September 30th

September 29, 2007

Thursday September 30th, 1971
Limuru, Kenya
This morning we called Jane Holloway to find out when they wanted M.G. to come up and connect their stove.  She was telling us about Henry, the African painter, who had painted her chest white that she had antiqued.  He thought, “I guess that it was just a bad paint job.”  M.G. and I went into town to Christmas shop for my family.  We got Dryna and Ruth each a basket, Randy a batik an Alan (Ruth’s son) two masks.  We ate lunch at the Hilton with the Saunders.  Tonight the Houser’s came by for awhile.  It was good to have Alan home for the night.

Dad’s handyman work was always in demand.  He was so used to working on items wherever he went that he would carry a complete tool box in the car.

I can just imagine Henry the painter thinking how helpful he was being as he was painting that antique chest white.  After all who would want to keep a chest with such a bad finish around when a dab of white paint would make things just like new!

The reason we were Christmas shopping in September was because of the shipping time to the US.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall when these presents arrived.  I am sure Alan (Ruth’s son) had visions of wild animal skins and weird witchdoctor trinkets while he was opening up those two mask carvings.

Alan had been staying with friends most of the week so he was glad to get back to Mom’s home cooking.  Mom seemed to think it was nice having him home also.


September 29th

September 29, 2007

Tuesday September 29th, 1970
Limuru, Kenya
This morning we went to Swahili class as usual.  James Gibson read the Bible in Swahili and we had special prayer for the Middle East situation.  We had all heard about Nassar’s death.  We went into Nairobi at 8:30 tonight and picked up Joe Easterly from Oak Ridge, Thad Roberts from Texas, Whelchel from Georgia, and another man from Oklahoma.  They are all helping in the crusade.  Joe Easterly brought M.G. 2 pair of pants, a part for my washer, and Alan and Ken each a wind-breaker jacket.  Also he gave them a bar of candy (Bit-O-Honey).  Robert finished up at the dentist today.  He did not have any cavities, but they (his teeth) were coated over and his gums were very sore.

One of the fastest ways to learn a language was immersing yourself in the process for several hours a day.  Our mission school used this method to prepare missionaries as fast as possible.  Dad told me a funny story about a mix up with the language at the local market.  Evidently they were supposed to go to market and order a debe (container that holds about 5-8 gals) of some kind of produce.  Dad promptly went out and said I would like a “debe” of “viatu” (shoes) instead of “viazi” (potatoes).  Dad says the lady did not laugh until he realized his mistake and then they both had a good chuckle at his “faux-pas”.

News from the US was only trumped by visitors from the states.  Not only were these guys here to help spread the gospel but they brought gifts for the missionaries (read the Duncan’s) also.

I was glad to see Robert got a good report on his teeth today.  Most Kenyans grew up using a “toothbrush” stick to perform oral hygiene.  Ends up you can buy these on the Web; I hesitate to comment on what that says about Americans and their spending habits.


September 28th

September 28, 2007

Saturday September 28th, 1974
Limuru, Kenya
This morning I got up pretty early for Robert has not gotten back from Mombasa yet.  I got last night’s dishes organized for John to help me with.  I went over to the Tigoni store and got a roast to cook for tonight.  I made two banana puddings.  We went to Alan’s ball game at Alliance High School.  Alliance won 1-0.  They got their goal in the last few minutes.  R.V.A. had several which were almost in, but they just couldn’t seem to get one in.  Alan didn’t come home with us for supper.  Naturally we were disappointed, but understand that he would enjoy riding the bus with his girl and the other players.  I cooked up a lot of food, so we will have to eat it tomorrow.  When we got home, we saw that the Bateman’s had not left to take Dina and Tara back so I sent Alan’s black pants, white shirt, bow ties, clean blue jeans, and some cinnamon rolls.  I was glad that I was able to send them by someone.  M.G. didn’t feel very good he seems to be getting a bad cold.

Mom was expecting Alan to bring himself and a bunch of hungry RVA’ers home with him tonight so she started to prepare the feast.  This included one banana pudding for here and one for the road.  I think one of the reasons they would let Alan come and eat at home was because they knew we would invite some extras to join in the festivities.

R.V.A. fell to Alliance today much to the surprise of Mom who could not believe that any team could beat Alan’s team.  I am sure this confidence was based on sound knowledge of the other teams skill set and not just because Alan played on the Rift’s squad.  Right! Mom was just like every mother whose son plays ball anywhere in the world.  How could those other people’s sons dare to defeat my son in a fair game?  The refs must be blind or something.

Alan chooses to ride back on a bus load of sweaty guys just so he could sit next to his girlfriend at the time.  In doing this he knowingly bypasses a meal at Mom’s!  There are some mysteries that even today I cannot understand, however if I were to be given that chance there can be no doubt where mealtime would find me.

Don’t feel bad for Alan though because it looks like he received a care package via the Bateman’s anyway.


September 27th

September 27, 2007

Saturday September 27th, 1975
Limuru and Kijabe, Kenya
Today was Senior Store day at Kijabe.  Robert and I made 461 doughnuts.  They sold them for 929 shillings.  They gave Robert 50 shillings for making them.  Alan and Marlene fried onion rings.  It rained about lunch time, but cleared up around 2 o’clock.  Mrs. Rhea brought up a freezer of ice cream and we ate some of it.

Senior Store was a fundraiser for the senior class.  The money that was generated from the store helped offset the cost of our senior trip.  Looks like Alan’s class made a pretty good haul off doughnuts for the day.

Alan and his girlfriend manned the deep fat fryer and cooked up any fried food for the day.  I am sure this led to quite the greasy hair problem for both of them.

Rain did not dampen the consumption of the non-RVA food much at all.  Any time us starving M.K.’s got a chance to eat any food besides dining hall vittles we took it.

I am willing to bet Alan’s class could have really cashed in if the homemade ice cream hit the auction block!


September 26th

September 26, 2007

Sunday September 26th, 1982
Knoxville, Tennessee
This morning as soon as I finished my breakfast I shampooed my hair for I wanted to get it done before I entered the hospital this afternoon.  We went to Andersonville to church.  Pam, the pastor’s wife sang a solo.  After church we walked across the street to look at a man’s rose garden.   We had lunch at Dad and Mom’s place.  Virg, Charlotte, Bill, Venice, B.J., Mary Nell, Jack, Carl, Helen, and Virginia Sue were all there.  Virg, Charlotte, Bill, Venice, B.J., and Mary Nell left to go to the fair.  Virginia Sue is entering Fort Sanders hospital today to have her thumb operated on.  M.G. stayed here at the hospital until 6:45pm and then he left to go to church with Ken and out to eat afterwards.  They got blood twice tonight-once in the regular place and the other near my wrist.

Mom, like most women always wanted to look her best.  I know that if I were going to the hospital washing my hair would be very low on the “to do” list for the day.

Going to church was a habit in our family.  I can remember many times Dad saying to us kids, “No, you don’t have to go to church, you get to go!”  Mom knew she was going into the hospital that afternoon and even though there were many things to get done she did not neglect to meet with her Christian brothers and sisters.  Even I can figure out the less than subtle lesson here.

True to Mom’s nature she writes more about her brother’s wife and her thumb than she does about her own battle with cancer.  Dad and I went out to church and then to get a bite.  I am sure Mom told us to go ahead because she would be fine.

What Mom did not write down was that the nurse woke her up to see if she was sleeping before she stuck her each time.  I have never understood why they do this in a hospital.  Who besides Dracula needs anyone’s blood at 2:00am?


September 25th

September 25, 2007

Sunday September 25th, 1966
Mombasa, Kenya
This morning we went to Sunday school and church, and on the way we saw a Hindu parade.  M.G. made several slides of it.  Shelia told us this morning that she would not accept the job as librarian at the school for she had no way of transportation.  We were sorry that she did not follow through with it for it would have been good experience for her.  We had a visitor in our services from Dallas, Texas.  He is out here with the space program.  We had a film tonight, “The Transfiguration” afterwards we allowed the boys to ask questions about the film.  They asked one or two rather intelligent ones.  We announced our goal of 400 shillings to be reached in the next two Sundays.

Dad always had a camera at the ready.  That is the reason he has so many good slides today.  This is a double edged sword though because who uses slides in the PowerPoint era?

Shelia ended up becoming very successful in her career choice.  I don’t recall what that career was but remembering her visiting us later in our stay in Kenya.  Sometimes God’s plans and ours don’t match up.

It is nice to know that the people that are responsible for sending folks into space have enough commitment to attend church in a foreign land.  I don’t know it the boys Mom mentioned were Alan and I or not but the fact that we asked intelligent questions ruled out at least one of the two mentioned.

Stretching to reach a goal is part of God’s design for us.  The mark of 400 shillings was a big stretch for that day.  But as Robert Frost would say, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?”


September 24th

September 24, 2007

Sunday September 24th, 1978
This morning M.G. and I went to church at Gikuni.  We took Michael along to translate into Kikuyu.  We got home about 12:30pm.  We took a nap this afternoon for we stayed up last night listening for the score of the UT and Oregan State game.  When we finally gave up it was 13 to 0 in the 4th quarter.  Tonight we picked up Charlie on the ham and found out that the score was 13 to 13.  Alan missed one field goal and one extra point.  We were sorry to hear this for I know he was upset.  Also, Charlie said that last week he missed one field goal in the U.C.L.A. game. Charlie called out to Clinton and I heard Mom’s voice.  Also, Virgil told us that Alan was on full scholarship.  We were pleased to hear this too.  Virgil said that Alan could use Randy’s car if we didn’t care.

Who would have ever thought that we would need to bring a translator for Dad’s Swahili?  First he is too old to learn Swahili and now he has to have someone translate it into Kikuyu.

We took a nap because we stayed up late.  I don’t think so.  In the Duncan house ever since I can remember Sunday afternoon naps has been an institution.  I can recall getting into hot water on more than one occasion because I was being just a little too loud outside my folks window on Sunday afternoon.  This tradition has been passed on to my family as well.  You are welcome at my home on any other time of the week but do not call between the hours of 1:30pm and 4:30pm on Sunday unless you want to awaken the sleeping dragon!

I guess the only really good news we got from Charlie was hearing from Mamaw and Alan’s receipt of a scholarship.  Why Alan needed use of Cousin Randy’s car I do not know.