Beautiful Creation

Watamu, Kenya

Watamu, Kenya

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane, Nairobi National Park


Hartebeest, Nairobi National Park

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo, Nairobi National Park

Rothschild Giraffe

Rothschild Giraffe, Nairobi National Park

Flame Tree, Malakal, South Sudan

Flame Tree, Malakal, South Sudan

Bird in Malakal

Bird in Malakal

Arial view of River Nile, Malakal, South Sudan

Aerial view of River Nile, Malakal, South Sudan

Doro, South Sudan

Doro, South Sudan

Hell's Gate National Park, where Lion King was sketched.

Hell’s Gate National Park, where Lion King was sketched.

Airplane view of Northern Kenya

Aerial view of Northern Kenya


Cloth Diaper Nightmare

I hate bodily fluids. Blood is ok but everything else, especially the kind we don’t like to talk about over dinner, the kind that comes out “the other” end, royally grosses me out. And changing diapers involves being intimately acquainted with this particular kind of bodily fluid, well more like bodily solid, unless of course… well, never mind, you get the point!

In fact during one of my first babysitting gigs the little 2 year old had such a nasty one that I actually told her not to move, left her in the room by herself and called my mother. She, of course being reasonable, told me that she wasn’t coming over to change it for me so I’d better get my act together and do it. And I did, holding my breath all the while.

This being the case, cloth diapers are the embodiment of nightmare for me.

Unfortunately or fortunately, Bear and I are fairly practical and frugal. Since paper diapers are extremely expensive over here and a friend quite sweetly gave us her gently used cloth diapers, I was forced agreed to see reason and use them.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean I like them.

Bear is pretty much immune to being grossed out in any way, so generally I shake what I can off into the toilet and leave it in the bath tub for him to deal with when he gets home. Lame, I know. And yes, he is an extremely wonderful man!

However, THIS week, this week he is gone. I can’t leave diapers in the tub for 10 whole days; one, because I would run out and two it would stink to high heaven. Being the dutiful mother that I am I took one particularly stinky diaper mounded with, *ahem*, and went to dump it in the toilet. To my absolute HORROR I heard a gushy plop. When I looked down there was a slimy, nasty pile on the bathroom floor. (I am thankful it didn’t land on MY foot or the rug.)

I must be more grown up than my high school self because I didn’t call anyone. I calmly, well mostly calmly, grabbed some tissue swiped it up and quickly flushed it down the toilet. Then I rinsed the rest off of the diaper and gently laid threw it into the bathtub.

Therefore this week I am especially thankful for our washing machine that allows me to touch the dirty, poopy, wet, smelly diapers as little as possible.

We Love Music

We love music! Both Bear and I played musical instruments growing up (Although his was short-lived!). All of us enjoy the time of praise and worship at our AIC church. Bear and I also really love country music but finding clean lyrics over the radio is hard. Therefore much of the time we listen to Bear’s collection of classical music, Klove or the children’s catechism CDs given to us for Little Bear. The CDs put Scripture to music and teach many of the basic truths we believe. Little Bear and I dance together in step with the music quite often. He claps his hands, bounces and “sings” right along with whatever is playing. He even gets emotional when sad or mellow music is playing but perks right back up when a happy song comes on.

His face really lights up when Bear sings to him just before bed. We recorded Bear singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” for the times when he travels and can’t sing to Little Bear in person. So far he sings it in three languages; English, Hausa and Bariba. We’ll have to work on adding Kiswahili and Arabic to the repertoire! Listen to Bear singing below.

Cooking Gas

Gas BombWe are thankful for the electricity we have. However, it isn’t always constant. When it does go out in the middle of making dinner I am VERY thankful that I cook using all gas. I’m also thankful for our gas bomb delivery man who “saved” our enchiladas the other day when the gas ran out just as I was mixing the sauce. Yes, he is delivering explosive fuel on a bicycle!

I am Privileged

We are thankful we can read.

Little Bear has already been exposed to numerous books in his short life. We read Bible stories to him each night. He owns quite a few baby board books and even a book that reads to him as he turns the pages. While he can’t read yet he will because we can. According to CIA Factbook an astounding 99% of people can read in the United States of America. What a privilege!

Unfortunately this is not a percentage shared by war ravaged South Sudan. After years of fighting with the North and now an ongoing conflict within, South Sudan is struggling to educate her children. In South Sudan only 27% of the population aged 15 years and above is literate. The literacy rate for males is 40% compared to 16% for females. (World Bank 2014) This is one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.

Check out literacy rates around the world. Are you among the privileged few? Click on the map to go to an interactive website documenting literacy rates.

World Literacy Rates 2014

Don’t Drive Here

We are thankful to have transportation here in the city.

Our truck is big, tough, a little beat-up and old. Other vehicles give us wide berth on the roads. It means we can travel safely with Little Bear in his car seat, make trips to the game parks, easily carry our groceries after a big shop at Nakumatt and go out after dark without paying a taxi.

Bear’s piki (motorcycle) is big and loud. He drives it to and from work cutting down his commute time to and from the hangar by as much as 45 minutes to an hour. He’s become an expert at weaving in and out of traffic.

To give you a taste of our traffic, check out the video by Discovery Channel below. Just watching the first few minutes will show you road life. At around 2:59 you can see what Caleb might encounter driving his piki around Nairobi.