It’s been a bit long between blog posts here on the “GBU”…
So, let me first say “Happy New Year!”, which is the appropriate Kenyan greeting for anyone we haven’t seen or greeted since Dec. 31st (and which will be used for months to come…).
We had a lovely (if somewhat quiet and subdued) Christmas-Season-On-The-Equator. Highlights:
- Singing “Jingle Bells”, “White Christmas”, and “Auld Lang Syne” as part of the 3-hour Christmas Eve church service;
- Christmas dinner with Kabarak friends and 4-year-old Jonah, who fondly calls me “Uncle Kate”;
- The baobab tree with Kenyan ornaments (the zebra-pulled, Santa “sleigh” donkey-cart is my new favorite);
- A Naivasha Resort Get-Away, with “up-close-and-personal” animal sightings to keep us entertained (came this close to being schmucked by an eland, who was either the “chaser” or “chasee” in some every-day-African-animal-life drama…)
But…by far, the best part of December was welcoming Ryan back to Kijabe after his six-month U.S. “home assignment”. This Mama loves having at least one of her kiddos on the same side of the world as she is, even if by living in Kabarak we are now two hours’ drive away from him:
So; back to the present (“Happy New Year!“):
We’ve had a few “bumps along the road” to the start of the January trimester here at Kabarak University. The term began Jan. 11th; but to date, I’ve only just met, briefly, with both of my nursing classes for a bit of introduction.
No real teaching has yet taken place.
There have been several reasons for this, most of which are unique to the Kenyan University system, where I’ve been learning the new-to-me concepts of “moderation” and “supplementation“, among other things…
The newly updated, computerized registration system was also a bit late getting up and running; some students haven’t been able to register for classes until now (Week #2).
Another unexpected “bump” involves a member of the Health Sciences faculty who wears a few too many “hats”. Therefore, it’s always “crisis mode” in order to put out the fires here and there. Priority is given to all the pressing-issues-of-the-day.
While this is understandable, the ordinary “day-to-day” details and other expected duties/responsibilities get pushed to the side or don’t happen at all.
This has been somewhat frustrating for this American-educated nurse, even though the people I’m working with (including the “fireman“) are all skilled, bright, experienced, and academically gifted in their respective fields. I admire and like them very much; and they have all been most welcoming and kind to me.
And…as if all of the above weren’t enough…there was this:
A literal “bump along the road” that resulted in the back door of the Subaru being severely dented on one side and back window smashed, “kabisa” (completely). Mercifully, no one was hurt during this low-velocity, minor Nairobi misadventure. The car remained drive-able with working tail and brake lights, so was able to make it home to Kabarak with no further incident (although now it sits at the repair shop, awaiting parts).
Sometimes all of these unexpected bumps get a bit overwhelming. Put them all together with the regular water shortages and random-but-becoming-more-regular power outages, the still-not-quite-working, scalding shower and the lack of proper laundry facilities; and sometimes it can all come crashing down and be a bit too much.
One missionary website (“Velvet Ashes“) I read regularly has suggested that at the beginning of each new year, one should “pick a word” as a motto or guide to use as a “touchstone” or “mantra“. Something to either strive for/attain or one that might help give understanding or perspective to events that happen to one throughout the year.
As the website puts it, choose “one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on everyday all year long“.
Some past choices by others have been “Openness” or “Humbled” or “Courage” or “Hopeful” or “Thirsty“.
I have decided that my word will be “Roll“. This year, I really want to learn how to “roll” with things. To be able to better “roll with the punches” and the bumps when they come…because I know they will keep coming.
To “just go with it” more.
To become more flexible and open to the unexpected events that just seem to occur so randomly here and there along the way.
To be able, with God’s grace, to not instantly crumble into a million pieces when I’m feeling overwhelmed and out of control of my own life.
So that eventually, rather than merely “bump ‘n roll“, I can learn how to better “Rock ‘n roll“.
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)
“You will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (anchored) on You, because she trusts in You.” (Is. 26:3)
“Give thanks unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness endures for ever, and His faithfulness unto all generations.” (Psalm100: 4-5).
Touchstones (rocks) for me...to help navigate and endure the bumps of life.
Merrily then, let’s roll along, into this new year……