Saturday, July 25, 2009

Special Guests

Kasuku enjoying his morning banana bits
While our friends and colleagues, Tim and Diane Bannister, return to Canada for their six month home assignment, we have the joy of taking care their African Grey Parrot, Kasuku. He is a friendly bird. When he is in a mood for being pet, he'll stretch out his neck and curl is head down so that you can ruffle his feathers. He mimics Tim Bannister's voice perfectly, and throughout the day (especially early in the morning) we can hear "Tim" calling out for his dogs, singing, and saying "I'm an expert!"
It will be fun to see what phrases he picks up from our family.
"Pretty Birdie!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Teacher's Tool Box

Teachers from the Rev. Kareri Primary School of the Eastleigh Community Centre participating in a professional development seminar with the Iftin leaders.

As a follow up to the professional development training provided by Don & Joy Hepburn last November, we prepared a seminar in cooperative learning methodologies for our colleagues Zahra, Nelius, and the faculty of the primary school. It was a great time to get to know our the other teachers within the community centre and to encourage each other.

The "inside and outside circles" activity

We were able to use some wonderful material compiled by Carla Nelson for the Pattern's of Promise Conference, that we attended earlier this year. Together with the teachers, we looked at our "teacher's tool box" and considered how we as teachers could improve our effectiveness as educators in Eastleigh. Beyond several simple tools that we introduced today, the teachers identified key areas of interest for future training: counselling, classroom management, and new teaching methodologies topped their list.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Erica's roaring fire!
For those of you who have experienced previous Kenny fires, this one was made without the help of any fossil fuels and absolutely NO smoke in the house -- impressive! I guess Erica will be building fires from now on,... Aaron will stick to the smoking barbeque.
It has been a restful weekend hanging out at home. The weather has been very cool, so it has been a great to play games in front of the fireplace.
In Prayer:
* Please remember us as we lead a teacher professional development day this Monday in Eastleigh. We pray that this might be rich time of building team amongst the staff of the community centre.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Middleton Short Term Mission
Back Row: Laura Lee, Linda, Muriel, Danny, Geralyn, Diane, Emily, Leslie, Ellen. Front Row: Emily, Thomas, Erica, Aaron, Tamara, and Watson (The Bannister's dog)
Safari from the roof of the
CBM Kenya field vehicle

On Monday morning the volunteers from Middleton, Nova Scotia, joined us for the first anniversary party of Iftin and out to Acacia Camp for debriefing and some fun seeing the beautiful Athi plains.

Sunset over the Ngong Hills

Pastor Danny with Tuli

"Nice kitty"

The team homeward bound!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pamoja Tunabadilishwa

Erica's wedding henna on our 11th Anniversary

Looking back over the past week, it has been a full time in Eastleigh serving with the Middleton volunteers. We can't begin to capture all of the experiences that we've shared, but we wanted to at least show you a few more images from the week.

Erica getting her wedding henna
On Friday afternoon, the sister of one of our students dropped in to decorate several members of the team with traditional Somali henna designs. (Another of our Iftin members, Falastin Habib, was married on Thursday. It is common for the bride to decorate herself in henna before the wedding.) For our anniversary, we went out to dinner with the team near our old apartment in Westlands.

Pastor Danny speaking with Rev. Nahashan Mwaura, the director of Christian Education for the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, during the fourth annual Eastleigh Community Centre Youth Entrepreneurship Conference.

Aaron sharing the parable of the talents
during the opening of the youth conference
Over three hundred participants packed into the Eastleigh Community Centre's main hall for the fourth Annual Youth Entrepreneurship Conference -- "The 21st Century Entrepreneur". It was an exciting two days as various guest speakers shared informative and motivational presentations. Among the presenters, Muriel Bent, Diane Thurber, and Laura Lee Reece from the Middleton team addressed the conference. They each shared from their own experiences and passions.

Diane and Laura Lee at the end of their
co-teaching time with the conference

The participants "giving up some love"
for the Canadian presenters!

Pastor Danny and members of the
Refugee Children's Club
cheering on the other kids in a game

of musical chairs.

The Middleton team brought many gifts for the women and children of the community centre, but one of the most beloved was the soccer uniforms and balls they presented to the children of the newly formed Refugee Children's Club. Even the youth leaders, Tunis & Zahra Sharrif, and the children's teacher Gladys, proudly received jerseys.

Thomas with the eldest member of the Children's Club.

Our final home visit this week was with our friends the Aziz family. Geralyn and Linda joined Tristan and us on a short walk to the Aziz home. We had a fun as the children danced and proudly welcomed us into their home.

Erica with their youngest, Jacob "Lucky" Aziz. This is the baby that Erica had the honour of naming last year. He is looking strong and healthy.

Linda with the Aziz family
in their living room/bedroom

Leslie presenting a ceramic water filter
to a nursery school class in honour of her dad

The week flew by, but in this short time obvious bonds of love have formed. We are all looking forward to our final celebration time on Monday morning, even if it is with the sadness of a good-bye to come.

Along with their time in Eastleigh, we had the pleasure of taking the team to Amani Ya Juu, one of our favorite places in Nairobi. Amani is a ministry for refugee women that provides spiritual, emotional and economic support to women from all over east Africa. Through sewing and various handcrafts, the women are able to support themselves and their families.

"We are Transformed Together!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Snap Shots from Eastleigh

Diane and Laura Lee leading a jewelry workshop with the women in the ceramic bead project.

The week is moving along quickly in Eastleigh as the team pulls together in the renovation project and serves within several ministries of the centre. Here are a few snap shots from yesterday.

In the beauty school

Geralyn's new style

Tamara and Emily teaching in the ESL class

Nursery Program

Thomas leading the kids in song

Simon says...

Erica and Zahra join in musical chairs

Aaron giving someone a lift

One last chair...
gotta grab it when the drum stops

Lee, Erica and Diane with the Eastleigh Jewelry team
It was a GREAT DAY!!

Monday, July 6, 2009


The women of Iftin welcomed the Middleton volunteers this morning as they arrived to the Eastleigh Community Centre. The team will be involved in several areas of ministry over the next week as they serve within the community centre.

Erica giving the team a tour
of the Eastleigh Community Centre
We arrived this morning while the students were in their classes, allowing us a window to move about the centre quietly without the usual throng of children (We enjoyed the mob of little hands and smiling faces later in the day!). Everyone was very interested to see the size of the centre and the number of vocational training centre's within the compound. They had many invitations to return to the individual vtc's ... even to have their hair done by the students in the beauty school.
Our friend Nick giving the team a tour
of the Vocational Training Centre

It was wonderful to have a chance for everyone to sit and chat with the women in the ESL program. Three of the Canadians will be team teaching during each of the ESL classes this week.

Everyone did great
overcoming the language barrier

The dust was flying in the renovation project
(and yes... they wore dust masks)

Our demolition crew
Pastor Danny, Andai, and Thomas

... and they say there are no raccoons in Kenya

Children from the Eastleigh Community
Centre's nursery school program

Ellen leading an activity with the nursery kids

Each day three team members will be serving in various children's programs within the centre. More than the games and the songs, the kids were soaking up the love and affection of our Canadian friends

Erica, Mama Aisha, Lee,
Tamara, Aisha, and Aaron
Without a doubt, the highlight of our days in Eastleigh are home visits. We are humbled and blessed by the love and hospitality shown to us by our Somali neighbours. Each member of the Middleton group will have the gift of spending an afternoon with members of Iftin in their homes. Today was a great start to a wonderful week ahead!

In Prayer:
Please pray for the safety of the team as they travel and work within Eastleigh: Especially for safety as the team renovates the classrooms in the primary school.
We also pray for peace and deepening relationships as these two groups come together to bless one another.

On the Wild Side

Over the weekend, the Middleton team had a chance to relax and enjoy some of Nairobi's wild side: Beginning with the traffic (of course), but leading us to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We joined a huge crowd of people for the morning feeding of orphaned baby elephants that are being raised for re-release into the bush.

As much as we all loved the baby elephants, the real crown of the morning was the orphaned baby rhino who stole the show by charging through the crowd, crashing into shins and knee caps with his nub of a horn. Several members of the team will be able to boast that they survived a rhino charge while in Africa!

The Baby rhino is growing up!
We first met this little fellow back in February
when he resembled an alien. To see more pictures
of him look at our February 1st posting
or click here
check it out here

Malcolm Card, Muriel Bent,
and Terry & Nate Smith

During this time while we are working with the Middleton Team in Eastleigh, many of our CBM colleagues are converging on the coast for a development conference being hosted by The Sharing Way. The distinguished missiologist Rene Padilla is coming from Argentina to speak on Integral Mission. While at the elephant orphanage we ran into some of our CBM family who had come for the conference.

A view from the Giraffe Centre
Another great part of the day was visiting the Karen Giraffe Centre that butts up against Nairobi National Park. We all had fun feeding these gentle giants out of our hands (..and from our mouths)

Ava hanging out with Aisha, Ayan and Fardosa
during their first sale with Eastleigh Jewelry

After our time with the animals, we crossed the city and met up with our friends from the Eastleigh Jewelry Project who were taking part in their first sale in an exhibition within the Sarit Centre, Westlands.

Erica congratulating Patrick on a great sale!

The jewelry project did fantastic selling out most of their display
and bringing in over 15,000 shillings. The entire group was
overjoyed by their success!!!!

Talking about WILD Things...
Ava and Daddy trying on masks
at the giraffe centre's kurio shops.
"Oh Daddy, what nice teeth you have...."