Wednesday, October 06, 2010

If I don't do this now I never will

Well this is by far the longest "dark" stretch for my blog since I started it over 4.5 years ago. I'm not really sure what happened. It may have something to do with the fact that I have three little bits that are always home right by my side. It may have something to do with the difficult time I was having during what can only be described as "The Long Winter".

First the rains came and everyone was really excited because of the long drought previously. It rained and rained and rained. With the rain came the flying ants, then the moths, then the grasshoppers, then the locusts, then the mosquitos. Then it got cold. I know, you are wondering how it gets so cold in Kenya, but let me tell you it was downright chilly. Especially in a concrete block house with a plastic/acrylic roof with no heat. We built a fire every day and night for quite a stretch but even then the kids would wake up freezing and be in our bed by daybreak each day. I can stand the cold but we went what felt like weeks with out seeing the sun. Just gray drab skies each chilly day. I just kept thinking about summer lake trips, blueberries, cook outs, humidity and swimming lessons. I'm not sure if those thought helped or hurt. I would joke about SAD but I wasn't really joking!

So I was already feeling a little down when everyone up and left. Let me explain. Here at Kijabe the calendar revolves around RVA. Rift Valley Academy is a year around boarding school that takes extended breaks every Nov/Dec, April and July/August. Everything stops during those breaks. No bible study. No playgroup. No RVA church. No Sunday school. No small group. People leave for extended breaks to take kids to college or go on vacation. Of the nearest 10 missionary houses there were only 2 families here for many weeks this summer. It was lonely. It was just me and the kids huddled by the fire for days at a time (or so it seemed).

Then I got blindsided by something I should have seen coming. They say missionary kids are always having to say good bye and we learned that is very true not just for the kids but for their parents too. We had a small group of 5 families who we had spent time getting to know and investing in since shortly after we had arrived here in Kijabe. This "summer" we were the only family out of the five still here. Some were gone for just 6 weeks or so but others are still gone and may or may not be returning in 6 months. It seemed really frustrating to have the people we had gotten to know the best leave in the middle of our transition to feeling settled in. I felt like I had to start all over again. And I was right. It wasn't like other transitions I had made to a new place where you get plugged in and meet people and become part of what is going on. Things and people are always changing here.

Then towards the end of August something happened. About that time a huge group of new people moved in (mostly to RVA since they turned over about 40% of their staff but some new families arrived at the hospital too). I was shopping in Nakumatt one day when the RVA staff bus brought a load of people fresh off the boat to do their shopping. I watched as they walked sweating and wide eyed trying to convert shillings to dollars, find the boxed milk, figure out what cheese tasted good enough to buy and wonder what "mince" was. It was then that it dawned on me: I wasn't a freshman any more! I knew where to find the cereal, that Anchor cheese was the best even though it was the most expensive and that mince was ground beef. I had somehow figured out how to live here. It happened gradually over the last 10 months and seeing the new people made me realize just how far I had come.

So after many cold, gray, lonely months there was a bit of sunshine shining my way. School started back, our life activities started again and it started to warm up a little bit. So I am thankful. Thankful for God being there during those long winter days. Thankful for his provision of friends old and new. Thankful that he could use me to help others feel welcome here. He doesn't promise us it will be easy but he does promise he will be there with us.

There was one very hot break to the Long Winter and that was our trip to Dubai. You can look forward to that post and a photo catch up post next! Thanks for hanging with me if you haven't dropped me off your reader yet!


DrsMyhre said...

Hi this is Jennifer from Uganda, found your blog from an email from the Cropseys . . . can really relate to the grief of goodbyes, and the bleak weather. Hope you're still there in January when we come! J

The Friess Family said...

Your honest is refreshing! Keep it up.

The Friess Family said...

Being your neighbor is great...especially when Clair paints Meredith's fingernails bright red all the way up to her knuckles.