Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas is that time of year...

Christmas at the Nest

On Boxing Day, Erica and the girls visited the Nest Children's Home in Limuru where Ava was brought when she was first abandoned. They all had so much fun playing with the children and sharing gifts of fruit and cookies. Ava especially loved playing on the new slide with the Emma and all the other children: There were 60 boys and girls who spent Christmas at the Nest this year plus all of the infants now staying close to Rosslyn Academy at the Nest's halfway house. One highlight of the visit was Ava visiting her old bed (pictured above). Because of the cool temperatures of Limuru (about 6000 ft in elevation), the Nest is doing its best to keep the babies at their warmer Nairobi house.

Ava all played out on Christmas Day

This was a very special Christmas for us as it was Ava's first Christmas as a Kenny. At three years, she was totally into opening presents and all of the excitement. But as always it was the simplest gifts that were the most fun, an inflatable giraffe water toy, a pink whistle, a Dora the Explorer backpack and of course bubble wrap were among Ava's favorite things to play with. (And yes, Santa did manage to find a pink umbrella and cups too!)

What a difference a grape

bubble gum mustache makes

Full of Christmas Cheer!

Tristan sporting his new camo outfit,... already for the Canadian cold or maybe a game of capture the flag

Emma and Ava up bright and early

on Christmas morning

Christmas Eve 2009

A small flock of Crowned Cranes landed in a marshy open field just below our home on Christmas Eve day. It was a beautiful reminder of how God provides for all of His creation.
On Christmas Eve, we were busy getting all the last minute details ready for our Christmas celebration. We cooked our turkey, wrapped our presents, tidied up the house, and prepared for our guests as we shared Christmas eve and day with our friends Melanie McKee and Kerry Jividen who slept over.

Mommy and the girls in their new Christmas dresses

All ready for Christmas Eve worship
That evening we joined a group of friends for a Christmas Eve worship service at the home of Scott and Cathy Organ. It was a wonderful time of carolling and sharing.

Our Advent wreath

Back at home we gathered around our family advent candles to remember the story of how God revealed himself to the world by creation, the prophets, the Holy Spirit, the angels, and ultimately in Jesus Christ. As we lit the Christ Candle we were reminded that the advent lights of hope and love are really meant to shine brightest in our lives throughout the year.

Mommy and the kids finishing up some last minute wrapping paper

It was a late night and our little Ava's drooping eyes didn't make it to final tradition of putting out treats for Santa, but she did manage to give us her list:

"San-Ta, I want an umbrellas,
a pink whistle, aaaaaand two cups!!!! "

Tristan and Emma with mommy's ginger snaps and coke for Santa (we hear he is lactose intolerant)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CBM Christmas Party

D and Kara Carline decorating Christmas cookies with the CBM kids

On Sunday afternoon, we gathered at the home of one of our Canadian Baptist Ministry team mates, for a Christmas gathering with our CBM Kenya team. We all missed Tim, Diane and Caleb Bannister who are still on home assignment in Ontario. They will be back with us in Kenya early January 2010.

Kara helping little Ava with decorating her cookie (for some reason, it seemed so much more logical for the icing to go directly into her mouth -- after all, who needs a cookie? Let's cut out the middle man!)

All the hard work paid off!

A. leading us in a carol sing

After the cookie decorating, we played some games and sang some of our favorite Christmas carols. There were lots of favorites, but "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" was just wonderful.

Malcolm Card as Santa
Of course, how can you have a Christmas party without Father Christmas coming to visit the kids? You may be surprised to know that in Kenya our father Christmas has no beard, very little hair, and wears a red Canadian baseball cap. Just a little bit of trivia!

Patty as Mrs. Clause

We had to improvise for costumes. It seems that in Africa the reindeer are exchanged for horses, thus Mrs. Clause wore a riding helmet. Emma had the giggles as she received her present from the Christmas couple.

It looks like Tristan is making
the "NICE" list this year too!

Keenan Carline sends you
Christmas Greetings

On behalf of the whole CBM Kenya team,
we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Emma's Christmas Tea

Emma and the girls at her first
Christmas Tea Party

Once a year Emma hosts a tea party for her friends. This year she decided to make it a Christmas Tea. She and her friends had lots of fun decorating Christmas cookies, playing games, painting their toe nails, and of course eating Christmas cookies -- the giggling was out of control... maybe it had something to do we all those missing cookies!

Simple tea party game
Step One: Life savers buried in icing sugar
Step Two: find a lifesavers with a tooth pick (no hands)
Step Three: slide the life saver onto your friends tooth pick
(no hands ... and no poking anyone with your tooth pick)

Keep passing on the lifesaver,
but hurry up the other team is going to catch up!

Step four: get the life saver to Mrs. Kenny, but careful no smooching unless your under the mistletoe!

(Repeat Steps 1 to 4 until all the life savers are done or until Ava has eaten them from the bowl)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The First Leon

The cast from the 2009 Rosslyn Academy
Christmas Musical "The First Leon"

On Friday evening, the Rosslyn Academy auditorium was jampacked for this year's Christmas presentation. We hope to have a few video clips from the musical posted on Youtube later this week for family and friends who might be interested. For now, here are a few photos from the night (Since our camera was busy videotaping, we are hoping to find a few more photographs of the performance from friends who were taking pictures during the show).
The kids all did an outstanding job. The music, vocals, and drama were wonderful. We've been several performances over the past few years but this one was something else. For any teachers or pastors out there looking for a great children's Christmas production, you should take a look at The First Leon, it was fun and had a simple but heart touching message.

Erica and Kim after a fabulous performance!

Once again, Erica teamed up with Kim Remich, the elementary music teacher at Rosslyn Academy, in the direction of the school play. Since the beginning of October, they have both worked tirelessly on making this night a success.
Tristan in his role as Leon, the Charlie Brown-like kid who, despite his best efforts, doesn't get a spot in the Christmas Play, but in the end through his own miss-steps happens upon the true meaning of Christmas and helps everyone to see the REAL Bethlehem star!
Mommy congratulating Tristan after the show

Mommy and Emma
Emma sang in the choir this year and sang a duet with her classmate Morris.
"You gotta have the look, you gotta have the style... if your gonna be a star!"
It was an exciting night, but everyone was glad when the final song was sung and the butterflies finally left. We went home afterward with our friend Zahra to celebrate with milkshakes and enjoy a great nights sleep!

Proud Daddy and his little star!
Merry Christmas!

Iftin Class of 2009

The Machakos AIC marching band leading the 2009 Skills Training and Enterprise Development Program Graduates through Eastleigh

A group of the Iftin graduates waiting for the procession to start. It was a very early day for the women of the three Iftin classes as they walked to the centre to prepare for the graduation at 7 am.

Iftin community coordinator Zahra Aziz with the Feruza, Farhiya and Hani before the graduation.

Over 300 graduates from the community-based training, centre-based training, and Iftin program marched in a procession on third Avenue and down 2nd Street, entering the Community Centre from the rear football pitch. The procession drew a large crowd of spectators who came to see the excitement.

Iftin student, and self help group community facilitator, Nadhifo Buule sharing about the impact of Iftin within the community: "Iftin means women helping women"

Iftin student and "Happy Club" youth leader, Tunis Shariif being presented an award for "innovation and creativity" by Lisa Whitley, a representative of the Nairobi office of USAID.

ECC director, Ehud Gachuga, pronouncing
the conferral of certificates to the graduates

56 of the 60 Iftin graduates were able to attend the ceremony and receive their certificates from the hand of the Somali area counsellor for the Kenyan government.

Vocational Training Centre graduate Iyako addressing the graduates in song at the close of the 2009 convocation.
A final highlight of the day was hearing the testimony of Iyako. Growing up as a street kid in Eastleigh/Mathare he was caught up in crime and addiction. Through the social workers of the Eastleigh Community Centre, Iyako was brought into a sponsorship program funded by the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust. Through the intervention of the community centre, Iyako completed Standard Eight and entered the Vocational Training Program. Today he has completed his auto mechanic certificate and will enter the work force with confidence and skill. He stood before his peers, proudly declaring in Kiswahili -- "My name is Iyako. I am born again! ... God has blessed my life!" Stories of transformation like this are why the Eastleigh Community Centre exists!

Let's Play Ball!

Emma and Tristan completed their soft ball intramural season on Thursday afternoon. It was a great six weeks of fun as Red team slugged away during the Monday afterschool games.

Red team coach, Wes Enns, pitching to Tristan


Friday, December 11, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

On Thursday morning, directors Erica Kenny and Kim Remich held the dress rehearsal for the Rosslyn Academy Elementary School Christmas Musical. Anticipation for the big performance was high as the kids in the cast and choir polished their performance under the bright lights of the auditorium.

Tristan is playing the lead role of LEON "the Understudy for the Inn Keeper" in this year's performance THE FIRST LEON, created by Dennis and Nan Allen. Both Tristan and Emma are also singing solos in the play. There are lots of butterflies fluttering around in the Kenny house.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Penguin Parade

Here come the PENGUINS!!!!

Erica is room mom for 3A, Emma's homeroom class at Rosslyn Academy. This morning we had fun helping the kids decorate their bulletin board with a parade of very colourful penguins. Aaron remembered making penguins like this back when he was in third grade at Parkdale Elementary School, Charlottetown. After the kids put together the basic penguin body, we all had a great time cutting out construction paper clothes, hats and electric guitars to make their penguins unique. It was so much fun, we're tempted to make a little penguin village of our own at home... or how about a penguin nativity scene..?

Erica and Emma with our friend, and Emma's homeroom teacher, Melanie McKee deep in the midst of penguin production.

Emma and her pal Maddie
with their very elegant penguin girls

Rosslyn Academy's class 3A with Santa's helpers
Zach Rowley, Erica and Aaron
What a fine bunch of penguins!