Grandma in Kenya and Mercy Turns 3!

In the middle of March, I was FaceTime-ing with my parents when my mom held up a paper confirming flights. At first I thought they had booked their flights for November, which is when my parents were going to come visit us. Then she showed me a little closer and it said April 5th! She was coming in 3 weeks for Mercy’s birthday. She was trying to keep it a secret. Kelvin knew. But she just couldn’t hold it in anymore so she let me in on the secret. We decided to keep it a secret for Mercy – more for my sanity so she wouldn’t be asking me everyday when Grandma is coming.

I posted on Facebook the first moments that mom and the kids saw each other. It was way too precious. Her visit was a blessing. My kids were in love with Grandma barely giving her room to breathe. Mom was a trooper and soaked up as much of the girls as she could. Kelvin and I got a little break and even were able to have a few date nights – the first since we left Canada.

Her visit allowed us to slow down a bit and spend time with family. The weeks leading up to her visit were bumpy for us and we needed to slow down.

Here are just a few snippets of the awesome fun with had with Grandma!

My mom is training to be a body builder and so her first morning here, Mercy decided to coach her through her work out.

We don’t have weights so Mercy offered to be one

Grandma had to endure all things crazy and Kenyan including matatu (bus) rides with us. 

Beach day!

This is my Baywatch strut

Just us girls letting the waves roll over us and the sand enter all crevices of our bodies

Amina fits perfectly in Grandma’s beefy arms

We had two birthday celebrations with Grandma. One with the entire Opiyo Tribe (excluding a few). Here is the merry bunch. Mercy of course refused to be apart of her own birthday photo with them.

Then we had a party with kids and friends. 

This kid may have stole the show with her charm

She switched hats with uncle O’neal

Her face…

Her face as she refused to blow out candles so Mom and Dad had to

Big bite!

Chocolate cake and Frozen plates is where it is at

I love this picture as it shows this goofy character Amina is developing. She’s such a little ham…

A frozen water bottle for a special princess

And goggles for swimming!!

We discovered this awesome beach resort that had a pool with a waterpark in it for kids. Grandma treated us for two days and it was a blast!

We all got in on the water polo action

Grandma is FIERCE!

Mercy’s got the ball

It was such a gift to have her here!

Now we just need Grandpa to come!

You win some, you lose some..that about sums up our life right now

You win some, you lose some. 

Trial and error.

Seeking, knocking, asking. 

If you try and don’t succeed, try try again. 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. 

These are just a few phrases that seem to sum up how life has been going for us these last few weeks. I am sure you get the gist of it.

It feels like this settling into life is taking so much longer and is so much more complicated than we had thought. I guess I thought that because we had lived here before, it would be a pretty easy transition right back into Kenyan life.

That is proving to be so far from the truth. And we are having to re-adjusting our mindsets.

In many ways it feels like we are re-learning how to do life here. It’s the small things like figuring out which cheese is the best tasting for the best price because us Opiyo ladies just can’t live without our grilled cheese sandwiches. Or finding the perfect hair conditioner for our hair (again for the best price) because, of course, the one I loved and used 4 years ago is nowhere to be found.

Then there are some larger decisions like finding a church. This has proven to be a little more challenging than we thought. We have tried a few and are still up in the air about it. And then figuring out the best care for our girls whether it’s daycare, school, a nanny, or family. Putting out our feelers for all those options and seeing if any click well for our family.

There is also work with The Rehma Project. Trying a lot of things. Some are working, and some just aren’t. We press on.

It seems we have tried so many things…and have failed at so many things. Some successes and some losses. (Don’t even get me started on the hunt for the perfect bedsheets…they don’t exist here).

I feel like this picture accurately represents what we go through daily:

*Notice the knives don’t fit.

You would think that when you buy a standard sized set of cutlery it should fit into the standard size cutlery holder as well right (especially if they are bought at the same store and they are the only options available)? Nope…I’ve learned not to assume such crazy things.

Don’t assume that even the seemingly easy things will work out. They might…but they might not.

The picture below actually is caused by our medical insurance:

Yes, because of our medical insurance, we ended up at the beach one afternoon. We had a number of meetings scheduled but noticed Mercy had a bad rash on her head. Actually, she had had it for a while but it wasn’t going away so I finally decided we should get it checked out. That led us to trying to figure out our Kenyan medical insurance which is new for us. Through a series of frustrating events that led us to cancelling all our meetings, staying in the house for two days, and eventually just paying for Mercy’s treatment, we decided that we just needed to get away from the chaos and head to the beach.

Again, trying out a new insurance and it just didn’t work very well.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. 

I really try not to complain. Because the truth is that this season is a little rough, for sure, but by no means are we suffering. In fact, I would say we are thriving. We are figuring stuff out. We are overcoming obstacles left, right and centre. Our family situation is GREAT. Our marriage is ALIVE and WELL. And our relationships with God (well, mine at least) is getting STRONGER by the second.

So I thought I would leave you with a little giggle to start your day because, seriously, if you were looking for the lego in in the toys aisle, you would be so totally off because it’s actually in the the coffee aisle right next to the cocoa 😉

 

Rehma Tournament 2017

Our annual Rehma Tournament was played on February 19th. The usual pitch we play on is getting a major make over (it’s so amazing, we can’t wait for it be finished and play on it!) courtesy of the government so we shifted to a different pitch. Boys will play no matter where they are and people will always come watch. The pitch quickly filled with hundreds of people.

Selah is our main guy. Other than Kelvin, I think he has the biggest heart for youth in this community. He was out promoting this tournament. He even got on some local radio stations and gained support.

Lines on the pitch are painted on in the early morning and are usually gone by the time the games have started so the boundaries are a little…flexible.

Thumbs up!

If you have ever watched a professional soccer game on tv, you often see the players walk out onto the field holding the hands of young kids. That is what this team did! They had a younger team all dressed in their jerseys and walked out on the field with them. It was TOO awesome. This cute little boy had his game face on.

One of the teams in the finals.

Warm up

Ok time for me to rant about these coaches. They LOVE their players and their communities. The time and energy they invest in the people around them is admirable. We are quickly learning they are not just coaches; they are also leaders in their communities being able to reach people and identify needs. I can see us working closely with them in the upcoming days.

 

This one is by far my favourite coach 😉

Oh my girls…they are too cute for words. They did so well at the pitch despite it being atrociously hot and lasting 4 hours. I guess it helps when you find a cute tuk tuk to play in.

Spectators

This is the only picture of me as I was the one taking most of the photos. Always a mama. Always with my girls around me.

Kelvin had these awesome shirts made for the coaches with the names of their teams on the back.

Kelvin also decided to invest in plaques for our future tournaments.

Like SERIOUSLY, how cute is she?

Coach Selah

The celebration as the whistle blew ending the game.

 

A number of our former youth came out including our friend Lolo in the green.

Time for speeches. Kelvin was given so much honour for what he does for his community. Then he took it and threw it right back to his coaches and players.

Check out this girl speaking to all these young men!! This is Maimuna, a local girl who has a huge desire to serve her community. Her and I got a chatting and we can’t wait to partner with her.

Some mamas checking out what all the fuss is about.

Part of the crowd as the day is ending.

We seriously can’t thank you enough for making this possible! Every scholarship, soccer ball, gift voucher, t-shirt, cleats and more was given with love. Kongowea thanks you!