IMG_4339

We Have Water!!!! July 2014

Jambo Everyone!

First, I want to wish you all a Happy 4th of July! I seem to have missed the last 5 years of this American Holiday, but I am happy knowing the fun and festivities you will all have. When I try to explain to my friends here what we do on the 4th of July, it gets lost in translation. In fact, I gave up trying when some asked me, "Why do you want to blow up your skies....are there not enough stars there in America for you?!"

I have been in Kenya now for 1 week and as usual, I am hit hard with culture shock the first few days. I caught a head cold traveling and found myself without medicine and out in the bush with no relief for days. So, this silly Mzungu (our name here which means White-faced person)...relied on what they do best here....improvise. It's amazing what hot water, lemon and "something" that comes from the Acacia trees can do for a congested head. Truly, within a few days it had come and gone! At home I would normally hang on to a old for 1-2 weeks. In the Western World, people know what is going to happen when they turn on a water tap or flick the light switch. In Africa, a land of FEW safe assumptions, chronic uncertainty has truly produced a nation of quick-witted, patient, and creative problem-solvers. Despite the "uncomfortable," situations we find ourselves in, it is always comforting knowing that there is a way. It is almost always different than ours, but sometimes it's even better! Lesson learned!

Every day is an adventure here in Maasailand. The greetings are exciting as they still continue to be amazed that we return from year to year. I still get the common response when I question why they are surprised to see me every year. They always say, "We see Mzungus, but never do they come back twice!" For those who have had the privilege of experiencing the Maasai, it is easy to understand why we come back year after year. The conditions are harsh, but the people quickly make you forget our modern comforts and even embrace the life of living simply. It doesn't take long to appreciate water, electricity, and yes, even a toilet.....the greatest invention ever!!

You can see from the photos that our kids at Ronesa are happy and thriving. There are now 108 kids, 3 more since just two days ago. We found the 3 kids who recently lost their mother, so they will stay at Namayiana Orphanage, which is right next to Ronesa Academy. It is run by my good friend Gloria, who is a teacher in Colorado also. The kids are adjusting well as Maasai know how to take care of their own! As soon as I got here, we ordered a Lorrie to come with fresh water. Thank you to my sister, Laura Wafer, who provided the money for this! The photo you see is the water being delivered to our school. This is a huge treat, but will only last one month and then it's back to fetching water from afar. My DREAM is to be able to drill a borehole on the property so that both the orphanage, Mama Sheila's (where we stay) and our school will have enough water to sustain both life and the ability to grow their crops without spoiling. Water IS life and it is never more evident than what we experience here in Maasailand on a daily basis.

The week has been filled with dances from the Safehouse girls (those rescued from forced marriages), exchanging Pen Pal letter with students from Shaffer, and even watching a few World Cup "football," games in nearby huts! Priceless Memories! I even caught a glimpse of the US v Belgium game while waiting at the bank to exchange money. The teller caught me eyeing the small tv behind him and he whispered to me, "Hey American......you lose 2 to 1!!" Really?! I couldn't believe he spoiled it for me, but we had a good laugh about it! I usually end my days taking a walk out to my favorite spot, Seu Seu. It is there that I overlook the Great Rift Valley and try hard to count the giraffes gracefully walking through the Acacia. Yesterday I counted 13 (it's TRUE Erik Phillips!). It is a slice of heaven for sure...beauty beyond imagination.

On Sunday I will take a short flight from Olosho-Oibor to visit a college friend of my nephews in a place called Kiisi. This young man has started a non-profit (Arrive in Kenya) for the street boys (and now girls) of Kiisi. These are some of the most destitute children on the face of the earth. They are homeless, hopeless, and fill their days trying to sniff enough substance to deaden the hunger and heartache they live with. I look forward to participating in the amazing work he is doing to help these beautiful children....and if nothing more, grow my heart bigger for the multitude of kids around the world who live just this way. It's going to be difficult, but I believe in the power of one. As so many of us have seen at our Beloved Ronesa, it doesn't take much to make a difference in the life of one child......one at a time! As the saying goes, "To the world, you might just be one person...but to that one person YOU might be the world!"

Love, hugs, and blessings to you. I will send another post within the next week.

Kwayheri (Goodbye for now)

Julie