Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Chesnut Trees at Osny

The following piece of artwork is Les chataigniers a Osny (The Chesnut Trees at Osny) by Camille Pissarro. This impressionist painting captures the lighting and warmth of the country side. I love the attention to detail shown in the objects in the distance. Plus I just love trees!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Going Places Sitting Down

I have decided to start blogging about art. So about once a week I will put a piece and write a little bit about it. Enjoy!

To start off, I picked Going Places Sitting Down by Hiraki Sawa. This is a video installation that I first saw at The Frist last year. Made up of three large video panels, it moves through several scenes of tranquility and travel. While many people did not care for this installation, I loved it! So here is are a couple still shots from the installation:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

life in a slum

While I am so anxious to be home, I cannot believe that I am leaving this place. I am exhausted in every way possible, but I have learned so much. This place is challenging and will push you to your limit. But most importantly, it brings you to humility and an understanding that we can only- and should only- serve by the Lord's strength alone. We are absolutely nothing without Him. There is a joy only found in Christ that I was reminded of time and time again while I was here. Today especially.

So we decided to be a little rebellious today and go against the rules. I mean, technically we were never told we could not do this. Today, we took a walk, with a local, through the slum of Kibera, the largest slum in the world. Of course, when you think of slum, you think of dying sick people on the side of the road; everyone looking so depressed and hungry; dark clouds and just a generally bad atmosphere. What we saw today was quite different. While there is trash everywhere and lots of people in a small space, life still goes on. The place was bursting with life and energy. People were laughing, people were in deep conversation. Children were learning in school. People were cleaning their businesses. Life still remains. I was only there for about an hour, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had here. Yes, it was difficult to see some things, but definately not what I expected it to be.

Today was also our last day at the BCC. I spent most of the day in town with some people buying a new computer and books for the new school they are opening. When I returned, we went to the sewing class to say goodbye to the girls. They were all so sad and emotional that we were leaving. It was hard to say goodbye to them. They have such sweet spirits and truly care. So many people have given us such genuine words as we have said goodbye to them. They are not afraid to hide their affections. Half of them told me that they love me.

It was also hard to say goodbye to the children. Most of them do not really understand and or do not show emotion. One boy I just fell in the love with on the trip didn't really react when I said bye to him. His name is Josiah. He is probably 7 or 8. He always acts like such an adult and has a great sense of humor. I found him a few times waiting on me to walk with him to lunch. Quite a stud, let me tell you.

I want so badly to promise all of these people that I will come back. I do not know if I will. I just sincerely pray that the only impression I have left is the impression of Christ. I can't ever save them from this world, but my prayer is they meet a Savior who can. Hopefully I will see most of you soon!

peace and love.

p.s. here is a good quote from Bono that really sums up my day:
""God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both of their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted oppurtunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

Monday, June 25, 2007

girl got a weave

yep, that's right. I got my first weave today. We went to the school in the Korogocho slum again and I spent the day with the girls in the beauty school. The braided my hair into a weave. I really enjoyed it. I am not sure how long I will keep it in. But I definately have pictures.

Today started out pretty lousy, where I was back and forth on staying behind for the day. I continue to ask for your prayers for my health. When I wake up in the mornings I just feel really bad and I have been dealing with some severe sinus stuff. It gets frustrating because I do not want to end the trip like this. When you feel bad, you just want to be home and I do not want to be longing for home the last week. And I mean longing in a way that is too much. But I decided to fight it today and actually had a really good day. I really enjoyed talking with the girls in the beauty school. It was a good refresher.

While I am so ready to be home, I cannot believe I have been here a month. My teammate Melissa put it very well today. I feel that I am done with this trip, but I am not done with Africa. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. While this is an extremely hard place to be, there is an indescribable joy here. It is not a happy kind of joy. But a deeper joy that can only be felt when you are this close to the poor. While the problems have so many layers and they can just swallow you, the little bit of good still overcomes. God is moving in this place. And when God moves, who ever said it is always pleasant and comfortable. I think we are afraid of that at times. We do want our world tossed upside down. So while this place doesn't make sense, there is sense happening.

One other thing that I have been thinking about alot the past fews days is how we can speak the truth of Jesus without tying the western culture to it. It is alot more difficult than it sounds. I came over thinking that I am not a true 100% patriotic American. I thought I could shed that skin in seconds. But I was born in America. The culture is apart of me. So when I tell someone about Jesus, there an example of a Christian is an American Christian. I wish so badly that it wasn't, but it is. So this is when I have to rely on the Holy Spirit. He works in peoples lives and He is the one who sifts through the rights and wrongs of culture. But now, I feel it is our responsibility to try to understand people different than ourselves. Understand that Christianity is not an American thing. It is a world thing. It is the Scripture in raw that I will return to. Not the constitution. When Jesus said go and make disciples, our model of that is first understanding and loving, then sharing our hope for eternity. Make disciplines...that is more than just talking.

So, again, that you all for your encouraging notes and prayers! I look forward to seeing everyone. I might blog again one more time before I leave.

peace and love.

Friday, June 22, 2007

jesus, sufjan, movies and more

So I went through the phase where I really did not feel much emotion expect for being overwhelmed. Well, now I am still overwhelmed, but feeling all sorts of emotion. I am probably going to blab about alot of stuff, but I need to get it all out.

I came with the confident, a little to prideful, attitude that I definately need to be in Africa. I was dying to get there. Well, thats not quite what I am dying and longing for. What I am dying and longing for is eternity. Scripture says so. He has set eternity in my heart. And I have come to the simple realization again that only God can save this world. It is only by His power and strength that the slight progress has happened in Africa. While it is so easy to get caught up in all the horrible problems going on here, God is still moving. But right now, I feel swallowed by the problems. I feel like I am in a room of dying people all crying out for help and I can't save them. And I really can't save them. Only God can. He doesn't need my help. So right now, I feel like I need to back out of the room and ask God which dying person to help first. Thankfully, by the Lord's strength, He has equipped me with one thing. And that is the ability to talk about a saving grace. And give the hope that one day, our Savior will come riding on a white horse to get us. I may never be able to get them about of the slums or heal their wounds or give them money, but if they know Jesus intimately, one day there will be no more slum, no more disease, no more death, no more money as the god of this world, no more hunger, no more strife. So all I can say and pray for and cry out is for Jesus to save them, because I can't.

After I grasp this, I am overwhelmed with how incredibly blessed I am. As I was having my quite time the other morning, I realized it. Yeah, I have always thought I have been blessed. But, really, truly, I am blessed beyond understanding. I look at these people and I am no better than them. Thanks to dear sufjan, he reminded me, that "in my best behavior, i am really just like them." (side note: sufjan is wonderful. pretty much all of his songs relate to jesus and make you think lots and lots) I find myself asking what did I ever do to deserve everything I have. I have a wonderful family, I go to an amazing school, I have wonderful friends, I have money, I have a job, I have a car, I have have have have. And then more than that, I live in a country where the government provides education, health care, protection. I don't have to walk around seeing military and police with ak-47s in their hand with the finger on the trigger like they are going to need to shoot something. I grew up being valued as a youth and told I can reach my dreams instead of going home to not find my parents and wondering around to then only fall in a latrine where I would have died if some hadn't of found me. I have resources where I can research the world and find out the facts for myself instead of being told lie after lie. I have the freedom of being a single woman without assumptions being tossed at me. And then as I sat there, I simple realized that I am blessed to have a bible to read and study, a journal to write down my thoughts and prayers, an iPod to listen to music on, encouraging notes and prayers from people who care about me. I am so blessed with all of this, but does it really matter. Do I really have Jesus?

Serving the Lord is not always doing and going. Its sitting with Him and asking and knowing Him. We do not owe Him any favors. We are not in charge of where we go. He is. So it is deciding to let go of all the stuff and blessing and thank God when they are there and when they are not there. The biggest blessing is that Jesus saved this world and is coming again. He is bigger than the mess we have made. He changes lives. So let take our hands away and let Him do that. Lets be someone who can be navigated and who responds to the hand of God. Lets live eternity starting now.

So all of that to say that I had a very American day. We took the last two days off because I have been sick again and we truly haven't had days of rest while we have been here. So today we went to this shopping center and shopped a little and went to see a movie. I had a latte, ate a hot dog, popcorn, and a snickers, and we saw Ocean’s 13. So it was a fun day and yesterday, we took it pretty easy and rested at the guest house most of the day. I am so anxious to get home because I want to begin to pray and sift through where the Lord wants me. I am just to the point that I have really done what I can do here and I have learned things that I want to start living out. So please pray that I am patient this next week and really am open to what the Lord has in store. I also am so antsy to see the rest of Africa. I have heard so much about other places and want to see and study how these people live. Thanks so much for your love and prayers.

Peace and love.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


i have uploaded some photos to my yahoo account. the address is I will try to upload more, but it takes a while to do so.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

joel is back!

I had to title this post in honor of our driver, Joel, who was gone from us for a while. His brother in-law passed away and he had to go take care of all the details. Deaths in the family are alot more complicated in Africa. Our fill in driver was great and called us his queens and all (I just decided not to think anything of it), but we just love Joel! When we got the phone call that he was coming back, it was like we were going to meet our favorite boy band or something. Needless to say, it is great to have him back!

Today, we visited a wonderful new place. It is called New Life Home. It is a home for abandoned babies. While most of them are HIV positive, they do accept HIV negative babies also. The coolest thing is that when they receive them they put them on a nutritional/medical diet and around 90% of the HIV positive babies turn out to be negative! It is just a wondeful place where these babies can receive the love and care that every newborn needs. It is also Christ centered, so these babies are learning that Jesus loves them! They keep all the babies together, no matter if they are positive or negative, and volunteers do not know their status as well. So as I got there, one of them latched on to me. He was quite the character. They were all so full of joy and wonderful fussy babies. We played outside with them for quite a while and then we went in and got to feed them. That was quite an experience. The little boy I fed apparently just loves to eat. So when we was through with his food and juice, he just screamed bloody murder. Then after they gave him more juice, as soon as he finished the last drop, there came the screaming again. It was actually quite amusing. Then after changing time, I was handed a full little baby girl. Well maybe a little too full because she decided to vomit all over my legs. It really didn't bother me because it definately wasn't the first time it has happened to me. I just laughed it off. It is amazing the full time dedication the staff and nurses at the place have. They give so much so these babies receive the nurture they need at an early age. We are hoping to go back one more time before we leave.

On Sunday, we ate lunch at Tony's house. He runs the center that we are working at. It was such a good conversation. He has such a vision and love for the BCC and the surrounding village and slum. It was also eye opening to talk to someone educated like himself about America and what the Africans believe. Africans are such trusting people. If you tell them something, almost 100% of the time they will believe it. Unfortunately, people have come to Africa, and even the governments of Africa, and take advantage of that and lead these people into lies. Tony began to tells us about this man who came and told them about a seminar he could do for a good price. It was about investing in the U.S. stock market. He claimed that money does grow on tree because American dollars grow on trees. It was obvious that this was a huge gimic to rip Tony off, but Tony didn't see that. That is only one example of many.

Also, Joel took us to the place today where you can view Kibera, the largest slum in the world. It was breath-taking, and not in an exactly good way. I took pictures, but they don't do justice to seeing it in person. It is just rows and rows and rows and rows of metal and scraps and dirt (in the air, you can't see the ground), and trash. Here is the shocker that not many people realize. People pay rent to live in the slums. It is like the suburbs of Africa. It is really hard to wrap your mind around.

well, I feel like I have so much more to tell but that will be all for now. I am probably missing you if you are reading this, so much much love from Nairobi!

peace and love.