No, we are NOT renewing our wedding vows (!!), rather we are returning to the US for a few weeks this summer! Our organization (now called Serge) encourages us to take this time as ‘Home Leave Assignment’…to catch up with family, friends and supporters…to talk about the work we are doing here…to cultivate relationships…to re-energize…to spend quality time with loved ones…to be filled up…
I would add to that list, to eat out in nice restaurants…grab a take away coffee at any point during the day…go to the cinema…and of course, partake in happy hours!
It has kind of crept up on us, to be honest. It’s hard to believe that we left Bend, Oregon, almost two years ago. In ways, it feels as if we have been here for years!
We leave Kenya towards the end of the last school term (June 29th) and fly directly to Michigan. Not only is this Mike’s home, but it continues to be closely linked with Kijabe, Kenya. We had dinner last night with the Meads, who lived here for almost 15 years, and worked at the CURE hospital, in Kijabe. Tim and Jana are both from Michigan, and Tim’s brother, Dale, was one of Mike’s teachers in his residency program. Most of the short-term ortho doctors who have come to Kijabe in the last 2 years have been from Michigan too. So, we get to have a “Kijabe reunion” in Michigan this summer, visit Mike’s home town of Midland where he grew up, reconnect with Mike’s old friends (none of whom I have ever met and have a hard time believing that they actually exist!) and Mike gets to give a lecture on Global Surgery at his old residency.
From there, we head to New Buffalo for a week of chaotic, brilliant, fun-filled ‘Marapolooza’ family time! Mike has five sisters (no brothers) all of whom are married with kids. Every three years we try to get together as each family is spread out over the US, and now Kenya. There is nothing quite like that time together… the cousins have a ball, the adults catch up, reminisce and laugh, and dinners are made and served to the masses! We love it!
We arrive in Bend on July 19th! Our good friend, Laura Wytsma, has graciously offered us the use of her house and car, for the duration of our stay there. What a huge blessing! Amidst all the chaos of meeting up with family and friends, it will be good to have some ‘family space’ for ourselves also. We will be sharing at Antioch on July 27th, and have rented Aspen Hall (where we also had our farewell) on August 8th. We wanted a time whereby all of our friends, family and supporters could come and mingle, learn more about our work at Kijabe, and be made aware of the incredible community of people that have supported us on this crazy adventure. It’s a time for Mike and I to be able to thank each and everyone of this community for their invaluable love, prayers, and support. We can pretty much guarantee that we would have never made it this far without their encouragement and belief in the work we are doing. We also want to be able to show people photos of Kijabe, tell stories about patients, and communicate the triumphs and the struggles we have experienced along the way.
So, if you are in Central Oregon, please come and join us on August 8th – we’ll provide drinks and meat and ask that you bring a side dish or dessert to share. Come along after work, bring the kids, grab some food, and have an opportunity to learn about our work, ask questions, and give us hugs!
We cannot wait to see you all.