After almost 2 solid months of travel and living out of our backpacks we are finally in our own house!! Not that we have not learned a ton and appreciated the amazing hospitality of those we stayed with but I must say it was rough to always be on someone else’s schedule and sharing tight spaces with Annikah. We are blessed now to have more control of our time and way more room to spread out. It even has started to feel more like a home especially after a Mexican dinner including home -made tortillas (it is amazing what I can do when there are no other options and you are craving; no desperate for, Mexican). Although after just a few days I have realized why it really is necessary to have someone to help me with cooking and cleaning, I literally was in the kitchen all day (which I did not mind as I have missed cooking) but I am sure it will get old soon not to mention I need to attend language school and attend team meetings. We found a house helper and she starts Monday: yeah!! We were sold on hiring her after we found out she makes multi grain bread and sells it on the side, yummy! Our Mlinzi and his family also moved in to the small house outside our house. Mlinzi is like a watchman but really they also help with everything that we clueless Mzungus need help to understand like where to dispose of waste (there is NO waste disposal here, we compost and then he buries the rest-crazy! And he is even going to help us plant some veggies in our yard. He has a wife and two little girls, the oldest one is a little older than Anni and the girls are already rafikis. When Anni gets up she wants to run outside to greet her and they hold hands and walk around; too precious.

It is so hard to get used to being a small family but having the bigger space and they are loud, music blaring and up early in the morning to sweep. Ah, cultural differences, we will learn a lot from each other. They speak no English at all so it is also good for us as we have to speak; however broken and incorrect, Kiswahili to them. They laugh at us often but we are used to that by now. I shared some Swedish pancakes I made for breakfast with them and they thought they were a bit bizarre but happily tried them and seemed to like them. They also offered us some of their dinner of rice and veggies last night. The family is very grateful to have the job and we hope to build a relationship with them as we live together. In my cooking and baking frenzy I made some apple spice cakes made with the fresh island spices and we walked around our neighborhood armed with the few phrases we know in Kiswahili in an attempt to meet our neighbors. We met about 15 people, mostly women and children and tried to stealthily write down names so we can try to remember them as we handed out the cakes. We were invited in to a few yards and homes and people were very gracious to us and seemed pleased that we are trying to learn their language. Although moving in has by far been great we have also had a few setbacks. It seems that there must be a universal rule here that not everything is allowed to work at one time, that would make life too easy, too predictable, too manageable. We bought all used appliances because there is no way we could afford any new. We started with the fridge and oven and after hauling them home and scrubbing them we discovered the oven did not work we had to go pick up a fundi to fix it. Luckily we had negotiated a one month warranty so although it took most of the day it did not cost us any extra. Once the oven and fridge were working Jason went out and found a washer. In other words we got a little too bold. The washer required our friend coming over to help us hook it up (nothing is simple) and after numerous trips out to the hardware store and one search through some stuff our Mliniz (see did I mention he is awesome?) to find a random piece of rubber (it is amazing how resourceful people are here) it appears to be working (I am running a test load as I type so we shall see). Yesterday as Jason and Eddie were working hard on the washer and in need of cold drinks we realized the fridge was no longer very cold. Of course this is after a trip to the market to stock up that morning. We had our boiled milk that needed to be cooled, some yogurt I just made, and cheese that is very pricey here we got as a special treat for pizza. As an aside we are still eating only veg as after several great trips to the market I thought maybe I was ready to beef up my courage (pun intended) and actually go to the butcher. I walked over to the window with Anni on my hip, a huge straw basket full of veggies and there they were: about 6 goat heads just sitting on the counter. I swear they were staring at me, eyes glazed, and I freaked and made a mad dash back to the veggie market, ahhh carrots and tomatoes, my comfort zone. I will keep you posted on my meat attempts. So far no complaints from Jason as I have been cooking up some yummy veggies. I digress, so after running all our food over to another team mates house for safe keeping we are one step forward and one step back. Since it is Sunday we may have to wait until tomorrow to begin our crusade of getting the fridge working again. Jason also continues his epic journey to get Internet but that is a story I shall let him tell as there is no way I could do it justice; a computer geek with no Internet, a tragic tale of the lengths he went for love. From my sense of needing to accomplish things this stuff is so frustrating but I am learning that I can get by just fine without everything I once thought a necessity, I am learning contentment and I that has never been my forte. I am also learning to not count on everything working all the time. Power goes out, things break (or never work), and everything takes time, lots of time. I can chose to let it get me down (which it has) or I can chose to look at things that would otherwise annoy as opportunities to be kind, gracious, and love people. This is hard for me but I am growing. It is easy to focus on stuff and getting things done but everything good here so far has been about people. Thank God we have friends here that who have already gone through most of this and are helping us cope, what a blessing!We are still working on the fire ant situation and got some powder that came highly recommended so we shall see. We had a ton of rain last night which brings them out and I do not have the courage yet this morning to go see how many have gathered to greet us. Some other exciting news is that got some furniture. We even have a hand-made wooden dining room table with 6 chairs (it only cost about 90 dollars) and only took a few days to make! We never had anything this nice in the states. It is so different here as some things cost way less because the materials and man power are cheaper and then some things (like appliances and plastic junk are so expensive) because it is an island and everything has to be imported. We bought a used bed from our friends who wanted to have a new one made and a carpenter made Annikah a canopy (for her mosquito net) bed that really is pretty. We also got some cheap rope furniture made for our living room and although it is not very comfortable at least we can sit and invite people over. Although there are many moments each day where we feel like we just cannot survive here when nothing works and we have uttered more times than I would admit “lets just hop a plane home.” These are mostly expected and fleeting emotions. Overall, I am feeling less overwhelmed and more like this could be home; a bit more settled, ready for what is next, and confident He has a plan.

Our first dinner at our new dining room table
Our living room

Our room
Miss Annikah on her big girl bed
Our kitchen (those are some yummy hot peppers called pili pili)
Annkah outside our language school
  1. Anonymous says:

    i love seeing the pics of your new place! it looks so nice and you did a great job cleaning and furnishing it!! praying for you!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your house looks so NICE, and sparkling clean! I love the table and chairs and Anni’s bed. So sorry for all of the setbacks you’re experiencing, but it’s great to know that you see God teaching and molding you through it all. Giving out freshly-baked cakes is such a gift, as I know it must have taken you lots of time and frustration to do that. I love picturing Annikah playing with her darling new rafikis. She must love having them right outside the door! Thanks so much for the update – can’t wait for Jason’s version of internet challenges!

  3. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the update, Rox! your place looks great and I’ll be praying for your appliances to all work at the same time this week. 🙂 love reading your updates! love, julie

  4. Anonymous says:

    ahh home ownership -it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be in on any continent! Did I tell you how the g diapers clogged our sewer and set us back a couple of $k? I hope your appliance woes come to an end soon, how do you say Maytag man in Kiswhaili? Your house looks fantastic and just the perfect place for Anni to run around and have all her rafikis over to play. You are truly a domestic diva with all the cooking, that’s awesome and Anni looks like she is just loving every second. Missing you all.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love the pictures of your new place and so glad you found a guard and househelp so quickly! Praise God! I hope your fridge starts to work again soon.Your place looks beautiful, I hope we can come visit one day.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Honey, everything looks very nice and clean. The shine on the floor is fantastic! I hope the appliances and the power all work at the same time. We had the staff her tSure wish we could be together for her birthdayhis weekend, and Beth had her two little girls playing in Anni’s room. They loved the blocks, and were crazy about the golf cart. Reminded me of our last days here. Her youngest just turned two in May, so it was almost like having Anni here for awhile.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a great place, Rox! And I am proud of you for making tortillas from scratch…I aspire to aquire your new cooking skills. 🙂 Miss you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, your place looks amazing-clean, huge, and colorful. Anni’s room looks almost like her old room! Hope you have a great week of birthday preparations! Can’t wait to read about how you will be celebrating Miss Anni’s big day!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nice digs!! Love seeing the pics of the house and of you guys! I'm thiking about y'all! <3

  10. Anonymous says:

    Your living situation with your mlinzi reminds me of The Kite Runner. I definitely look forward to hearing more about that dynamic. Keep up the great stories.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The house looks great, and the table and chairs are beautiful! Oh, and HAPPY BELATED BDAY ANNIKAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XOXOX