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Things you Talk About When You Are Moving to Kenya


Here is a great post from my bride, Steph:

So what do you talk about when you know you are moving nine thousand miles away? "Weird" things, "crazy" things, things you never even knew you would need to talk about, ever. Many of our conversations these days end up about Kenya. What it is like? What it will it be like and how will things change for us once we are there? Recently I asked about toilet they have it? Jeff said "yes, I used toilet paper while I was there.", so in his mind there is always toilet paper. I challenged him and told him that was probably just for him since he was visiting. We usually treat our visitors a little more special than others, so maybe toilet paper isn't readily available there. I asked Jeff what he thought about using family cloth in Kenya. He shut me down before I could even explain. For those of you who've never heard of family cloth, it is essentially cloth toilet paper that you wash and reuse over and over. Using family cloth in Kenya would cut down on waste and the amount of money that we would need pledged monthly plus it is super easy and pretty cheap to make. But Jeff and the kids said "no way". We already use cloth instead of paper towels and paper napkins so I didn't think this would be a huge issue. My family thought otherwise. As some of you know we just had a Kenyan Pastor, John Tino, visit us for 4 days. While John Tino was here I had a the great idea to ask him what they use in his village to "wipe with". He responded with " a leaf or rock". Yes, you read that correctly...they wipe with rocks if needed! That family cloth idea isn't sounding too bad now is it? Seems like a simple choice we can have 2 baskets by each toilet, one for rocks and one for family cloth! :)

John Tino 3

Speaking of toilets, that's another interesting thing we have discussed. Once again our really great, knowledgeable, amazing friends had a great suggestion! Composting toilet...a what toilet? That sounds terrible. That sounds like it smells terrible! I was seriously shocked to hear/learn/read about composting toilets. The part of Kenya we will be in doesn't have city water or sewer so we are going to have to be purposeful with our resources. So in order to have a sufficient amount of INDOOR toilets (most people where we will be living have outhouses), we will be making and using composting toilets. The basics are: a bench with a hole cut in it, a toilet seat screwed down, a 5 gallon bucket under the toilet seat and a bucket of sawdust/dirt to cover your business. I'm told that this doesn't smell bad as long as you always cover what you leave behind. If you had told me a year ago I would be talking about composting toilets I wouldn't have believed it and I would have been EXTREMELY grossed out, but here I am agreeing to have 15+ in our home and use one on a daily basis. Reusable toilet paper, composting toilets...that makes everything else easy right? It seems that way.

I will need to learn how to preserve fruits, veggies and meat. I'm not going to lie, canned meat freaks me out almost as much as a Porta-Potty does. My Momma has taught me how to can beans which we will have plenty of in Kenya, but I've only done that once. I will be honest, pressure canners scare me...I just envision them blowing up and burning everyone in sight. But I know this will be a very useful skill in Kenya. We will have electricity and a backup generator allowing me to have a refrigerator, but I will still need to preserve food for us while it is in season and possibly take some to sell or trade at the market. I'm really looking forward to staying "in touch" with our food there. Even though we have animals here we aren't eating them daily or anything like that. In Kenya we will be doing that more often, plus we will grow whatever fruit-stand veggies we can. Also right now if a fruit or veggie is out of season we usually still have access to it, that won't be the case in Kenya.


A few other interesting topics of conversation around the Bys house showers, swamp coolers, life without air conditioning, mosquito nets, cooking indoors over an open flame and making homemade toothbrushes.

While John Tino was here he asked about ice and how it is made. We use lots of ice in our sweet tea so I was shocked...(in my mind) everyone knows what ice is and how you would make it. So we showed him and when I opened the deep freezer, he touched the shelf and asked if that was what snow was like. Wow, that was mind-blowing to me! In his village they don't have any refrigerators or freezers so he's never made ice and obviously there is no snow in Kenya. One day while he was here I made smoothies (frozen and fresh fruit, a little juice and ice) for everyone as a snack. He asked me if I could make them in Kenya and I said "yes". He said "everyone will love it." Then this image hit me...all of these tiny little faces looking at me with big bright eyes and huge smiles, waiting on this cold (and healthy) treat...this is what I was made for!

As hard as many of these changes will be and as hard as life in Kenya can be, we go knowing we are following God's will for us (James 1:27, Matthew 28:19-20). We go knowing we will be blessed in our doing (James 1:25). We face the trials ahead counting it all joy (James 1:2-4). We go knowing we will not be in darkness.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. -Jesus