Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eric the day after his return

The day after Eric returned he was up at 6:30 am and said he felt great. This picture was taken mid morning when I was in the middle of talking to him.


It has been a couple of weeks since our last update and we have been asked this question many times, "Well"? Appropriate question since we hope to be putting down a few wells soon - I know that was bad. I will try my best to answer that question although I don't have many answers.

Overall Eric felt very positively about his trip to Kenya and said he would be interested in pursuing the position. The issue being that while he and the representative from Living Water Inter. had to deal with some corruption that had been occurring in Kenya which may take 6 months to 1 year to clean up. LWI would like that issue resolved before sending anyone over there.

Hurricane Ike also knocked out power to the headquarters in HOuston so they have been functioning on a generator for the last week. Their biggest fundraiser is also this weekend so they are a bit busy and we are giving them some time to process everything before bombarding them with questions.

That is the best I can do in answering the "Well?" question. In the meantime we are busy with school, homework, piano, soccer and church activities. We will continue to keep you all informed as we know more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The road home

Monday September 8, 2008 and Tuesday Sept 9, 2008

Good day all,

I have had to write these two days together as indeed they have been. I have currently been up for nearly 30 hours and I am not through yet. This writing finds me homeward bound one day early and not quite sure life’s next turn. The trip went successful, I think, as I was on a “watch and see” mission. Never have I done so little in such a long period of time. I suppose it is necessary to see what life is really like – but I felt a bit like a photographer shooting a National Geographic film with the “Look, but don’t disturb anything so that everyone acts natural” mission. Unsettling.

To bring the story round, we never did make it to Rwanda. We did however locate the “tired” package that had decided to stop and rest in Kenya for a never discovered reason and get a commitment that it will continue on its way this Wednesday. We will never be sure that this actually happens until after it arrives, hopefully in one piece, but we prayed it would. Due to the schedule alterations, we had free time we were not anticipating. We were able to meet with an old past friend of Bruces and he is a passionate Jesus lover with a heart for missions. He is Kenyan and actively sends his people “out” into the world. I heard the most humbling statement from him. “If 3 or 4 weeks pass without being able to lead at least one person to Jesus, I get nervous that I am not doing something right and I have to examine myself to make sure I am going the right way” What a servant of the Lord. I want to be like him.

We headed homeward early because of an act of God. There appears to be another hurricane that is headed for Texas. Bruce lives in Houston Texas and his wife asked him if he could come home early to help attend to the preparations in case it came their way. We had nothing to hold us back, so the flights were changed and I am heading back one day early. I should arrive in Chicago about 4:00 pm CST Tuesday the 9th. We are currently over the Atlantic Ocean, south if Iceland, but I should be long since home by the time anyone reads this.

The next steps will be hard. Holland Custom is creating hard questions that have to be dealt with soon. I have expressed interest in continuing dialog with Living Water about Africa, but it will be some time before I hear anything. Family needs some attention and I have to figure out how God wants to use me in both the near and long term. Life is making so many turns now, that even I am having a hard time keeping up. I imagine that a few decisive decisions in a few hard places will clear things up quickly.

For me, I have to admit that I learned much – but I am not sure I know what to do with it. The information does not appear to fit into our old life and we have no new life in which to place it. I do not want to give the impression that I feel “lost” as I have never been so found – I am just not sure what to do with this new information. I kind of feel like Ben Franklin with his discovery of electricity – great stuff is anybody could figure out how to harness it and then find something to do with it.

I have started a list of life goals that I am working on with Sunshine to help define some of the unknowns. Please keep praying as we seek direction.

I will try to keep you all posted as we continue on our journey,

Eric (8 hours from home and badly in need of a shower)

September 10, 2008

I arrived safe and sound late last night and its good to be home. I was able to sleep and should be over jet lag by tomorrow. I was able to put Adrianne on the bus this morning and am looking forward to waking up the boys soon.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. I will be taking the day in hiding to play with the family, but will be available tomorrow and beyond.

Please continue to pray that we will know Gods will on our upcoming life changes.

Love you all and I will update periodically from here.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

September 6, 2008

September 6, 2008

The well was test pumping today. By Kenyan Law the well must pump at capacity for 24 hours to test how fast the well replenishes. This wastes lots of water to the joy of many children and adults. The well is 1,000 feet deep and is producing about 18,000 liters per day. This is more than expected by almost double and they are thrilled to get it.

I ended up staying with the well for a couple hours before leaving for our next destination. We had to cancel the trip to Rwanda (I am still in Nairobi Kenya) as we have a very expensive shipment for Living Water International that has been held up at the airport. The shipment is from India and headed to Sudan, but it got tired and is resting here. We are trying to figure out what made our package tired so we can be sure it had a good rest to send it on its way. Nothing is easy in Africa.

This afternoon I went to Kijabe Kenya to look around. I visited a school and enjoyed the view of the rift valley. On the way back, we ran across two accidents. The first was a semi-truck rolled over in the road and on fire. No one was around and he truck was just burning away. I could not tell if the cab section was still attached.

Farther up the road we were stopped by a semi-truck that decided to drive off the side of the mountain. The cab separated from the tanker behind and fell 400 feet into the valley. Both people died. The commotion was beyond logic. Another person has told me many times that Africa is a logic free zone, but today was my first experience with the real logic free zone. When a major accident occurs on a small two lane mountain road both lanes of traffic are stopped as the accident is cleared. Since each side did not have opposing traffic, the cars decide they can get ahead of someone else if they drive in the opposite lane until the reach the site. When this happens on both sides of the accident – a real mess occurs. You cannot move any cars in either direction. This must have happened 100 times as the accident was clearing. People were always getting out of line to cut off someone and stopping the flow of oncoming traffic which causes incredible troubles. Police were standing all around but nobody cared.

The wrecker at the top of the hill clearing the accident, barely moved the cars off one lane before more cars piled onto the scene. Everyone wanted to be first, but nobody wants to lead. I though of that veggie tale video and wanted the entire country of Kenya to watch it. It probably took 1 hour to clear the accident and longer than that to try to remove the confusion caused by the cars. I am sure that the accident will not be cleared up 100% for more than 4 hours.

Anyway I am back at the hotel I was at the last three nights (The Hampton House) in Nairobi and will be here through Tuesday.

Thank you for holding our family in your prayers,

Eric still in Nairobi

Thursday, September 4, 2008

History lesson

Hello Family and Friends-

This is Renee typing from home. Eric has spotty internet connections so I thought I would update on what he has told me (via Skype) and a little bit of a history lesson.

Eric is finally feeling "up to speed" after having jet lag for several days. He is now staying in a boarding type house with 3 other men from Living Water International. A group of 7 ladies from the states came down last Saturday as well. They are with a jewelry company, owned by Kohl's department store and they donated money for a well. They also purchased several thousand beads from a local bead factory while they were there. Eric has not had to spend much time with them although yesterday his job was to escort them to the mall. Every man's nightmare!

Anyway, much of his time has been spent searching for companies that can provide services for Living Water and of course sitting in traffic!

The well that is being drilled is in the Kibera slum. Here is your history lesson. Kibera is considered the second largest slum in the world. Some argue it is the largest. Kibera began when Kenya was a British Colony. The British chose to give sections of land to the Nubian soldiers as payment for their service in WWI. Nubia was a country that is now northern Sudan and a small part of Egypt. The British allowed the soldiers to build any type of house they wanted. Because the soldiers were poor they built "shacks." Keep in mind the soldiers were not considered citizens but displaced tribes.

When Kenya became independent in 1963 certain forms of housing were deemed illegal by the government and therefore the Nubian settlement was not recognized. The Nubians and their descendants cannot rent "legal" housing because they are "displaced tribes"; therefore the more "industrious" Nubians "rent" their property. Since 1963 several other tribes have moved into the slum due to the fact that their villages are "under developed". This has caused conflict resulting in arson and theft.

Because the government does not "recognize" the inhabitants of the slum, basic water and sanitary issues are not addressed. They are known for "flying toilets". Latrines are very scarce so the method of disposal is to poop in a plastic bag and then throw it somewhere. Usually this means in the river or on their roof.

It is estimated that between 700,000 and 1.2 million people live in this 630 acre slum. Currently the slum is surrounded by government owned land so it cannot continue to sprawl outward, however the population continues to grow. It is located approximately 3 miles SE of Nairobi's city center.

Eric said that there was so much trash in the river inKibera that it stopped the flow. A front end loader and dump truck were brought in to dig it out.

It is hard to comprehend that any person could live in that situation. If you want to see the slum there are several videos on You Tube. In some twisted sort of way I almost wish I had not seen or heard about it because now I have to wrestle with the question, "What can I do about it?"

As for the home front we are doing well. The kids started school on Tuesday and they are adjusting well to the new schedule - better than I am. The boys are also involved in recreational soccer which encompasses 4 out of 5 week days and Saturday mornings. Although I am supposed to have all of this "time" to accomplish things with the kids in school I cannot tell you where the last 3 days went. Perhaps next week I can clean out that closet that was going to get done before we left for Mexico! :)

We so appreciate your notes (Stacey :) ), phone calls, offers to help and of course your prayers.

If you are able- please send my hubby a comment on this site. I know he looks forward to reading them (when he can).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sept 2 & 3 2008

Tuesday September 2, 2008

Wow is all I can day about the traffic. We spent 5 hours in traffic today and covered about 50 miles. The amount of cars, the smell of diesel smoke, the constant stopping and starting was more than anyone should have to take.

The day was not without gain. We met two companies that will most likely turn out to be great assets for LWI. This is a long story, but you will have to take my word for it.

We were stopped on the road for 30 minutes waiting for the president to pass by on his way to the airport. This was no small task for the police to remove literally thousands of cars off the road. The town was thrown into chaos as he was whizzed by at 80 miles per hour with his 12 Mercedes and BWM bullet proof cars. Quite a scene.

I am starting to sleep better and get used to the time change, but I am not willing to have to drive with this traffic.

Tomorrow I will be going to the game park and I am looking forward to that. I will try to take good pictures and post them on the site.

I have not had alone time and will need it soon. Pray for discernment and good listening skills.

Thank you for keeping me and the family at home in your prayers,

Wednesday September 3, 2008

Fun day today. I went to a game park very early in the morning and saw some of Gods great creation. This type of park you get to stand in an open van and drive around to see animals. They are all wild and loose on a 20,000 hectare preserve. The animals are not feed, so the lions eat what they can and so on.

I saw zebras, antelope, giraffe, large land turtle, gazelles, water buffalo, warthogs and several others. We had a good time although it was cold and a bit rainy (not bad though).

Back to the slum today to see the well project and a free afternoon.

Keep you posted.

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