Twenty Thirteen

For those who don’t receive our email updates, here is a newsletter we sent out re-capping this past year we our Rehma Family. If you would like a PDF copy, please shoot me an email and I can send you one. As you can read, God has been good to us this year and we are so so thankful for all you peeps who keep loving, encouraging, and supporting us!! 
Twenty Thirteen has already thrown us a few curve balls but we are adjusting and managing just fine. 
A lot of people chose a word for their year. A word that they live by, that encourages them to be better people, something to remind them of God in their lives, etc. I was thinking about choosing some sort of word but just couldn’t come up with one. How can I put 365 days into one word? However, one word did keep popping in my mind. And that word was change

Not that I purpose to change, but I feel like so many thing in our life will change and are already changing.

One of the first big changes in our life is these three precious girls below.

Kelvin’s three sisters, Tina, Harriet and Joan. We have taken them in to live with us while they are not in boarding school. They have been with us for almost a month now and it has been a big change that has required some major adjustment for me. Not only did I have to learn to cook for 5 five people, but I had to learn to share my space and time with 3 other people. Kelvin and I have been living alone for a year. Throw in 3 extra girls in the house and your personal space and time minimizes big time, not to mention your time with your husband. But I have adjusted and will really miss them when they head to boarding school in a couple days. It’s been nice to have sisters around. 

 We took the girls for a day trip to check out their new school and tour around south coast Mombasa. We took some time to stroll the beach. I had forgotten how gorgeous the beach was!

Another big change is the Rehma Ladies. I have changed the program and my approach with these girls. I am backing off and allowing them to create and form a group that they believe will be empowering to them. I am there to guide and help but they create and make decisions. We had an AWESOME meeting today as they came together to share their visions for the group, some rules and guidelines to follow, and discuss an income generating project they want to start for themselves and the community. I am so so happy to see them so excited to work together.

Their first assignment is to plan and organize some sort of outing, event, or gathering for them without my help. I am usually the one who comes up with the ideas and connects everyone together to make it happen. This time, I have given them a budget and they need to plan and organize something for them to do together. I won’t even be apart of it. So I am looking forward to see what they come up with next week.

 It was sweet Aisha’s birthday today. In my sad attempt to make something special, I just whipped up some chocolate cupcakes and put some ‘sparkler’ candles in them. Throw in some sodas and popcorn and you got yourself a celebration!

Kenya will go through a big change in a few short weeks. They are doing their elections on March 4th. No one really knows what is going to happen but everyone is hoping that things will be a lot calmer than the last election five years ago where the whole country erupted into violence and 1000+ people were killed. Keep Kenya in your prayers please.

And finally, this time next week, Kelvin and I will be basking in the awesomeness of an air conditioned hotel room! Ok, so its not a huge change but you have NO idea how hot it is here and how amazing air conditioning feels. My family blessed us with a vacation at a local resort. After the crazy Christmas we have had, we are SO looking forward to a few days of pure relaxation.

More changes are brewing for the Opiyos. We will keep you in the loop!!!

CV and Interview Training

The unemployment rate in Kenya is ridiculously high (something like 50%). It is really hard to find work in Kenya even if you have a decent education and some good work experience. Sometimes I think the best thing I can do for people is to open a big company and create lots and lots of jobs for people. 
Our youth really struggle…like I mean really struggle to find anything that can make them some money. Although we can’t personally find them work or employ all of them, we can help equip them with the proper skills to attain work. 
On Saturday, 12 of our youth (boys and girls) went to a seminar on how to write a proper CV and how to conduct themselves in a job interview. The session was put on by a good friend of ours who is the Human Resource guy at a large resort. 
The information he was able to give these young people was so valuable! Even I learned some new things! One thing he did was encourage them to change their thinking from believing there aren’t many jobs and you have to know some to get a job to being more positive about their job search. 
They made us feel so special and plastered our names on all these signs. Did I mention our friend did this for us for free!? 

We made sure that the ones who came were really interested in learning and not just wanting a day by the pool (which was also part of the package;)). The ones who came were so engaged, asking lots of questions, and even boldly asking for work at the resort! We also had a few good laughs.

 After the seminar, we split up and did our own things. I went swimming with my ladies while Kelvin watched the game with his boys. A few weeks ago, we made these bracelets with the girls. 

I had the camera so naturally I got more pics of the girls. I just adore them. Praying that they will be able to get good jobs!

A ladies day out

The girls had been asking me for a while, “When are we going swimming?” I think they are just desperate to get out of Kongowea. They probably don’t get out a lot. I figured that it was about time I treated them to a day out. 
We went to a local resort and had an absolute blast. We laughed watching each other attempting to swim. We played games. We chatted. We relaxed. We talked. We did girl stuff. 
They all stuck to the wall. They aren’t the best of swimmers but ventured into the deep end by holding on to the wall.
Tina had a bit of a scary incident when she got herself a little too deep and couldn’t get her head above water. I had to go get her. She was fine. We all laughed. 

We arranged for a conference room and hung out there for a few hours in the afternoon. Go figure that the ONE day that it decides to get rainy and blustery, we go to the pool. I had been praying for rain and some cool weather but not on the day where we were going swimming. It was so nice to have a ‘warm’ room to hang out in while it poured outside. Rahab came to join us for the day and made us play some silly games. 
 I didn’t just want this day to be about fun. I wanted the girls to also learn a bit. I brought in my dear friend Maria to come and talk to the girls. I have been really encouraging the girls to discover their gifts, talents, strengths, and the things they love doing. I want them to be able to use the things that they love to do most and that they are best to make a living for themselves. I find that so many people in Kenya find jobs just for the money yet are so unsatisfied with their lives. I want these ladies to LOVE what they do. And they are at the point in their lives where they can choose what they want to do in life. SO Maria really encouraged them in this direction more. Maria just quit her job as a high end marketing director for a local company that produces palm oil products. She quit her job because it was draining her. Although she was making good money and she was good at what she was doing, she was so unfulfilled. She has decided to pursue  her passion in graphic design and is in the beginning stages of starting her own company. I wanted her to be an inspiration to the girls to follow their passions when it comes to career. Not just go where the money is. 
Maria made every girl come up, write their names vertically, and then write an adjective describing themselves beside each letter of their names. It was a great exercise for the ladies to discover themselves and then to be proud of who they are!

This was by-far my favourite one. Especially the first two. The great part is that it pretty much describes this girl to the tee. Hilarious. 

 At the end of the day we headed to  beach for a stroll. It was easter so the beach was buzzing with activity. 

I came home smiling after a great day with these sweet girls.