitant at first… after all, we are not a school for people living with disabilities. We do have a few disabled students, but up until now, they have always been In Step kids, so the support from home is just across the campus.
I met with Margaret and her mother to discuss the possibility of Margaret being enrolled at In Step Academy. When I asked why she had chosen ISA, Mom told me that she was aware that we have other kids “like Margaret” here and she had been told that everyone at our home and school knows how to be kind to those with disabilities. All she wanted for her daughter was the opportunity to receive a quality education without being labelled or bullied.
Well, who could say no to that? Not me. So we found a wheelchair for Margaret to use in class and welcomed her to our school! She is very social and has made lots of friends, who enjoy pushing her chair and including her in games during recess!
I want to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and condolences over the loss of our Susie. She is greatly missed, but we rejoice, knowing she is no longer in pain!
I can’t believe it’s almost time for my visit to the states! One thing I really look forward to is the Safari to Kenya event happening on October 23rd, in celebration of our fifteen-year anniversary! It will be a great time for you to hear about all that God is doing, while tasting Kenyan food, bidding on awesome auction items and maybe even playing a few games that our kids like to play! I hope you will join me there! Just click on this link for all the details and to register or contact RFK at (509) 405-8677.
Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings! I will never be able to express how much we appreciate your love and support! I can’t even imagine where these kids might be without you!
GIGATT (God is Good All the Time)!