I wake this morning amid ear-fulls of cow bellows, bird chirps, chicken clucks and children’s laughter. No one seems to be in the house except for me. Leon, Lavender and Charlie move about the backyard engrossed in the day’s chores, milking the cows, feeding the chickens, starting fires in both the outside and inside kitchen, fetching water (the municipal water is expected to be back on in the city sometime today – it actually happens on Friday, to great cheers), heating water, boiling milk for the chai, cleaning the kitchen from last night’s meal, feeding The Dude, fetching eggs, and washing yesterday’s dishes.
As I wander about the house, getting my bearings, Naomi bursts in the front door with the biggest smile and hugs me good morning. For an hour or more, she and George have been walking the entire property, gleefully talking about how they can best use the land and outbuildings, taking in every square foot of the property and marveling that this is now their house. Already, you can see the stress and strain leaving their faces. No longer needing to wonder about their security with landlords, they can more easily concentrate on building job stability and getting their children through school, all of which creates financial stability for them and their children for generations to come.
Naomi and I lounge on the couch in the sitting room, talking through next steps for her NCLEX-RN studies and the TOEFL English exam she’ll be required to pass as she prepares to apply for a work visa to come to America and practice nursing. Two to three years of nursing in the USA will create a lifetime nest egg for them. I have brought her an older iPad so she could download study guides and related books. My hope is to get her a scribd.com account so she can download and have instant access to all the books she might need for her studies. We discover the tablet has maxed out its software at iOS 9.3.1 and scribd.com requires iOS 11 or higher. I’m undeterred and tell her if she leaves the tablet here when she goes to back to Nakuru for the week, I will see what I can accomplish with free PDFs from elsewhere.
After breakfast, I hand out the gifts I’ve brought. Thanks to generous donations, George has three new pairs of shoes (two dress and one pair of casual shoes – our long drives in dress shoes are hard on his feet), two new dress shirts, three ties, and an iPhone. Naomi requested medical and health supplies, and she’s overjoyed with the COSTCO sized box of medical gloves, vitamins, first aid items, herbal teas and the like. She also gets an iPhone, the iPad I mentioned earlier, and a burgundy scarf. I remembered earlier this year a burgundy dress she wore and how good the color looked on her. My final gift brought her to tears – a watch so she can easily take patients’ pulses.
Irene’s gifts will have to wait until she returns from Nairobi – which will now actually be tonight instead of Friday. I’ve brought her a small Android tablet and a much older iPhone (the kind with the wide charger). I brought all the wide chargers we had at our house that weren’t in use – alas, most of them aren’t holding a charge well. I make a note to put out the call to donors who might have those cords laying around the house, to see if we can’t find ones that WILL still charge. She’ also gets a deep blue Pasmina shawl – to match her navy blue suit for school. A few bottles of makeup and make up sponges, plus some spices, were her other requests; she was overjoyed.
For Leon, I have brought a laptop so he can continue to work on his studies until we have the $1,200 to pay for his next semester of university. He literally jumped up and down and ran around the room with joy. He too gets an android tablet and one of the older iPhones with the wider base. Plus a sharp dark gray dress shirt.
Lavender’s items are smaller, since we didn’t get her sizes in time to get more. I let her know that we will go shopping for the dress or shoes she’s looking for. (She selects a deep blue fabric and has a dress made, which she wears to the Thanksgiving Celebration we have later in the week, where their friends and family gathered for a housewarming party. (I bring her a flip phone, a sketchbook for her science experiments and scented soap.
Charlie had a very specific desire that would be of great benefit to him and his family and definitely would not fit in my suitcase. He wants a bicycle. A donor made a specific donation for that and later this week he will pick out the bike he wants. In the meantime, I give him the wallet and the flip phone I have brought him.
Paula and Paulette get some of the gifts I’ve brought them now – the reading books and workbooks I’ve brought them. These have a double use: they will use them to teach me Kiswahili while they also learn more English. The rest of their gifts – including long sleeve shirts, and yoyos – will be doled out daily as we approach the weekend. We’re planning a surprise party for them on Saturday, even though their birthday is actually Wednesday August 28.
I’ve loaded up the tablets with New Thought teachings, ranging from Napoleon Hill and Helen Wilmans to Ralph Waldo Trine and Herbert Thurman. Everyone else also gets books I’ve brought from Catherine Ponder, H. Emilie Cady, Edwene Gaines, Joel Goldsmith, Emmett Fox and othersto build their library. And I’ve brought some other requested household items like spices, more plates and silverware. I’m also well-stocked with Epic Bars and Rx Raw bars which the children loved snacking on when I was here in February.
As everyone explores their gifts, Naomi begins packing. George is driving her back to Nakuru today so they can spend some quality time together. She’ll work the rest of the week then meet George and me and the twins in Eldoret Saturday morning so we can visit her family. George will drive back here tomorrow so we can begin moving things forward with our projects, including plowing two of the five acres of farmland so we can get the watermelon seedlings into the ground while I’m here.
As they leave, Naomi tells me they would like to make the second Sunday I’m here Thanksgiving Day, to celebrate where God has brought us through and how the Divine Plan has unfolded to bring us to this point. We will also be celebrating the Pau’s birthdays (and mine) this Saturday at home, with a surprise party for them.
On all my past trips, George has made many plans for me to speak around the area, so I haven’t had as much timeto simply spend with the family. Today, I’m excited to be able to stay home with the A-U-Guys as George and I collectively call the children.
My day is spent reading, writing these blog posts and playing with the twins. My Kiswahili lessons will begin today. My teachers are very eager and strict. In the midst of my lessons one or the other twin will remember we are celebrating their birthdays in a few days. They stop to tell me items for their birthday list. Dolls. Yogurt. Strawberries. Crayons.
I ask what my school fees will be as their student. They ponder this question with great seriousness. After much discussion we come to agreement. First week: A box of crayons for each of them. Second week: swimming goggles. They wanted bicycles, but thanks to my keen negotiation skills we decide bicycles will be for when they are teaching me secondary school Kiswahili. (Which gives us three more years to raise money for bikes!)
I look around for whatever tasks I can do as part of the family since am not traveling or recovering from hours long travels and speaking. I begin drawing and carrying my own water. Irene arrives and begins to prepare dinner. I ask how I can help and am put to work chopping onions while Leon begins heating up the water for the stew Irene will prepare.
From dinner until my eyes close in bed, the house is filled with lively conversation and laughter.