Grace Children's Home
Kenya Construction Update

Aaron’s Kenya Update 4/15/2014

Dear friends and family,
Yes, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for with bated breath. Of course, if your breath has not been abated, and you don’t really care, feel free to jump to the end to avoid all this tedious stuff and get straight to the prayer requests. Although, since it’s been so long since I sent an update, you might want to get comforable and just read it. And by the way, I have a legitimate excuse for taking so long to send an update. Did you know time actually travels fastest here on the equator? It’s the same principle as the further out you go on a wheel, the faster you travel as it spins. See, I’m from California at about 38 north latitude, which has a much smaller circumference than the equator, and therefore a shorter distance to travel with each daily rotation of the earth. So while Kenya rushes along at great speed everyday to cover all that ground, California takes its time, gradually rotating around; this is why in the US, time is relaxed and laid back, but here it flies by. And this is the scientific explanation for why I thought it had only been a few weeks since my last update. Or possibly, since I just made all that up, it had something to do with the combination of poor internet and electricity, being very busy 7 days a week, procrastination, and computer drama. It’s literally taken me two days of consistent trying, simply to upload pictures for the GCHM Board. It just got done about an hour ago. And truth be told, the last time I tried to write an update for you guys, I actually had to take a day “off,” and in the middle of it my laptop’s hard drive disastrously gave up the ghost, causing me to lose much much more than the half of an email update I had typed. Nevertheless, I owe an apology to those who have been praying and waiting for news.
But losing all my pictures, research, drawings, programs, etc., while tragic, is hardly the worst that can happen in certain places, so I can hardly complain. My friend John Mutua was surprised to learn that many Americans know the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata,” meaning “no worries.” Of course, this has less to do with Americans being cunning linguists, and more to do with the fact that most of us have seen The Lion King. “Americans believe hakuna matata in Africa?” He laughed, but then grew serious. “Aaron, I think someone has lied to you guys,” he said earnestly. I nodded, equally solemn. “Disney,” I replied. And John is right. While famine and drought sweep across one African land, civil war and religious atrocities and genocide rage in another; throw in a touch of true poverty and corruption and crime across the board, and you’re getting close to the situation on this continent. Even in Kenya, which is among the most stable and prominent countries and has received thousands and thousands of refugees from the countries that are less stable, corruption is out of hand. Muslim terrorists have been targeting westerners and Christians in the big cities here for years now; bombs seem to go off every week somewhere, churches are sometimes attacked and the congregation shot and killed. Just about all of these attacks have been by non-Kenyans. So the response of the Kenyan police is to arrest all non-Kenyan Africans in the cities (literally thousands of them) and imprison them in a big stadium, and what would an African crusade against crime be without the usual raping and pillaging by the cops? Without raping and pillaging, you certainly would not have the good time that is going on in Nairobi right now. And the one protection for the non-Kenyans there? Being able and willing to pay a bribe. So woe to you if you are innocent but poor and honest, and hakuna matata if you are an unscrupulous terrorist with money. But I digress, mostly because this stuff bothers me so much. Don’t worry about us; being out in the rural areas, GCHM is unaffected by these conflicts. But pray for the people who are affected.
Well, so much has happened since my last update, that I cannot possibly cover it for you, so I have decided to just cover the FAQ’s, in no particular order.
#1 Did you really encounter a venomous snake? Yes. And also three scorpions and some spiders that must have come straight out of a horror movie. #2 Who won- you or the snake? I was the victor. I also bravely defeated all comers from the arachnids. And an invading pigmy tribe. Though my most humiliating loss came from a huge praying mantis that managed to fly straight down the back of my shirt in the dark. #3 Did you really battle a pigmy tribe? No, that was fictional. #4 Are Kenyans offended by sarcasm? No, in fact, some of them manage to be more sarcastic than me at times. #5 Have you moved to Kyanzavi yet? Partially. Much of our stuff is out there, but I currently eat and sleep both in Kangundo and Kyanzavi. A more permanent move is expected this Thursday after my usual Thursday responsibilites. #6 How is your health? Decent. Some problems are making it difficult to travel, so please continue to pray. #7 Why does everything seem to take forever in Africa? From what I can tell, it is partially that everyone is pretty laid back, partially that most Africans have never learned good time-management and therefore stink at time-estimates, and partially corruption. Although, our project has been free of blatant corruption, to my knowledge and observation. #8 What does your schedule look like? Sundays, I leave for church around 10 and get back about 3, then I go to play soccer with the GCHM boys. Wednesdays, I have prayer meetings with all of the GCHM parents. Thursdays, I sit in GCHM trustee meetings a large percentage of the day. The remaining four days of the week are devoted to whatever needs to be done: working on the land, errands, traveling, researching, replacing everything lost in hard drive crashes, etc. I rarely have a moment where there is not something to do. #9 Are the roads any better? No, they are actually worse because of the rains, though 2 months ago I would not have thought that to be possible. #10 What are the projects you’ve been doing on the land? Currently the office is basically done, just some painting remaining. We built a rain catchment system for it with a 10,000 liter tank. We picked, peeled, dried, beat, stripped, and bagged our corn harvest, which came to around 1400 kg’s. We plowed and planted. We put up a wall and gate for our compound. The reservoir and well continue to be dug and quarried, and we’ve placed stone walls around them to keep the rain from washing in soil and other things. We are building a temporary storage shed out of lumber and metal sheets for the upcoming heavy rains. We have finished our solar setup for the office. Etc etc etc. #11 When are you coming back to the States? Somewhere between July and December. You can stop asking me this one, because I don’t know exactly. #12 What have you learned by being in Africa? Many things. For example, I learned that when a huge praying mantis flies down my shirt in the dark, I can tear said shirt off with record speed while releasing an alarmingly feminine scream.
Ok, enough FAQ’s. Prayer requests:
Please thank the Lord for His continued provision thus far, for the many different ways in which the land has made good progress, for the protection of all the GCHM people, for the many ways in which He blesses us day to day, and for the way that He uses difficulty for good. Please continue to pray for wisdom for those of us having to make decisions for the ministry here. Please continue to pray for my health, for our neighbors and workers out on the land, for the GCHM trustees and parents and children (and for their relationships with each other), and for the Kenyan people and leaders. Specifically, please pray that the importance of a relationship with Christ and its applicability to every aspect of life is truly impressed upon the hearts of these kids. Please pray for one of our boys who got in trouble at school and ran away to avoid consequences, and now he has been missing for quite a while despite all our efforts to find him. Please pray for financial provision for the land so that all our projects do not come to a grinding halt soon- we would really like to get those families out to Kyanzavi so we can be properly licensed with the Kenyan government and expand this ministry to take in more kids. On that note, please pray that back in the States a grant-writer could be found to write up a grant for our borehole and various other projects that need to be started but have no funds. Please pray for two of our parents who are very sick. Please pray for the Muslims of east Africa and for the innocent refugees in Kenya who are now suffering because of their actions. I’ve been feeling a bit torn because there are a lot of things I would like to be involved in and am (dare I say) needed for back in the States, but the same is true here; so please pray that God makes the timetable clear and shows me where I’m needed most- I’m willing to do whatever.
Thank you for your prayers.

In Christ,
Aaron Clements

Leave a Reply