Our first week back in Kenya the new Director of Oasis For Orphans, Michael Hindes and board member, Chris Herden, came to Kenya and stayed with us for a few days. They spoke of the gratitude we have for all of the help the Governor has given us in building the road up to the property of The Shelter. The Governor planted a tree, delivered a plaque and thanked Oasis for partnering with the local community in building the children’s home.
Our return back to Kenya after spending 6 weeks on furlough in the U.S. was a smoother transition than our move here 7 months prior. This time we knew how to obtain money as we needed it, where to buy vegetables (using a few Swahili words) at a roadside stand and even know how many shillings we should pay. We felt comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road with goats, cows and donkeys running across the road. This time culture shock was not overtaking us. We were very excited to get back to Kenya and jump into the progress that has been going on in the building of The Shelter. We were also missing our new friends that we have made.
Until this week there has not been any rain for at least eight weeks in Kenya. What that means is that it is more challenging to find vegetables and if you are able to locate them they are triple the normal price. Many Kenyans are walking more than 2 kilometers to find water during the drought. I was shocked to see the cattle that come down to the creek to graze at how thin they had gotten. I mentioned it to a woman that was with me and she said “Yes, even the cattle are suffering”. There have been a few days since we returned that our water from the tap has been off for up to 6 hours and the 10,000 liter water tank that we collect rain water in is nearly empty. A sense of panic and urgency rise up inside of me when I think of not having water. In America we have seen many droughts but the only thing that I can say truly impacted me was that the food costs were higher. Our food source was never this low and our tap continued to run with fresh clean water. Another result of the lack of rain is an outbreak of Cholera in our area of Southwest Kenya. This outbreak has left six people dead and 80 others hospitalized in critical condition. This is a disease that we have never had to worry about before. So, we continue to boil and filter our water as well as bleach our fruits and vegetables.
No one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4,
We have just returned to Kenya from our 6 week furlough to the United States.
It was a wonderful time filled with renewal as we reconnected with our family and friends.
One thing that God has showed us in our time in Africa is that people are what really matter. Our friends on the other side of the globe know this and do it very well. Relationships are everything and tasks come second. Before we left Kenya a friend of ours from America visited us. When she returned to the United States she sent us some of her reflections from her visit and we would love to share them with you.
Angie's Visit to Kenya:
"I had the privilege of traveling to Migori, Kenya this past November to visit my dear friends, the Ruzgas. As you know, the Ruzgas are serving as missionaries in Migori for Oasis for Orphans. You probably know that they are there primarily to oversee the building of a new orphanage, My big takeaway from this trip is that they are doing so much more than project managing.
The bulk of their job has become about relationships. This means navigating within a culture and languages that are not necessarily natural or comfortable at times. Bob and Deb have done a great job at jumping in and embracing the life they have in Migori. Although certainly challenging, they both are authentically working on relationships with Kenyans, be it in business, the marketplace, neighborhood or in their own home. The mishaps and mis-communications that one inevitably encounters can be frustrating and disappointing, but the laughs and learned lessons from these encounters are treasured. Doing business or making friends can be hard work in the U.S., where English is the primary language and our cultural cues are fairly similar…..these same activities in another culture can be quite difficult. Kenyan's prize relationships primarily because in a land of such poverty, people and not things come first. This tends to lead to a slower and maybe more satisfying cadence of life. (However, this pace can seem aggravating at times to Americans.) Being with the Ruzgas, and getting a glimpse into their lives is a true testament to stepping out in faith. They want to learn, they want to build community, they want to grow and they want to serve God. They may not know the ending to the story, but they are joyous about each chapter as it unfolds.
Facts about Migori:
Migori is the capital city of the county of Migori in Kenya.
Migori sits on the southwestern border of Kenya and Tanzania.
43% of people in Migori live below the poverty line.
There is only 48 miles of tarmac (paved roads) in Migori County.
There is approximately 1 doctor per 52,000 residents in Migori County.
Facts about Bob and Deb:
Deb takes learning Swahili seriously and is getting pretty good. (Ask her about her flashcards.)
Bob’s days are filled with meeting with contractors, city/county officials and Oasis staff.
Four-wheel drive is required to get into the Ruzga compound.
Bob and Deb will walk to the duka (road side shop) up on the tarmac (paved road) to have a soda/date and be social.
“Mommy Deb” is well known around her neighborhood. Women and children will come out to greet her when she out walking and she eagerly learns about them too.
A vigorous, but beautiful, uphill walk is required from the Ruzga home to the new Shelter project.
Deb is using her CNA certification to assist at Kenya Relief."
Thank You Angie for your beautiful words!!
Our Prayer Requests:
1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.