Sunday, August 28, 2011

Skating with friends

Ice skating at the Solar Ice Rink
at the Panari Sky Hotel, Nairobi

Emma and Diana -- Cookie Elves!

After church today, we brought some friends with us for a picnic at the "Solar Ice Rink". Along with our sandwiches we enjoyed some super oatmeal cookies made by Emma and her friend Diana, who stayed up late together last night baking cookies.

Ava skating with the help of a penguin

Amanda and Emma

Our friend Amanda Lindhout also joined us for the picnic and skate. She is just back from a visit to Canada. Amanda and her organization, The Global Enrichment Foundation, is returning to Somalia this week for a second food convoy to the famine affected areas.

Tristan and Daddy on the ice

This was Aaron's first time back on skates after he cracked his ribs this past June. He was feeling very good, as he helped the kids around the rink.

Erica & Amanda

Michael Lower and Tristan

Diana Ojeda & Emma trying out their skates

Tristan, Ava and Michael on the ice

"Don't fall!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Micro Enterprise Development

Mano Salah a member of the
Golden Sisters Self Help Group

This past week, we met with members of three of the twelve Refugee Women's Self Help Groups within the Iftin Women's Empowerment project in Eastleigh: Golden Sisters SHG, Unity SHG and Peace SHG.

During our time together, it was moving to hear the stories of several of the women who had come to Kenya to escape the violence of Somalia. As we spoke of the conflict, Mano shared how one the flying bullets had taken her eye and nearly her her life. Whether visible or not, each of these women and their families carry the scars of discord that has resulted in twenty years of suffering and unrest within the Horn of Africa. "We are thankful for the peace of Kenya," shared one woman. "But we pray for the peace of Somalia. One day we must return home!"

The life of a refugee is an uneasy one. This week our friend Francis Nyok of Southern Sudan joined us in Eastleigh. He shared with the women of Iftin he experience as a refugee in Kenya, and the challenge of loss the identity and dignity that every refugee faces. The women appreciate his words of hope as he shared of his return to Sudan and the building of a new peace and restoration among his people.

Erica looking at the beautiful scarves
being sold by the "Golden Sisters"
Self Help Group in Eastleigh.

Mano and her friends are a part of the self help group project of Iftin. With the help of Canadian Baptist Ministries and the Eastleigh Community Centre, they have received training and support in building sustainable livelihoods.

In Prayer:
* Please continue to pray for the people of Somalia and the hundreds of thousands of people in the grip of famine within Northeastern Kenya.

* Please pray for us, as we work with our CBM team to respond to the present crisis. Today, CBM is distributing urgently needed food rations to nine villages in Kenya's Northeastern province. Over the next few weeks, we will be accessing the needed and putting together a staged plan for long term sustainable development in this region.

* Please remember Mano and her group, as they strive to provide a better future for their children and grandchildren.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wedding Bells in Machakos


Laura Muema entering the Africa Inland Church Bomani, Machakos

This Saturday, we travelled back to Machakos to join the celebration of the wedding of our good friends Laura's Muema and Kennedy Maundu. Many of you will know Laura who is the project officer of the Iftin Women's Empowerment project in Eastleigh.


Higher Learning

Doctoral students visiting with leaders of the Iftin Women's Empowerment Self Help Group projects in Eastleigh, Kenya.

Last December, Aaron joined leaders from each of CBM's partner organizations from Kenya, Rwanda, Congo and India to begin doctoral studies with Carey Theological College, BC, who are offering a doctoral cohort through Canadian Baptist Ministries and the Eastern Kenya Integrated College, Mitaboni. This August was their third course, so far Aaron has been studying the African Churches attitudes and response to Islam within his research. Along with the academic value, the courses are giving him a wonderful opportunity to build friendships with the leaders of each of the denominations with whom we are serving here in Africa.

During one of the classes this past week in Mitaboni

Tea Time at EKIC

Terry Smith lecturing on Integral Mission

Morning chapel in Mitaboni

Francis Nyok, Southern Sudan

This was Aaron's first course with Francis Nyok of the Upper Nile Baptist Church, where he serves as the vice moderator of the church and the County commissioner for the newly formed government of South Sudan.

Morning Worship at the Africa Brotherhood Church, Mitaboni

Members of the DMin and MDiv Kenya Cohort with Carey Theological College, Canadian Baptist Ministries, and the Eastern Kenya Integrated College (EKIC), with our lecturer Dr. Terry Smith.

Kenneth and Erica
with the DMin students in Eastleigh

One of our highlights this week was being able to host the DMin students for a forum on Christian ministry among Muslim communities. It was a joy to have the class in Eastleigh for a day, where they were a great encouragement to our team and members of the self help groups.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CBC Interview with Erica

Drought Response in the Horn of Africa

Please keep us in your prayers as we coordinate CBM's drought response in Kenya's Northeastern Province. We are presently assessing the immediate needs in villages and informal settlements outside of the Dadaab Refugee Camps, and working with our team to design immediate relief and long term sustainable development initiatives to help the affected communities become food secure. We are thankful for the support and encouragement of so many friends and churches in Canada that have been upholding this ministry.

This morning, Erica was interviewed by CBC radio's Mitch Cormier about her participation in the food convoy to Dhobley, Somalia, and CBM's long term work in sustainable community development in Kenya's Northeastern Province.

Bringing Help to Somalia

Posted by Nancy Russell

A UPEI graduate turned missionary brings aid to Somalia. Erica Kenny was part of the first convoy to enter the volatile country since famine was declared last month. We reached her at her home in Nairobi, Kenya.

To Listen to the interview: Click Here

Other Links:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BIG Birthday!


This past weekend, we had a fun birthday
celebration for Emma who turns is turns ten!

Diana, Emma and Tristan
Bowling for Emma's Birthday

Mommy and TK going head to head!

Daddy and Ava after the big game

Emma & her Birthday Unicorn

This was a very special birthday for Emma, as it marks half of her life in Canada and half in Kenya. We moved to Kenya when she was only five years old (It is hard to believe that Ava will be five in only 6 weeks).

August 16th -- Birthday Bash

Tonight, we all celebrated together
with a giant birthday cake
that mommy made for Emma.

Gotta love the cake!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to School 2011


How quickly summer break goes by! Tristan and Emma returned to school this past week after a busy summer. Emma went in on Wednesday to help with "new student orientation", and they both met their new teachers and classmates on Thursday. It has been cool and wet in Nairobi, as the city is getting light showers. The kids are excited to be up early and out the door -- The big challenge in the morning is getting around our three dogs and their muddy paws!

Emma begins grade 5 and Tristan grade 7
at Rosslyn Academy, Nairobi

This week, we've also been able to connect with several of our CBM team mates. Tim Bannister joined us on Wednesday night for the Canadian Association of Kenya's first official function at the residence of the High Commissioner. Erica is serving as the treasurer for the Canadian Association. It was a great event with special guest Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman astronaut. The next day, we also had a chance to connect with a short term team visiting Kenya from Whitby Baptist Church, Ontario.

Last night, we had our CBM director, Terry Smith, and his daughter Katelyn stay with us. We had a great evening out together with the Godwin family. Terry will be teaching Aaron's doctoral course this coming week in Mitaboni.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Influx Areas Dadaab Refugee Camps

Photographed by Erica
Dadaab, Kenya

This dehydrated little girl was just sitting by herself in a tent covered in flies and dirt. Her mother didn't understand how to access the medical clinics within the larger camps, and told Erica that she was waiting for a doctor to come and help. Erica and Amanda took the mother, her new born and this two year old to the MSF clinic to get help. The doctor admitted them right away.
Photographed by Erica
A young boy running along the edge of the refugee extension area that is now home to an estimated 65,000 new arrivals to the Dadaab Refugee Camps. The population of the camps and extension area are now in excess of 465,000 people -- the majority of whom are children.

Photographed by Erica
This young mother walked pregnant across the southern plains of Somalia to reach the refugee camps. She gave birth here in the extension area. We pray for her children who are beginning life in this place.

Photographed by Erica
Children living in the extension zone

Photographed by Erica
A mother washing her family's clothes in the
extension area of the Dadaab Refugee Camps

In Prayer:
Please uphold the people of the Horn of Africa in your prayers.

* Pray for the thousands of children who are struggling to survive in the camps. Security and safety are major issues as so many people crowd into one area. We pray for the aid workers who are working to provide order and stability for people who have experienced so such trauma.

* Remember the untold numbers of refugees still walking the dusty camel paths of the Somali wilderness, seeking help.

* We thank the Lord for the help streaming into the Refugee Camps of Dadaab. We pray for the hundreds of thousands of people that are not within the Camps or receiving such help.

*Please pray for CBM as the mission raises support to help with famine relief.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Praying for Somalia

Children in the Dadaab Refugee Camp of Ifo

Erica is in Dadaab again this week with our friend Amanda Lindhout. They spent today in the refugee camps visiting with new arrivals. Between 1300 and 1500 new people are being registered into the camps each day. At one point, Erica and Amanda were visiting a family outside the camp who had a very sick child. They helped the mother bring her daughter to the hospital. The medical facilities of the camps are over run, as they respond the affects of the famine. Please continue to pray for the Somali refugees crossing over into Kenya and for the famine relief within Dhobley and the surrounding area.

Canadian Baptist Ministries is also involved in emergency food relief in other drought affected areas in Kenya's Northeastern and Eastern Provinces. We appreciate your support and prayers.

Tonight, Erica and Amanda will be going to the UN compound where Amanda is being interviewed by Anderson Cooper for CNN.

Anderson Cooper 360

Update on the Drought

Friday, August 5, 2011

Famine Relief Convoy into Somalia

Photographed by Erica, in Dhobley, Somalia

We appreciate our friend Andrew Myers who just shared with us a link to the Today Show's coverage of the food relief convoy into Somalia that Erica was a part of. The piece that aired this morning on NBC, highlights Amanda's journey. Near the end, you can see Erica in the background talking with a group of Somali children.

Once again, we want to thank everyone who has been praying for this effort and for the people of Somalia.

click here To watch the video of the NBC Today Show coverage of the convoy

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back from Somalia

The present drought is taking life throughout much of the horn of Africa. According to the UN, this is the worst drought in the region in the past 60 years.

The road from Garissa to Dadaab is lined with animal carcasses. Travelling through this sun bleached land, we met several small groups of women and children walking the dusty road. Their beautiful smiles were disarming, as we knew the struggle they face each day to survive.

Meeting with Somali women on the long road to Somalia

This past week, we travelled to Dadaab with our friends Amanda Lindhout and Ryan Youngblood. Ryan is a talented young American film maker living in Rwanda.

Aaron with Stephen, who serves with African Relief, the organization that helped facilitate the food distribution within Somalia. The convoy to bring food relief to the desperate Somali community of Dhobley took the cooperation and the generous help of many individuals, government and nongovernmental organizations. We were blessed to be able to learn so much from being a small part of this journey and to have been so graciously welcomed in by everyone, especially Amanda.

Erica with Fartuma in the CBM Dadaab Compound

Along with our group of seven, there were many aid workers and journalists staying in the CBM Dadaab compound which has served as a guesthouse and training facility over the past few years for numerous organizations in Dadaab. It was great to sleep out on the old veranda under the stars, although we did have something crawl into our mosquito netting and wake us up in the middle of the night -- gotta love the scorpions!

The two food convoy trucks in the border town of Liboi, Kenya

The convoy was organized by Amanda's organization the Global Enrichment Foundation and African Future. Through the generous donations of countless people, over $70,000 worth of food aid is being distributed to 14,000 refugees walking through Somalia to Kenya.

Photographed by Erica
People lining up for food distribution in the village of Dobley
which is scarred from the recent attacks by Al Shabbab

Photographed by Erica
The convoy was only able to make it across the border and to the people who need it the most, thanks to the protection of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces that met Amanda and Erica this morning and escorted them into Somalia.

Photographed by Erica
Erica was shocked at how young most of the TFG soldiers were.

Photographed by Erica
After a difficult journey, it was all worth it to see the
food arrive to the people who need it the most!

Photographed by Erica
Excited children in Dhobley, Somalia

(There are several news reports available online about the situation in Dobley. I've noticed that it is being spelled several ways. The signs in the village read Dhobley, but you can find information about the village by searching "Dhoobley", "Dobley", and "Dhobley")

Photographed by Erica
Amanda meeting with a refugee women
as she received her large bag of food
-- enough to feed a family for two weeks.

Home in Nairobi!

We want to thank everyone who has been upholding this convoy and our family in prayer. Please continue to pray for the tens of thousands of refugees still walking through this arid landscape in search of help. In the past months, it is estimated that 29,000 children (under the age of 5) have died in this region from the drought. We pray for the parents who have lost young children, because they have had nothing to feed them. The anguish and suffering a mother or father must experience as they watch their children die of starvation, is unimaginable. If you are interested in how you can help, you can check out the CBM site or any of the organizations highlighted in this post.

NBC has been documenting Amanda's work in organizing this convoy. Their first report was aired tonight, but a more detailed coverage of Amanda's story in mobilizing people and resources to respond to the crisis will air at 7 am tomorrow on the Today Show (NBC).