Thursday, June 23, 2016

We're Freezing . . . on the Equator!

I can't believe how cold it is here!  Today we had to buy space heaters for our mission office since we were all freezing.  It's been about 15-18 C (60-65 F) day and night, inside and out.  If we were home in Alberta, everyone would be wearing shorts and loving the mild weather.  I always said that 21 C (70 F) was my favorite temperature--now I freeze at that temperature.  So crazy.  It must be the humidity.  And it's not as humid as I thought it would be.

We got new young missionaries in yesterday and Elder Le Cheminant from Alberta (Airdrie to be exact), said how surprised he was at the cold.  Who would guess it would feel so cold here on the equator?  But most other places in Kenya are very hot and I've been assured that January and February in Nairobi will be VERY HOT.  Hmn . . . we'll see. 

As we drive to the mission office with the truck's heater turned up, blasting us with lovely warm air, I see people walking (or rather, striding) along the side of the road and they are bundled up in winter coats, hats, scarves, and/or Masai blankets.  Many are wearing rubber boots which I think is a wise idea given how muddy the sides of the roads are.  There are few sidewalks and just dirt at the sides of the road so when it rains, it gets very muddy.

In fact, yesterday, we saw a matatu (small bus like Jerusalem's cheruts) on its side in a very deep ditch at the side of our road.  It must have gotten too far off the road and slid into the mud.  I hope no one was hurt but I'm sure no one uses seat belts.  Then we saw a big semi-truck stuck in the mud with a Case backhoe trying to use its boom to pull the truck out.  No luck.  They had to unload the truck by hand before they could pull it out.

I'll put in some pictures here.  Not necessarily of the cold.  Just mission pictures. 

We've got the best neighbors here in our compound.  This family is from India.  Gopi works at the hospital in a techy position.  Very smart man.  I love their daughters.  They don't speak much English but they smile a lot.  There are several families from India and they all work at the hospital, even doing open heart surgeries.
Here's a close-up of Gopi and his family.  Gopi lives here and his family lives in India during the school year and they come to visit on their holidays.  They phone each other a lot when they are apart.  Must be hard to be apart but a lot of families are.

Elder Arudo and Elder Wafula and President Hicken are trying to start a fire in the fireplace of our new office.  It wasn't too successful.  Just smoked us out.  So we're not going to do that again.  Instead we bought tiny space heaters to put beside each desk and they actually work really well.

Poor picture out the front window.  Driving home in the rain.  Fun to be so close to nature!

We hosted two new missionaries for one night.  We pushed the couch aside and put down two mats and the Elders wrapped up in blankets and made it through the cold night!  Elder Christensen from the US and Elder Limu from Zimbabwe.  (Later:  Elder Christensen said the mat was so HARD!  But at the time he never complained.

LeRon and me with our Canadian missionary, Elder Le Cheminant.  So fun to have another Canuck around.  We're at the church because our mission office isn't big enough for the 35 people who were there.  LeRon and I "processed" the 14 new missionaries.  I made copies of their passports and Yellow Fever cards and other important documents.  Then we gave the missionaries the copies and we keep the originals in the safe back at the office.  I also have a file for each missionary with important information, such as home contacts, phone numbers, etc.  LeRon talks with them about safety issues and money issues and budgeting, etc.  Each missionary pays for his own mission but LeRon, as mission finance secretary, controls the money and each missionary is given the same amount each month.  That way they don't squander their own money!  LeRon also pays all the apartment rentals out of the money that the missionaries pay.  Does any of this make sense?

New Elder Chenani and veteran missionary, Elder Wafula.

The Assistants, Elder Arudo and Elder Wafula

Sister Hicken gave me this lovely African necklace -- handmade in Kitale.

Elder Mlambo and Elder Mwanziu

Elder Rasmussen and Elder Chenani

We had a great time with all the new missionaries.  There were 14 new ones -- one from Canada, three from the US, three from Zimbabwe, and seven from Kenya.  L-R: Elder Musasia, Elder Christensen, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Mboya.  Only Elder Christensen and Elder Le Cheminant are new missionaries; the others are trainers.

So nice to see black and white all getting along so well!  Color means nothing.  L-R: Elder Mahanzu, Elder Estheimer, Elder Musasia, Elder Christensen, Elder Rasmussen.

These two wonderful missionaries -- Elder Arudo and Elder Wafula -- are the two we work with the closest.  They will be great leaders in Kenya in the years to come.  They are learning so many skills as they assist President Hicken in his duties.  They figure out transportation when missionaries are transferred.  They figure out where new missionaries will stay.  I'm amazed at all the logistical things they do.  They are great young men.  We have Family Home Evening with them every Monday night since they live close to where we live.  It's been great fun to get to know them.  And I can even tell them apart.  When we first got here, all Black Africans looked alike to me, but not anymore.

A very poor picture of the semi-truck stuck in the mud.  The Case tractor was pulling on the front of the truck but it didn't work so the little three-wheeled truck pulled up and they unloaded from the semi onto the little truck.

We love the neighbor children, Joy, Faye, and Prince.  They come over almost every evening.  They have learned to play "Chopsticks" on the piano with LeRon playing the second part.  Here we're eating potato chips.  Note little Joy on the left in her winter coat!  After we ate chips (they call they crisps), LeRon played the piano and we did the "chicken dance."  The little girl in the middle, Faye, knew the dance and we taught it to Joy and Prince (the cute little boy on the right).  So fun!


  1. Thank you for your info on Kenya. It is good to learn about the goings on of the mission.

  2. Nice post again! I love you, big sis!