Lord, Have Mercy, as we say in the Deep South ! It’s Christmas, Y’all, and the last time we wrote y’all we were about to leave Nyeri Town in Kenya after an incredible week there with RoseMary Kamunya and the students at WAKA Nursing School and Clinic.
So for our Christmas post, we just want to share from where we left off last time … our time near Mt. Kenya around Ndathi. We met so many new friends in this farming community and loved our unforgettable time with Susan and her daughter, Njeri. It was quite awesome getting to know what their daily life there in Susan’s farm compound is like – as well as at Samaria Medical Clinic, which Susan owns and operates on her property as the primary medical clinic for the whole community. (Susan is a local Nurse Practitioner). Njeri has a business managing women’s Microlending Groups throughout the community and in nearby villages.
This leg of our African journey was about an hour northeast of Nyeri and higher in elevation. We spent a full week with Susan Kaburu in her rural Central Kenya community called Ndathi ! We had planned to post about our extraordinary week there right after getting back to Nairobi, but somehow the days kept slipping by with more experiences and more travels … and we couldn’t get our act together well enough to select photos and write about our time in the country ! Honestly our time there was such an incredible week, and such a busy week, that it was overwhelming at the time just THINKING of how to write about it all.
(I know a lot of you also follow us on FB, so you did know that we made it out of Kenya and spent time in Paris and the South of France before returning to Nashville around Nov. 15th. (maybe we’ll get a post together soon from our time in France!) And believe it or not, we have been non-stop since getting back on U.S. Soil ! After a couple of weeks in Tennessee, we flew down to MS for a week to re-connect with some family & friends and to take care of some business there. We’re now in Gatlinburg and spending some time with Lisa’s family while working on the Kenya project and Lisa is doing some occasional prn OT work through December.)
We loved the beauty and peacefulness of our week in the African countryside. Life without electricity was a welcomed change and we got to disconnect from our computers for most of the week ! Waking up to the rooster (and all the roosters from the neighboring farms) and the sounds of African birds that we don’t hear in the U.S. was really sweet. Our fresh milk came from Susan’s cow and our food from Susan’s garden. And she was a fabulous cook! We cooked using Bio-Fuel, which was created daily by David (Susan’s nephew who lived on the property, too). Every day one of his farm chores is to collect all of the animal dung in a bucket (Susan had a few sheep and goats, too) and after adding water and mixing and straining it with his bare hands, he poured it into their above ground bio-fuel system to create the cooking fuel for the day!
We loved our evening strolls with Susan around the community. Beautiful farms and crops lined the dirt roads and kids were always running around playing or helping in the fields. Animals were always being herded along the roads to and from a day of grazing somewhere where grazing was good. People were kind, welcoming, and incredibly friendly.
We saw the real meaning of community in a part of the world where neighbors truly do care about one another. We saw people whose faith is alive and real and a deep abiding love for God. This Christmas we will be reflecting on all of the important lessons we brought back with us to America at a time when gifts are being exchanged and families are gathering. Daily life is not simple in rural Kenya, yet it feels like the real deal. I know Susan will really benefit once the nearby electricity reaches her compound, but I’m glad we got to visit while things were as they were. Change is inevitable, even if it’s slow change. And there’s no doubt that this trip changed both of us in many ways as well.
This Christmas take a minute to turn off all the lights at some point ( ok, leave the tree lights on if you’d like ’cause they look great in a dark room), turn off the TV’s, pretend there are no cell phones, notice the people sitting around the room with you, be present in the moment, conjure up the sounds of a few sheep, a cow, maybe some chickens … maybe even an occasional elephant walking by … be thankful for hot water from the faucet, an oven, a bathtub. Be still and know … The true meaning of Christmas … the real deal.
Peace, Love, and Joy. Merry Christmas.
The Two Scruffies.