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Monday, January 15, 2018

What's Happening This Week?

While I've been convalescing I have been very busy with my hands. I've already shared some photos in this post but have added to my work.

Another crocheted afghan. This is another lap cover for when one is watching television on a chilly night. I've spread it across an armchair so you can see the colour and the pattern.

This is Toffee Brickle in Caron Big Cakes yarn.



It took awhile for these colours to grow on me but now I really like the blend because the brightness "lifts" the grey, cloudy days when there is little to no sunshine outside. I enjoy this pattern once past the first 2-3 rows and have already purchased yarn in Mint Fudge colour to make a 3rd and final afghan for the year. I haven't started making it yet.

I also made several knitted dishcloths. I seem to go through quite a lot of these.


It's probably because I like to hand wash all the dishes rather than put them through the dishwasher. I also use a bit of bleach in the wash water. It's something my mother did and I now do.  The bleach is rinsed off with very hot water after the dishes are washed.  When I was a young teenager in Home Ec. class I never forget the teacher telling us that "many" people got sick from germs on the dishes. I don't know where she got that information but it makes sense. I don't recall the teacher using any bleach but I do remember her being very focussed on germs and the need for sanitation and sanitary conditions in the kitchen.

Once I have a bit of a rest, I plan to make a few simple tops and pants for myself in linen, rayon and cotton. These are obviously for the warmer temperatures ahead *smile. I've started cutting out the pants but didn't feel much like working on the clothing over the past few days.

In the meantime, I finished reading this "cosy" mystery. I was correct in my assessment of "who dunnit" but the book kept the mystery quite well until the end.



The next book I'm reading is called Refuge about a daughter and father relationship written from the point of view of the daughter who escaped Iran and  made a new life first in America, then in the Netherlands.  I've started reading it and I already like the author's style of writing so I'm looking forward to getting into it further.

This is a description from Amazon
An Iranian girl escapes to America as a child, but her father stays behind. Over twenty years, as she transforms from confused immigrant to overachieving Westerner to sophisticated European transplant, daughter and father know each other only from their visits: four crucial visits over two decades, each in a different international city. The longer they are apart, the more their lives diverge, but also the more each comes to need the other's wisdom and, ultimately, rescue. Meanwhile, refugees of all nationalities are flowing into Europe under troubling conditions. Wanting to help, but also looking for a lost sense of home, our grown-up transplant finds herself quickly entranced by a world that is at once everything she has missed and nothing that she has ever known. Will her immersion in the lives of these new refugees allow her the grace to save her father?
 

What about you dear reader?
What has been keeping you busy?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments box.


For those reading Sally's story, I will post the next installment soon.
Part 1 can be found by clicking here.
Thank you for your interest. 

Joining with Our World Tuesday.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sally's Miracles ~ Part 1

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 

Mark 1:35 (ESV) 

~~~~~~~~

Some of my long time readers know that I do some missions work in the country of Kenya, East Africa.  I've been doing small projects here and there for approximately 10 years.  The work is done on a small scale and I do not have any financial partners in carrying out the work though from time to time friends have assisted.

The sky is beautiful almost every day here and you will often find goats in the middle of the highway near Marigat (north of Nakuru) in Kenya.





During the 10 year period, I have been engaged in many different aspects of humanitarian work and in all cases I work with local pastors and lay leaders in small villages. Primarily the work has been based in and around the small city of Kericho in the Great Rift Valley but has also extended to the northern and northeastern areas of Kenya where the Pokot and Samburu peoples live.  From time to time, the work has also extended to small cities and towns like Garissa (near the coast), Nakuru (northeast of Nairobi), Olenguruone (in the SW Mau National Reserve), Narok and Bomet near the Masaii Mara National Reserve and in Nairobi City.


Street scene in Marigat, just opposite the market.


The work is challenging due to lack of financial support but for anyone who has a calling you know that you press on despite the challenges and trials and you pray a lot for God to help you meet the call.  I believe that God placed a burden in my heart for the people of Africa and for the people of Kenya in particular.  I pray for God's leading and direction and help for

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62 (ESV)

I want to be faithful in what I am doing but I also want to be fruitful. 
In that I must trust that God leads me to those he would want me to help and and encourage. 

The life in the villages in Kenya is very difficult indeed. 
While the country is very rich in resources and there are many well to do people, the poverty level is extremely high and unemployment is at a rate which would be totally unacceptable in the west. 

The last time I checked, unemployment was at approximately 70 percent and the World Bank reported that 45.5 % of  Kenya's population lived in poverty.  Many Kenyans have pursued higher education despite great sacrifice as a way to try and become employable but even those who graduate from university or other training have a very hard time finding a job. 

In a report I read last year, the daily newspaper stated that on average it took 5 years for graduates to find work. Approximately 80% of the country's population is under the age of 35 so you can guess that there is a very high dissatisfaction rate amongst the majority of Kenyans. 
At this moment, I happen to know several graduates ranging in ages from 24 to 39 years of age.  
Some of them have  multiple degrees but only one of them is employed and that was after years of short term jobs and trying to find stable employment. 
I hope this short overview of the country's poverty and unemployment situation gives you a bit of background into why my work though small is extremely important to those that receive it. 

Over the past decade my work has transitioned from helping with educations costs for orphans, seeds and fertilizers for widows and single mothers, food relief for starving people in the north and those in Internally Displaced Peoples(IDP) camps.

These days most of my efforts are in helping people receive medical care.
This is an area where there is great need and the cost of one person's medical care is not inexpensive. 
In fact, I would say the cost of medicines and certain treatments costs the same as in Canada if one had to pay for it. In Canada we do have great medical insurance but we do not yet have a national drug plan and there are still the odd persons here and there who do not have insurance.

It is then easy to see why people need assistance with medical costs in Kenya. Otherwise they simply die.
Sometimes they die anyway as in the case of a few people we have tried to help over the past year.




About one year ago it came to my attention that a very elderly woman who lives near the town of Bomet, Kenya (near Narok which is located northwest of Nairobi.) was having difficulty with her eyes. 
She could no longer see very well and since she was living alone it was getting more and more difficult for her to collect firewood, make fire and feed herself.
The woman's name is Sally.
Sally is 103 years old and the mother to 12 children, 9 of whom are still living.  She has been a Christian for approximately half of her life and is a staunch believer in prayer and in living a Godly life.
 I am not sure how many grandchildren and great grandchildren she has but they are all in dire economic straits as approximately half of the country's population.

I asked my youth pastor friend to please take Sally to the missions hospital in Tenwek for an eye check. 
At Tenwek they attempted treatment but Sally's was a difficult case and they referred her to Sabatia Eye Hospital in the western part of Kenya.
Sabatia Eye Hospital is only one of two eye hospitals in Kenya. The other, called Lions is located in Nairobi. 
Sabatia is located in Vihiga in Western Kenya (near Kakamega in western Kenya) and it offers both inpatient and outpatient services to patients who arrive from all over Kenya.



 (Promotional photo for Sabatia Eye Hospital)


 Going to Sabatia required a long bus journey and a stay of several days at the hospital lodgings which of course entails a lot more resources.  Time is needed to enable an eye assessment, eye surgery and follow up care.  
Sally did get the eye surgery she needed. It was very successful and she
was extremely happy.
In Kenya many of the elders do not look at the camera straight with their eyes. They mostly do not like their photos taken too and wonder what tourists and foreigners do with their photos. 
I can certainly understand that and have learned to ask first if it okay to take a photo.
In this case, my friend took photos at my request and after Sally's surgery, she gladly looked straight into the camera as if to show me that she can now see.

Sally shortly after returning from eye surgery. She was suffering from a bout of malaria in this photo.

  At Sally's advanced age, she is still able to take care of her personal needs but was finding it harder to go long distances to collect firewood and to safely cook over the fire.
I felt led to do what I could to help her in her day to day life. 
Sadly, just today I read in the Kenyan paper how an elderly woman of 77 years of age fell into the fire while trying to cook and died. Unfortunately no one heard her and her grandson found her later after he arrived home from school. 

There are many issues related to cooking in Kenya but I will say that for another day.
For now, I focus on Sally's story.

After Sally returned home from Sabatia Eye Hospital I asked my friend if he would assess Sally's household needs so she could be made more comfortable in her old age.

He let me know her house was in need of repairs, she needed a water filter, a new bed and chairs.
I agreed and I also determined she needed new bedding and some warm clothing as it rains a lot where she lives.

My friend set about getting Sally's son and other relatives to assisting in the work that was needed and he went to buy the items. One of Sally's daughters was able to take care of the clothing requirements.
My friend also found a young female relative who needed a job who could help with collecting firewood, cooking and taking care of any of Sally's other needs.
 



When you buy goods and take them to the village you must usually walk a far distance from the road up paths  and through fields to your home. When it is wet or raining the paths can be very muddy.






In Kenya there is still  no national pension for old people though it is expected to begin sometime this month of January 2018. It will be a process before everyone over the age of 70 years of age will be enrolled and start receiving funds. Once established the elderly will receive approximately $28-30 Canadian dollars every other month. It isn't a lot but it will help the elderly to buy some basic food items.

Some of the gifts being presented to Sally. Her son looks on.
In addition to hiring a helper for Sally, we purchased a bed, mattress and bedding, and warm clothing. Sally already had wooden chairs but my friends purchased some plastic chairs which are easily moved in and out of the house to sit outside when the weather is agreeable.


See into the doorway where the mattresses are propped up. These photos were taken before the house repairs.

One of Sally's daughters looks on.

My friends also helped to hire people to clean, tidy and spruce up the humble home by making repairs to the mud plaster exterior walls and the tin roof.  

Iron sheets for the roof repair.
 
This is the house after repairs. The kitchen  (see far left in 1 of the photos above) has not been repaired.




Finally we were able to locate and purchase a large water filter though I am not sure it actually works properly and the funds may have been wasted.  The kitchen which is in great disrepair is a job that I was unable to deal with due to lack of funds.

Water filter made and sold by a local non-profit group.

It wasn't too long after all this work was completed when Sally started having health problems.
Since then she has been admitted into hospital several times.

 ~~~~
Given the length of this post, I will report more on Sally's hospitalizations in the next installment of her story.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading about Sally.
I hope you will come back for the remainder of the story.

~~~~~

Linking up with Friday Foto Friends



and 



Monday, January 8, 2018

My Week

It's been a busy week of homemaking and staying indoors as I'm still feeling a bit poorly. 

Alterations for my niece.

Baked cinnamon buns

Added frosting so I could use up the cream cheese. I didn't realize I put it on so messily.

Rustic bannock bread to go with the soup in the Instant Pot.

A version of comforting hamburger soup bubbling away.

Third book finished in 2018.


Second afghan under way.
I won't be making any more baked desserts as it isn't good for  my blood sugar but it sure tasted good!
I hope you are having a good week wherever you are.

Joining in with 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Two Loaves

I was surprised to discover I hadn't made any basic white bread for quite some time. Years in fact. I more or less know how long because I inevitably post the bread images and recipes here.  This bread I've made before and you can find it by using "bread" in the blog search box (upper left corner).  My last few bread baking sessions have focussed on making healthier breads but on Wednesday I felt like some good white bread.

I didn't think to take photos until the baking was done.  I could hardly wait to taste the bread but it needed to cool first. When I finally had a taste the bread was very moist inside and crunchy on the outside. Just perfect. Is there anything better than warm bread with butter or jam or both on a cool day? Next time I go shopping I will see if there is any multigrain flour in the shop. I haven't looked for it since the grocery store changed hands. If there is none I can purchase some whole wheat flour and perhaps a small bag of white flour too. In thinking about the title for this post it reminded me of the miraculous story of the five loaves and two fish, except instead of two fish I have two loaves *wink.  Many of you will know the story very well. Others of you may not have heard how Jesus fed a multitude of people (5000 people) on five loaves of bread and two fish that a young boy in the crowd had with him.   
 ~~~~~

John 6:10-14

10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

~~~~~~

What an awesome miracle.
 I have an equally awesome miracle to share with you. A miracle that occurred over Christmas.  For sure, Jesus is still in the miracle working business. If you've ever been a part of a miracle you know how exciting it is.  I will share the story here on the blog so please visit again soon.
Deb and her readers at Friday Foto Friends might be interested in this story.




This week I was also reminiscing about the beautiful walks along the waterfront that I took in late Fall. We had a spectacular Fall season. I always enjoy Fall. I have a few photos of dogs and birds which I want to share with Eileen and participants in Saturday Critters.


Can you spot the dog and the geese?  There's also a seagull in the background on the rocks.



Last but not least, I'm sharing a fabulous sky from the first day of this year, 2018.
 It was a real delight to have such a fabulous sky greet me on the very first day of the year. 
It is very unusual because it is generally rainy season. Having said that the weather has now warmed up several degrees and so we are back to some rain.  The weather can change very quickly on the coast.

The first photo was what it looked like here on New Year's Eve Day and on New Year's Day.
The last photo was taken at twilight on January 1, 2018.

I am blessed to see the beautiful mountains whenever the sky is clear.


Thank you for stopping by and sharing a piece of your day with me.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Few Good Days

Hello friends,

I hope you are all enjoying the first week of the new year. If you are back at work I'm sure you will be happy it is a short week this week. I know it is always difficult to get back into the swing of things after a bit of a break. In my last few working years I preferred working over the holiday when it was quiet and I didn't have the difficulty of transitioning back after Christmas and New Year's break.

I've had a bit of a cold over the holiday period. Just enough to make me less interested in being on line but not enough to keep me from other interests. It has been bright and cold over the past few days but today it warmed up several degrees and that always brings the rain. I'll take that to the heavy snowstorms they are dealing with across much of  North America.

In  my last post I showed you my crochet project. I finished my afghan the night before last but haven't yet put all the fringes on it. I just wanted to make sure I finished something sooner rather than later so I can move on to other projects. I've been enjoying hot cups of decaf tea late into the night while I work on the crochet project. I am happy with how the afghan turned out but I apologize for the exposure in the photo as I took this and the next photo late at night.


I enjoyed making this and may make another one in a different colour scheme.




I decided to get started right away on another project. 
This time it will be a doily.

I haven't made this pattern for many years. I've already had to unravel and re-do 2 times and will do so again.

The pattern requires a lot of counting and one error made means (for me) starting again.  Sometimes you can cover up mistakes. I don't like to do that where doilies are concerned. Once I make this I will immediately make one more while the pattern is still "fresh" in my mind.

I've got some minor alterations to do this week too before I can start on bigger projects of any kind.



My new reading material is called Arabic for Beginners.  It's about an American Canadian woman who accompanies her husband and small children to live in Jerusalem for a year. There she joins a group of  ex-pat women at her son's daycare and becomes friends with a young Palestinian woman. I'm in the early stages of the book. It is quite good in that it gives you insight into the Israeli-Palestinian life, politics and tensions. I've read several books of this nature and always find them helpful to understanding life in Israel.


The other book I'm reading is described as a cosy mystery. I can vouch for the cosiness of the book. Though not along the caliber of writers like Ken Follet, a few pages into it I can see it will be a satisfying read. It is a book by another Canadian author who is the author of two traditional mystery series. I only read mystery books quite sparingly. So far, I've enjoyed them.


Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment if you can. 
I hope you visit again when you can.
Happy New Year!
May you all have a fantastic 2018.



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