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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Spanish Banks

It has been such a long time since I've been to the beach or the ocean here in my city though I don't live so terribly far away from it. It is a shame really since I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. On one side is the beautiful Pacific Ocean and on the other side stand the majestic mountains.  In the middle is the pearl, the City of Vancouver.

Today I went to capture some photos at a place called Spanish Banks.
Named by the earliest European Spanish explorers in the 1770s. Spanish Bank is home to three of Vancouver's superior beaches, far from the madding crowd. Here you can feel truly "away" as you scan the open waterfront to the west or turn your glance back to one of the most beautiful city skylines anywhere. (Source: Vancouver Park Board website).

I enjoyed my visit so much. The sights, the smells....I could smell the seaweed and the sound of the waves lapping against the shore is always such a soothing balm. Also one can't find better scenery and city skyline even with the overcast sky. I hope you enjoy my slideshow of the beautiful scenes.  You need to click on the slideshow to open a separate screen. There you will see some slides set to music.

From Movies

For those of you who can't watch slideshows with music, I've added a slideshow without music. If that still doesn't work, try the link to the photo album here.





Click here to see more of Watery Wednesdays.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Trip to Kamloops, My World Tuesday

Driving to Kamloops, BC. We are at the highest elevation of the mountainous highway.

Passing by Merritt, BC.  One hour left to go before we get to Kamloops.

Today my brother, my cousin and I took a day drive to Kamloops to visit my mother.  We left around 7:45 a.m. and arrived in Kamloops at 12:30 p.m. after a leisurely drive and several stops. I only took a couple of photos along the way.  After stopping for some lunch we arrived to visit mom. She was waiting in the dining hall anxiously keeping watch for us and was so happy when we arrived.

We visited for a time in the dining hall and I showed her the shawls and dresses I had brought for her. She loved them all.  After visiting for awhile my brother went to pick up my niece who lives about a half hour from where mom now resides.  When he returned, we left my brother to visit my mom in private while I took my cousin for a look around the facilities and took my niece to see the new rose garden that is now open at the facility.

As soon as we opened the door to the garden, the fragrance of the roses was heavenly.  I took a few photos as the blossoms were so lovely.  There were about 6 or 7 varieties of roses in the garden but I took photos of these beautiful red blossoms only.



Afterwards, my cousin and I took mom to her room where we tried on her dresses as best we could given she was sitting in her wheelchair. My guess is that the staff will cut the new dresses up the back to make them easier to wear. Hopefully they won't wash them. I will have to retrieve them later and sew some seams up the back.  She loved both dresses but I think the red one particularly caught her eye.  While we were trying on her dresses my brother drove my niece back to her home.

We visited awhile longer with mom and took her back to the dining room for dinner before calling my nephew to come and meet his auntie for a quick visit. We visited with him briefly in the parking lot before we departed at 5:45 p.m. for the drive back to Vancouver. He usually wants a real quick visit so we were careful to take little of his time. This time he asked why the rush, lol. We may seem him this weekend when he makes a trip to the big city.  Soon he will be moving to my city permanently as he has given up his job to return to university and complete his Bachelor of Arts degree.

We made it home at approximately 9:45 p.m.  We were all very tired as none of us slept well last night but all in all we had a fruitful and pleasant visit.

For more scenes from around the globe please click here.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Bags Full and Two Dresses

For some time I've been meaning to clean the cushion covers of 4 Kapok filled cushions I purchased a long while ago. I finally got around to it today. Kapok is seed hair fibre from a Kapok tree and looks and feels very interesting.


The job was a little more difficult and time consuming than I bargained for but thankfully it is all done now.

I had four cushions to open and empty of it's Kapok contents. Kapok grows on trees and has a cotton like consistency. It is rather soft and fluffy and this made the work of removing it a bit of a challenge.
You can read more about Kapok here.

Particles of kapok dust flew all over the place and got on the freshly vacuumed carpet. My cousin who is visiting and who had vacuumed was not so happy with me but the job had to be done. After a few years of wear the cushions were becoming flattened and that was the other reason I needed to open them. After refilling the cushions I was left with three. I need to buy more Kapok to fill up the remaining pillow.

I've left one cushion open so you can see a glimpse of the kapok. I've basted the other two cushions to ready them for stitching.  Given the cushions were now filled to the brim, it was challenging to stitch them closed but I managed. No need to be perfect as they will likely go into cushion covers.

Another sewing project today was to sew over the seams of two dresses I had made for mom while I was in Kenya recently. Before I left I asked her if she wanted anything from Africa and she said she would like a dress.  So I got her two of them as they were such pretty colours and her birthday is coming up at the end of the summer. I will deliver them both to her tomorrow.  She knows they are coming and she is rather excited about getting them.

Isn't this a pretty colour green? I almost kept this fabric for a dress of my own. I had big pockets placed in front of both dresses so that when mom sits in her wheelchair she can still reach into her pockets without any problem.

This red colour is beautiful. Mom will love it. The red pockets are not visible against the deep red background of the dress.
Now mom will feel that she can experience a taste of Kenyan culture. Though I'm not fully sure if this patterned fabric is really African, my friend there said it looked like some fabric they call a star pattern. I hope he is right.

This same friend teaches me a lot about Kenyan culture and about his own Kalenjin culture. I learn something new all the time. Recently on his own blog I learned about Kalenjin burial customs when he lost his uncle whom he called elder father because he was the eldest male sibling of his father.  Please read more about it here .

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meeting Jo

What a wonderful treat I had when I visited Kenya recently. I got to meet a blogging buddy and she is a treasure.

I met my blogger friend Jo in Nakuru Town when she and her husband made a pit stop on their way back from Nairobi to Kimwarer Valley. I was so grateful because it would have been a pity to be so close to her and yet not meet her. Through God's design and Jo's perseverance we were indeed able to meet and see one another in the flesh.

This is Jo!

Our meeting was brief but long enough for me to sense the special treasure that Jo is. She really is a delightful, gentle spirit.  Jo and her husband hail from South Africa but are currently living in the Kimwarer, Valley near Eldoret, Kenya.  I had a moment to introduce her to the three boys I was treating to lunch and they were thrilled.  In case, you don't know Jo yet, please see her wonderful blog here.

From left to right:  Martin, Hillary Joseph and Moses. You can read more about them here.
Thank you Jo for making time to meet with me. I hope we get another chance to talk in depth some day, Lord willing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The God of Supply

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have what we asked of Him. 
1 John 5:14-15

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, 
according to the power that worketh in us.
Ephesians 3:20

I have been in Kenya for about 3 weeks now.  I am going home tomorrow. I always feel sad a day or two in advance of my departure as I never know when exactly I will be back.  However, I do believe that God will make a way for me to return if it is His desire that I return.

I had only notions of a holiday of rest and recuperation on this trip because the the past year has been mentally and physically exhausting due to health issues of my own and of my loved ones also. It has been a taxing year in every way.  I didn't have a whole lot of advance planning or funds to do some good works which I always love to do when I visit Kenya. I won't go into details but I had even less funds than I anticipated due to some challenges just prior to departure and shortly after my arrival.  I didn't think I would be able to do much here in Kenya  besides visiting the little boy Kigen who I so much wanted to see at the Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital (read more about him here).  I hope to say more about Kigen in the coming weeks and give you an update about him and his family.

But you know God is so gracious and good to us.  I've learned that if I just do whatever I am able and whatever he puts before me without struggle and anxiety, He will honour that.  In this instance, it meant going to Nakura town from time to time where I am staying in Kenya. It meant paying attention to the homeless on the street and talking to them as the Lord provided opportunities.  It meant showing love and kindness to whomever crossed my path.  It was in this way that I met a young boy whom I had met when I was last in Nakuru 6 months ago.  I instantly remembered him due to his ready smile. I learned that his name is Moses and he hails originally from a northern town which I've written about on this blog from time to time. The town of Marigat.

A day or two after reconnecting with Moses, I also met his friend named Hillary Joseph and took them both to lunch along with an artist friend named, Sammy. Over dinner, I learned that the boys were living together in a small shack just outside of the city and they both wanted badly to go to school. Though I couldn't help them with their school needs, I did ask them if they were hungry and took them to dinner for hot food and a drink. Over dinner I learned a bit more about them and how they were fending for themselves. Hillary in particular was insistent that he wanted to go to school. I explained that I could not personally help them but that I would be praying for them to find a donor.  Sammy and I both encouraged them to stay strong in faith and go to church.  I also encouraged them not to listen to the young boys and men on the street who taunted them and tried to pressure them into taking drugs. To try to encourage them further, I shared about my own personal story of trials and tribulations as a child and how I believed God helped me to have a hope and a future.  I told them that they too could have a better future if they continued believing in God.  That night as I left them I noticed that Hillary was sniffling with a cold and gave him a small sum of money to buy Vicks and told him I would pray for him to get better soon.

The very next day I ran into the boys again. This time they had a friend named Martin with them.

From left to right, Martin, Hillary Joseph and Moses waiting for lunch at the Guava Cafe.

At one time all of these boys lived together in an orphanage but now none of them was a resident there. Moses and Hillary in particular wanted to learn academics and go to school but since they had no money and no adults to care for them, they were begging on the streets daily for their survival and the life was hard. Martin was doing small jobs here and there finding whatever work he could to pay for his daily bread. Martin did not live with the boys but knew them from the orphanage and connected with them from time to time.  Apparently, at the orphanage they were all trained in singing and keyboard playing but they didn't receive any real academic training.  Instead the children were being trained as performers and were bussed around the country to perform.  They were driven from town to town and after performing would sleep on their transport bus overnight before journeying on to their next destination and performance.  Eventually all of the boys ran away from this life to try to find a better life.

The two boys I had fed the night before were very happy when I saw them again.  Hillary in particular, was beaming from ear to ear and telling me how well he had slept after my prayers for him.  I invited all three boys to join me at one of the cafes catering to foreigners; the Cafe Guava. I guess it was their first time at the cafe and they were so very happy to be eating there even though it was only chips and a soda.  Again I encouraged them to trust in God and to have faith.  No matter what happened, whether they were to go to school or not, I encouraged them to trust in God for a better future. I gave them more real life examples of how God undertakes. After lunch I took the boys to the street market and bought them some winter jackets as they were both shivering and cold the night before. It had even been cold in my hotel room though I had a number of blankets and these boys didn't have bedding so you can imagine how cold it was for them.  They were so happy to receive their new jackets and were joyfully modelling them to one another. As for Martin, I offered him a jacket too but he said he would take a shirt instead.  That same day, I met a blogging buddy for the very first time in person  (more about this later) while at the cafe.  I introduced her to the boys and asked her if she would also remember them in prayer.  Later that night she wrote me and told me that the boys were on her prayer list.


From left to right: Hillary Joseph, Moses and Moses.
On my way to the cafe for a drink I passed by another little boy.  He begged for food as he was hungry.  I wanted to feed him but I thought I would come back to him and look after him on my way back to the market place in a very short while. In the meantime, the restaurant I thought I was going to was closed, so I ended up at another cafe close by.

The boys came back with Moses while I was having a refreshment and I invited them all to join me for chips and juice or a hot drink. They gladly did so. As we sat down, along came the boy I had passed by earlier.  I waved at him to join us. I learned that his name was Clinton and he was very hungry as well as cold since it started to rain just moments before.

Here is Clinton after having a dinner of beef stew, rice and vegetables and a hot drink of cocoa. Isn't the glory on his face so lovely?  I felt very protective of this little one. He is 13 years old and the 2nd eldest in his family. He seemed so alone and forgotten. I am sure he enjoyed the fellowship of some adults and the two older boys who he knew in passing as they all beg on the streets.  Please pray for him that he will be able to go to school.
Here are Hillary Joseph and Moses proudly displaying their new lantern or torch light. This is a rechargeable lamp.  It doesn't need to be plugged in when it is on and it will last several days before needing to be recharged.  When it needs to be recharged there are neighbours who can help the boys. I tested the lamp and it gives off excellent light.
My adult friend Moses suggested that I purchase some groceries for young Clinton to take home and bless his family.  I was happy to do that as it was in my heart to do so but I didn't quite know how to do it.  My concern was not only what to buy, but how the young (and small) boy would actually get the groceries home.  After a short discussion, we settled on a list of food items and a way for the boy to get home after the shopping expedition.  I asked my adult friend Moses if he would go with the young boy to do the shopping and he agreed.  After spending the afternoon together, my friend was very keen to encourage the young boys and to help them in whatever small ways he could.  He also showed me a proposal he was working on for a business plan to help orphans in this city of Nakuru.  I told him I would pray for his vision to come to life.

Now for the best news of all. After we sat down to eat, young Hillary was smiling broadly and told me how they had looked for me the day before because they had news that God had answered prayer.  It turns out a young man from the United Kingdom had met them on the street the day before yesterday. After finding out that the boys are believers and that they go to church and do not sniff glue like others on the street, he offered to put them both in school.   On Sunday, he will take the boys to buy the school uniforms and the shoes they need as well as books they will need.  On Monday he will take them and register them in school and look after whatever else they need. He has even agreed to send money to help the boys with their daily support needs while they are going to school.   God  is great. Praise His Name!

Hillary was beaming throughout the telling of this wonderful news and I could not contain my excitement and joy at how marvelously and quickly, God has answered the prayers of myself and others for these young boys.  Prayers to give the boys a hope and a future. Not only that, but the boys had a second offer of assistance from a man who comes from South America.  But as they already had a donor they informed the visitor that they did not need his generous offer of help as God had already provided for them.  Imagine this abundance of blessings when the boys had been trying years to get sponsors.

God is so wonderful and has shown such love to these boys by providing for them and demonstrating his abundance. Their joy was manifest on their faces as they related to me the story of their blessings and they told me how much I had helped them. At that point of course, I became somewhat teary eyed by the goodness of God.  After sharing with them and after tears all around, we took our leave from one another and offered to pray for one another until we meet again.  My adult friend Moses, has offered to keep me regularly informed by email about the boys' progress and also to teach them to use the internet so that they can keep in touch with me directly.  I look forward to hearing more about how the are enjoying school and how the Lord is blessing them. I will continue to pray for wisdom, provision and protection for these boys.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Sky Over Solai

I've been on a short sojourn in Kenya. One of the things I wanted to do on this trip besides seeing little Kigen (see his story here ), was to travel to Solai. Solai is a small town located about a 50 minute drive north of Nakuru, Kenya.

I sponsor a little boy named Peter in Solai. I sponsor him through a charitable organization and I hadn't made arrangements to visit him so this trip was really just to get a feel for the place where he lives and to see with my own eyes what is located there. I hope to visit little Peter in person some day if God enables.

Most of the road to Solai is paved but the last 10 minutes or so you travel on a dirt road.

The skies were especially lovely that day and you can see the wispy white clouds against a clear blue sky. The earth road is a deep red colour.
I enjoyed these mud huts with thatched roofs along my journey.  There was an entire village of them along the road. Apparently the people who live there work at a farm.

The road to Solai is not so busy.  These were some of the few travellers we met along the dirt road.

I'm so glad I got a chance to visit this place. I will post more photos in a future blog post.  Thanks for joining me.

For more beautiful skies from around the world, please click here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meeting Kigen in Eldoret

I want to thank RonJoe Geezer for deciding to follow my blog and to welcome you.

It is so far from Canada to northern Kenya in Pokot country where little Kigen lives. Some of you may remember him. He is the little boy that my friend Jonah and I have been assisting on medical mercy mission. He and his siblings have some kind of hereditary condition which has been affecting their skin, causing open lesions on the head and face, and affecting their eyesight. Kigen himself has been unable to see anything as both of his eyes have been closed tightly and are unable to open on their own.


Signage on the last leg of our trip into Eldoret from Nakuru.

After learning of Kigen's condition after Jonah's food relief effort to the Pokot people, I helped organize costs for transporting the mother, Paulina,  and two of her three children to seek medical treatment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in El Doret, Kenya. They have now been there for over three months and while the children have been looked after there, we did not feel that the hospital was doing much to get  Kigen the surgery we felt he needed or to discharge him.

After over two months of waiting and no significant improvement with little Kigen we decided we must transport him and his family members home. We made  two unsuccessful attempts to get the children released from hospital and return this family to Pokot country.  On our second attempt we were told the hospital wanted a few more days to consider the boy's treatment.

Ultimately the doctors decided to go ahead with surgery for little Kigen. We were very happy and the mother was extremely excited.  We all had hope that little Kigen would at last get some real help after months of waiting and wondering.  Little Kigen did indeed have his surgery in one eye approximately one and a half weeks ago and he is now healing. We haven't seen him since the day after surgery to see how he is recovering but hope to do so soon and see what we can learn.

I did have the thrill of meeting this small family the day after surgery. Little Kigen was a bit fearful of me initially as he couldn't see who this stranger was that was talking to him, let alone understand her. Before I left however, he was casually leaning over the bed where I was sitting and inclining his head toward me which indicated to me that he was very comfortable.  The mother was very happy for my visit and smiling the entire time. She and I did try to communicate with each other in our respective languages even though neither of us understood one another.  Fortunately, a woman named Judy who was visiting her daughter Stella (see in the photo below) was able to do a bit of translation for us.

Here we are approaching the Moi Hospital in Eldoret.
This is mother Paulina and the two children who are with her at hospital. Kigen is on the far right. The bandaged eye is the one that was operated on. Paulina is holding a Granny Smith apple I brought and her little one is holding a mandarin orange I brought. I thought these two fruits are likely things they do not get a chance to see much of where they are living.

Mama Judy and her daughter Stella who is battling cancer. Please pray for Stella's healing and strength for her mother.

Hotel Comfy where I lodged. The room is great but the food is not so good.
Street scene outside my hotel room in Eldoret.
We do not know when the doctor's might release little Kigen from the hospital. We just pray that he will continue to grow in strength and that his eye will completely heal. Just imagine what a wonderful future he will have if he can see out of a least one eye.  Imagine too the hope that a healed eye and new sight, will bring to his entire family. They endure such hardship where they live and any positive thing can greatly enhance their state of well being.

We thank you for standing with us in prayer for little Kigen's medical needs and for his family in general. We continue to rely on God for the financial assistance to cover the medical costs, the on going travel needs of the over seers here in Kenya, and for transportation costs for the return trip home for this little family. If you can assist in prayer please do.  If you can give financial support for the needs still before us you may do so at the donate button located at the top right of the screen. God bless you!

Scenic Sunday
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