Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Off to Kisumu Again

Some have asked why we get so tired.  Don't senior missionaries get to rest when they need to?  Well, that's true for many senior missionaries but not for us.  We work in the mission office and we're the only ones here to do the work.  Some missions have two or more couples who each do certain things: housing or transportation or finances or immigration or recording of baptisms or secretarial work keeping track of all incoming and outgoing missionaries.  Elder Torrie and I do all of that.  If we don't get it done, it doesn't get done.  So we have to work until it's done!  Yes, we enjoy the work.  So nice to work with all the missionaries and the mission president and his wife but yes, we do get tired. We're not as young as we used to be.  In fact, it's time for me to apply for Old Age Security.  Isn't that a laugh?!

Every six months LeRon audits the mission branch's financial books.  We recently drove up to audit the Kisumu and Busia branches.  From Nairobi to Kisumu is only 210 miles but it takes 6-8 hours to drive.  Busia is a further 72 miles and takes 2 or more hours.  What with broken pavement, especially on the edges where the rain has washed away the soil, and cattle and baboons on the road, police checks (we've not been stopped yet) and lots of traffic, it's a long bumpy journey.

Talking of bumpy . . . there are speed bumps all along the way, even on passing lanes.  So you're clipping along at 80 or 90 km and suddenly you have to gear down (sometimes almost to a stop) for the huge speed bumps.  And you have to watch out for people walking along the side of the road and for big trucks passing when they shouldn't.  It's quite an adventure!  We only got ran off the road one time.  We were passing a big semi and the car in front of it slammed on its brakes and the semi had to slam on brakes too (not easy for a semi) and then it swerved into our lane -- which is where we were since we were passing it.  We had no other choice than to head into the ditch which was thankfully not too deep.  Whew!!

We visited the missionaries in Kisumu -- Elder Mwashi and Elder Mortezazadeh (accent on the second last syllable) and the missionaries in Busia -- Elder Merritt and Elder Chenani.  (Pictures near the end of the post for all you moms and dads).  And between Kisumu and Busia we crossed over the equator.  Well actually we've crossed over the equator before but this time we stopped and took pictures at one of the many markers.

Fresh fish for sale from Lake Naivasha.  Should we buy some?  Not sure why people wear stocking knit hats when it's so hot.  I guess to keep the sun off.  But it's not as hot as I thought it would be.  In Nairobi, until just recently, we turned the heater on in the truck in the morning on the way to the office, and then we turned the air conditioner on on the way home.  It's hotter outside of Nairobi.

LeRon is always on the lookout for tractors or any other farm equipment.  There are some very large farms on the way to Kisumu.  Some even have pivots and they were watering thirsty crops.  Hard to see them behind the trees and walls.  It's very dry right now so all the pivots were on and sprinkling.

This is a first:  people were actually picking up the garbage!  Or "picking the trash" as they call it.  No one "picks up" anything, they just "pick it."

Beautiful scenery between Kisumu and Busia.  We left Kisumu in the early morning and the intense sunlight was lovely on the banana plants.

Lots of huge boulders between Kisumu and Busia.  And between Nairobi and Kisumu we climbed in elevation from 6000 feet at Nairobi to 8070 feet and then down at bit to 7707 feet at Mau Summit.  I had fun checking the elevation on our GPS.

I love the red soil.  This photo shows how broken the edges of the pavement often is.  Water runs beside the road during the rains and washes the soil away, leaving broken pavement.

I'm straddling the equator.  North is to my right and south is to my left.

Now we're on the other side of the monument.  I'm on the north and LeRon is on the south.

Not a good picture but you can see the equator line as it stretches out to where we're standing.

So I know there's controversy about the way water swirls on each side of the equator.  We watched the demonstration but who knows . . .  Some people say that the man giving the demonstration tips it a bit to force the swirls to go the right way.  
I love the street scenes.  Everyone is just trying to make a buck.  I hate seeing potatoes sitting in the sun.  I guess they don't know that it can cause that green stuff on the potato flesh which is actually poisonous.

The old and the new.  You can see brooms made of dried plants and yet you can get your passports and photos here.

I wish I would have learned how to carry things on my head when I was young.  Then maybe my posture would be better.  I think all people should start this when they are 2!  On the other hand, I've heard that women have severe back problems when they are older.

"Dusty old farmer out working his field . . . " (la la la)  Do you know that old song?  LeRon and his group, The Oilers, who play for seniors, often sing that song.  It's called "The Farmer Song."  Don't you love the red soil and the green foliage?  And can you imagine farming with a hoe?

Another shot of someone carrying something on his or her head.  I would say "his" because of the pants but I would say "her" because of the yellow pants.  Sometimes it's really hard here to tell who is a girl and who is a boy.  Many girls and women cut their hair as short as men's.  On the other hand, most women wear dresses.

Termite hills are absolutely everywhere in this part of Kenya.  That's probably why most houses are made of stone.  But even then termites can cause a lot of trouble.  We've lost whole tables in some of our missionary apartments.

Motorbikes often carry huge loads.  Don't know how they balance.

There were several women here working the field with hoes.  I waved at them after I took their picture and they waved back.  Cannot imagine working like that in the hot sun.

People walk everywhere here.  That's probably why so few are overweight.

I love these street scenes.  Chickens for sale!

This could be a Muslim woman as there are lots and lots of Muslim people here.  They keep well covered, even in the heat.  Westerners ought to keep more covered too.  Here you never see people with shorts and tank tops (except for tourists).

More interesting street scenes.

And more street scenes again.  How DO they balance things on their heads?  I know they have kind of a doughnut-type thing they put on their heads but I still don't know how they do it.  And not everyone uses the doughnut-type thing.

Better than carrying it on your head, I guess.

The gate into the church compound at Busia.

Sad that a church has to be protected with walls, gates, guards, and barbed wire.

Fun to see Elder Chenani and Elder Merritt.  They met us at the Busia chapel so we could give them some cookies and other goodies.  LeRon was doing the audit of the Busia Branch books.  The Elders were doing their normal Saturday missionary work.

Elder Merritt and Elder Chenani by the gate to the church.

We went back to their flat to check it out.  Needed to make sure they were keeping it clean!  Not bad.  Here they are in their bedroom showing off the mosquito nets under which they sleep.

Elder Merritt, Sister Torrie, Elder Chenani.
Elder Merritt and Elder Chenani in front of the building that is closest to the church in Busia.

Now we're in Kisumu on Sunday and here is smiling Elder Mwashi.

And smiling Elder Mortezazadeh.  His father is Jordanian hence the last name.  Accent is on the second last syllable.  I practiced it until I could say it without stumbling.  So proud of myself.

The chapel is on the top floor (actually the balcony floor) of a big home that the church owns.  It is open to the air and a cool breeze was blowing the Sunday morning we were there.
Wires keep birds from flying into the chapel area.  But you can still hear the lovely sound of birds chirping and the occasional rooster crowing.
I met Anne at the local Nakumatt store and invited her to come to church on Sunday and she came!!  I was so surprised and thrilled.  I've invited many people to come to church and they always respond "I will" but they never do.  So I was surprised when Anne came.  She said, "Well, people should keep their word."  Very impressive.  She even brought her business colleague, Henry, along.  They stayed for all three hours of church!  Very lovely people.  Here we are having a class outside in the shade.

Here's the entrance to the compound that our church is in in Kisumu.  Don't you love those palm trees?

Elder Mortezazadeh and Elder Mwashi on the steps of the church.  Many people call him "Elder Mortez".

And here is a nice view of the building that houses our church in Kisumu.  The top floor is the chapel and the other floors are classrooms and offices.
And nearby is a lovely mosque.

Monday is missionary Pday (preparation day) so Elder Mwashi and Elder Mortezazadeh are in their Pday clothes.

Elder Torrie is helping them with their water filter.  They need a new one.  This one only dribbles water.  They turn it on and go do other things while it fills the sink so they can do dishes.  They haven't complained about it until now.  Silly boys.

It was so nice to see Elder Mwashi and Elder Mortezazadeh.  I love typing that name!!!  And saying it too.


  1. Thanks for writing. Lovely to hear from you!

  2. Sis.Torrie, what a great blogger you are! Love seeing the many pics and hearing your insightful comments on living there in Kenya. One complaint we have on the missionary mommas page is that our boys don't include much info in their emails. I realize this is common and missions reach teach us all patience in one form or another. So thankful you and Bro. Torrid are there for them!

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment. I've found that most missionaries tell their mothers very little. By the way, do you know that Africans call your son "Elder Foo-lah"? Every time they say something about Elder Foo-lah, I say, "Who?" We also have a Kenyan missionary named Elder Wafula (Wah-foo-lah). So I think that's what they're saying. Funny. Sister Torrie

  3. Lovely landscapes. I love the street scenes too. And what culture shock it must be the some of the new missionaries! I like the sign of the "Trakta"--I didn't realize until recently when I emailed a Liberian woman in our ward that they spell the way they speak. Dat (that), Dem (them), gud (good), etc. Kind of a vicious circle I guess.

  4. *vicious cycle, not circle. I'm tired. :)