Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nairobi National Park

The Nairobi National Park is the only park within a city; it's about 7 km from downtown Nairobi.  Electric fencing separates it from the city on three sides; the fourth side has a river across which animals regularly migrate.

We were waiting till we had our alien cards to visit since it's so much cheaper as a resident.  Our neighbors warned us that there weren't many animals in the park at this time of year and they were right.  But we had fun driving through it last Saturday and seeing our first close-up giraffe.  It's always nice for us when we get out of the city.  And not forgetting we are missionaries, we shared the gospel with people waiting in line with us for tickets.

This time we remembered to bring our binoculars and our big camera.  What a difference compared to our little camera.  And we highly recommend our wonderful binoculars:  Bushnell Excursion 10x42.  I've had them for years and they are great.  They're the only binoculars that go small enough to fit my narrow eyes and they bring things sharply into focus whether far or near.

Our first wild animal.  An impala.  Lovely creature.  I love those horns.

Gorgeous tree.

These giraffes were far away but came in clearly with our larger Canon Powershot.

Does anyone know what kind of a vulture this is?  Could it be a white-backed vulture?  Pretty impressive anyway.

And what kind of water bird this is?  I've gone through my bird book and can't decide.  It's got yellow around its eye and a very thick bill.  Hard to tell if the legs are yellow or not.  I thought this was a lovely photo with the reflection in the water.

This pond is obviously the watering hole for a herd of African buffalo.  They were nervous as they watched us sitting in our truck but they really wanted the water so into the mud they went.

This picture is very blurry because I had to zoom in so far to see the Oxpeckers that were feeding on ticks or other insects on this buffalo's hide.

Now it's our turn to be a little nervous as these big bulls started to paw at the ground as they faced us.  We backed slowly away!

More buffalo coming.  There were probably 100 of them but the picture doesn't show it and we decided not to stick around!!!

A lovely ostrich in the wild!

An interesting picture of zebras in the wild with the city in the background.

Our first close-up view of a giraffe.  What a regal creature it is!

This giraffe was standing so still it looked like a statue.

As you know, I love zebras.  I can't get enough of seeing them in the wild!  Well, that was the end of a 2-hour drive through the Nairobi National Park.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Do We Look Like Aliens?

We are officially aliens now that we have our alien cards!  Actually, they call them "foreigner cards" since so many people didn't like to be called aliens.  We are now resident Kenyans.  Now we just have to carry around our alien cards instead of our passports.  And we can get into national parks and museums for the resident price rather than the tourist price.  That makes it nice for Saturdays (which are our Preparation Days) when we can visit parks or museums.  We work in the mission office Monday through Friday.  Saturdays we do laundry, clean house, and visit parks if we have time.  But even as we visit parks, we share the gospel with those around us.  We don't get a holiday from being missionaries!

Below the alien card pictures, there are pictures of us helping celebrate President Msane's birthday and of a neighborhood family party that our cute neighbor children organized.  Enjoy seeing LeRon race on a bicycle!

Dickens, the man who helps me with immigration, is finally giving Sister Msane her alien cards.  We were so excited that we were dancing in the office!  It's only taken about two months to go through the bureaucracy.  Now Sister Msane can get her container of belongings that was shipped from her home in South Africa.  For some reason she couldn't get it until she received her alien card.  Mission presidents are able to ship a huge container of belongings since they will be on their missions for three years.  Regular missionaries just come with their suitcases.

Now here's mine and LeRon's alien cards.  I wasn't waiting for a container of belongings.  We simply came with our two large suitcases each, which is what each missionary is allowed.  To celebrate, LeRon did "Father Abraham" for everyone.  It was hilarious.  Unfortunately we don't have a picture of it.

LeRon and I went with President and Sister Msane to Ocean Basket to celebrate President Msane's birthday.  All the waiters and waitresses sang "Happy Birthday" to him just as they do in the West.

A Happy Birthday brownie for President Msane.  Funny that he had to pay for it.  You would have thought they would give it to him for free.  Oh well.  It looked lovely.

President and Sister Msane with their yummy desserts.  Desserts here are not as sweet as they are in the West.

And this proves that LeRon and I were there too.

Bike races at the neighborhood party that the kids organized.  It was well-organized and a lot of fun.

Elder Torrie got into the spirit of it and raced on a borrowed bike.  He came in last of course!  It's been quite a few years since he rode a bike.

We have wonderful neighbors from India.  He is an anesthesiologist at the nearby hospital.  We always enjoy visiting with them.

Here are our Kenyan neighbor and our neighbors from India.  Lovely people.

The neighbor girls of course did most of the work for the neighborhood party.  The boys helped somewhat too.

I haven't played "Musical Chairs" for years.  It was fun!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Out with the Old . . . In with the New

We lost our dear Elder Arudo this past week as he was released after two years of faithful service.  He worked 90 miles per hour right until the very last.  He will be missed -- especially by Elder Torrie and me who worked so closely with him in the mission office.  One good thing is that he doesn't live far away, just in another part of Nairobi so we'll hopefully get to see him from time to time.  You get really attached to the missionaries.

Then we welcomed four new American missionaries.  So fun to see their excitement and enthusiasm.  They will be great missionaries!

There's Elder Arudo in the back.  Click on the picture to see those eyes!  Elder Wafula and Elder Hales are now Assistants to the President.

Three great missionaries -- Elder Wafula, Elder Arudo, and Elder Hales.

Elder Torrie and I will really miss you, Elder Arudo!!

We had a farewell dinner for Elder Arudo and we were joined by the Assistants and two missionaries who are being transferred -- Elder Christensen (who is transferring to Tanzania) and Elder Rasmussen who is transferring to a different place in Kenya.

Elder Torrie is giving Elder Arudo some last minute piano pointers, with President Msane looking on.

I love all of "my" missionaries -- Elder Christensen, Elder Rasmussen, and Elder Wafula.  I am lucky to get to see the missionaries so often.  Elder Christensen stayed at our flat on his first night in Kenya.

Elder Arudo, President Msane, Elder Rasmussen, and Elder Christensen watch as Elder Torrie gives more piano instruction.

Elder Rasmussen is playing a lovely piece that he composed himself.  So nice to hear him play.

Elder Arudo had said that all he wanted for dinner was Malva Pudding so that's what he got!  Well, that was just a little joke.  He actually got a nice dinner PLUS the Malva Pudding.

We have a lot of fun with the missionaries.  Elder Wafula managed to get into all the pictures.  He went from person to person.  He's got a cute sense of humor.  You have to be awake to catch on though.

Sister Msane is collapsing after cooking for all the missionaries.  She's a great cook who doesn't like to get her picture taken!

Here's Elder Arudo receiving his missionary plaque and T-shirt.  Good-bye.  You will be missed.
Elder Wafula and his new companion, Elder Hales, are getting a Family Home Evening lesson ready for all of us.
Now here's the four new American missionaries -- Elder Harrison, Elder Carter, Elder Thomas, and Elder Merritt.  They're excited to start teaching the gospel.

And they have fun too!  What's going on?  Here's Elder Thomas, Elder Torrie, and Elder Apuoyo.

Elder Wambua and Elder Thomas will be companions in Tanzania.

Elder Carter and Elder Boaz will be companions in Kenya.

Elder Harrison and Elder Apuoyo will be companions in Kenya.

Elder Musasia and Elder Merritt will be companions in Kenya.

Sister Msane and Elisabeth are preparing food for all the hungry missionaries.

And here are the hungry missionaries!

Gobbling down Sister Msane's delicious food.

President and Sister Msane with the Assistants and the four new missionaries and their companions.

President and Sister Msane with their four new "children!"  Hard to send them out into the world!  But we will take good care of them!