Back in Kijabe

After a much needed Christmas break with Ann’s parents in Dublin,

Happy Kids on the Dublin Train

Happy Kids on the Dublin Train

we are delighted to be back in Kijabe.  As we were packing up in Ireland, the kids were beside themselves with excitement.  As much as they adore their grandparents, they couldn’t wait to see their friends, run around barefoot, and ride on the roof of the car.  It’s amazing how well and quickly Kenya has become home for them.IMG_1925

I think Ann and I feel the same way.  Coming back to our little house, getting back into our routines, really felt like a homecoming.  I was a little apprehensive before going back into work, remembering the overwhelming workload

Busy "Add-On" Surgery Schedule

Busy “Add-On” Surgery Schedule

which always awaits.IMG_1989  But it was so great to see the OR staff and ortho team, I quickly forgot about any apprehension.  And I  realized how much I really love working here.

Kijabe can be a challenging place to work, on a number of different levels.  I think I really underestimated the difficulties inherent in working in a different language and culture.  And it’s difficult seeing so much need everyday

Young Boy With Fractured Femur, Hit by Car

Young Boy With Fractured Femur, Hit by Car

and not having the resources to provide.  The two boys from Samburu really touched us.  It’s been difficult to get updates on their condition, as they live in a very remote area.  Laura, the dedicated missionary in that area, has had enough contact to tell us that Jonah is doing “reasonably well”, and Saidimo is thriving and just finished at the top of his class.  We continue to pray for these two little boys.

I’ve returned with, I hope, much more realistic expectations.  I can only imagine how many cultural faux pas I’ve committed here, and I’m thankful for the graciousness of my Kenyan colleagues.

Xrays of Boy With Femur Fracture

Xrays of Boy With Femur Fracture

We’re blessed to have Bob and Sally Zirschky visiting Kijabe for three weeks.  The Zirschky’s lived only a couple of hours drive from us in Oregon, but we never met until they came to serve at Kijabe last year.  Bob is an orthopaedic surgeon, and Sally can do everything else!  She comes loaded for bear, an entire household of goods in Rubbermate tubs, and immediately sets up a home!  How many volunteers come equipped with their own sewing machine?!? Unbelievably, the Zirschky’s ministry includes donating all the goods they travel with to the ministry site they visit.  So the apartment they leave will be fully stocked with sheets, towels, and small appliances.  One of the great blessings of this path we’re on is meeting pleasantly crazy people like the Zirschky’s!

So we’re off on the journey of 2014.  We’ve learned some lessons about boundaries, about biting off more than we can chew, and about the importance of sabbath.  We were warned about all these things in our training, but were confident we wouldn’t make the silly mistakes that our predecessors fell into.  So instead, we invented new ones.  I’m turning 50 tomorrow, but I feel like a freshman in college, so much to learn.  As we look forward to 2014, we are thankful beyond words for the hundreds of people praying for us and supporting us in so many ways.  God Bless You and may you have a joyous and blessed new year.

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15 thoughts on “Back in Kijabe

  1. Mike Jaconette

    Happy Birthday, Mike! I’m glad that you and your family are back “home” safely.

    Take care,

    Mike Jaconette

  2. frank1945

    Good day, Dr. Mike,
    I’ve missed your posts these last few weeks, but I know you enjoyed your much deserved vacation and return to the work you love fully recharged. Your posts never fail to bring tears to my eyes.

    Jonathan is improving almost daily in minute steps. It’s the 2 steps forward, 1 step back, kind of progress. One of your colleagues at Desert Ortho, Dr. Kathleen Moore, removed a catheter left behind 3 years ago when the baclofen pump was removed. It had caused him discomfort for many weeks until I finally could feel it come to the surface under his skin. Dr. Moore wasted no time and had him on the “table” within 2 days.

    I am saving up the finances to relocate us to Thailand. As you know I’ve spent many years there. I am very comfortable there, as was Jonathan who lived many years in Bangkok, Manila, SIngapore when he was a child. The support volunteered by Susie’s family who have known Jonathan since he was 6 months old, will help immensely on his continuing path to recovery. By August I should have saved up a nest egg to allow us to live comfortably near Hua Hin, near the beach.

    I extend to you and your brave family a standing invitation to stay with us when we are settled in our new home. Who knows, maybe you’ll make rural Thailand your new mission after Kenya?

    Dr. Mike, we love you for who you are and what you do.

    • Thanks for the update Frank, and tell Jonathan I think of him, pray for him, and think he’s a great guy! Good luck with your move, that sounds very peaceful.

  3. Kathy Linabery

    We are wondering where is Jonah and what is his medical status presently.

    Kathy Linabery Midland MI

    • Kathy,

      I wish I knew more. I know he’s alive, but haven’t been able to get any more information. The place he lives is incredibly remote, not even roads. But a missionary from that area may be coming in on a missionary flight on Wednesday, and should have news. Keep praying.


  4. Happy Birthday to both of you! Love you and miss you. Would love to talk on the phone soon.

  5. Lynda Corbin

    Dearest Mike and Ann, Happy New Year to you, Michael and Jane. I’m so glad that you had a good time in Ireland and that the Lord has kept careful watch over you. I know how dedicated you guys are and thank goodness there are brave people like you who are not afraid to live out of their known element. Mike, Happy 50th; I remembered the 40th. Johnny had a mitral valve repair at the VA in Portland on 12/3/13. The surgeon was wonderful and personable. Tyler came with Lorie to the hospital and Dr. Ravi spoke directly to Tyler regarding his grandfather’s condition and what to expect in the unit. I was impressed. Saw Adam in the Redmond office a week ago. Have degenerative knee joints. He injected the left and I’m doing some better. Can’t stand the cold. Adam says he misses you too. Anyway that’s a quick update. You guys take care of each other as well as the children and your patients and we will continue to pray for good things to happen there. I do worry about you when I read some of the goings on in Kenya and get out the map to see if it is close by. Many blessings and much love. Lynda

  6. Jennifer

    The enthusiasm of kids for home in Africa is a key part of survival. Glad yours are helping you too.

  7. Kathleen Kramer

    Happy Birthday!! I enjoy reading the posts that you and Ann write, you and your family are amazing! Glad you were able to enjoy the holiday with Ann’s family in Ireland. Wishing you the best in 2014.
    Your cousin,

    • Hi Kathleen! Thanks for your very kind comments. We’re looking forward to being back in the US this July and August, and even in Michigan for the Mara reunion!

  8. Cynthia DeGroat

    Happy Birthday Dr. Mike and thanks for all the posts. You are missed, loved and prayed for by many back here in Bend. God Bless you and Ann, your children and your wonderful ministry for our Lord. God Bless all those who come under your care. Many Blessings for the New Year! Cynthia

  9. Karen Couture

    MIke, My husband and I are coming to Kijabe so he can work with Leland and Susan in neurosurgery. I am trying to get some guidance regarding how to dress my children while there. I have gotten conflicting advice from our travel doctor and our friend who has traveled and worked there. However, our friend travels without children, so I want to make sure I am getting good advice for kids who will be hanging around outside (not cooped up inside the OR). Do you keep your kids covered to avoid mosquito bite and other insects? Do they wear shorts and short sleeves? What footwear is best for them. Do they wear long pajamas to bed or can they sleep in whatever? Thanks so much for any advice you can give me!! We will be coming in February and staying the month.


    Terrific to hear Mike. What a life journey. It’s been special for us to track you all through your postings. Off to Bend this long MLK weekend.

    God bless,

    Mark Gibbs / (c) 312.543.2454 / Via iPad


  11. Mark Gibbs

    Terrific to hear Mike. What a life journey. It’s been special for us to track you all through your postings. Off to Bend this long MLK weekend.

    God bless,

    Mark Gibbs / (c) 312.543.2454 / Via iPad

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