Jambo everyone!

Another month flies by! I’ve been seeing some of your posts about the nice, summer weather…. while on this side, we’re wearing sweaters and long pants! The rains came very late this year (and we had experienced a severe drought leading up to the rains) but rainy season is finally here! Even the solar water heater isn’t being very productive, as we have only been getting a couple of hours of sun in the mornings!

Unfortunately, because the rains came so late, some farmers didn’t plant maize (Kenya’s staple food) this year, as they were afraid they would lose everything it would have cost them to plant. Because of this, a maize shortage is being predicted, which could seriously affect the entire country, and will most definitely drive up the cost of maize. Being that we use about 120 bags of maize per year, and try to buy them all at once when the price is at its lowest (right before harvest season when everyone is selling what remains of the previous year’s harvest), this could really affect us. Thanks for keeping that in prayer!

Do you remember a few months back when I told you about In Step Academy becoming “sister schools” with another local primary school? Well, today, our sixth and seventh graders got to pay that school a visit! They had such a great time making friends and seeing how other schools do things! Jeff and I each drove a Land Cruiser full of kids and teachers (22 people in each vehicle….the Kenyan way!) down the dirt roads of Cherangani to the Littik Primary School and dropped our kids off, just as if they were students of that school. They attended classes, ate school lunch and just did whatever their counterparts do on a normal day of school. They were super impressed that the Littik kids get to CHOOSE what they have for lunch. They can either get in line for ugali and skuma (heavy grits and kale) or githeri (beans and maize). They did, however, think that In Step’s recess snack of peanuts beat Littik’s snack of porridge. LOL!
Spaking of In Step Academy….we are very proud of our seventh grader, Sandra, who went all the way to district level in a soccer competition! This is a very big deal and is the first time ISA has had a student make it that far! Go team!
                                                    
We are always trying to find constructive ways to get our kids off of the In Step campus and get a feel for the “real world”. One way we do this is to have Sunday afternoon outings. Each Sunday, after church, lunch and big kids meeting, Jeff and I load up a cruiser with a group of kids for an outing. It usually takes around three months for all of the big kids (second grade and up) to have their turn, then we start over with the rotation.
Right now, we are taking groups of kids to the Conservancy, which is a nice quiet place where they can go on a nature walk, see a few (caged) animals, learn about some indigenous plants and trees, etc. They like the nature walk because it’s a long trail that Mama Carla doesn’t like to do (lots of mud, puddles, sketchy bridges, etc.) so they are actually turned loose to go enjoy it on their own, which doesn’t happen often! When we say, “Go! Have fun! We’ll see you at the other end of the trail!”, they look at us like, “For real?” Then they take off running before we change our minds! LOL!

After the trail, we go to the part of the park where the animals are kept. The kids get to see and learn about lions, hyenas, ostriches, tortoises, crocodiles and a variety of species of rats (ewww!). Next is a boat ride, then we finish the adventure with chips (fries) and soda.
This month, we have welcomed two new kids! The first is a baby boy, about ten months old, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, so has been placed into our Stepping Stones program. His name is William and he has already won over the hearts of his aunties! William will be receiving occupational therapy twice weekly, along with the other eight kids who already do. We are very fortunate to have two occupational therapists who are willing to come to our place, as it would be extremely difficult to take nine disabled kids to town for their appointments!
The second new child is a beautiful little girl named Riziki (Swahili for Destiny) Blessing. Riziki is about eighteen months old, but is the size of a nine-month old baby. She is very dehydrated and malnourished, weighing 17 lbs. and, so far, hasn’t found her smile. But she will! It’s amazing what a bit of love, food, milk, security, etc. can do for a child! We have seen it before, many times over, and I know she’ll be ok. For now, she just needs time to settle in and receive good care! The nutritionist has put her on a special nutritional milk powder, saying she is too dehydrated and malnourished to expect her to be able to take food right now. So, for the next three days, we are supposed to let her have all of the “special milk” she wants, then the doctor will see her again and decide whether she should continue for a few more days, or whether we should start giving her solid food. She is also suffering from extreme edema in the legs (also from malnourishment), so we’re not sure if she knows how to walk, as she is not able to put weight on her legs. Please pray for sweet Riziki! As I mentioned, we have had lots of kids arrive in a terrible condition and they end up thriving! But that doesn’t make it any easier to see the child suffer so badly in the meantime.
I would like to ask you to pray for our five-year old Metrine. She has very suddenly developed a case of Vitiligo; an autoimmune disease that causes the loss of skin pigmentation, which can even lead to albinism. We have taken her to a specialist in El Doret and have started her on phototherapy special light treatments. Vitiligo cannot be cured, but its progression can sometimes be slowed down (or even go into remission) with these treatments and medicines. Metrine will be having to travel to Eldoret twice a week for the next six months (at least), to undergo these treatments. Her medicines are also quite expensive, but of course, we need to do whatever we can to halt this condition! It is not easy to live in Africa when you have compromised skin pigmentation!
I know that many of you are waiting for an update on Linda. Linda is cancer free! She has completed her rounds of chemotherapy and, for now, there is no trace of cancer! What a praise and blessing! The hospital threw a party complete with cake, singing, dancing, and bittersweet goodbyes from the doctors, nurses and other patients who are still waiting for their party days. The other kids in the ward were begging Jeff to remember to come back and read them stories and bring them sweet popcorn, as he has been doing since Linda was diagnosed. 
Linda will be monitored closely over the next two years to make sure that the cancer is gone for good! It is such a joy to watch her playing with the other kids, singing and dancing, challenging the aunties, etc. What a miracle she is!

Thanks for once again reading my long update! I’m told that in this day and time, people want to see small snapshots, not plow through long, detailed updates. But I just can’t seem to help myself! LOL!

We sure appreciate each and every one of you who support us in a variety of ways! I don’t know where these 192 kids would be without you!

GIGATT (God is Good All the Time)!
Mama Carla
Rehema for Kids| 509.405.8677| RehemaForKids.org