Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finished Garments & Update on Snake Bite Victims

Happy Sunday friends,

I showed you the material I was working with last week for purposes of making dresses for my mom and two nightgowns (one for mom, one for me).  Now I'll show you the end products.

The first dress is a palm leaf print in shades of fuchsia and purple.  Originally I made it with a round neckline. But after trying it on I thought it would be uncomfortable for mom as I cut the dress a little too small. The width also seemed slightly too small.  So I ended up adding side inserts to make the dress fuller and decided to turn the neckline into a v-neck for greater comfort.  (I've mentioned before that I don't work with patterns. That always makes working on the necklines and sleeves a bit fiddly and I end up making a  lot of adjustments to make it all work.)

The second dress is a dark navy colour with slight striations of white or gray. The dress looks a bit "blah" but the material is very comfortable.  Mom doesn't like "blah" so I've decided to add a decorative design around the neckline in a coordinating shade of light blue for extra interest. The navy fabric had better stretch than the fuchsia and purple dress so I didn't need to add inserts.

The next two garments are nightgowns. The first one is a knit jersey in shades of "pinky" purple and gray.  I've never worked with it before and found it challenging to sew without everything puckering. It took some time to figure out what to do with the neckline. In the end I added a little bodice and neck backing (I copied one of my nightgowns). I don't have a serger so can't get that "neat and tidy" look. But none of my sewing is perfect anyway.  These days I'm okay with that.

When working with knits I've discovered one should sew with a stretch stitch or a small zig zag. I'm still learning my "newish" machine and it's functions.  I can never find my sewing machine manual so I used the small zig zag stitch because I knew how to set that one, lol.  After trying and failing to eliminate the puckering, I used my walking foot (which I purchased for quilting) to help feed the material (top and bottom) evening under the needle.  That helped a lot and I must try to remember this for next time.

The last night gown in shades of light gray and white, is for me. I'm  not sure what kind of fabric it is but it is very lightweight and perfect for hot, muggy summer days. I cut it a bit full but because the fabric doesn't stretch much.  It isn't baggy once on. 
I have enough fabric left to make a camisole and sleep shorts.
First I'll try using  the nightgown and see if it breaths before I make anything else out of the fabric.


I still have to modify the dress I showed in my last post (see photo below).
If I can find just the right fabric for a slip I might make one before I pay mom a visit. 
She is getting anxious for another visit soon.

To be modified.

Proverbs 31: 19-20
19  She layeth her hands to the spindle,
And her hands hold the distaff.
20  She stretcheth out her hand to the  poor;
Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 

I mentioned in my last post that Jonah of Missions of Hope, Kenya and a man from Pokot country in Kenya were both doing well post-snake bite.

In fact Jonah was released to go home though he had to return to the hospital a week later for check up.
The Pokot man was doing well after the graft surgery on his leg and ready for release about the time Jonah returned for his check-up.

That was about a week ago.

Now both of them are in hospital. 
Jonah was examined very thoroughly and underwent extensive testings of blood, urine and x-rays to examine organs and bones.
He had been having problems breathing and the tests established that his lungs are enlarged.  He is also experiencing joint pain.  The heart and lung specialist is considering surgery.
In the meantime he is on medication.

The Pokot man has regressed and is doing poorly.
He didn't have funds so was unable to undergo extensive examination or testing.

As of Friday the man has been thoroughly assessed.  The Eldoret doctors are waiting results and consultation with  doctors in Nairobi.

I've read on line that snake bite treatment is one of the most expensive things to treat in the USA once you are bitten by a poisonous snake as these men were.
The treatment and recovery period can be anywhere from a week to many months.
The health care in Kenya is also expensive.

Please keep both of these men in prayer.

We are grateful their lives were spared but now we pray for a quick(er) recovery
so they can get back to normal and have the stress behind them.

God bless.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A New Week Begins

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

I had plans to do a lot of sewing but I ended up not doing so much. Instead I was rather busy getting caught up with laundry, sweeping and washing floors, doing dishes, grocery shopping and vegetable preparation. Whenever I can, I like to wash all my vegetables and dry them before storing so they are ready to use during the week.  This helps ensure that I actually use the vegetables as sometimes I get lazy and don't feel like doing the prep when I'm actually making dinner. There are always so many vegetables that I have to soak (I use vinegar in water), rinse, dry and store so I do it in stages. Sunday night I did the green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cilantro and kale. The other vegetables I don't mind doing as needed; like celery, carrots, etc.

Last night's dinner was stir fried vegetables with thin strips of beef and noodles. It was very good. I made a lot of it so there were left overs for lunch today.

Dinner tonight is nachos.  I cooked up the ground beef last night and washed the green peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Tonight I just have to chop up the onions and tomatoes for salsa and wash the avocados for the guacamole. I don't eat this stuff very often anymore.  When I was much younger I had it every weekend.  Nowadays I might have it once a year or even less but it is a nice change.  I discovered I was out of cheddar cheese so had to buy some of that today to top the nachos.  I usually always have this on hand but suddenly it was gone.  I do like mozzarella on my nachos too but I am saving the mozzarella for home made pizza in the not too distant future. The pizza has been on my mind since before Christmas, lol.

I started a book called Americanah by an author I've read once before. Her name is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I really enjoy her style of writing. If I can make good progress on the book this week I may join several people on Friday for a discussion over dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant I've been wanting to try. I will only go if I've had time to read the book.  I  like what I've read so far.

As for my sewing,  I decided to make myself a nightgown before I finish mom's nightgown and dresses. So now I have 3 projects to finish plus one ready made dress to alter. I finished the navy dress late last week. I'm about half finished on the necklines for the other 3 projects so it shouldn't take much longer. I like to work slowly on the necklines because I work without a pattern.  Since I'm working without a pattern and I lack patience where sewing is concerned, my cutting is a bit freehand.  For sewers you will know that freehand cutting can mean wrong "fit" if not careful. So far I'm doing fine. When I started making the clothing for mom I hadn't really planned on making a lot of clothing because sewing is not my favourite thing in the world. I thought the things she requested would be "one off"  projects but I'm now realizing that I will have to continue sewing for her.   It is just easier than trying to find the right ready made clothing. For future projects, I will probably try to cut out a pattern on piece of paper to use for necklines (v-neck and round neck) and for sleeves (set in and dropped shoulders).  This will make future sewing projects go much quicker both in cutting and sewing.

I also spent a lot of time on Saturday getting mail off to my niece for Valentine's Day. She will love the Star Wars calendar I bought her since we went to see the latest Star Wars film over Christmas. Of course, I also sent her some some chocolates in the shape of lipstick and nail polish. She loves nail polish and I think will like the lipstick too though she won't mind eating it at all, lol. 

A Kenyan friend is having a birthday early in the month. It is difficult to send things so far away due to the cost and postage theft is also a problem so I tried to get something nice but not so expensive. I sent a calendar with  photos of my beautiful city and I hope he likes it. I also sent my sponsored boys some picture post cards. One of the young boys I write to told me how much he looks forward to receiving my letters. I've been sponsoring him for just over 5 years and the time has flown by! Since the Fall I've been making a conscious effort to increase the letters and cards I sent to my sponsored boys. There are 3 of them so if I send mail a few times a month that makes for a lot of writing. But it is so very important to these youngsters to know that someone cares about them and prays for them and sends money each month for their needs. If any of you are looking to sponsor children, I would recommend Compassion International. They do a wonderful job of keeping the sponsor involved and informed about everything like the child's development, community information and country information. They provide an updated photo each year along with a letter from the leadership in the community and some community and country information so you know the context within which the child is living and learning. They make sure every child receives a gift at Christmas whether you send funds or not for that purpose.  Of course they encourage you to contribute to the Christmas Fund but they make sure no child is left out. You are also able to make gifts throughout the year to the family and to the child to provide for other things like food and housing needs.

Today I managed to get around to using my Vitamix to make cashew milk! Yeah! I was inspired by Teresa's blog over at Affectioknit  I've been wanting to make the cashew milk for a long time but didn't make it a priority. I needed to find a source of raw organic cashews and also figure out how to do it. Teresa's post showed how easy it is so I got inspired.  

I've looked on line at Nut.Com, Amazon and a local supplier Nut Hut. In the end, I decided to purchase some raw, organic cashews at my local grocers. In fact, I purchased some at two different grocers just to try them out. I just bought a small amount to experiment and made up my first batch today.

My procedure is a little different because I soaked my nuts overnight. I've read several health practitioners say it is necessary to soak nuts because nuts have phytic acid and enzymes inhibitors.  Soaking them reduces the phytic acid and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors. There are other benefits to soaking and you can read more about it on line. Phytates can interfere with your body's absorption of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and lead to bone loss (even whole wheat grains should be soaked for this reason.  You might remember my experiment with soaked grains here.  I haven't made a lot of bread lately due to blood glucose issues but if I make more I will remember to soak the grains).

Here is my procedure:

- 1/2 cup of raw, organic cashews
- cover with water and soak overnight.

In the morning I discarded the water as it looked rather dirty. I put the cashews in the Vitamix blender along with a pinch of Celtic sea salt, a half teaspoon of honey and a cup of water. 

After zapping until smooth it looked like this. I will be using it for coffee and if I find I like it I will be making more to use for cereal in the morning.

The cashew milk/cream. It is surprisingly white though the nuts look more ivory in colour.

Ready for coffee

                               The first cup was great and I found the cashew cream made my coffee less bitter tasting.

I hope to get some outdoor photos to share soon but for now here are two moon shots I snapped on Friday using my phone camera.

I like the first shot where the city street lights bracket the moon.

Unfortunately the phone camera doesn't capture moon detail and it is even hard to get a clear photo at night.

Joining up with Lady Fi and others at Our World Tuesday.
Have a glorious week.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rounding Out the Week

These sky photos are from late last week when our weather was glorious, sunny and clear. As of last night we are back to our usual rain.  But I can't complain about the weather this winter as it seems like we've had more sunny and clear days than usual.

In my last post I mentioned I planned to go fabric shopping and make my mother some new dresses.  She wanted purple and turquoise fabrics. I purchased fuchsia/purple and navy fabric and have a dress that I will alter slightly which is turquoise/black/white.

The light knit jersey is the right composition (polyester and spandex blend) so it can stand up to the washing in the care home. The hand is quite soft and lovely but I fear it might be a little too flimsy. It will have to do as I can't take the fabric back.  It would probably help to make another slip or two for her to wear underneath.  She does still have the 3 slips I made a year ago but I think she wears 1 more than the others. After a year they are getting a bit ragged with daily use and hot water washes.

It is hard to get just the right amount of weight and stretch in the right colours when shopping for fabrics. Next time I'll stop at Fabricland.  They seem to sell just the right fabric at the right weight.  But I'm not a member there and that means I pay a lot more for fabrics.  Membership is a bit steep at $30 annually.  I don't sew enough or purchase enough fabric there to justify the membership cost so I will just have a look at clearance fabrics.

Here are some photos of the fuchsia/purple and navy dresses. I have to finish the dresses (the neckline on one dress and the hemming on both).

 And, the ready made turquoise/black and white dress.

 This dress needs to be modified up the back.  I love the Ikat design though it may be difficult to see in this photo.

I also bought some fabric to make a nightgown for her but haven't made it yet. Here is what it looks like. It is nice and soft and I know she will like it.

I purchased some nightgown fabric for me as well.  Here it is.

Lastly,  I bought some beautiful fabric to make a jacket which I have in mind to give as a gift.  It's been a very long time since I've made a jacket.

Besides fabric shopping and sewing, I picked up some movies at the library.

- August: Osage County Meryl Streep plays a cancer stricken, pill popping foul mouthed matriarch who lets her anger spill out various family members who gather to bury her late husband.  I found this movie somewhat depressing but probably close to the real life that some people have.  It is wonderfully acted by a long list of distinguished actors including Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor & Benedict Cumberbatch.
- The Iron Lady Released in 2012, this is a movie about Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England in her twilight years as she is suffering from dementia and about to dispose of her late husband's belongings. Meryl Streep plays the title role. Along the way you learn about Mrs. Thatcher's life and entry into politics.
An Englishman in New York is a 2009 biographical film that chronicles the years gay English writer Quentin Crisp spent in New York City.  The title is taken from a song by Crisp written by Sting.
- The Jane Austen Book Club is a 2007 romantic drama. The film focuses a book club formed specifically to discuss the six novels written by Jane Austen. As the characters delve into each book, the club members find themselves dealing with life experiences that parallel the themes of the books they are reading. There is a large cast of wonderful actors including Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Lynn Redgrave and Jimmy Smits.

The first two movies I wanted to see in the theatre but missed my chance. The other two movies I picked up because they looked interesting. I found all of these movies to be rather sad in different ways but wonderful acted by all. I probably enjoyed The Jane Austen Book Club best but then I am a Jane Austen fan.

Have any of you read the book by Bishop T.D. Jakes on Destiny? I saw him on Dr. Oz earlier in the week and googled the book on YouTube.  He has many videos on YouTube but I enjoyed this one in case you are interested in watching it.

Over the weekend I hope to continue with some sewing after Friday's errands. We are back to a lot of rain so indoor activities are just the ticket. 

 Linking up with Skywatch Friday

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Beautiful Days of January

The first few days of the year were quite hectic what with the earthquake and activities and missions in Kenya. But since then I've been taking things slowly. This year I feel the need to take care of my energy levels and rest more so I've been looking at ways I can do that yet still keep in touch with people and continue blogging.

I've been spending a lot of time on organizing myself for better health and wellness. That includes all aspects of health:  physical, emotional, spiritual & mental.  I won't go into the details of each area like I've done in years passed.  That would be time consuming and I'm not into doing that this year.  I'm also not into choosing a guiding word for the year. But I do have everything clear in my mind as to what I want to work on and how that will guide my daily and monthly activities.

The last week or two have been quite enjoyable. I've just been taking my time to do this and that and moving at a comfortable pace as opposed to the frantic pace I seem to always set for myself.  I've managed to reconnect with several friends who had been going through some difficult and/or very busy periods. It's always nice to reconnect with people who you've lost touch with.  I actually have several more people to reconnect with but there are only so many people one can keep in good touch with. Of course I cannot forget my friends in Kenya who are often on my mind as well as my sponsored boys in Kenya and Ethiopia who need to hear from me on a regular basis. Since last Fall I've been trying to make sure they hear from me more often.

Reading is always a big part of my life and this year I started off reading two books: A Girl in the Woods and the Orphan Train.  The first book I happened upon when I went to a movie in November. A woman was lined up for the show and intently reading the book. I asked her what it was about and made a note to read it and borrow it from the library.

A Girl in the Woods is Aspen Matis's exhilarating true-life adventure of hiking from Mexico to Canada.  She went on the hike after being raped in his first year of college.  The story is not only about the hike but about her survival and growth from teenager to young adult.

I picked up the Orphan Train at a second hand shop.  The book is about trains that ran between 1854 and 1929 from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children to be adopted or fostered.       

Both of these stories are based on true events. I would recommend both of them if you are at all interested in the subjects.  Though I cannot say either of the books were my all time favourite reads, they both taught me something.

Last week I attended an educational seminar on health matters and I learned so much. I took many notes and all of it will come in very handy this year. In fact, I have already started to put the knowledge to work to try and improve my health and wellness. That is always a goal of mine and every few months I tweak what I am doing to try and keep moving forward in a positive way. While I was at the seminar, I met a retired teacher who invited me to join the University Women's Club. I haven't given an answer yet but I know the club is on it's annual membership drive and will be until late next month.  I've actually considered joining this group before.  The membership dues are rather high and I already participate in a number of similar activities through free groups (or groups that charge a very nominal fee).  Whenever there is such a  large expenditure of funds involved (I'm talking hundreds of dollars annually in  membership dues alone), I always think the money could be better spent on  missions needs in Kenya. Especially now that the Canadian dollar is so lacking in strength on the world market.

A big part of  my focus this year will be on health and wellness.  This is true every year because I have a number of chronic health issues.  Mostly on this blog, I address the diabetes issue just because it is all consuming condition and eats up a lot of my time (no pun intended). As I begin the new year, I'm studying a lot of health and nutrition information; both from the seminar I went to last week and from a fitness consultant I 'met' on line last year.  I've also made a good start on using and applying the information I've learned.

Food shopping is a big part of health and wellness management and anyone who runs a household (whether it's a household of one or a household of several)  knows that it is very time consuming to manage all the household needs. Shopping is a big part of managing the household and with the ever increasing prices of food and the falling loonie (Canadian dollar coin), it becomes more time consuming and challenging to shop healthy and eat well.

Just last week I discovered that the celery I'd purchased a came to almost $5 for the bunch and it wasn't even organic!  I purchased it without even looking at the price because celery is something I use a lot.  The situation has become so alarming that the local news station did a story or two about the skyrocketing prices. I like to purchase multiple varieties of vegetables each and every week as well as fruits so I'm going to be more adventurous and change what I eat slightly since I'll mostly be buying those things that are on sale.  There is only so much I will pay for a particular vegetable or fruit or meat for that matter.  So far I've been managing to do most of the shopping for a reasonable amount of funds each week.  It takes a lot of planning and effort to shop the sales but I enjoy this part of the week as long as I'm not too rushed in the doing of it. It is also a time when I usually check to see what bills need to be paid.I can't complain too loudly because I read in internet news very recently that  3 out of 10 Kenyans (mostly those in rural areas) do not get a daily meal. I'm still eating daily and that is a blessing so nothing to complain about here but there are adjustments that must be made.

I've also been looking into sources of cashew nuts and almond nuts so I can begin making my own cashew and almond milk. The nuts will be raw and organic so it is quite a splurge for me in terms of costs since nuts have to be imported.  Given the long drought in California the nuts have to be imported from Asia.  Some of you may remember that I tried making brown rice milk last year.  It turned out okay but I wasn't a big fan of it and it took too long because the rice must be cooked first.   With cashew and almond milk you simply soak the nuts first though some people don't soak them at all.  I purchased a Vitamix blender last year to make smoothies, flours and nut milk.  So far I've made a lot of blended green smoothies but haven't yet tried making nut milks or flours. I've cut down on the baking (a lot) due to the need to manage my blood glucose levels better.

The other place I practice careful shopping is at the local pharmacy. I've been making sure I only buy those things I really need but also looking for those things that will get me a lot of in store points.  By doing this I managed to get 4 free movies tickets last week. A friend and I went to see the  movie "Brooklyn". I enjoyed it but it turned out rather differently than I was expecting. It's always a good thing when a movie or book isn't overly predictable.  Movies are another luxury so I try to get as many free tickets as possible. I have a points card so that when I go to movies I get a few points for it and if I purchase concession foods I get a few points there too. Eventually I get enough points to go to a "free" movie. I tend not to buy concession foods because they aren't healthy but now and then I treat my niece to a movie and I must buy her popcorn or she will throw a hissy fit, lol. When I went to the movie with my friend, I took some hot tea in a thermos and some home made popcorn with nutritional yeast for flavouring. I also took an apple and protein bar as it would be awhile before dinner.

For all my careful shopping at the pharmacy I accumulated enough points to spend $195 (Canadian) in store. It took a few months to accumulate the points but now that I have them I will use half to purchase health supplements as needed and the other half to purchase daily/weekly items (milk, eggs, bread, toilet paper, etc.).

The weekend saw me doing some minor alterations.  A top I'd purchased with Christmas money gifted by a friends had some loose beading on the bodice which needed tacking down.  The top is actually too large but it was on clearance so I bought it. I sewed the sides in and made the armholes a bit smaller.  It feels much better now though there is still plenty of give in the fabric. I do tend to shop on clearance items mainly these days so I also managed to purchase a summer dress and some earrings with the same Christmas money gift.  Again, the dress doesn't quite fit and will need a few simple alterations. I've already made great use of the earrings as they match the beading on my top (as in the photo below).  The top looks a bit wild but it is a great summer top and matches so many plain coloured items I already have in my wardrobe.

Early in the week I plan to go fabric shopping to make some more dresses for my mother.  It was Fall 2015 when I made her 2 dresses (2 tops and 2 skirts) but I find the dresses are a little too baggy in the front area.  I want to make some that fit better. I always ask her for her colour choices and try and buy them if they are available.  This time she has selected purple and turquoise for 2 separate dresses.

Now I leave you with some sky photos I took on a beautiful day late last week. In fact, I was on my way to the movie. I could not believe that the trees were already beginning to bud.  We've had a lot more sunny days this winter than we usually have and now the weather too is quite warm during the daylight hours.

In case it isn't so obvious why I titled this post "The Beautiful Days of January", it is because I feel great about the slower pace and good process I'm making on a number of fronts. I'm also very happy with the weather we've been having.
I also have great news that the Pokot man that was injured by 3 black mamba snake bites is now doing much better and ready to be released from hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. Jonah of Missions of Hope, Kenya had to return to the hospital for a check up a week after release and was able to get an in person update from the man.

The Pokot man's hospital bill is enormous and he cannot pay it. Neither can I help him.
But he is still so very appreciative that I was able to send the deposit which enabled him to get medical treatment and save his leg. He is believing for some miracle from the hospital concerning the hospital bill.
 I like his positivity and optimism.
How about you dear reader?
How is your January going?
Are things progressing well?
What about on the food front?
Have you too noticed the high cost of food and how are you managing to deal with it?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Few Perspectives on the Sky

These first two photos were taken in East Vancouver. The first photo is taken on West Hastings Street. I noticed the medicine wheel on the side of the building and the decorative "feathers" hanging down. I think this is a health center of some kind.

The second photo was taken at a skytrain (light rapid transit) station. I was trying to capture the crescent moon in both but didn't have a zoom lens with me. In fact I just used my phone camera for these shots as I was on the way to meet a friend and didn't have time to get out the larger camera.

This last photo was taken the day before yesterday in Timboroa, Baringo County of Kenya. 
This county is located in the Rift Valley Province. If you can pinpoint Eldoret on the map below you travel in a southeasterly direction to get to Timboroa (just past the Burnt Forest which is not on the map). Find Kericho Town on the map and travel in a northeasterly direction. From Nakuru, you would drive in a northwesterly direction.It is a few hours drive and about half way to Eldoret.

 It looks to be a warm day with a bit of cloud haze.

Photo Credit: Jonah, Missions of Hope:  Timboroa, Kenya
Joining in with Skywatch Friday today
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Shakey Start to the New Year 2016

The start to the New Year 2016 has been a bit nice and a bit not so nice.

First I start with the nice bit.

I closed the year by attending my first ever performance of The Nutcracker.  Though I expected it to be good it was even nicer than I expected with all the beautiful costumes, sets and classical music. I think my favourite part was all the scenes with the Snow Czarina in them. She was beautiful and danced all on pointe.  She made look so elegant and graceful but I was thinking "Ouch!"

Of course I couldn't take photos during the performance but here are a few shots taken just before show time and during intermission.

There was a good crowd considering it was New Year's Eve Day. There were still a lot of good seats in one section of the Orchestra.

Only a few members in the orchestra pit.

I hadn't noticed these beautiful chandeliers when I went to the BC Ballet in late Fall.

The final bows were taken.

Now on to a not so nice event.

Two nights later as I was thinking of heading to sleep, the entire area from Victoria on Vancouver Island to Vancouver and south of us, experienced a moderate earthquake.

It was like several shakes of the building, then one loud shake which felt like the entire building was lifted and "plunked" down hard. At the same time as the hard "plunk" a very loud bang occurred. It took 5 minutes on Twitter to establish that it really was an earthquake and another hour for the local television news to start broadcasting. I took that time to locate my emergency kit (how prepared was I?!!) went through it and added some clothes and tried to decide what to do.

I stayed up for another 3 hours before deciding that things had settled down.  I'd heard on the news that the quake was not along the fault line that goes all up and down the coast from Alaska down past California.  Aapparently California had experienced an earthquake of about the same strength several hours earlier.

That is how things started off in my part of the world this New Year's.

Across the world in Kenya where I do a lot of missions work some of you will remember the widow from Mauche, Kenya who recently lost her husband. If you haven't read about it yet you can read more here.

My friend and work mate, Jonah from the Missions of Hope, Kenya, had just finished helping this widow and another young man get medical treatment.  Immediately thereafter he had to rush home and help out with an Initiation Feast

About 16 young Kalenjin boys had just completed their initiation rites. This is a time when young teen boys go away in the bush for one month. There they are taught and guided in the cultural ways, wisdom, rules of personal behavior and cultural rites. The initiation rites are a rite of passage when the boys are also circumcised and after the passing of knowledge they are considered young men who know their place in society.

Once their training is finished, they gather together with family members and community and have a time of feasting and celebration before they make their ways home and back to school.

These are some of the young boys in white shirts, their mentors in purple shirts & family members.

Immediately after the initiation homecoming, Jonah and a team of volunteers went to Pokot country on another feeding mission. They go about once a month and they generally go to different Pokot communities each time.  The first person they came across was this emaciated, elderly woman in the photo below.  She touched their hearts so much and the team members were glad to be able to feed her and several other needy people.

Everything was going well during the Pokot missions outreach but tragedy struck on the 2nd night.

Jonah and a Pokot man who was hosting him were both bitten by a poisonous black mambo snake.  This is probably the most dangerous of the snakes in Kenya and people often die from it's bite.  The Pokot people immediately tried to suck out the venom from these two men and administer traditional herbs.  But these men urgently needed to get to hospital which was many hours away. Someone had to drive all night from Eldoret (located several hours south) to fetch the man and take them to the nearest hospitals.

Jonah was driven to the missions hospital in the small community of Kapsowar where he was immediately attended to and given good treatment.  The Pokot man was taken to Eldoret but we lost touch with him and what was happening.

In Kapsowar the hospital staff did what they could.  But their equipment is a bit outdated and could not detect whether venom remained in Jonah's leg. It seemed likely that venom remained because he was unable to walk or stand and he wasn't healing as expected.

He humbly asked if he could be transferred to a bigger hospital.  Of course, being a a matter of life or death or loss of limbs, it was imperative that he be moved to a larger centre. As he could not walk or stand and he had no family or friend there to escort him he had to go by ambulance.  It took almost another day before an ambulance could pick him up and transport him to the City of Eldoret.  Once in Eldoret, the leg situation was quickly stabilized and improved tremendously.  The equipment was able to pinpoint the venom remaining in the leg. We give thanks as he is now able to walk again and medical staff are ensuring his blood doesn't clot. I'm not certain how long he will need to be in hospital.

The good thing is that Jonah is now in the same hospital as the Pokot man though they on different wards.  It seems the Pokot man unfortunately had not been given medical aid because he doesn't have insurance and he doesn't have any money to pay a deposit.This often happens to poor Kenyans and many of them die while waiting for medical assistance or their conditions radically deteriorates because they cannot come up with funds.

This goes on despite the government officials making public announcements that no Kenyan should be denied medical treatment for lack of funds.  Hospitals have been told that they should administer treatment and worry about billing later. This however is not the practice on the ground.

The poor man had been suffering and in pain for almost a week!  He needed immediate medical help otherwise he was in real danger of losing his leg.  As soon as I heard this I came up with the deposit.  That night the man had successful surgery.  I'm praying for his full recovery so that use of leg is not impaired.

He is very grateful for my help.  Apparently, I have been repaid by him in the form of two goats which are back in his home area.  I intend on letting him keep his goats as he will likely need them to try and pay the hospital bill.  I am just happy he didn't lose his leg. Life is so very hard for these people.  It would be even harder on one leg.  Medical supports are almost non-existent especially in the isolated areas.  It is hard enough to get medical supports like wheelchairs or crutches when you live in the big cities like Nakuru and Nairobi.

Unfortunately the people In Pokot villages live so far from medical help.  Even if they lived closer to fully equipped hospitals, they don't have ready cash on hand to pay for deposits and medicines.  In Kenya you must pay a deposit (which can be quite substantial depending on what treatment you require) before you get any medical treatment (even though the government says otherwise).

I am grateful that both of these men's lives were spared. Jonah suffered one snake bite which was painful and debilitating.  But the Pokot man suffered three snake bites. Both of men are very lucky to be alive.  The longer you are away from medical help, the less likely you are to survive. I think they might have died if the local people did not try and help to suck out the venom and give traditional herbs because it took at least 8 hours for Jonah to get to a hospital and the Pokot man at least 12 hours as Eldoret is even farther away.  Apparently snake bites are very common in the Pokot (northern) areas of Kenya.  The hospital in Kapsowar sees these kind of patients regularly and while Jonah was there as a patient many of those admitted had snake bite injuries.

Thankfully Jonah has medical insurance and it is quite extensive (and good coverage).  But he still has to pay for everything out of pocket (ambulance, hospital accommodation, drugs, doctor, nursing, x-rays, etc.).  He has to save all receipts and make application for reimbursement.

This will be his first attempt to try and get money back from the government for medical purposes.  I'm praying that they do really reimburse him. In Kenya you can never be sure of what is going to happen where government agencies are involved.  If you are reading this, please pray for these two men and their financial needs.

Well my friends, we just never know what is around the corner.
It could be good or it could be bad.

Though my year has started off on shaky ground, quite literally,
I'm hopeful that much better things are ahead.

I'm also grateful that there was no big damage done.

I  give praise that these two men did not die
Through God's grace and man's medical wisdom, both of them will live another day.
Hopefully they both will have many happy years to come but they need continued prayer for full recovery.
God bless you and keep all of you and give you a good start to your new year.

Photo Credits: Mine and are all taken with phone. The last two photos belong to Jonah of Missions of Hope.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Last Trip in December

My brother and I made the journey to spend Christmas with our mother.
We left early in the morning but not too, too early. 

The sun was rising.

But over the water there was a bit of fog.

Near the City of Chilliwack you could see the sun rays peeking through the clouds.

I always love the approach into Merritt as seen in photo below.

As we got north of Merritt, the sky was a glorious colour and the sun was brightly shining. It was a perfect winter day.

The weather was still nice as we arrived in Kamloops.

Here is the view from my hotel's breakfast room the next morning.

I enjoyed watching these ducks on the river while I read the paper and ate breakfast.

I also enjoyed the big bear and the beautiful Christmas tree.

On Boxing Day (December 26th) it started snowing in the mid afternoon.  It snowed all night long.
The hotel which was very quiet the day before filled up during the snow storm as travellers sought the safety off the roads.

The next morning after visiting mom one last time, we headed back to the big city.  The snow abounded everywhere.

Just outside of Merritt, this is what the sky looked like.  I like the way the sun is trying to shine through the cloud cover.

The overnight snowfall made everything look like a winter wonderland and it continued snowing for the entire return journey except for the last hour of our trip.

We were travelling on Sunday and the traffic back to the city was very heavy.  I guess most people had to work on Monday.

It was rather chilly in the mountains. The roads had just been plowed so all was good as far as driving was concerned.

Right around Langley City the traffic slowed right down and there was long line of immobile cars. We turned on the radio to find out why.  Fortunately the radio announcer immediately mentioned that there had been an accident and that the last of the line up was being cleared. Thankfully we were barely detained and the traffic started moving again.

I am always glad to travel; especially to see mom.  But I'm equally always glad to get home.

The next morning, I was greeting by a sunny snowy scene (final photo).
It has been bright and sunny since then and quite cold.
 I have a long faux fur coat and that has kept me warm. I don't get a chance to wear it often but now and then it comes in handy.

Over this coming week the weather forecast is for a bit of rain, a bit of sunshine and some snowy days too.

I've been enjoying the break in our weather.  Usually we get long rainy days which can sometimes last weeks without a break though the last few years the weather is not normal.  The national meteorologist says "expect the unexpected".

I hope you enjoyed my picture tour. 

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.
I look forward to your visits and your comments and to visiting your blogs in the coming year.

Joining up with Our World Tuesday this week
for the first time, I'm also joing Mersad's Through My Lens meme.

Thanks for stopping by.

Note: All photos taken with my phone except for the last one taken with my Sony camera.

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...