You know, in the three brief months we have lived in Colorado I feel as if I have lived through a solid seven years worth of Florida winter. When I heard my first trip was to Kenya I dug into the deep recesses of my brain where junior high geography is stored and recalled the equator might be somewhere nearby and that usually means heat. I got pretty excited. I was going somewhere hot! And probably humid! Time to thaw out! Then Kevin came home one day and told me Into Abba’s Arms is located at roughly 9000 feet elevation and I deflated like the Hindenburg.
So now it is our third day here and while it has been quite chilly, this was the day the sun shone a good bit and I actually broke a sweat while helping with the surveying. No, I did not really help. Unless you call acting like an annoying cross between a ninja and paparazzi and occasionally bleating at the sheep helpful. If so, then I was totally on my game.
Anyway, the previous day I took a nap (jet lag: 3, me: 0) and missed the civil engineers digging a hole. I know that doesn’t sound like I really missed much, but there was this frog in the hole and it might help if I shared a bit of my “job description” (yeah, it belongs in quotes). In trying to build a body of photographic work that clearly communicates what we do at eMi, I need to capture our volunteers hard at work. They spend roughly all their time around computers and that is NOT photogenic. But every now and then someone goes outdoors with a tape measure and a big stick and has to encourage cows to move, or they take a shovel and dig a hole for a groundwater percolation test and find a frog that won’t leave. In our case this week there were also wooly photobombers.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yeah, nowhere really. So that was my morning. Then it rained and I went in to edit pics and video and the computer was acting up enough that it made work difficult. At 4:00 a bus left to pick up the older students from school. Several of us decided to tag along and Jane was with us too. She went because there was a very young student named Christine whose mother is severely ill and her brother is struggling to care for her.
A teacher had been helping to feed Christine, but the headmaster of the school had contacted Jane about bringing the child here. The arrangements were being made as the rest of us toured the school, getting so much attention we were left feeling like a big traveling mzungu petting zoo (mzungus are white people). We had just sought refuge in the bus when someone asked me to come back to the teachers’ office. I was about to flip because in all my years of school I never got called to the office. Did I need to get model releases for the 902 kids I just photographed? Turns out the headmaster just wanted a bunch of photos of Christine with various people before finalizing the paperwork for her to live at IAA. He directed me to take “a snap” of Christine with her brother, then with her teacher, then her best friend, then with him and also with Jane, and I thought he might ask for one with the custodial staff and each of the other 2000 students. If I was sent to Kenya for no other reason than those photos, then it was worth it for me.
Christine became a full-time resident of Into Abba’s Arms the next morning. Her brother arrived with her on the bus when it returned from taking the other children to school. She is young enough to stay here in the nursery school program during the mornings. I must say, she looked immediately happy and comfortable in her new surroundings but I still cannot imagine what must be going through her little head with the changes and all the difficulty she has experienced in four short years.
After dinner I sat down to work on all the crazy fun photos I had from our visit to the school. That is when my computer gave a little flicker and dumped all 637 photos I had taken thus far. Right before I passed out I remembered I had not cleared any of my memory cards so nothing was lost beyond several hours of editing work. This happened right about the same time that Greg lost several hours worth of CAD drawings too. Good times! I took it as a cue to go to bed.
P.S. That whole mzungu petting zoo experience? Heather, one of our structural engineer volunteers, made it all worthwhile with her dance party. It might be the best two minutes of video I shot all week, and you can click here to enjoy it in the team montage I just posted on Vimeo. Below are some photos of the other students there who were scrambling to get in front of the camera.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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