March 25, 2008
Monday March 25th, 1974
This morning I went to Mr. Allen’s class. I was very tired after being up so late last night. After lunch M.G., Betty Cummins, and I went into town to order the Asian food for tomorrow night. I bought a light for my sewing machine. The clerk insisted that it was not used, but it definitely looked used. It cost 9 shillings and 10 cents. After supper we went over to Harold and Betty’s house for me to borrow a “sari” for tomorrow night. Also, M.G. wanted to ask him about a generator for using during the safari that he has been asked to help with during the Easter holidays.
Mom and Dad had stayed up late the night before to listen for Charlie on the ham. This is why Mom was so tired. It was not because Mr. Allen’s Swahili class was so boring. The folks were getting the Asian food for a party the next night. Thankfully for us kids we were able to eat at home.
Purchasing items in Kenya used to be quite an experience. Let us just say that customer satisfaction was not high on the priority list for most vendors. But I can’t blame them because I can remember once or twice playing practical jokes on the hardware store because English was a 2nd language. I had asked for a left-handed screwdriver and spent the better part of the morning rejecting each tool the shopkeeper showed me. Perhaps the sewing machine man had met one too many missionary kids!
The safari that Dad helped with was the East African Safari.(See picture above) This is a grueling race over the worst roads the country has to offer, and also the vehicle must check in at certain times along the track. Dad manned the last check-in station before the finish line. By the time most of the cars got to our check point they were pretty battered up, and were glad to be headed to the finish line.
March 24, 2008
Friday March 24th, 1978
This morning we got up at 5:00am and was off to the airport to meet Mildred Cagle at 7:05. She brought us a tape and two ball point pens with our names engraved on them from Alan. He had gone to the airport to see her off. M.G. and I sat right down and listened to the tape. It was so great to hear his voice. Ken got home from R.V.A. about 11:00am. He rode in with Mr. Hendrickson. Tonight we went to the movie, “The Pink Panther”.
Pens and proclamations were the order of the day today. Alan scored a hit with the folks today by helping send off Mildred with a goody bag for Mom and Dad. Any mother can tell you that although she might want her child to live almost 10,000 miles away every once in a while it is always nice to hear that they are indeed doing well. I would say that Dad and Mom were only able to contain their curiosity until they got back to the car. Once in the “gari” (Swahili for car) they plugged that tape into the tape deck and were transported to Alan’s side in an instant.
I made it back home around noon but I’ll bet I got to listen to that tape at least one time before we went to the picture show. I may ride my brother from time to time in this blog because after all we’re brothers! But I would have never missed a chance to hear from him when it was offered because-like I said we’re brothers!
March 22, 2008
Wednesday March 23rd, 1966
Robert, our yard boy, still has not come to work this week. We are afraid that his wife has gotten worse. After Swahili, M.G. and I went to town. We had a coke at the salad bowl with Virginia and Marshall. I bought me a pair of red sandals. We had a pizza pie for lunch. Tonight M.G. and I packed some carvings to send to his brothers and sisters, Uncle Kyle, and the Bunns. Today we thought about the fact that one year ago today was our last night in America. This afternoon M.G. took the boys to get their hair cut and he bought them a bow and arrow set. Bryon came up to play with them.
Mom can never deny that she is a woman. After Swahili class it seems the only thing that could lift her sprits was a quick shopping trip downtown. Since Mombasa was not that big of a town and being missionaries kind of made you stick out so they were sure to find some friendly faces to have a snack and fellowship with during the excursion.
Wood carvings from Kenya are some of the finest crafted in the world. These craftspeople work with a tool that looks like a miniature adz. I am always amazed as to how much detail they can put into a simple stick of wood. (Make sure to look on eBay in the next few weeks as I will be placing some of these very carvings up for auction to support our ongoing mission efforts. For more information see the page titled Margiesmanna collection at the top of the page.)
One year ago we were getting ready to leave to go to the Dark Continent. My how time does fly!
Dad took Alan and I to get our ears lowered and then as a reward to the toy shop. Poor Bryon came up to play and probably ended up being the unfortunate captive with the Duncan boys being so well armed and all.
March 22, 2008
Saturday March 22nd, 1975
This morning M.G. met Alan at the Limuru turn-off. He came home for the day. My back was really hurting today. I managed to cook enchiladas for lunch. M.G. and Ken left at 3 o’clock to take Alan back to Kijabe. He had to be there by 4 o’clock for Rugby practice. I went to bed with the heating pad on my back. This afternoon it came a hard rain just for a few minutes.
Maybe one of the biggest reasons I was not a big sports guy in high school is because I realized early that it would really cut into my time at home. After all Alan, my brother, missed a good hour or so in the warm embrace of family and kin to return early to the mud of R.V.A. While he was doing wind sprints and hill climbs I was snacking on leftover enchiladas.
The actual reason I did not play high school ball is because I must have spent too much time snacking and not enough time running. Life does have its trade-offs though because I happen to be the only one in my family to have not only run in, but complete a full marathon. (For those who don’t know that is 26.2 miles on foot. That extra .2 is for the Queen and I was not at all well disposed toward her while running it!)
Mom got some well deserved rest while we kids and Dad were gone. This proved conclusively that the real athlete of the family was her. It also showed that the herculean efforts she endured to make our life a pleasure to live constituted the real marathon race, not the pitiful 26+ miles that I hobbled through.
March 21, 2008
Monday March 21st, 1977
This morning when we got up it was very foggy. It cleared up a little by lunch time. We picked some of the greens today. I fixed a layered salad, tuna fish salad, and candied peanuts to take to Kijabe. When we got there, we learned that Ken had been chosen as the manager for the 1st team in rugby. He seemed pleased about it, so we were happy for him. Clay Coursey had a test run today and he seems to be having a rough time coming out of it. We are all concerned about him. We locked ourselves out of the house tonight. Fortunately they still had our key at the Assembly.
Every time I told people it got very foggy where I grew up in Africa they always thought I was crazy. But when you realize that Tigoni is located at 7500 feet above sea level it begins to make more sense. Next time you look up in the sky just imagine your house located at the middle of the lowest cloud base and you will have some idea what I am talking about.
The layered salad, this was right about the time it came into vogue in Kenya. Since it was the latest recipe Mom would fix it just about every chance she got. Funny how things come back into fashion because for Easter lunch this year my household is having…you guessed it! Layered Salad!
Why I was pleased about being the manager I do not know. Hindsight being what it is I guess my reasoning was that whenever we went to away games I would get a trip into town and just maybe Mom and Dad would be able to get a care package to me. As I recall, this gig lasted about one season.
When one of your friends hurts you will hurt also. Uncle Clay was having a bad go of things so he was foremost in our thoughts and prayers today. A great part about being in the family of God is realizing that you are being lifted up by your brothers and sisters during your time of need. Even now I have a close friend of mine that needs our prayers for this bumpy spot in their life. My friend, I am thinking and praying for you.
Now I know why Dad always insisted that we hide a key outside our house. Come to think of it I wonder if that house key is still hidden in the…
March 20, 2008
Wednesday March 20th, 1968
This morning M.G. and I took Mama Jane (Simeon’s wife) with us down on Bazaar Street to buy us some African curios to put in our crate. We got M.G. a Muslim outfit and a piece of cloth to wrap around him like the African wears. Also, we got some material for the boys and M.G. a shirt and some for me a dress. We also got several little things such as a coconut squeezer, dipper made from a coconut, and a wooden thing to stir with. Tonight we went to prayer meeting. Sally Bass was in charge. She had Linda, Betty, and Richard to give a testimony. It was very inspiring. Also, Simeon one of the African boys gave a testimony. He told of his desire to come to a Christian school and how God had answered his prayers.
Dad and Mom knew that when we came home on furlough that people everywhere would be interested in the curios we had collected. My folks would always try to buy things that spoke of Africa’s heart to show during their talks. Dad realized that when he was called to speak at different churches in the US, people would not necessarily remember everything he said but would never forget those items they could touch, see, and feel.
It seems that while Dad wanted people to be able to touch real African articles, Mom wanted us to look the part as well. As I have said before church was a family thing for us so Alan and I proudly wore the “kitenge” as we sang songs from the heart of Kenya. I can clearly remember demonstrating that coconut dipper and wooden thing (spoon) for people all across East Tennessee.
Testimonies always inspire me. I guess it is because when you explain what has happened in your life no one can refute the change. When I hear the word testimony I always remember the story of the blind man that Jesus healed in the Bible. After all was said and done he simply stated, “Once I was blind, now I can see!”
March 19, 2008
Wednesday March 19th, 1980
This morning M.G. went to Kiambu again to see about our church plot at Gikuni. Mammaw and I got all ready to sew and the electricity went off, and didn’t come on again until after 5 o’clock. Buck Donaldson came by this morning and talked for quite awhile. I found out that Brian Pennell’s mother is a cousin to Barbara. This afternoon M.G., Harold, and I went into Westlands to do some grocery shopping. Harold and M.G. went by the bookstore to see about some materials. Mammaw and I tried to straighten the table cloths and the napkins that we are going to use in August. Glen Boyd came by tonight for a visit.
When you are a missionary you have to wear many different hats. Dad put on his construction cap today and went out to see about a place to build a place to worship for the people at Gikuni. By this time he knew that in order for the people to take ownership in the church building they had to have a part in building the facility. Dad would promise to put the roof on the building if the locals would build the walls. We would put a roof up that was a combination of tin and clear plastic. That way you could have light in the building even though electricity was not available or off as sometimes was the case.
Mom and Mammaw got to experience that lack of power today because they had no juice for the sewing machine. So they just went to plan “B” and did a little socializing. Brian was one of my best friends in college, as well as an M.K to Indonesia.
The afternoon’s activities included shopping and looking for some teaching materials for some upcoming projects.
After 5 when the power came back on Mom and Mammaw went to work on some table cloths and napkins that needed some slight adjustments to bring them back into square. They finished out the day catching up with a fellow missionary and old friend Glen Boyd.