Just kidding. We don’t live on a ranch. We live in Nairobi.
So many people have asked me “How are you doing without Mark?” So I thought I would answer, first by saying “We miss him like crazy.” When Mark leaves for any length of time, he just takes all the fun with him. So the kids and I have to create our own good times and get along as best we can -always looking forward to his return.Since we have a long history of military goodbyes, it did not take the kids and I any time to slip into “deployment mode” – with me as the single momma. The BEST thing I know to do right away is to establish a routine. We have not ventured out on any major trips or new experiences, since it is a pretty short separation (considering our past ones) and the fact that I am still learning my way around this great city. (And driving is no small feat here – for me anyway). For the most part, we are spending these three week close to home. I thought I would just describe a routine Saturday here at the hacienda…
First of all, I had coffee right away. Unfortunately, it is nigh impossible to get good coffee here. That sounds crazy because Kenya exports some great coffee. But I think that’s the problem. I think they are selling all the good stuff to Starbucks! Anyway, I have a so-so cup of coffee with my devotional (which is way better than the coffee).
Then I check my email, hoping for another epic email from Mark. He is so good at describing things for me. Every time I read one I think how lucky I am. I can’t imagine sending my husband to South Sudan and getting a one-liner like: “It is hot here but I am fine.” So instead I read how something bit him on the foot in the shower and it swelled up and maybe it was a scorpion(?) because it hurt like crazy all night. And then I get great details about the three hours of Bible teaching he did with some local Pastors and that he is teaching them again Tuesday this week. THEN, he goes on to tell me more about what things are like in Doro and some of his personal reflections. I love it.
After this, the kids are up. The boys get something to eat and go outside to play with the other MKs who live on our compound. A “compound” just means that there is a cement brick wall around several houses. A guard is at the gate. We call this a “compound”. Our neighbors are mostly MAF missionaries. The six houses have yards in the back and the kids play in and out of those together. We are blessed to have a lot of greenery on our compound. My two teenagers are dragging themselves around now…
Then I spend a few hours making several jars of homemade yogurt and then some granola (yep, take THAT Pioneer Woman!) It is not too difficult and way cheaper than buying it in the store here. I also carry some buckets of water from outside to fill our Katadyn water filters. And then wash a couple loads of clothes and hang them up outside. We often run out of water, but we have an extra tank out back. Thankfully, electricity has been mostly ON lately. It doesn’t go out more than one day a week these days.
Then I realize I am out of a few groceries. So I drive just about 1km down the road to a small grocery store for a case of shelf milk (its in cardboard boxes and is so pasteurized you can keep it on your shelf FOREVER -thus the name “shelf milk”). I find that fresh milk here is not so fresh and usually goes bad within two or three days. After arriving back home, I decide to walk outside my gate to the fresh market there. Here is a picture:
Yes, I asked permission to take these photos…
My local neighbors love to get their chicken here. I just order my chicken from a farm already packaged:) That is our compound in the back with the barbed wire. Yes, lots of crime in Nairobi.
This last one is a picture of several things I was able to buy -a pineapple, some greens, a couple carrots (the dog ate one before I could get it in the picture, no kidding), 30 fresh brown eggs -very fresh, see the feather? and a 2kg bag of sugar. This all cost about $6US.
The market is nice because it is so close and for fresh fruit and veggies it is cheaper than grocery stores here if you haggle a bit. It also gives me a chance to practice (uh hum, butcher) the Swahili I am learning. I just have to laugh at myself -everyone else is.
After shopping, I bake some more. It takes a lot of work to keep these hungry kiddos fed!And then I sit down and write this blog. Later, we will divvy up some chores like washing dishes and bringing in the laundry from the clothesline.
Later this evening, we will eat and then maybe watch a movie together, play a game, or listen to an audio book that we all like. My kids are getting to be a lot of fun! Then we will have our prayer time together and LIGHTS OUT.
*On a weekday, I have been going into the SIM S Sudan office a couple times a week for team prayer, meetings or to do MK Orientation for new families (either to our team or the Kenya team). I am the MK Care Coordinator and I love it! I think they gave me this job because I am providing the most MKs on the team -haha…The kids generally work on Summer school work while I am gone. One day a week I have language study with a tutor.