Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Puppy Love!

Puppy Love!
Ava has been eagerly awaiting the beginning of her school year next month at Potter House. It has been very hard for her to have to stay back, while Tristan and Emma go off to school each morning. Without any other children to play with here at home, she has been enjoying a lot of playtime with our dogs Henry and Reese -- or as she calls them "Honking and Reese!"

Last week Ava got her hair done, and in order for her braids to stay in longer, we used hair extensions to strengthen the braids. Ava was thrilled by her new long hair. She told us that because of her long hair now that "I have to get married!"

This morning she announced that she would marry our dog Reese!

I guess that only makes sense.

Reese moving in for a kiss!

Oh Henry!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Power of Participation

Members of the Stars of Peace Youth Group
Aisha, Farhiya, Hani, Hussein,
Abdiaziz, and leader Laura Muema

Earlier this May, the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program hosted it's second community peace building forum with about a hundred people in attendance. One of the outcomes of this training was the creation of a community youth group for both young men and women interested in building peace among their neighbours. On June 3, a youth group was formed by 36 local youth. Together they called themselves "Stars of Peace". Today, about 25 youth continue to meet as the Stars of Peace each Thursday afternoon at the Eastleigh Community Centre, many of the young ladies are members of our Iftin literacy classes. Together they have been working on ways to improve the peace and well being of Eastleigh: this last month they completed St. John's first aid training as part of their efforts to be better neighbours. Please pray for Laura Muema as she continues to draw young men and women together and encourage them to take responsibility for improving the lives of everyone in their community.
Discussing the common challenges
and opportunities facing our community

Today we gathered with members of the Stars of Peace, as well as beneficiaries and representatives from the Iftin self help group project, literacy project, Noor jewelry project and Happy Club children's project to evaluate our current work and discuss their perception of problems and opportunities within Eastleigh. We are so thankful for the great participation and respect given by everyone involved. Please pray for us this month as we bring the feedback from small forums like this to the strategic planning meetings for the Eastleigh Community Centre. Together we are seeking God's leading in responding to the needs around us.

Members of today's focus group

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Video Podcast

Access to clean water is a major global concern. In the community of Eastleigh, Canadian Baptists have been working together through The Sharing Way in partnership with the Eastleigh Community Centre to provide clean drinking water to Somali and Oromo refugee families. In this, our first video podcast, we sit down with Vincent Eyako, our Eastleigh Community Centre colleague who heads up the Eastleigh water filtration project, to discuss the importance of this project upon the people of this community.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not only ducks like rain!

A couple of birds at the Eastleigh Community Centre looking for high ground this morning, as rain fell on Nairobi.

It was wonderful to see rain falling on Nairobi this morning as we travelled into Eastleigh with several guests. The long dry Kenyan "winter" should soon be coming to an end as rain clouds gather for the rainy season. Along with approaching rain, Kenyans are also anticipating the adoption of a new national constitution this Friday, August 27. The president has declared the day a national holiday for people to join parades and celebrations being planned throughout the nation.

Erica welcoming Dennis Sherman, Karen Godwin and the Pedde family to the Eastleigh Community Centre this morning. The Iftin and Noor members were very excited to meet our guests, as they shared together about life in Canada and Eastleigh.

Kathryn "Cat" Pedde and Dennis Sherman
sharing with members of Iftin's class 2

Farhiya and Ayan at the Noor workshop

Erica with teachers Nelius and Farhiya
in the Iftin English literacy class

The newest members of Iftin

Earlier this week, we were also thrilled to meet the newly enrolled members of class one. Please continue to pray for the women of Iftin, especially these women as the begin the difficult task of learning a new language.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Emma's 9th Birthday

Birthday Bowl
Diana, Gwen, Naomi, Madeline, and Emma

This past weekend, Emma invited some of her friends over for a sleepover party as we celebrated her 9th birthday. They played lots of games, became hollywood actors as they made their own little movie and stayed up way past bedtime.

...And what's a birthday party
without a sugar high!

The kids also had fun making their own pizza's, toasting with passion fruit and grenadine slushies, and of course eating birthday cake. No wonder they were up so late with lots of giggling!


Happy Birthday Emma
Mommy's Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake -- dig in!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Podcast Guardians of Hope

We hope you enjoy this latest instalment of the "fivekennys podcast" as we share a glimpse into how the Guardians of Hope are making an impact upon the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS in the Kenyan village of Kalimani.

If you have any trouble listening to this podcast, please visit our podcast site below:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kalimani Guardians of Hope

(Back) Dennis, Aaron, Erica, Richard, Kathryn, Jonathan
(Front) Judith, Ruth, Deborah, and Theresa

On Wednesday, we joined our CBM colleague Dennis Sherman and the Pedde family of Regina during their short term mission in East Africa. We had the pleasure of introducing them to the ministry of Guardians of Hope in the countryside of Ukambani. We were also blessed to have Ruth Minyua, the Africa Director of The Sharing Way, and members of the Africa Brotherhood Development Team with us.

Aaron and our friend Dennis
at the Tea Tot Hotel in Machakos

Guardians of Hope Kalimani

On Thursday, we travelled to Kangundo to meet with Rev. Canon Mukwilu and members of the Kalimani Guardians of Hope group. Over the past four years since its creation, the group has mobilized 90 members of this small community to help one another serve the growing number of AIDS orphans that are being taken in by aging widows and caregivers. According to pastor Mukwilu, nearly 40% of the children living in the village are orphans being cared for by grandmothers and widows.

New Borehole brings New Hope

Through the generosity of Canadian Baptists the entire community is benefitting from the digging and operation of a well that is now provide inexpensive water for families. Prior to the borehole, a family would either spend hours a day carrying water to the village or as much as 50 ksh/ to purchase the water they needed from local merchants. A family in the community can now buy that same amount of water right in the village for less than 10 ksh/. The bore hole also provides water for the local blind school, the GOH seedlings project and the church.

Guardians walking by the borehole

Income Generating Activities
Every member of the Guardians of Hope in Kalimani shares a plot of seedling with another woman that they care for together and sell at market to raise money to help HIV/AIDS orphans within the group with school fees and medical costs.

Guardians of Hope member Elizabeth Nzau
working on her Mango tree seedlings

By grafting their tree seedlings, the Guardians improve the value of their trees and greatly increase the profits earned at market.

Africa Brotherhood Church Kalimani

Each Sunday, as many as 500 people from the village and surrounding area worship here at the Africa Brotherhood Church. Through their commitment to integral mission, the church preaches and demonstrates the fullness of the gospel lived out in word and deed. Together they are bringing the transforming love of Christ into the lives of people in their community. One of the verses the women of guardians have imprinted upon their kanga skirts is 1 Samuel 8 "Up to this point the Lord has helped us!" As we gathered to hear their stories and songs of worship, it was evident that the power of faith in Christ had emboldened them to bring change to their community.

Erica with a little girl being cared
for by Veronica, a Guardian of Hope

Through the efforts of the Guardians of Hope Africa thousands of orphaned children throughout Kenya, Rwanda and Angola are being cared for by communities of faith committed to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Please continue to pray for the Guardians of Hope as they sacrificially open their homes and give of their resources to protect some of the most vulnerable members of this generation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday Girl!

Emma turns 9 years old on August 16th and, with birthday gitters, it was hard to fall asleep on Sunday evening. She did have some particular instructions for us all as we prepared for the big day -- Mommy made snacks for Emma's class, jello instead of cake, and breakfast in bed with homemade banana bread... mmmmm!

Emma was very excited to have this preying Mantus "praying"over her throughout the night ... "Just as long as he does't fall on me!"confessed Emma. In the morning there was no sign of the mantus, but Emma was bright eyed and ready to go shortly after 6 am.
Breakfast in bed for the Birthday Girl

Emma with her new digital camera and video recorder
--- Lights... Camera... ACTION!

Emma with her homeroom teacher, Mr. Hravatic
all ready for a birthday with her friends at school!

Since today was a school day, we decided to have Emma's birthday party with some of her class mates on the upcoming weekend.

Emma with Kerry, Mel and Mommy
on her way to class this morning at Rosslyn

Birthday Jello!
Let THEM eat cake... Emma wanted jello!

Back in Eastleigh

Erica and Patrick in the Noor Creations' workshop
at the Eastleigh Community Centre

It was a joy today to return to Eastleigh and join the women of Iftin and Noor Creations after our time away in Canada. Patrick and the ladies of Noor have been very busy working on new designs and with new local glazes. They are already gearing up for the busy Christmas markets that will attract local shoppers and tourists in the coming months. We were very impressed by how much their quality of workmanship has improved.

Hawa glazing beads

Please continue to pray for the members of Noor as the work through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Not only do they work through the day without any food or drink, but many of the women are expected to rush home at the end of each day to prepare special evening meals to break the fast.

Erica with Laura Muema today at Village Market

We also want to thank everyone who has been praying for our program officer Laura Muema. Over the past four months, Laura has done an outstanding job in managing the program and encouraging the members of Iftin. The job is not an easy one, yet Laura has truly shone in her leadership role. Please continue to pray for her, all the members of Iftin, and for the refugee community of Eastleigh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rosslyn Academy 2010

Tristan and Emma were up bright and early this morning to begin their first day of classes at Rosslyn Academy, the International Christian School they attend near our home in Nairobi. Tristan is very excited to be starting Middle School where along with new subjects and a full schedule, he'll be studying in a different part of the Rosslyn campus and will have his own locker. As we dropped him off, he had a great reunion with his class mates.

Emma began fourth grade this morning with Tristan's fourth grade teacher, Mr. Hravatic as her homeroom teacher. Emma is glad to have some of her good friends in her homeroom , and to have her new friend Naomi Godwin also in her class. We pray that this will be a great year at school for everyone at Rosslyn!

Emma on her way to class

Tristan and his pal Michael
beginning Middle School

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seeing Friends

Visiting with our Canadian Baptist Ministries
team mates Bruno and Kathleen Soucey

We continue to push through the jetlag this week as we get our internal clocks back on Africa time. Tristan and Emma return to school tomorrow morning and we pray that everything goes well. We are so glad that we were able to return a week before they had to start (Even Ava -- our little alarm clock -- is having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning).

As we settle in and get online with ministries, it has been wonderful to be able to reconnect with friends and colleagues. On Monday evening, we had the joy of hosting Diane and Caleb Bannister on their way through the city. We will have a chance to drive out towards their home next week as we travel with a short term mission visiting Guardians of Hope projects with the Africa Brotherhood Church. The Bannisters continue to facilitate STMs in Kenya as well as supporting various development initiatives through The Sharing Way.

Earlier this evening, we were blessed to share some time with our friends Bruno and Kathleen before they caught their flight back to Kigali, Rwanda, where they serve in leadership in The Sharing Way programs with the AEBR. The Soucey's have been in Kenya over the past week with the Canadian Food Grains Bank training for our church partners here. We thank God not only for the ministry that they are leading in Rwanda, but for the encouragement and wisdom that they have shared with us and our partners in Kenya.

We haven't seen all of our CBM Kenya team mates yet, but we have had a great meeting with our new Africa team leader Colin and Karen Godwin. Please remember the Godwins in prayer as they seek long term housing here in Nairobi and for their children as they settle into school at Rosslyn Academy this week.

Ava and Emma having a sleep over
with Emma's friend Diana

Monday, August 9, 2010


Tristan and Ava saying good-bye to baby Neema

Our good friends Mel and Kerry have cared for orphans from the Nest Children's Home over the past several years. It was with mixed feelings that we joined them today to say farewell to baby Neema who is being adopted by a family from Germany.

One last good-bye hug!

A Week in Pictures

Tearful Good-byes
Emma and her best friend Lauren parting ways

One week ago today, we left New Brunswick to begin our journey back to Kenya. As we settle into Kenyan time and our routines here, we want to share a few snap shots from our final week in Canada. Again, we want to share a huge THANKS to everyone who has helped us along during our home assignment.

Ava playing piano with Don & Joy's grandson, Quinn.

While Erica and I took in meetings with our CBM colleagues in Mississauga (and did some last minute Christmas shopping), we were blessed to have the Hepburns care for our children as they enjoyed parks and a fun time together.

Saying good-bye to our friends
Don & Joy Hepburn in Toronto

Our girls pretending to sleep
at the Heathrow Airport, London

Despite our best efforts, we didn't get much sleep during the 18 hour journey from Toronto to Nairobi. Since getting back, we've continued to struggle with jetlag, but each morning seems to get a little better. We pray that the kids are back on an African clock by Thursday when they return to school.

On the tarmac at the Saint John Regional Airport, New Brunswick

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!!!