Friday, August 11, 2017

Waiting Calmly in our Flats

All missionaries in Kenya are waiting calmly in our flats for the furor over elections to be over.  We have been "sheltering in place" since last Sunday afternoon.  Elder Torrie and I are lucky that we have such a nice place to shelter in.  Our compound, besides being a tropical paradise, is very secure.  Of course we can't go out the gates and into the street.  So we have taken time these last few days to get caught up on all sorts of projects besides our usual scripture study -- laundry, house cleaning, blog posts, baking bread, emails, reading books, watching movies (yes, seniors can read books and watch movies -- unlike the junior missionaries), exercising, visiting our neighbors, family history. 

Our neighbor, Faye (center), popped over with her sister Bethany who is visiting from England.  Whoops.  Faye's eyes are closed.  LeRon didn't notice when he took the picture -- he's got old age vision like me.

Now Faye's eyes are open.  These two photos show the difference between using the flash and not.  The pictures always look better on the camera without the flash but they are definitely better on the computer screen with the flash.  We enjoyed our visit with Bethany.  She is a lovely girl who is finishing her high school in England.  Both Faye and Bethany were born in England of an English father and a Ugandan mother.

On our ramble in our compound today we saw this 30-foot tall hibiscus tree.  I grew a hibiscus once INSIDE our house.  It grew to be 3 feet tall and then it died.

So many lovely flowers and trees here.

And huge poinsettia trees too!

No, it's not Christmas time but it IS winter here.  At home we grow poinsettias in little pots.

I'm 5 foot 3 inches tall so you can see how tall this poinsettia tree is.

And under the trees is a tomato plant with tiny tomatoes.  Yummy.  That's one thing I love about my garden back home.  Love those tomatoes.  Store bought tomatoes just don't taste the same.

This tall bush has very soft, velvety leaves.

Hibiscus among the poinsettias.

We feel like we live in southern California here in our compound.  Love the palm trees.

James, the handyman here, said we should take some of these seeds home and plant them.  I wonder what they would think of our freezing weather.  But people here think it's freezing here too.  Today LeRon and I have on our long legged underwear and our sweaters and mine is a wool one.  It is very chilly.  The kids here often wear winter coats, complete with furry hoods.

Isn't this gorgeous?  Three different colors of whatever these things are.  They must be three different stages of growth.

Can't get over how gorgeous these fat footed palm trees are.

Prince and I found that you can "make music" by thumping rhythmically on the trunk.  It sounds almost hollow.

Me with our tree-hugging African grandchildren.

The kids love to grab my camera and take pictures.

This evergreen tree is interesting.  (But then again, almost all the trees are evergreen since they don't lose their leaves very often).  This tree looks like a coniferous tree back home and yet not.

Prince and I are examining the soft needles.

They don't feel like our evergreens back home.  So soft.

Joy and Prince like to pick them off the tree and play with them. 

Prince says they are like snakes.

And here's some new growth.

Francis, our landlord, has planted a grouping of bamboo.  The vivid yellow and green is striking.

Here are LeRon and Joy in the grove of bamboo.

Lots of new shoots are growing here too.

Here's Joy next to the tall new shoot.  We're going to check it out next week and see how much it's grown.

This compound is a good place for kids.  Lots of room to ride their bikes.  A trampoline.  A swimming pool.  Plants and trees.  And their parents know they can't get lost because there are walls around it and guards at the gate which is the only entrance/exit point.

The swimming pool was being re-done for the past three months but it is finally finished, along with a new note about needing supervision.  Note the "polite notice."  We see that everywhere.  People here really are very polite.

We live in a tropical paradise!!!


  1. The evergreens almost look like monkey puzzle trees but I guess they probably aren't. Cool. :)

    1. Looks like I replied in the wrong place. Here you go: That's what I thought they looked like too and yet not. I first saw a monkey puzzle tree at your place in Italy. Since then I've seen them other places. But this tree looks similar but not the same.

  2. That's what I thought they looked like too and yet not. I first saw a monkey puzzle tree at your place in Italy. Since then I've seen them other places. But this tree looks similar but not the same.

  3. Replies
    1. I do read your blog!!! And I am very worried about you being in Kenya right now...
      The "soft needles tree" looks like an araucaria columnaris (or Cook pine)! I wish I could cuddle my monkey puzzle tree!!! I know it likes me but it hides it very well!!! :)

    2. Marie Christine, nice to hear from you. I've been thinking of you and wondered how you're doing. We are safe as are all the missionaries. We'll see what happens in the next few days. So are you saying that the araucaria tree and the monkey puzzle tree are the same? Let me know.

    3. I am pretty sure they both belong to the Araucaria family. The monkey puzzle tree is an Araucaria araucana and the one in your compound is a young Araucaria columnaris, as far as I can see from your pictures! :) I have one twelve years old monkey puzzle tree in my garden (waiting for 10 older and younger "siblings" bound to arrive this fall!) and I've seen A. columnaris in South Africa... I love Araucarias! Love you too! :)

    4. I think Marie Christine is right! The one I was trying to think of was Norfolk Island Pine, which is in the same (Araucaria) family but a different species (A. heterophylla).

  4. It looks so beautiful there. I hope Elder Christensen can see all of the beautiful trees there.

    1. Hello Paige, nice to hear from you. Elder Christensen is lucky that he's in Tanzania so hasn't been restricted to his flat. I know that the missionaries here have cabin fever. So do LeRon and I only we have more things we can do. But we are getting far, far behind in our office work and are getting a bit worried.

  5. Your blog is always interesting!

    1. Hi Myrna. How are you and everyone doing? Let me know. Sad to hear of Allen West's passing. Also Kent Evanson. He's LeRon's age. Thought provoking.