Jambo everyone!

I hope you are all doing well and looking forward to fall! Here, the rains are slowing down and dry season is just around the corner. Soon, all of the beautiful green landscape will be various shades of brown, there will be dust everywhere (as opposed to mud), clothes will dry on the line in a matter of a few hours (instead of having to take them down when it rains and rehang them over a period of days), maize will be harvested and dried in the sun and everyone will be looking forward to the hot, dry Christmas season!

I am thrilled to tell you that the second girls house is finished and the girls have moved in! They are all so happy! Now, house #1 is occupied by the girls, in seventh grade and older, while house #2 is full of girls from second grade through sixth grade. The second-grade boys have also moved out of the baby house and into the boys’ dorm.

It’s a pretty big deal when the second graders “graduate” up to living with the big kids! They enjoy the freedom and privileges that come with being a “big kid,” but they also are suddenly hit with the responsibilities that come with it, as well! For the first time in their lives, they are responsible for washing their clothes (with help from aunties and older kids), bathing themselves (in cold water, which is normal here), standing in line for meals, having household chores and homework, etc. Surprisingly, they are always so happy to not be stuck with the babies anymore, they rise to the occasion and make the transition amazingly well!

Joanie and I are in Nairobi for her speech therapy and audiology appointments. We come every other week, traveling to Nairobi on Sunday afternoon, speech therapy appointments on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with an audiology appointment worked in there somewhere.

Joanie is doing well with her speech therapy. Our main focus at this point is to learn to recognize sounds and try to repeat the main vowel sound of the word. I’m learning that there is a huge difference between hearing and listening. She is hearing now, thanks to the cochlear implant and processor! But she still has a long road ahead of her, learning how to listen, which will train her brain to pick out sounds and words, then learn to speak those sounds and words. She is doing remarkably well and is enjoying the process, although every now and then she just isn’t in the mood! I don’t blame her! It’s hard work! I’m thankful that ninety percent of the time she’s ready and willing!

Staying in the guest house, just Joanie and I, can be interesting! She’s a very active three-year old and I’m no spring chicken! LOL! We have fallen into our routine which includes lots of Uber rides, walking down the street to the fruit stand, Joanie taking lots of baths, playing dolls and Legos, and probably more screen time than she should have! We also spend a fair amount of time in front of the mirror, practicing sounds. I try to make everything a game so that learning is fun and Joanie is responding well! When she gets a sound right, she laughs and laughs with two thumbs up! It does my heart good!

One thing Joanie loves is clothes! Here at the guesthouse, she is constantly changing her clothes, socks, shoes and headbands! I just let her since she enjoys it so much and it keeps her busy! But she sure comes up with some interesting outfits! A big plus is that, just outside our room, there is a laundry facility with a Whirlpool washer AND dryer! I try to rotate my outfits each trip so that all of my clothes get a turn being machine washed and dried! It’s the small stuff, right?

These trips to Nairobi will be ongoing for several months to come. It is what Joanie needs and is worth every penny, but it’s still an extra expense that has to be covered! We try to cut costs wherever we can; we stay in a Christian guesthouse, use Uber to get around (much cheaper than taxis), cook our own meals, etc. But still, each trip is approximately $450, most of which is airfare. If you would like to be part of Joanie’s journey by helping with these bimonthly expenses, please contact Tori at Rehema for Kids!

I’m super excited about a program we have recently started, called Stepping Into My Future! I’ll tell you more about it next time, but basically it is a program which focuses on our older kids; trying to help them identify gifts, talents, passions, etc., as well as learning about life in the “real world.” All of the kids have been home from school for the past week, which has given us a chance to kick off the program by planning activities which are fun, while also helping them to look toward their futures!

We started with a Career Interest Survey (what we used to call an aptitude test) and a learning style exercise, designed to help them with study methods most suited to their strengths. From there we did a fun activity of going to the market! We broke the kids up into teams and gave each group a sum of money and a shopping list. They walked to the market and did their shopping, including negotiating the prices of basic household items like tomatoes, onions, avocados, tea leaves, salt and sugar. They came home with their bounty and we, as a group, analyzed each team’s groceries, taking into consideration the quality of their purchases, as well as the amount of money spent. It was a fun day and a great learning experience!

Also during the school break, whenever we needed to hire a craftsman to do a job for us, Jeff made sure that they were willing to include the kids who are interested in their particular trade. A few of our boys spent three days straight with a painter, learning how to use a paint sprayer and loving every minute of it! On day one, there were about twenty kids involved. But by day three, the number had reduced to five! It was a great opportunity for kids to see if painting was something they might be interested in!

Like I said, I’ll give more details later. But let me just say that we are super excited about Stepping Into My Future, and the kids have embraced it with open arms! It’s going to be fun to see the uniqueness of each kid, as we continue trying to steer them toward a successful future!

A new baby, Scotty, joined our family! He is a happy baby… always smiling and ready for a snuggle! He is named after a great friend of ours, who is always there for us and the kids! Welcome to In Step, Baby Scotty! Thanks for once again reading my ramblings! I enjoy sitting down once a month and pondering what is happening and where we are going! God is so good to us! There is never a dull moment and never a minute where He is not in control and providing our every need! Thanks so much for being a part of what He is doing here at In Step Children’s Home!

GIGATT (God is Good All the Time)!


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