Brown Family Update – Oct 2009

Dear Friends, We have been grateful and blessed by your prayers and emails and chats and thoughts over the past 10 weeks since we’ve returned to Africa. We have been trying to find time to get an email update written, and are very sorry it’s taken so long! Please know that you have been on our hearts and minds as well, as our goodbyes this summer are still fresh in our memory. Over the past 10 weeks we have: flown across 8 timezones and eventually conquered jetlag Lost 2 friends in the AIM AIR accident (http://brownfamily.ws/2009/08/17/the-update-i-didnt-want-to-write/) Did what we could to support those 2 families who lost their husbands and dads Moved into a new house (our 5th house in Nairobi!) Lost all the weight we’d gained over the summer in the US Struggled with electricity and water rationing, often both at once! Started having health issues and had a colonoscopy (Andy), the 2nd in 3 months! Started over at a new school Saw our little girl become a schoolgirl (Sydney- kindergarten) Saw Lesa’s return to full-time teaching Celebrated a birthday (Robbie- 11) Started regularly leading worship on Sunday mornings (after a 2 year hiatus) Spent 5 days in the Northern Frontier District filming (Andy) (http://brownfamily.ws/2009/10/16/worship-from-the-desert-place/) Driven over 600 miles through Nairobi traffic on a motorcycle (Andy) Are 8 weeks into the 11 weeks of rehearsal for The Diary of Anne Frank (Lesa) Praised God over and over that He has placed us here, doing exactly what we were made to do Over the next 10 weeks we will: Celebrate two more birthdays (Lesa, Oct 30 and Sydney, Nov...

The update I didn’t want to write

This is the update I didn’t want to write. I am writing it to share our feelings and document our experience of the past 2 weeks, but I’m finding it laborious to write the words. We knew it would be a hard couple of weeks upon our arrival in Africa. We were planning on it being hard, knowing that within days of landing Lesa would begin staff training at our school, I would be moving our possessions across town and we’d be extremely jetlagged. We knew it would be hard, but not this hard. After landing in Nairobi and clearing customs, we were greeted by my friend Ted with the news of the AIM AIR crash that afternoon. Our friend Frank, the pilot, was dead. Our friend Ryan, an engineer who was also sitting in the front of the plane, was in the hospital with serious burns. Our hearts sank, as did our knees to the floor of the airport. We lived between the 2 families for a couple months last year. Ryan’s oldest son and my 2nd son are great friends. But beyond our feelings, our entire small close-knit community of AIM International Services was reeling and hurting. Hurting for our friends, for their children, for ourselves, for each other. Confident, though, in Frank’s presence with our heavenly Father. We still had a job to do. Lesa still had staff training to attend, and we still needed to move houses within the week. I managed to secure a lorry (truck) and 7 strong kenyan men to help, and we moved on Wednesday. Ryan died on Friday, at a...

Mom and Dad

Well, we haven’t blogged in a while because we’ve had a pretty crazy 3 weeks. My parents arrived on Good Friday and left last week. It was really great to have them visit, and we booked every day pretty solid with things to see and do. Oh, and we moved houses during that time too! Easter Sunday we went to Nairobi Chapel and then home for an Easter egg hunt and a big late lunch (photos here). Monday we had our friend Wycliffe take mom and dad and Lesa on a tour of Kibera, visiting the church that DCC helped sponsor and even making some home visits with Kibera residents. We wrapped up the day with Kenyan staple foods ugali and sukuma at Wycliffe’s tiny 1 room apartment on the edge of Kibera. The next day we toured the AIM AIR hangar, home to International Services, our division of AIM. While the kids crawled in and out of the airplanes, we visited with pilots and mechanics. We wrapped up with lunch at the Simba Saloon. The next day we went to the Nairobi Safari Walk, adjacent to the Nairobi Game Park. We saw pigmy hippos, albino zebra, a rhino, a leopard and a cheetah among other things. Then we spent the afternoon finishing packing for our overnight train ride to Mombasa. The train was quite an experience. It takes 45 minutes to fly from Nairobi to Mombasa, or a bone-jarring 8 or 9 hours in a car, or a slow 16 hours by train. Honestly, if I had to do it again I still would have picked the train....

Things are getting better…

We have been receiving so many e-mails asking how we are, that we have realized that we have neglected to update you all on the situation here in the past few days!  How wonderful it has been for us to know that you all are concerned for us and have been praying for us.  Thank you so much for your prayers, especially – we know that they have made a difference here. Politically, as you have probably heard, attempts are being made at mediation between the two parties.  There has still been some violence in different parts of the country, but mostly now everyone is realizing what terrible consequences they must face now.  The tragic part of it is that the consequences are being paid by innocent by-standers – women, children, and peaceful people who have lost possessions, homes, jobs, schools, churches, etc.  Many will not be able to return to the areas where their families have lived for generations because of tribal conflicts. Andy is going on an AIM AIR flight tomorrow to Kisumu, one of the most affected areas in Kenya.  The plane will be taking three trips, carrying food and supplies to one of the camps there filled with those who are displaced.  He will be doing photography and videos for AIM. For our family, life is slowly returning to “normal”.  Though it is a new normal for us because we are in a new house, which we very much enjoy.  We are so grateful for what we have – safety, food, and a loving community here and at home.  The boys start school next Tuesday...

Northern Frontier

This past week I also had my 1st opportunity to travel outside of the Nairobi area on assignment. Ted and I hitched a ride on AIM AIR up to Korr, in the northern frontier district. It was beautiful, hot, dusty, sandy, and remote. It was a 2 hour plane ride, but might take you 12 hours to drive (as they say “the road ends somewhere back there, but the journey continues”) as there are no real roads, you just kind of point your car in the general direction and look for tracks of those who have gone before. The people we were videoing/photographing were the Rendille, a beautiful tribe of Cushitic origin, known for their goat and camel herding and colorful beads they wear. They live in small huts, gathered together in small villages, many miles apart from each other. We were working specifically with a Rendille pastor who had a church, school, and many literacy outreach projects, as well as being involved in translating the Bible into Rendille. The first morning we arrived we dropped some of our gear at the house we’d be staying at, then toured the local village. After lunch we hopped in the back of a Land Rover and bounced through the desert (picking up anybody on the way who might flag us down… this is part of the responsibility of owning a car here… at one point we had 12 in the car!) to see some of the literacy classes going on. The classes would meet at a large Acacia tree out in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere near each village. We...