Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Just over a week ago, on a Friday night, I started feeling like I was coming down with something. I felt a little flu-ish but nothing too bad and a couple of Tylenol seemed to do the trick. Until the next day. I was experiencing these cycles of cold chills to the point of shaking, high fever, then cold sweats when the fever broke. All the classic signs of Malaria. These cycles would come every few hours. 

Jeff and I were house- and dog-sitting for some friends in Lameru, about 45 minutes outside of Nairobi. My friend Kristen was sure I had Malaria and needed to get tested ASAP. I thought I would be okay until we got back to Nairobi Monday. Sunday changed that idea. The fever cycles were coming more frequently and in between them, I felt awful and I was vomiting by this point.

The place we were staying had a small clinic with a doctor on call so Jeff tracked him down and I met him at the clinic for a Malaria test. A quick prick on the finger and 15 minutes later, a positive test for Malaria. Nairobi really isn't a Malaria area but I had been in West Africa for over two weeks and Malaria is common there. I guess I came back with a little souvenir I didn't want.

The doctor at the clinic went with Jeff into town and go some meds for me and I started them right away. Four tablets every 12 hours. Monday morning we got up and headed back to Nairobi and I couldn't wait to get in my own bed. The fevers continued throughout the day Monday and into the night. Tuesday things were slowly looking up as the meds were really kicking in and I was beginning to feel better. Wednesday was much better with my last dose of meds but I still felt totally exhausted. Thursday I felt up to going grocery shopping but that wiped me out. By the weekend though, I was feeling myself again and today, I'm feeling great, despite still feeling tired from time to time.

They say I'm an official African "M" now that I've had malaria, sort of like a badge of honor. It's no fun to be sick with that stuff but I guess I have a new story to share from my life in Africa.

Praise the Lord, the ultimate Healer, and for faithful prayer warriors!

Friday, November 13, 2009

First time out

Yesterday I drove alone in Nairobi for the first time. Until then, Jeff has been so great to either drive or be my navigator whenever we're out and about. Traffic in Nairobi is a little crazy, especially during morning rush hour and again in afternoon rush hour that lasts as late at 10 p.m. If one tries to get anywhere during these critical traffic times, expect to sit in traffic for hours. So goes life in Nairobi.

Giving directions is not always easy because many times, there are no signs marking the names of roads so you have to depend on landmarks. I had a team meeting yesterday and one of my teammates was sick so my time to drive alone had finally arrived. I got directions, asked the Lord to be with me and off I went.

This was around 9:30 a.m. and luckily much of the morning traffic had cleared. I found each turn without any problems and made it to the meeting in 30 minutes. Praise the Lord!

It's the small steps that will slowly help me get adjusted to the vast difference of life here in Nairobi, compared to Johannesburg. I'm looking forward to the day I can hop in my white station wagon (complete with a blue racing stripe) and take off to anywhere I want to go, know how to get there and when to attempt leaving my house. God is good, all the time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mosquitos and such

Mosquitos have always been annoying but lately, I wouldn't mind if God would abolish them from the planet. For some reason these little pests have invaded my house here in Nairobi. They are everywhere. I spray Doom and kill the ones I see and it seems that killing one produces two in its place, is that possible? Jeff loaned me a Vape Mat, this little device that releases an invisible insectiside into the air that's supposed to rid one's house of mosquitos but it seems to me, these bugs are invincible. Apparently they have a taste for my ear. At night, they dive bomb my head and swarm my ear. It's like they hold a megaphone to their wings and turn up the volume. Luckily when I turn my fan on high it produces enough air flow to keep them at bay from my head. The joys of living in Africa, huh?

Since moving to Nairobi, I haven't had too many issues with power outages but today is making up for it. I'm not sure what's happening on the compound but the electricity has been going in and out all morning. Surprisingly though it hasn't bothered me too much. God is giving me an extra dose of patience today so I praise Him for that.

It has been such a blessing to live close to Jeff. We live on the same compound, just around the corner from each other, about a two-minute walk between our houses. We only have nine months left in our term and I stand in awe at God's provision by placing me to serve in the same city as one of my best friends. As Jeff and I say, "PTL!" (Praise the Lord).

Blessings to you today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

West Africa

I just got back to Nairobi yesterday after a 16-day visit to three countries in West Africa. A teammate and I left Oct. 19 and headed to Dakar, Senegal, to work on visas for a couple of countries. If you have ever been curious as to how large the continent of Africa is, the flight from Nairobi to Dakar (via Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire) had us in the air for more than eight hours. That's like flying from the States to Europe! Anyway, our time in Dakar was productive and we were granted visas to visit The Gambia and Mali.

We spent one week in and around Banjul, Gambia, visiting with the Jola people. The Gambia is a tiny, coastal West African country that runs through the middle of Senegal. The people were wonderful and so friendly and the Atlantic Ocean is just as beautiful on the African coast as it is in America.

After our week in The Gambia we headed to Bamako, Mali, to visit some friends and help them with an orientation video. It was an especially great trip for me because I got to reconnect with some friends who I met in Virginia last year. What a blessing to see how they are being used to reach the Bambara people! While there, my friend Mitch took us to a village in the bush he visits often, where we stayed overnight. The people in the village were so inviting and made us feel right at home. We had some great meals (all the men shared one large bowl of rice with peanut sauce, eating with our right hands) and enjoyed great fellowship with the people. That night, Mitch, Jerry and I stayed under a small grass straw structure (picture a manger) where we slept in sleeping bags on the ground and were watched over through the night by cows, goats, chicken, sheep...you get the idea.

We finished our visit Tuesday and left Bamako that evening flying overnight back to Nairobi. It was a great trip but I was happy to get back to Nairobi and continue trying to get settled into my new home.

Me and Mitch in the village

Our accommodations for the night

Time of worship

Making peanut sauce