March 28th

March 28, 2008

Saturday March 28th, 1970
Nairobi, Kenya
This morning M.G. and I went to Westlands to do a bit of shopping.  Phil and Ken stayed here and played.  After lunch we took Phil home, picked up Alan, and went by the hospital to see Miller.  Barbara rode home with us for she was going to ride to Limuru with M.G. and the journey girls.  He was going to the G.A.-Father banquet.  It was a very bad rainy night for driving.  M.G. heard while he was out that one of the Safari drivers was killed-the African from Uganda.

While Mom and Dad were plotting ways to spend my inheritance I stayed at home with my buddy.  I felt pretty good about not losing much on this shopping trip because after all I lived in Africa-yeah right!  Well things must have gone as planned because soon they made it home in time for lunch.

We went by to see one of our friends who was in the hospital and ended up taking his mom back to her house.  Just exactly why Dad was going to the G.A. (girls in action)-Father banquet I am not sure.  Perhaps the time has come for my folks to fess up about my sister??  Actually Dad was most likely speaking at the shindig and offered to give a ride to those who needed it.

This year the Safari ran right by our house so we had ringside seats for the proceedings.  Check out some of the driving techniques in the link to rallying I have included.  You can easily see why on bad roads, in the rain, at high rates of speed, people would be apt to die.


March 27th

March 27, 2008

Tuesday March 27th, 1979
Limuru, Kenya
This morning M.G. and I worked out at the assembly kitchen cutting up our meat.  We had 42 pounds of sausage, 5 roasts, 2 packages of ribs, and several packages of pork chops.  We stopped at 10:30 and went for an hour of Swahili.  After lunch M.G. went for another hour, but I stayed here and put our sausage in the deep freeze.  At 4:30 we left to go to R.V.A.   We took a picnic supper.  I didn’t take much though because I didn’t know soon enough before going plus I was busy with the meat.  Paul Cooley ate with us.  We watched Ken and the others practice Rugby.  Ken was behind most of them with his running.  We brought his weight lifting equipment home with us and some of his clothes.  We had Bible study at the Bodenhamer’s tonight.  M.G. taught it.

In 79 we could no longer hunt and knowing my fondness for bacon Mom and Dad had to kill the fatted pig to feed my habit.  Not exactly, we had just bought a hog and were getting the meat ready for the freezer.  While we did not slaughter the beast one of Dad’s many talents included butchering.  With Mom at his side they made fast work of this swine.

Perhaps the lesson that is understated but repeated throughout these posts is the necessity to just keep on keeping on.  The year is 1979 and Mom and Dad both have been out of language school for several years yet they continued to study the mother tongue of Kenya in order to better communicate God’s love.

Had I known Mom and Dad were coming up for a picnic supper I would have at least tried to make a better showing at rugby practice?  However, Mom was right when she described my running prowess.  I can do the 40 in about 4.2…days that is!  Recently we had a pro-timing day at UT.  I saw them measuring the prospective player’s vertical jump and was amazed at some leaps that measured almost 42 inches.  Spurred on by these examples I decided to measure my own aptitude.  I will not bore you with the details but I am living proof of the statement that “white men can’t jump”.  The players that were watching my efforts said that I had better stick to my day job.  Oh well, I bet when they are in the pros and need someone to fix their computer they won’t be laughing quit so hard.

March 26th

March 26, 2008

Friday March 26th, 1976
Limuru, Kenya
This morning Robert made doughnuts for the Tigoni primary school.  He came in about 12:15.  M.G. and I went over there about 10 o’clock to make his pictures.  M.G. made a trip to Limuru to get some lumber for the Mahinga church.  Later in the morning M.G. and Gene Meachum worked on Gene’s car.  I washed clothes most of the morning.  This afternoon M.G. and I went to Kijabe to get Tim Laffoon’s passport that he forgot and left there.  We were lucky to find one of the Barnett men who helped us in.  This afternoon Dallas and Margie came out for coffee.  Ken has gotten involved in projects already today.

Robert the entrepreneur was at the bakery shop again today.  He really turned this into a cottage industry once his name and talents became known.  Once he left our employ he worked at several 3-4 star hotels in Nairobi as their head chef.  I guess he used the pictures Dad took for his promotional literature.

Dad got a chance to work on another car today.  I spoke with him at lunch last week and he mentioned that it was not until I started doing this blog that he realized just how much stuff he had worked on in Kenya.  I was sorry to tell him that the statue of limitations was out vis-à-vis any remuneration from this labor.  He then shamed me by telling me that he considered himself well paid by the friendships formed.

They got Tim Laffoon taken care of and then took a break with friends for coffee.  I don’t know what projects I had gotten involved in but I probably did so to avoid having to do any of the car mechanic work.  I know that you put gas and oil in cars and that every so often you must change one and fill the other but that about sums up my auto experience.

March 25th

March 25, 2008


Monday March 25th, 1974
Limuru, Kenya
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 24th

March 24, 2008

Friday March 24th, 1978
Limuru, Kenya
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 23rd

March 22, 2008

Wednesday March 23rd, 1966
Mombasa, Kenya
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 22nd

March 22, 2008

Saturday March 22nd, 1975
Limuru, Kenya
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.