Thursday, May 19, 2016

We're Still in the "Long Rains"

These two pictures were supposed to be below but they came in at the top.  Oh well.  We always pass this sign so today I took a picture of it.  "Baboons crossing the road."  In Alberta there are "Deer crossing the road" signs and in Israel, there are "Camels crossing the road" signs.  In Kenya there are . . . "Baboons crossing the road."  And we have seen them do just that.

This was on our way home tonight.  Kenyan women as well as men are strong.  And we never see overweight people.  They walk so much.  The men have a really interesting stride.  They don't saunter along and they don't walk cockily, they just stride with purpose.  Wish I knew how to describe it.  Someone said they could tell an American by their walk.  Well, I can tell a Kenyan by his walk!

It poured and poured last night.  Water running everywhere.  We had a fun time driving into the mission office this morning.  This time I remembered to bring our camera.  I'll put some pictures later.

This was our first day in the office without our trainers, Elder & Sister Maxwell.  They've trained us for about a week and now we're on our own.  Today I successfully applied for immigration visas for three missionaries who are coming in August.  (This only starts the process.  Just the first step.  It can take up to three or four months for the whole process.  Bureaucracy!)  I successfully entered two convert baptisms into the system.  That was really hard because I can't read the missionary's writing.  And I'm not familiar with African names and places.  I've got about 25 more to do ASAP.  And I cleaned up and tried to organize to suit my own organizational thought processes.

We are enjoying the interaction with the African missionaries, the American missionaries, the Kenyan people in general.  Kenyans actually like to be called Kenyans and not Africans.  Africa is a huge continent and the countries don't necessarily get along with each other.  So you can't lump all Africans into one label.

We've also enjoyed chatting with clerks in stores and waving at people walking along the side of the road.  We are usually the only "mzungus" (foreigners, i.e. white people) around until we go to the mall and then we see some Europeans.  After we moved into this new flat in the Karen district, we met the neighborhood kids.  They were so polite.  "Welcome to the neighborhood," they said.  They told us about their schools and the "biggest trampoline in the world" which is just next to the swimming pool.  They are a cosmopolitan group of kids.  One family from India.  One from Japan.  One from Uganda and England.  Then of course many from Kenya.

We visited the family from India last night.  Amazing people.  He is a doctor.  A cardio anesthesiologist.  She is a sweet lovely person.  They have one son who is six years old and they have been in Kenya for two years.  They really like it here.

So nice to meet people.  There are three buildings with four flats each.  The owner is a member of parliament and he has a large lovely home within this compound.   We met him tonight.

Here I am in my mission office with my trainer, Sister Maxwell.  She was born in Tahiti and speaks Chinese, French, and English.  A sweet, lovely lady.  I learned a lot from her.  Her nephew served a mission to Fiji and he was companions with my nephew, Ryan Torrie.

Here's Elder Torrie in his office with his trainer, Elder Maxwell.  Elder & Sister Maxwell live in Alaska and they are going home next week after having served for 18 months.  They worked for most of their mission in the hill country a few miles away from Nairobi.  Their job was to strengthen the members in those small branches.  A branch is like a ward but much, much smaller.  Most of the members are very new members with little experience in how to run a ward or branch.

Elder & Sister Torrie and Sister & Elder Maxwell.  Aren't we good looking?

Now for the water pictures.  The road is narrow at best and the sides of the road are dirt.  The pavement is broken in many places.  Be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see the cute little Kenyan boy.  He was with his mother and they were trying to cross the water to go to school.

Another view of the running water.

Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink!

Smart man in the pink coat is wearing gum boots.  He's wading through pretty deep water.  We saw many people going barefoot and carrying their shoes.

At this point, the water was across the road and flowing swiftly.

Smart biker with an umbrella.  Not much wind here so umbrellas work better than they do in Alberta.  The umbrellas also have a "tail" on them that blows out backward when they travel to give the riders a little more coverage.

Now we're on our way home from the office.  We leave between 3 and 3:30 p.m. so we won't get stuck in traffic.  I keep trying to take a good picture of the crazy traffic but the pictures never show it.  There are stop lights but you don't look at them.  There are always policemen on the busy round-abouts and you watch them.  They signal when to go.  Motorbike riders go whenever they want to, regardless of the police.

We always see pelicans on these trees.  They are absolutely huge birds.

The water has receded somewhat.  How can these trees live when they're always in water?  I guess they're not always.  The dry season is coming.

Who would guess that cactus plants grow here in such a wet climate?  Beautiful bougainvillea too.

Cacti thriving in the wet.
Tonight we met the owner of our compound, Francis Nyenze, who lives in the house in the background with his wife and daughters.  He is the speaker for the opposition in the government.  (When his party was the government, he served as Minister for Environment and then Minister for Heritage and Sports).  A very friendly, ordinary seeming guy.  We told him about the church and that we were here in Kenya at our own expense.  He was surprised.  He thought that churches pay their missionaries to serve.  I guess most do, but not ours.  He's planning a get-to-know you for the compound people.  He says he likes to know who's living around him.  Smart man. 

This is our flat.  It's nice and bright and cheery.  I like it better than the place we were in for the first ten days.  The floors are all shiny ceramic tile (not slippery) and the walls are painted white.  The master bedroom is large and has a bathroom.  There's another bedroom and a bathroom and a smaller bedroom that we use for storage.  The three bedrooms all have large wardrobes.  (Should we enter the woods through them? Ha ha.)  The living room/dining room is large enough for a big table, LeRon's keyboard, and two couches.  The kitchen is teeny-tiny but oh well.  My one sadness is that it gets dark enough that I need to close the curtains by 6 p.m. and it's pitch dark by 7 p.m.  Every day.  All year long.


  1. Glad you have a truck to traverse the floods!

  2. So neat!! Do you guys have a mail adress?

  3. Yay for meeting someone who knows Ryan! :)
    Your thoughts about the saints singing made me think of when I lived in England, seems like people in the small wards I was in and in the ward I visited most often in Scotland always sang with gusto, and it made me annoyed to come back to the states and here the dribble that was "singing" at church here. Ugh.

  4. Found your blog through My recently-called-to-Kenya son and I are pouring over every entry. It's wonderful to read about your experiences and see your pictures.

  5. Hello. When is your son coming to Kenya? I've been working on getting work permits and special passes so I'm pretty familiar with all the missionary's names. Excited that he's coming to Kenya. It's a great mission. Our mission president is excellent and the new one that is coming end of June is excellent too. We met him in South Africa and he's a wonderful man too.

  6. Cameron reports to the South Africa MTC October 6 and couldn't be more excited. We've yet to find someone who has been to that mission so Your blog was such a great find! Do you mind if I ask a couple questions? Is there anything you wish you'd brought? A coat...yes or no? Can you purchase whatever you need in Nairobi? Thank you! Have a great week!