While things are moving along rapidly here at home, I’d like to update our friends and family on the local situation in Kijabe. Since Kijabe lies very close to the equator, temperatures remain fairly constant throughout the year, but rainfall varies dramatically. Two rainy seasons, one in April/May, and one in November/December, bracket some very dry times. The rainy season has started with a vengeance at Kijabe, after a long dry season. The rainy seasons are vital to local farmers, as well as to the springs which provide fresh water to Kijabe village, mission station, and hospital. During this last dry season, water levels were critically low, leading to water shortages in the hospital. The rains are greeted, of course, with celebration and gratitude.
Unfortunately, widespread illegal logging has decimated the Kijabe forest. Local officials, conservation groups, and Kijabe Hospital staff and administration have tried to alert forest officials of the risk of mud or rockslides from this deforestation. With the onset of the rains, a serious mudslide occurred this week, knocking out 40% of the water supply to the area, including Kijabe Hospital. Missionary engineers had already been working on a more dependable and sustainable water supply for the area, but this has created an emergency situation.
Another unwelcome accompaniment to the rains is the appearance of a beetle called the Nairobi Eye or Nairobi Fly. This little guy looks like an ant, but is really a beetle. The red and black stripes look menacing, and they should. While the Nairobi fly won’t bite or sting, it’s body fluids are 15 times more venomous than cobra venom! The problem arises if one lands on you. If you flick him off, enough body fluids are released to lead to an open blistering wound, similar to a burn. Villagers and even patients in the hospital have already suffered from this menace. The best bet is to stay away from them, and if one lands on you, gently blow it off without touching it.
So things could be better at Kijabe at the moment. Combine this with anxiety and uncertainty over the upcoming presidential elections, and you can understand why the residents there could use your prayers. The rains are desperately needed for the farmers and for fresh water supply. The bugs will pass, and hopefully the engineers can reestablish a stable and safe supply of drinking water for the area very quickly.
On the home front, things are progressing very rapidly towards our departure in late July. Our house sale is due to close on May 25th. I’ve finished work at Desert Orthopedics. We’re pretty sure we have buyers for our two vans. We’re registered for a three week cross cultural training course in Colorado beginning July 30th, after which we’ll depart for Kenya via the World Harvest Mission offices outside of Philadelphia. God has blessed us with an amazingly generous, engaged, caring support team, and we are now 75% of the way to being fully funded for the five year assignment! We are humbled and grateful for the enthusiastic support of our pastor Ken Wytsma, the community of Antioch Church, and the many friends and family who are joining us to make this work in Kenya a reality. We’re really excited to keep in touch with all of you over the years, keeping you up to date on the difference your support is making every day for the people of Kenya. As a small token of our appreciation, we’re looking forward to having all of our supporters over for a barbecue in mid-July. Watch this space for the exact time and place!