December 31st

December 31, 2007

Sunday December 31st, 1967
Mombasa, Kenya
We went to Sunday school and Church this morning.  This is my last Sunday to teach the M.K.’s for beginning in January Linda Miller (the journeyman) will teach them.  Tonight we had a watch party at Helen’s house.  Marshall Phillips, Jim Houser, and Jean Law played and sang hillbilly songs.  Some played 42 and Rummy and others of us read magazines.  Now we can say, “This year we go home.”  This next year we, the Phillips, and the Hootens all go home.  Simeon was supposed to come and take care of the boys at 8 o’clock but didn’t show up so I had to get his wife to keep them.

New Year’s Rockin’ eve in Mombasa Kenya.  Those missionaries really know how to party.  With all the hilarity of hillbilly songs, cut throat Rummy, and magazine reading who can say what went on at that party!

Mom’s simple diary entry mirrors how I feel as we approach the year 2008.  The New Year was going to contain endings, beginnings, and excitement.  Mom’s simple wisdom is something I will try to emulate this year.  She focused on the prospect of finishing their first term in Kenya and going home.  However, I am sure that in her enthusiasm to get home she did not forget the reason she was here in the first place.  She had begun a good work and wanted to end well.  She did, I hope to, will you?

See you next year!


December 29th and 30th

December 29, 2007

Monday December 29th, 1969
Nairobi, Kenya
This morning John Kasuki ad Kames Boniface (two of the students who finished) came by for a visit.  Then just as they were leaving Jim Anderson came in.  We went to town this afternoon to pick up our pictures for our new passports and they had made the wrong size.  They told us to come back in an hour.  When we came back the electricity had gone off in the building so we didn’t get them after all.  Tonight we went to the movie, “Hello Dolly”.  I didn’t care too much for it.  Jim Anderson spent the night with us.

We had been in Kenya for several years by now and you would think we had accustomed ourselves to the African pace of life.  I know we had been there long enough to recognize when we were being fed a line.  However, we must have assumed that the photo shop was ahead of its time and had just invented the “One Hour” photo experience during our visit.  Had I realized I was experiencing a cutting edge moment in time I would have been a tad more excited.  But, much to the chagrin of Mom and Dad we did not witness the birth of a new technology that day!  We only learned once again about coping in a foreign land in a different culture.

Even though the film critics thought that Streisand and Matthau put in stellar performances and were awarded 3 Oscars for this picture Mom did not like it too much.  I, however, thought that Louis Armstrong did a great job as the orchestra leader and can still remember some of the lyrics to the theme song for the film.

Tuesday December 30th, 1969
Nairobi, Kenya
This morning M.G. and I took Alan to town to buy him some “dress” shoes.  M.G. went to the bank and told Alan and I to go to the Bata store and we got lost.  We finally made it though after walking several blocks.  Jim Anderson was here for lunch.  Later in the afternoon he borrowed our car to go to the doctor.  Tonight we had the Pearce family over and we cooked the shrimp that we brought from the coast.  We renewed our passports today and also had James to stand in line and renew our driver’s license.  He stood from 10 to 2 to get them.

I don’t know why Alan was getting the new shoes but knowing my love for anything remotely dressy I am glad it was him and not me.  I’m not saying that occasionally I like to get dressed up; well maybe I am saying that exact thing.  Because if I ever get my hands on the guy that invented the tie well…

However, I digress and if I go much further I would become lost like my brother and Mom.  This incident would not have occurred if I had been in tow due to my keen sense of direction and constant monitoring of my surroundings. (If my wife comments about a vacation trip pay her no mind!)  

I don’t know if the shrimp dinner was a celebration of completing the passport task or just an excuse to meet with friends.  What I do hope is that James that kind soul that stood in line for 4 hours, got to enjoy the fruits of our coastal cuisine.

December 28th

December 28, 2007

Thursday December 28th, 1978
Limuru, Kenya
This morning we left to go to Naivasha to fish.  We got everything together and left about 10:00am and just as we drove into the gate we realized that we had left the key to the boat here.  We turned around and came back to the house.  While we were here we ate our lunch and got back out there about 2:30pm.  We went out to fish but they only got two strikes.  As we were coming in the pin on the propeller broke.  M.G. and Ken rowed to the shore.  After much thought M.G. hit upon the idea of putting a piece of his screw driver into the prop so we were able to make it on in just before dark.  We ate our picnic supper there.  Upon arriving home, we found that we had a tape from Bobby Frazier of the play-back on the Kentucky game.  Also she enclosed us a check for $50.00 for Christmas.

December 27th

December 27, 2007

Friday December 27th, 1974
Limuru, Kenya
This morning Robert was late coming in.  He said that he had a tooth pulled and was sick.  It was a lower front tooth.  M.G. had to go into Nairobi to pay for the animals that we killed on the hunt.  Alan mowed the front lawn.  Later in the day M.G. and the boys worked on the car seat.  M.G. picked some mustard greens from the garden.  The house was a mess this morning after two holidays.  Tonight we went to the late movie, “Eleven Harrowhouse”.  On the way back we saw a wrecked truck and three men were standing nearby.  We stopped to help them.  M.G. offered to go for the police or to take the one who was hurt to the hospital here at Tigoni but he wanted us to take him to his brother’s house in Nairobi.  We supposed the truck might be stolen.  Anyway as we were talking a car with Africans in it drove up so we just left them to help them.  The boys and I were so scared, but M.G. was so calm.

If you were thinking that Mom was a bit skeptic about Robert’s tooth incident you would be correct.  Living in Africa almost 10 years and raising two rowdy boys can leave you just a bit on the cynical side.  I am not saying that Mom was the proverbial “doubting Thomas” but she had learned to discern a good excuse from a bad lie.

While Dad went to town to settle things up with the local authorities, Alan attempted to cut the grass.  Alan and I were not averse to manual labor however sometimes when we performed such chores we got the opportunity to “lick that calf again” when Dad got back.  Now that I think about it Dad was no slouch in the perception department either!

We decided to give the 403 seats a new makeover today and Alan and I jumped in with all the gusto we could muster.  We did a fairly good job on the project but reality T.V. is in no danger from us starting our own restoration show.

We went to see “11 Harrowhouse” tonight and while Dad and the boys enjoyed the twists and turns of Grodin’s plot.  Mom caught up on her nap.

While we were traveling back to Limuru and trying to explain the plot to “Sleepy Head” we tried to offer assistance to some of the locals in a bad way.  Dad a.k.a. “Cool Hand Luke” kept his composure while “chicken little” and the hatchlings cowered under the newly refurbished seats.  We returned home none the worse from our brief encounter but with a bit more respect for Dad, our protector and defender.

December 26th

December 26, 2007

Friday December 26th, 1980
Kisumu, Kenya
This morning after breakfast M.G. worked on the Pearce’s washing machine before he and Boyd left to take two African men to a church to deliver some Gideon Bibles.  They thought that they would be back by late lunch, but it was after 4 o’clock before they got back.  In fact Syd, Randall, and I were over at the Donaldsons for tea when they arrived.  They took a bath and came on over.  Tonight we had a late supper, and then Boyd and M.G. worked some more on the washing machine.  This morning Syd and I went downtown but all the stores and craft shops were closed.  Syd and I took a walk this afternoon and got behind a herd of cattle.  The little boy was riding one of the calves.

Christmas of 1980 Mom and Dad are spending the first Christmas without at least one kid in the house.  Rather than sit at home and mope they spread the Christmas cheer to Kisumu and the home of Boyd and Syd Peace.  Dad, as was his fashion, traveled with tool box in tow and soon found himself working on another home appliance.

Mom’s diaries are full of lessons, some more obvious than others it seems.  Dad and Mom were on task even though the local stores were closed for the holidays.  Mom and Dad both never forgot that their purpose in Kenya was to spread the Good News both in season and out.

Dad got back from Bible delivery in time to clean up and fuel up on the liquid that fueled the British Empire, Tea!  Once he was nourished with this life giving nectar he attacked the washing machine full force.

Mom and Aunt Syd took some time this afternoon for a daily constitutional.  It seems the cows were also out for their daily walk.  Mom did not mention how long they stayed behind the herd but she had been in Africa long enough to know that bringing up the rear on a cattle drive can be messy business.

December 25th

December 25, 2007

Thursday December 25th, 1975
Limuru, Kenya
We gave Robert about 60 shillings worth of groceries, 50 shillings in money, and a chocolate cake for Christmas.  Ken got a Swiss army knife, a night hawk light, some fire crackers, and some candy.  Alan got a sweater, some shorts, soccer books, and some candy.  Ken gave me 2 cook books and a 1976 diary.  Alan gave me two necklaces.  The boys gave M.G. after shave lotion and a night light.  I gave M.G. a sprinkler for the garden.

Merry Christmas to all! 

Today as we celebrate the season of giving I am reminded once again how I and many others have received the greatest gift of all.  Take the time sometime today to thank Christ for the gift of eternal life that he has enabled each and every one of us to share. 

While Alan played dress up with his new duds and read boring ole soccer books, combat Ken plotted new ways to wage war on our neighbors later that night.  It is amazing what one can do with a knife, a light, and some fire crackers.  It did not hurt that I had survival rations in the form of candy to last out the inevitable manhunt that occurred after my swift and merciless attacks.

While Alan gave Mom something that added to her beauty I gave the gifts that keep on giving-cookbooks and diaries!

Dad was well supplied with after shave once again and all was right in our world!

December 24th

December 24, 2007


Saturday December 24th, 1966
Mombasa, Kenya
Tonight we went down to the Milligan’s to take some pictures of them.  Some of the bulbs didn’t go off so we didn’t get to make very many of them.  We were supposed to have a caroling service at the church but no one came but our family.  So we went down to the Chaveda’s house and sang for Mrs. Chaveda.  The others there who spoke English were gone, so we had quite a time conversing with Mrs. Chaveda.  Robert, our yard boy, did not show up for work this morning.  We had already paid him for the rest of the month plus loaning him 130 shillings.  So we didn’t appreciate his not showing up.  I had a gift for him and his wife.  We gave him and Simeon a shirt and 2 towels for their wives.

What a difference 40 plus years make.  Dad was trying to take pictures with a camera that looked exactly like the one pictured above.  Only in those days you had to screw flashbulbs into a special holder and hope they went off at the correct time.  Tomorrow when I take pictures of the family gathering I will use a digital camera with built in flash and will know instantly whether someone had their eyes closed or were making a funny face.

Christmas caroling did not go according to plan.  I feel certain that our family rendition of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” left something to be desired.  The fact that we sung in English and they only spoke Swahili and Gujarati probably did not help the situation.  But, as with most things this season it is the thought that counts!

Robert took some unexpected time off today and did not show up for work.  He and his wife still got the Christmas presents but Mom was just a bit put out because he wasn’t there.