Our Tree House

When it was starting to come together~ paint works miracles and with a lot of ‘pretend and imagination’ it turned into something wonderful~

Another tree house for you today. This one was when we lived over on the farm, there was one mesquite tree big enough for a tree house ~ just barely~It was about 9 feet above the ground, there was a ladder up to  a 5′ X 5′ landing with side rails. To be sure it was safe for the kids, I strung wire fencing underneath, sort of like a safety net. It was the fun place to be.  It was still standing and in good shape years later when we moved.

we always had kittens, they were tame and wherever we were, they were right  in the middle of things, they all loved the tree house~

All the kitties liked it up there. We had a slumber party more than once, I was there to be sure no one fell out. 

there was a ‘captain’s chair’ and several other places to climb up higher and sit. The Texas Flag flew from a pole that went up through the branches.

 

it was a fun place to have a picnic, no ants or flies, just an apple and a jar of Peter Pan~

The wonderful thing about having children is you finally get to have the things you wanted when you were little. Childhood can last a lifetime~

Apricot Cake

Burst of flavor, big surprise

Years ago a good  friend introduced me to this delightful cake  She was a great cook and  had many old recipes. She said this recipe made “one to eat, one to share, and one to keep for later”.  Dan and I spent great times with the Mann’s, they were an older couple who liked to ride more than drive. We made lots of day trips to the Hill Country.  Mr. Bart and Dan both smoked a  pipe and were happy to sit on the benches outside while Mrs. Mann and I shopped in the antique stores. She liked water tumblers and I liked everything. If you try this recipe, you will be surprised. It is wonderful!

APRICOT LOAF CAKE

11 oz.package of dried apricots (cut up and soak in warm water for 30 minutes,drain)

2 cups sugar
4 T. Shortening
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 cup orange juice
4 cups  flour, sift before measuring
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Cream shortening and sugar, then beat in eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and add to the batter alternately with the water/orange juice, ending with flour. Blend in nuts and apricots.

Line bottoms of 3 loaf pans with wax paper, spray with Pam, and pour in cake batter. Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. Cool slightly, remove wax paper and put cakes back in pans. Dribble a mixture of  3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup of orange juice over tops of warm cakes.

 

 

Goodbye to Kenya

This was the Nissan seven passenger van that came to pick us up. WHAT!  No Way!

When it was time to come home, a driver was recommended who owned a new Nissan Pathfinder with seating for seven. Since it would be an 8 hour trip on a terrible road to Nairobi and the airport, we wanted to be comfortable. Perfect, “come pick us up at 8:00 sharp”. When they said  our ride was there, I saw the ‘ride’ and thought maybe it was a taxi to take us to the real ride. This was just a little bitty blue car, nice and new but little bitty! Since Stephen came and picked two of us up from Elizabeth’s house first, I got the best seat. He loaded our two big bags and two carry-on’s. He had to lay the extra back seat down to make room but he got ours in, then we went to pick up Benton, Lisa and Abbie.

these three  were enjoying their breakfast at Karibuni, their last meal before we left.

 

They were waiting with their three large suitcases, three carry-on’s and various purses and sacks of snacks. I just sat in my chosen seat and let them worry about how all that stuff was going to fit.

At this point the car was full of luggage, we still had three large suitcases and one carry-on bag to go~plus the five of us and the driver~I did worry about those little tires~

It took a while, our bags came out and went onto the roof carrier, their bags went in and then out again and added to the roof carrier. Those on top were covered with a tarp and tied with lots of rope, and then the other bags were loaded into the back of the car and into that folded down 7th seat. But wait a minute, it wouldn’t fit! It was in and out, re-arranged and the hatch back still wouldn’t quite close so more attempts  that didn’t work. Off came the tarp on top after untying  all the knots in the rope, and some more luggage was piled up there. It was a tight fit and I worried that my little honey pot or zebra might get damaged. Finally everything got loaded and now for the people and the driver. We had over a thousand pounds of humans, I thought some more about those small sized tires on that car. They looked more like lawn mower tires~

we had a short break here to take pictures and look in the curio shop, even though this is on the equator, it was nice and cool because the elevation was 9,000 ft.

We made it to Nairobi after only three stops, one at the equator for a few pictures, a stop at the look-out at Rift Valley, and Stephen was nice to stop so I could get a pictures of a herd of zebras.

We saw several herds of them. Those tails never stop switching~they are fat little buggers~

It turned out to be a good day but it was hard leaving Elizabeth. Goodbye’s always hurt~ I was also leaving part of heart in this beautiful country.  

here is Elizabeth at Karibuni the night before we left. Wonderful time with her but it hurt to say goodbye. She will be coming home for a couple of months during the elections in Kenya so we can look forward to some nice times ahead.

God’s Richest Blessings on all of those beautiful people who touched our lives and made us realize what is most important, God Bless this unbelievable country~

Shopping in Kenya

As you can see, there are a few chickens in the cages. I saw several people carrying chickens in town, they just held their legs and they stayed calm.

There are shops all over Kitale, if you want  produce you will need to find a different store for each item. The egg place sells eggs, it is usually right beside several other egg places. The eggs we bought were always fresh and the shells were hard, no cracked eggs~then the meat market might be by the tattoo parlor, barber shop, or even beside the choo (public toilet).

The men’s toilet was  more simple than the lady’s. Two things that desperately  need fixing in Kenya are lack of sewer systems and the roads. I feel for them~

 

I

here is a typical ladies toilet. The blocks are  to stand on, not  sit, you figure it out. Only once did I need to use such a facility and that was a disaster.

Since there are few if any refrigerators, ice boxes,  or even ice, everything needs to be bought daily and in small quantities. There was a place that sold dry beans, seeds and maize. They had big sacks with the tops rolled open to scoop the grain out and weigh it. That day there was a roaming street chicken in one of the sacks, scratching and eating, she had found the meal of a lifetime. The store owner didn’t even shoo her away, he just kept sweeping the sidewalk. I shivered and kept walking.

This next little shop was on the street near Mili Mani, the man carried a variety of things  from eggs, to batteries, phone minutes, sugar cane, jars of nuts and soda pops. (I wondered about tobacco, I never saw anyone smoking the whole time we were there).

This man’s little shed was a going business. He always had customers. I noticed people adding minutes to their cell phone. Nearly every store in town sold phone minutes.

 

these girls were all fixed up. I saw a woman in the clothing market sitting on the floor behind a bench and she was not happy at all. I passed by later in the afternoon and she was still there, and still very upset. Then I noticed that she was having her hair braided in tiny dreadlocks and I am sure it was very painful.

Here is a beauty parlor, there were a lot of these. In the slums, most people have their head shaved, it is hard to tell if the children are boys or girls, except the girls wear dresses. The more affluent women have longer beautiful hair or wear a wig, whether or not they have hair they are all pretty, tall and slender, and have beautiful smiles. A surprise was the car dealerships, mostly Toyota and Nissan, their lots were filled with a big inventory of vehicles. There were a lot of motor bikes for sale. I liked them, they were whisper quite.  I thought the people were quiet too, they spoke softly and were friendly and pleasant. I am just about to the end of my adventure in Kenya , thank you for staying with me. I will have to find something else to write about now. 

Rift Valley Kenya

this was on the road from Eldoret to Kitale

Rift Valley is a beautiful and massive valley nestled in between Mount Elgon and Mount Kenya in the western part of Kenya.  It appears out of nowhere on the road from Nairobi to Kitale. The driver stopped the car and we got out to stretch our legs and what a surprise, the world just dropped off the edge. There are mountains as far as you can see. The air is crisp and clean.

The elevation at this place is 8,100 ft. high, here are Benton, Abbie and me standing at the look out.

The elevation where we were standing is 8,100 ft. Between the mountains you can see the valley with it’s plots sectioned off and divided into what look like large farms or plantations.

we had such a wonderful visit with Elizabeth, here she is at the Look Out with her best buddy~

It is almost like looking at Google Earth from above. It has an awesome mystical feel about it. I could have spent the whole day there.

 

 

Pictures from Kenya

this was the Bible verse for the day, there was a new one each morning and the children read it out loud to start their Bible lessons~

These are just some pictures for you to look at today. I hope you enjoy them.

two beautiful children listening to the lesson

they were singing ‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus’

Benton, Paul, Rita, Martin, Lisa, Abbie, and Charles

just another beautiful child, saved from the streets and having a future~

this is Sharon, she is the baby

this pretty child is Charles’ little daughter, she comes to the orphanage every day with him to be with all the kids

 

these two were posing for me

this is a three year old, he was precious and was just warming up to everyone

Everyone loved Abbie

Lucy was the 13 year old and helped lead the games and dancing, she was almost always holding one of the little ones~

they all loved to have their pictures taken~

 

Children in Mali Saba

These kids were excited to see the picture I had just taken. When they saw their friends faces in the pictures, they were laughing at them, I doubt if they had ever seen themselves before.

There is a little village close to the Children’s Rescue Centre called Mali Saba, that has a few shops, churches, and houses. It is more like a big circle of open space with all the business around the outside. There were big trucks filled with corn that was being dried and cleaned.

There were huge tarps laid out on the ground and the truck was loaded with corn that was thrown out on the tarps to dry. They would keep scraping it up in large buckets and throw it in the air to wind it. Corn (maize) flour is what most of the diet consists of.

There were a lot of children there and here are some of their pictures.

This was one of the little boys, all of the children look older in the pictures than they really were. This one was probably three years old.

All I said was ‘wave’ and they all waved at me for this picture. I was always surprised at how many people there were everywhere we went and there were so many children. These had just come from Sunday School Class.

If we stopped to visit with them, they were shy at first because we were those strange looking people, but soon there would be a bunch of them crowding around. After we took one picture and they saw themselves on the camera screen, they all wanted to be in the pictures.

one of the children took this picture, not a great idea, then everyone wanted to try their hand at it~

This boy was wearing Crocks. There were a lot of Crocks everywhere we went, the company must have sent thousands of the shoes to them. They worked great~

here are four friends walking together.

Lisa, Elizabeth and Pastor Martin’s wife after church service at Eagle Vision Ministry           Jesus Praise Centre in Mailisaba-Kitale

Lisa in front of the church. Pastor Martin Manside held a wonderful and inspiring service. The music was exciting and loud.

Martin Manside’s church was located here so we spent some time in this place. 

Let the Games Begin

here are the kids dancing with their bustles. They were naturals when it came to rhythm and the beat of the drums. They chanted and that is all the music they needed.  Elizabeth and Lisa were sort of following along.

A few more pictures from my album, it is hard not to show every single one, they were all so special to me. These are the fun pictures.

here are Benton and Lisa, doing their own rendition of African dancing. They were not bad, they really entertained the real dancers with their moves.

One of the things I loved about the trip was getting to be a child again and play the games I played when I was a growing up.

this was a tag game, you chased your certain kid and if you tagged him, he had to come over to your side. I never ever once caught mine~

We didn’t have toys back then, no multi-color playground equipment, no fancy play houses with kitchens, easy-bake ovens, or have a pink Barbie convertible parked out front. We played the same old timey games these children at the orphanage were playing. They don’t have fancy toys either and I hope they never will. I can’t imagine any of them ever saying, ‘I’m bored’. Their only toy was a soccer ball and a jump rope.

they were good at jumping rope, sometimes two ropes at a time. The girls wore dresses and that could make it harder to do. They were good! Since this was our first day there, they were all dressed in their best for us.

two or three could jump at once, even the girl in the peach colored dress kicked her shoes off and jumped along with the rest of them.

There was a lot of dancing, singing, running races, chasing, and laughing, and at the same time, they were sweet to each other.  I can’t ever remember so much energy,  I think all of our group played harder than we had in a long time. 

here were the happy kids with Elizabeth on the play ground. They didn’t need a coach, they just played their games. Naomi was a referee though, she stood over in the shade to watch the little kids and be sure no one got hurt. The older girls were always looking out for the little ones too.

More Fun at the Orphanage

Every morning started early with Bible Study and a different Bible verse. Nearly all the kids could read, the little ones were just learning~

Today I want to show more pictures from Children’s Rescue Centre.

they were liking the teacher~

this is an eight year old, All of these children had lost both parents and some had been here for most of their lives. It is like one big family, all are brothers and sisters  to each other. They have a good life~

These faces are embedded in my mind and it does something to my heart to look at them. 

 

Benton, Abbie and Lisa brought bags of popcorn for everyone one afternoon, here is little Sammy enjoying his new treat. Like the ice cream, it might have been something they had never eaten before. They will remember this day!

Every child was special, they each had personalities different for the others, some were even little characters, they were funny and entertaining and loving.

these kids had interesting shoes, one with cowboy boots and the other with something completely different. They sometimes shed their shoes when they played in the yard. It was amazing but there were no stickers or grass burrs .

It was like going to a party every day where everyone was nice. The boys danced too, when they did the big circle dance, the one in the center did the kicks and threw the grass but they also rolled their eyes back in their heads until you could only see the whites of their eyes. It was hilarious! Everyone laughed, this was the best part.  

Elizabeth was dancing with Lucy, it is hard to explain the dance, it was like Zumba with a bustle tied on their behinds. Those girls could really move every joint in their bodies. They never got out of breath and never got tired.

holding Sammy felt so good,  he was a nice little chunk. He was the youngest boy and everyone loved him, we fell in love with ever single child, even the children from across the street who came to play. Jesus loves them, this I know~

Naomi was mama to all the kids, she had a big job. Here she is with some of her boys. They loved playing soccer~Lisa brought them a new soccer ball on the trip but it came with a hole in it. She was able to find another one in Kitale though. One rule, if you kicked it into the side of the chicken house you were on the bench.  (for a long time)

I will be wrapping up my Africa blog soon and hope you will enjoy seeing the rest of my pictures. Each one is special to me just as each child was special. I am hoping Charles Manside will take his laptop to the orphanage one day and let the kids see the pictures. They LOVE pictures.

This is the Rescue Centre’s Rat Catcher.  That thing  was nearly as big as he was.

Ice Cream Day in Kitale

Elizabeth was helping the children decide on their purchases. The girls liked the short dresses with the brown leggings. With twenty kids, it took several hours and we were all worn out. Happy but tired~

This was the day all the kids got to go shopping for clothes and it took a long time for them to each choose four outfits.

The strawberry ice cream was a treat, cold and delicious. They do have wonderful ice cream in Kenya.

When we were done, we went for ice cream at Transmatt. None of them had ever had ice cream before, they didn’t know cold and they didn’t know sweet, we had to show them how to eat it.

they are being careful with this new icy cold stuff, one taste and they liked it!

 One of the little girls dropped hers onto the floor first thing. I borrowed a spoonful from the others and piled her cone up again.

Now What! Sammie was the little one, we decided to put his ice cream in a cup, now he had a cone and cup of ice cream and not another hand to eat with. He figured it out.

This was a wonderful day. We got them back home without losing anybody. They will be remembering ice cream and maybe be able to enjoy it again sometime.

here are the kids waiting for the two vans to take them home, it was a long wait but they didn’t complain. I just wanted to sit down on the sidewalk and lean against a wall.

The next day, they were wearing their new clothes, topped it off with their new jackets with hoodies, even though it was warm and balmy outside.

Safe Houses in Kitale

Here is a lantana hedge that has been kept trimmed, behind it are some of the beautiful acacia (pronounced ah-See-see-uh) thorn trees. There is a compound on the other side of  this barrier.

More pictures from Kitale. One of the surprises is when you walk down the roads, they are lined with huge lantanna hedges or tall fences that are made from black wooden logs that have been split.

this is an entrance, it seems that almost anything will grow here, the landscaping is beautiful

There will be an entrance with a gate but most of the time the gate is just corrugated metal doors, large enough for a car to drive through. There is a guard house inside and if you rap on the door, someone appears.

there are lots of little areas for sitting out in the yards, places for flower gardens, huge avocado trees and banana trees

Inside there will be a beautiful compound with several nice stucco homes that have red metal tile roofs. The yards are landscaped, there are courtyards, patios, thatched roof huts and interesting  paths.

This little thatched roof hutch had a table and chairs for eating out in the garden area.

There are some are mansions with ornate iron gates and impressive grounds. 

The yard at Karibuni was outstanding, there was a small restaurant on the porch, they had a pet monkey named Malcolm.

While walking down Mili mani we passed a museum, a country club, a private girls school and more compounds. It was a beautiful 35 minute walk to town. Here is a couple from our group on their way home, it gets dark here every evening at 7:00. 

now to try to decide where to eat dinner, the favorite was Mt Elgon and that sizzling steak  or  chapati, which is a wonderful flat bread that is dripping in butter~

Children from the Villages near Kitale

we had been told we would be stared at and not to be offended, this child probably never saw a white person before and was curious. The other children are those we brought from the orphanage to read Bible verses to the others.

I couldn’t get all the pictures on yesterday’s blog so today I will show you some of the people who live in the villages out from Mali Saba. 

this little girl was darling, you don’t realize she is carrying her baby brother on her back at first. The children all dress nicely, the girls wear dresses.

 

The children are beautiful, something you notice all over Kenya. They are quiet and polite and don’t fight with each other.

the families are large, they want large families and prefer having boys. They have their babies at home and if something goes wrong, there is no money for a hospital.

You can see the older children taking care of the babies in the family. I don’t know how they wrap them up to carry them on their backs, I wish I had asked. They would have been happy to show me.

this little girl was not too happy, she wasn’t crying but there were tears.

I didn’t hear any babies crying the whole time on the trip, this little girl had tears but it only lasted a minute. I wanted every baby I saw. I wanted this one~ 

The baby was really interested in what was going on, the little girl was laughing at me. All the kids loved to see their pictures on the camera screen afterwards.

 

these two little girls were all smiles, they had gotten used to the white faces. I remember when I was about four years old and saw my first black person. I went blank, I had no idea what happened to her. These children are the same, they didn’t have a clue as  to why we weren’t brown~