Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Cave!

Hi beautiful grandchildren! This is Zenia. Your Paw and Gema had fun hiking to caves on the hills of Nakuru. I was in school so I didn’t get to go but when they came home they told me to gather my friends and they would tell me a story. Everyone gathered around – Zelda, the Zebra (my mom), Gabby the goat, Tweeter the bird and even the monkeys and baboons from the park came. This is the story as they told it to us:

Waaaaow!! What an incredible weekend!

The Cave! Sounds like a suspence drama. It was just that. Friday we were tricked into going on a short ¼ mile hike which turned out to be a 4 MILE hike to the “holy” caves. The Kingdom Hikers talked us into a hike. I think they wanted to see if we could do it. We should have known when George drove off leaving us at the gate. Well it was really the village of the guards of the prison and their families. They wouldn’t let us pass through so we had to take the long way around. That meant up hills through cow pastures and cow pens full of dung.If we had known how far this hike would be we probably wouldn’t have done it. But in the end we were all glad we did. It was not only good exercise and fresh air but a time to get closer to the young people. Our troupe was made up of me, Paw, Doug, Tara, Yahshana, Brandon, from the good ole USA, and Simon, Kenford, Flora, Diana, Evelyn, Modesta, and Janet from Kenya. Simon and Kenford won the most likely to succeed award – a plate of ‘chips’ (aka French fries) - which they had to share by the way.  They kept running off, up and down the valleys and hills. It made me tired to just watch them. They would disappear but were always there to give us a hand when we needed it. The girls were fun and giggly all the way there and back.

We started out in the van with our faithful driver, George. When we reached the gate where we could no longer drive he just sat there, didn’t say a word, and waited for us to get out. Curiously enough he didn’t get out.

That should have given us a clue. But we were bewitched by the wonderful hikers telling us, “it isn’t far”. That became the most popular phrase spoken the whole hike. Ok so we got out and told George to come back in 2 hours. He knowingly said for us to just call when we are back. Second clue.  So off we went, Paw with his hiking stick, us with our water bottles, Brandon with his camera, girls with their giggles, and Simon and Kenford with their secret.

As we strolled along we gasped at the beauty of the hills. Just like Maria in the Sound of Music we wanted to sing and dance. But as I said we were gasping for air as the altitude increased.

We came to our first of many challenges. To get to the other side we must pass through a cow pen, no cows but full, and I mean full, of obviously well fed cows and what they leave behind. Use your imagination and hold your nose. We had to go down a steep slope and you didn’t want to slip and fall so we let the young men assist us down.

We were going higher and higher with no cave in sight. Simon said, “just around that hill, not far”. So we pressed on taking time to sit down and rest ever so often. Janet, Flora and Diana told us it was farther than they are saying. But it was too late to turn back.

We came to a little opening where Simon was pointing down into it. He said, “This is the first cave”. It sure didn’t look like a cave and upon closer inspection it was only an animal’s hole. Simon likes to tease us.

Then I came around a bend and Kenford was scooping up water in his hands from a hole by a tree. We were thirsty but it was too muddy to drink and I didn’t bring my Sawyer water bottle. Next time I will.

We found pretty flowers and mushrooms along the path but no dragonflies. We miss the dragonflies in at Rose Creek but we did see little white butterflies. They are so cute!

Finally we got to the first cave. But before you can go in you have to go down on your knees and repent.

When we got to the entry. We had to climb straight down on tree roots to get into the cave.

Then you go into a wide open entry way. It was soo dark you could hardly see. There were people camping there and praying. God’s creation will always make you feel close to Him if you are paying attention. We liked being there. It was nice and cool.

After a while Simon, our guide, said it’s time to go to the next cave. We asked, “How far?” He said, “Not far….” This time we didn’t believe him. It was a long way up hill to the next cave but we had fun getting there.

When we got down there was a huge vine that the girls liked to swing on. We walked around and saw people sleeping and praying for God to heal them so we tried to be quiet. We met some little children playing and gave them sweeties (candy). They liked to play with us. We rested and took pictures until it was time to go back. 

We met a sweet little girl named Nancy.

We rested.....

We climbed up and out of the hole. I felt like Alice in wonderland coming out of the rabbit hole.

Walking back was easier because it was downhill and we took a short cut.We got to the gate to wait for George. We had hiked for four hours! We were so hungry. Next time we go we will bring snacks. We decided to go to Kokeb, our favorite restaurant, to get some samosas, (little meat pies, Gema says we can make some when she gets home and eat them all up!),

....Stoney’s (ginger sodas) and chips, (that’s what Kenyas call french fries).

.......and fruit punch (Paw and Gema had fun sharing one),

It was so much fun we were glad we didn’t know how far it was but we will definitely go again one day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bora boras, Butterflies and Baboons

Well … Jambo (hello) to all you wonderful grandchildren! This is Zelda, and we want to tell you all about the fun things your grandparents and friends have been doing here in Kenya, Africa.

Do you remember my friend Gabby the goat? Well he’s been listening at the door again and he told me everything your grandpa, grandma  have been doing for the last couple of weeks. So sit back and relax and we will tell you all about it.

First of all Papa Doug and Pa have been teaching families here in Nakuru, Kenya all about following Jesus. When they finished teaching on this day, they rode a boda, boda all the way home. A boda, boda is a bicycle that someone else pedals and you get to sit behind them. It only cost 40 shillings for this 3 mile ride which cost only 37 cents in American money. In Kenya we call our money shillings instead of dollars.

Here they are riding home. Papa George is taking the pictures as he rides behind them.

Later Papa Doug and Brandon played outside George’s house with the neighborhood kids.

Some of the children quietly sneaked up to the widow of Pa’s and Gema’s room, pushed a big rock next to the window where Miss Yahshana was knitting to stand on and asked for candy. Everyone laughed.

Another funny thing happened last week when a kuku (chicken) got out of its pen and decided to sit on Papa Doug's freshly washed shirt. The kuku thought it was a great place to sit in the sun. Miss Tara did not agree. So she ran outside and tried to make the kuku get down; but the kuku wouldn't leave till Miss Tara shook the shirt really hard. That's the kuku in the last picture underneath Miss Tara's arm.

Sometimes everyone likes to drive down town to shop for food and watch people working on tall buildings. These men walk on small wooden poles very carefully so they don’t fall. These men were working on a building 50 feet high in the air.

Last Sunday was “Grain Day”. That’s when the church gives grain and rice to all the people who need help with finding enough food to eat. The kids love it. Gabby was complaining because he thinks they should have given him a bag too.

Later that week everyone went to see the silly baboons down at the entrance to Lake Nakuru Park. They always try to take over everything and are very sneaky. Sometimes they like to try and get in human's truck or bus and steal their food. Bad Baboons!

The baby baboons are always fun to watch. They never get far away from their mother and are always playing around.

One day Pa and Gema took Doug, Tara, and Brandon all the way up to the top of a high mountain called “the Crater” to see the beautiful view from the crater's top. This high mountain was once a volcano. Now it’s dormant. That means it’s asleep. I hope it doesn't wake up! Don't you?

There was a cow herder with his cows on the top of the Crater who wanted his picture taken and there are always plenty of little children asking for “sweeties” (candy).
Grandma acted like she was throwing Brandon off the cliff. Brandon looks like he’s really falling but they were just playing around.

On the way home all of them stopped at a restaurant and had some “Chai”. That’s what we call tea here in Kenya. There was a little poinsettia tree in the yard with many beautiful butterflies flittering around. Aren’t they pretty?

Well that’s all for now. Only three more weeks and everyone will be coming home to see all of you. Gabby heard them say they can’t wait to hug and kiss all of you. What’s a hug and a kiss?

Well, don’t worry I will write you again and let you know all they do before they go…   Bye for now;

All our love to all of you …Zelda, Zenia, Gabby and the gang!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Celebrations, Chased by a Rhino, and Sad Goodbyes.

Hello! All of you wonderful children. This is Zelda the Zebra and I have some great stories for you! First of all Grandpa and Grandma send their love and tell you all that they miss you all so much. They can’t wait to see you again.

I was told by my friend Gabby the Goat who lives in Nakuru, that Grandpa and Grandma found a new place to meet with all their friends in the church. He says the new place is better than the old one and everyone is so happy.

It’s never too hot or too cold in Nakuru to meet outside, so every time they want to get together they meet in this nice tent.  

The first Sunday they arrived at the new place, they put up their tent and everyone celebrated by dancing, waving balloons, ribbon rings and singing to God for giving them this nice piece of land to meet on. Everyone was so excited and so very grateful.

Last week Papa Tabach decided that before he came home he would go and see some of my friends in Lake Nakuru Park; that's right where I live. The first of my friends he saw was the silly baboons who always like to play in the road. Next he saw a big family of water buffaloes. He stopped to say hi, but they were afraid and started to run away.

Next he saw my family and friends drinking at our favorite drinking pond.

He got to see some giraffe’s real close up and he even was chased by a big Black Rhino called “Brutus” that lives in the park close to my home. Papa Tabach has a video of Brutus coming after them. Ask him to show you.

But the most wonderful thing that happened was when they got to see Simba our King! Not many people get to see our King because he does not like to be seen by humans.

Papa Tabach and George even got to see some of his queens resting in the grass. George and papa Tabach got out of the van and stood by the doors to take some pictures but when the king and queen looked at them, George and papa Tabach quickly got back in the van. They didn’t want to become the King’s dinner!

After papa Tabach came back to George’s house he and Chloe had to get ready to come back home. After they packed their suitcases and said goodbye, George drove them to the Airport in Nairobi and they got on a big plane to fly all the way home to Tennessee.

 We were sad to see them go, but we know they missed all their family and friends so we’re are glad they are finally home. Have you seen either of them walking around the Village?  Tell them Zelda said hi.

Well, I got to go. Gabby says that more of Grandpa’s friends from the Village are coming tomorrow. I don’t know how Gabby knows all these things. I think he sneaks around humans houses and listens through the doors to what they are talking about.

Grandpa and Grandma say hello and for not to forget to pray for them. They are halfway through their visit to Africa and before you know it they will be home giving out golf cart rides. They said to tell you they love and miss you tons. Me and tweeter will write you again.

Bye from Africa,
Zelda and Tweeter. Oh! Zenia says Hi too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tweeter's Safari

Hi kids! This is Tweeter.
I’ve got a story for you all about the newest adventures of Paw and Gema. We all went on a Safari – that’s an adventurous journey  - to the lakes and islands of Kenya. Early in the morning the rooster was crowing so we all got up to prepare for our journey. Gema made some egg sandwiches for everyone and Beatie made the tea. They ate quickly, loaded up the van, and headed for the country. They found lakes with– crockadiles, lizards,fish, and  lot’s and lot’s of birds –  I loved that part.

We found a man with a boat and asked him for a ride. He said, “Sure! Tweeter, you can come but no Zebras. The boat will sink.”  We all hopped in for a ride and waved to Zelda and Zenia. They didn’t mind waiting.
We saw so many different kinds of birds. One called a king fisher was eating his lunch. He caught a fish in the lake and found a good spot on a limb for a picnic. See the fish in his mouth? Glad I'm not a fish.

We saw hippopotamuses. A whole big family of them and we got soooo close! Wow they are really big in the water. They were sleepy so they didn’t bother us. They did start making a loud grunting noise so we would go away and leave them alone. I told them not to worry. Paw and Gema just wanted to take their pictures for their grandkids. The little one popped his head up out of the water and said, "Hey! Take my picture for the grandkids”.

We saw a crockadile. He looked hungry so we fed him a fish that the fishermen gave us so he wouldn’t eat us.

We went across the lake and found an island. We stopped on the shore and got out. It was so beautiful! There were small trees with pretty pink flowers called the Desert Rose.

Then we saw a monitor lizard hiding in the rocks. Before he scurried off he said, "Tell Blue 'Jambo!'.

Then Paw found a nest of millipedes under a rock. Sometimes when the natives get hungry they eat the millipedes. Paw said, “I’m hungry.” Gema said, “Not me!”

We walked around for a while and then got back into the boat for our ride back to Zelda and Zenia. It was a lot of fun but we were getting really hungry.

George was pretty tired from driving so he took a little nap in the boat. When he woke up he said, "I'm hungry". So we went to a restaurant for lunch. Then he said, "Hey, there’s another lake we can go to where the water is so hot it bubbles and boils.

We all said, "Let's go!"

We saw lots of flamingos and collected feathers. See the long, skinny, pink legs? They look so funny.

The water is so hot we saw a man boiling potatoes in the water. He gave us one but we were so full we couldn’t eat it.

We all had a really fun time but Paw and Gema missed you and wished you could be there too. They love you so much!

See ya later alligator, after while crokadile.