Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back in the States

Hello All!

     I am officially back in the United States, and have been for two weeks now.  I did not want to blog right away, as I wanted to let being home set in for a while first.  As for the last leg of our trip, it was incredible.  The safari was really cool, but also quite a culture shock, as it was very luxurious.  We went out on game drives morning and night for four days, and saw the big five.  The big five are the five animals that were most hunted for their skins or horns, and these include the lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhino.  There are only 26 or 27 black rhino's left in the world, and we got to see one on our last game drive.  We also saw three or four leopards on the last day, which was neat.  The cape buffalo was everywhere, and we saw many lions.  We only saw one elephant, and it was a baby, but you could see it's small tusks sticking out of it's skin.  On one drive, the open top jeep we were driving in was surrounded by fifteen lions, which was pretty cool, and there were three cheetas that were in the area for two days.  The first day they were rather thin, but by the second day, their stomachs were engorged, and hanging rather low, so they had obviously eaten during the night.  We were hoping to see them make a kill, because they had been circling, and stalking, the wildebeast that were migrating, but they did not actually kill one.

      The people working at the safari camp liked having us around.  A few of them were from Kisumu, right down the road from where we volunteered, and because we knew a few words in kiswahili, a language known across the nation of Kenya.  It was also strange four them to see four american university students there, as most of their clients appeared to be older people and their families.  This wasn't the same in every camp, as there were younger people in other jeeps, but it seemed to be the case for this company.

        Adjusting to life back in America was not difficult, but it was strange at first.  I mean I can drink the tap water, sleep without a mosquito net, and put my clothes in a washing machine.  All of which are pretty cool.  I feel much more appreciative of what I have been given, and as I watch the news on Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan, I have a much deeper knowledge of what is going on there.  It was an incredible experience and I will be forever grateful to all who made it possible for me to be there.  Thank you very much for reading this blog.

God Bless,


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final blog from Kisumu


    So once again I must apologize for the absence of a mid week blog, but I will make up for it with a long, very entertaining and informative blog post this time.  SO....last Sunday evening we had dinner with the Hawthorne Dominican sisters.  It was quite nice.  They made spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread.  I was in heaven.  They told us the story of the formation of their order, which was very interesting, and it would take me a really long time to type out the whole story so I am going to refrain from doing so.  It was very nice of them to have us.

      The last week at Our Lady of Grace has been extremely eventful and fulfilling.  The students have realized that we are leaving and have started really warming up to us, wanting to be with us all the time, and really talking to us about everything that comes to mind.  There are three students in particular that always want to talk to me, and it is very nice.  One of them doesn't really seem to talk to anyone too much, and always sits with a blank stare on his face, but in the last week he has changed in that he smiles more and always wants to talk to me and sit next to me, which is nice.  He asks me all sorts of questions about life and talks to me about things that the wonders about.  I gave him my rosary and it said K of C on it - for Knights of Columbus, and he wanted to know who they were, and then what a knight was.  I explained to him that the Knights are a Catholic Men's organization that does charitable works for others.  The Knight question was more amusing.  He wanted to know what a Knight was, so I told him about Knights in the middle ages.  I told him that they were men who rode around on horses, wearing armor and brandishing swords, and defending the helpless and fighting for God. He looked at me with this awed expression on his face and his mouth almost open as if to ask, do you really do that?!  It was so funny.  I had to explain to him that the Knights of Columbus do these things through charitable works and no through swords and on horseback.  It was such a funny conversation.

        Yesterday we put on a day long retreat for the students.  It seemed like they really enjoyed it.  I had the seventh and eighth grade boys in my discussion group and they were very well versed in their scripture passages, which was nice.  Some of them had trouble seeing the tradition of the church as important, so I tried to tell them about how the church's practices and teachings are based on both tradition and scripture.  They steered the conversation towards Jesus and his actions because they knew so many scripture passages.  So we discussed Jesus' life and how He is the example that we should all follow.  They liked that conversation.  Our conversation came to a lull a little early and so we decided to do a team-building activity.  I tried to come up with an age appropriate activity on the spot, and I came up with quite the idea.  There was an absolutely massive tree next to our meeting spot, so I told them that for a team-building activity, we were going to get everyone in the group up in the tree.  Naturally, they loved it, and we got about 12 of us up in the tree.  I then told them that we were going to respectfully yell a decade of the rosary at the top of our lungs.  At first they were hesitant, but after the first prayer, they got really into it.  They yelled as loud as they could, and they thought it was awesome.  Now it could just be that they loved it because they had actually been told to climb a tree as high as they could, and were now being told to yell as loud as they could out of that tree, but I prefer to believe that they really loved chanting the prayers.  After doing this, we were still a few minutes early for lunch, so I pulled out the guitar, and taught them the chorus to an American college song that I thought they would enjoy.  The song is called "The General"  and it is by Dispatch.  It is a great song, and you can listen to it here if you would like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3JjlkfX5Gk  It is about a general who wakes up in the middle of the night on the eve of battle, and decides that he doesn't want his men to fight.

The chorus goes like this:

     "He said: I have seen the others,
      and I have discovered
      that this fight is not worth fighting.
      And I've seen their mothers,
      and I will no other
      to follow me where I'm going, so,

      Take a shower, shine your shoes.
      You've got no time to lose,
      you are young men you must be living.

      Take a shower, shine your shoes,
      you've got no time to lose,
      You are young men you must be living.
      Go now, you are forgiven."

      They had lunch, and afterwards we played a slideshow of pictures we had taken of them.  They don't see cameras very often, if at all, and so they love having their picture taken, and getting to see the pictures.  They laughed hysterically at some of the pictures, and had a great time.  We had also made them chocolate chip cookies, and passed those out while they were watching.  In the absence of chocolate chips in all the local stores, we used chocolate sprinkles.  It actually worked quite well.

     After this, we separated the students back in to their groups, and I was once again with the seventh and eighth grade boys.  We were going to try and use this time to talk about what it means to be a Catholic man and a Catholic woman with our respective groups.  I was not sure that my group of boys could handle the subject, so I decided to take a roundabout route into the topic, rather than a direct one.  However, they didn't go for it, so after about ten minutes of trying to get them to talk, I took the direct route.  I had given them a good balance of quiet time and questions so they could ease their way into the topic, but they would have none of it.  So I asked them "How are women to be treated?"  They remained silent.  So I moved to a more direct question.  I asked "Are women here for our own use and objectification?"  (A side note:  Polygamy is still a large part of African culture, especially the Luo tribe.  Many of the students are from this tribe.)  There was silence for about thirty seconds and then one of them said "yes"  and most of them started smiling and laughing in agreement.  I took a minute to explain to them that because, as they had mentioned earlier, we are all created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore have an inherent dignity, and deserve respect.  Whatever we do to one another, we do to Christ.  They just sat there and stared into space, so I brought them to the high school boy's discussion group and told them to sit and listen, figuring it would benefit them more than me telling them things and them not listening.  I think listening to the older boy's conversation was beneficial for them, so I'm glad that I brought them to that conversation, instead of trying to force a discussion upon them.

    Today we started cleaning the house we have been staying in, and packing up our things.  It feels so strange.  I am almost all packed up, but I have so much to do tonight that I might not get too much sleep.  We also took one last ride into town.  I rode in a matatu for the first time as well.  Picture a standard eight passenger van and then gut it, and fill it with seats for about 16 people.  So it;s full to the brim with people, and then everyone has grocery bags and other things, and it becomes very very cramped.  The matatu we took back was so packed that I climbed into it through the back window, which was about one foot by one and a half feet.  I barely fit in it.  I would have gotten in the side door, but the matatu was full, and the only open seat was in the very back by the window.

     We got back to the school, and hung out with the students from about 4:30 unitl 7:30.  Our dinner is served at 6:15, so we were quite late, but that's ok.  They were having a great time, but many of them were sad because we are leaving tommorow.  Two of them have been showing me their gymnastic skills, and one of them perfected a backflip last week, and he did that a bunch of times.  I got a great photo of him upside down in mid air.  It was pretty cool.

    Interacting with the students has been a little more challenging over the past two weeks, because they have been studying for their end of term exams, and their national exams.  They have three weeks of testing.  Whenever they aren't in an exam they are free to study, or "revise" as they call it.  We don't want to interrupt them, because for some of them, the national exam will determine if and where they can go to university.  However, "revising" is much like an American college student's studying - sitting with your friends for about four hours, and maybe getting one hour of real studying in during that time.  It seems that some things are the same in every culture haha.

     Earlier on in the five weeks we spent here, I offered to do some manual labor for the school, as we had a lot of down time.  There were many places around the school that needed to be repainted, and I mentioned that I would like to do this.  Last week they took me up on the offer, and we started to repaint the parade ground (the area around the flagpole)  The students stand around it every Monday morning and raise the flag, and every Friday morning and take down the flag.  They sing their national anthem and have announcements too.  The paint had chipped off most of it, and there were large pieces of cement missing.  So we got cement and paint and went to town.  The primary students finished their exams on Wednesday last week, and just sit in their classrooms now, so we asked the boys to come help us paint, and they did.  They loved it.  The secondary boys helped too, when they needed a study break.  It will not be completed before I leave, but I know that it will be completed, because the students love working on it.  There were a few instances in which students who weren't painting disrespected the working students by unnecessarily walking through the work area and kicking up dust near the wet paint.  The students who were painting got angry and defended what they were working on, which was great, because the administration has had trouble getting the students to stand up for their school, and take pride in it.  I feel that the students have learned a lot by painting.  They are working hard, and diligently, and are seeing what they are accomplishing.  It is pretty awesome.

     We leave tommorow for Nairobi and then on Tuesday morning we head to the Maasai Mara for a safari.  We return to the US on Saturday.  I probably will not be able to blog while in safari, so I will write again nwhen I get back to the states!  This experience has been life changing and incredible on so many levels, and I am very grateful to all of those who made it possible for us to be here.  Thank you very, very much.  And thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this blog.  I appreciate it.

     There are many more pictures up and they can be found at the URL below!  Thanks again!


God Bless


Monday, July 18, 2011

Jesus wore tire sandals


    So, the title.  I was talking to one of the kids today and we were discussing how many Kenyan people wear sandals that are made from old tires. They last a really long time, and are really cool.  He said something along the lines of "Haven't you seen mine?!  They're so old Jesus could've worn them!"  and I was like "haha!  Jesus wore tire sandals!"  and thus, the title of this post.  While we were sitting there, a younger student came over with two heaping portions of food; twice as much as the student is usually allowed.  He proceeded to sit down and start eating and guarding his food.  I asked "How did he get all of that?"  and one student said "The smaller the monkey, the longer the tail."  I asked what it meant, and he said that the younger a kid is, the more he eats!  I thought it was really funny that he used a monkey analogy and then I realized that they were just a common part of African life, and so it made sense that they would use them in common phrases.

    The students have mock exams this week in order to prepare for their national, end-of-semester exams next week, and we have had a lot of downtime.  Earlier in the week, a few of the other volunteers and I went to the New Hope Home.  It is a place that takes in abandoned children, and raises them.  These children are abandoned anywhere and everywhere.  There were about 50 or 60 children in the home, ranging in age from newborns to toddlers.  There is a medical unit there for newborns with medical troubles, along with a unit for children with special needs.  I spent a little while feeding one of the infants his morning bottle, and then we took them outside and laid them down on a blanket to play.  I had brought my guitar, and played some music for them.  A few of them fell asleep.  I mean, it's completely understandable: a nice bottle of warm milk, and then lying in the sun listening to music.....sounds like an infant's heaven.  It was extremely sad though.  I couldn't believe that there were so many beautiful children that had simply been abandoned.  We spent about two and a half hours there one morning, and then returned to the school.

      Another day I worked on the history of Father Tom's Kids and Our Lady of Grace School again, as more information had come to light from an interview with one of the Dominicans who has held the reigns of the organization from very early on.  I have been finding creative ways to have fun with the students.  Occasionally at lunch we have push-up contests, and I am currently undefeated, but apparently they are practicing at night, and my defeat is imminent.  On Friday, I was given the task of teaching the whole school the mass parts from the 10:30 mass.  They already knew the Alleluia, but they had not learned the rest of them.  It was quite a challenge to get the 175 students learn them.  They did not seem all that interested, and yet this morning, after Sunday mass, we went through them again, and they knew them all, which was nice.  The only one they do not yet know is the Gloria, which is rather difficult to begin with.  We wil work on that one in the last week.

      Every Monday morning they have an assembly at which they put up the Kenyan flag, and the Vatican flag, and sing their national anthem.  The head students give short speeches about the past week and the upcoming week, and the Principal addresses them.  The two flagpoles are surrounded by concrete walls, and the paint job on the walls has been destroyed.  The walls are crumbling a little bit, but a new paint job would make work wonders for the walls.  I had offered to do this much earlier on in our time here, and now that we are leaving, they have jumped on the opportunity to have it repainted.  The school social worker and I are heading into town on Monday to buy paint and brushes in order to paint the walls.  I have an old t-shirt that I can wear, but I don't have any old shorts with me.  I am still not sure what I am going to do about that.

     The students realize that we will be leaving shortly as well.  They keep coming up to us and asking us when we will be back again.  I have to smile, only because they don't realize the time, effort, and, primarily, generosity of donors, that allowed us to come here at all.  I have to tell them that regrettably, I will most likely not come back here again.  One student said "But you will have a job when you get out of college right?"  And I laugingly replied "Hopefully!"  He then proceeded to say that as long as I had a job, and was making money, that I could use that money to come here.  I had to explain that there are expenses that the money you make at your job have to cover, and that it would take a long time to set aside enough money to be able to come back, not even mentioning having the time to come.  I have done my best to make the biggest difference that i could possibly make while I have been here.  Ironically, as much as I came to help them, they have taught me more than they know already, and I am sure that this experience will continue to teach me more and more as life goes on.  But it's not over yet!  We have eight days left at the school, and I intend to make the most of all of them.

     I neglected to mention that last week I taught a few history classes to the freshmen.  I didn't know much about Kenyan history before this, but I do now.  I had them answer a few questions and then when they handed it in I graded it.  I taught them a class in agriculture as well, but their teacher wanted to grade their assignments.

     All of the students are in exams until Thursday this week, so we have lots of time to finish up our work on the website and a few other things.  We are also putting the finishing touches on the retreat that we are running on Saturday.  Last night we had dinner with the Hawthorne Dominicans, which was rather nice.  They made quite an American meal; Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and garlic bread.  It was delicious.

     I will be uploading lots of photos to facebook tommorow so check back for a link!

Thanks again for reading!

God Bless,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello again!

    So today I taught music in the morning and then I went to the cancer hospice run by the Hawthorne Dominicans and played guitar for the patients there.  The hospice is a three minute walk down the street from the Dominicans compound.  All of the patients at the hospice are terminally ill.  When we got here we were told that there were thirteen patients.  I finally made my way over to play guitar today and there were only five left.  I went  into the first room and the two elderly women in the room did not speak English so I was a little thrown off concerning how to communicate with them.  The superior sister then sent in a translator, which was good.   I played a few acoustic songs for them, and then they asked me (through the translator) to sing....so I did......I am not a confident singer.  I went into the next room, and the elderly woman there was very close to death so I played a few songs for her and then I left her in peace.  I went into the third and final room and there were two men in it.  One spoke English fluently, which was nice.  The other did not, so the translator told him that I did not speak Kiswahili and then left, which was fine.  The man who spoke English loved the music I sang.  When I sang Be Thou My Vision for him, he smiled and said that he was so happy.  I asked him what he had done for a living and he told me that he was a primary school teacher.  It was really nice to be able to do that for them and they asked me to come back again, so I assured them that I would.

    I went back to the school afterwards and the boys and girls football teams were having their end of the year celebration.  They invited me in with them and so I sat down with them and we had soda, popcorn, and cookies.  It was nice.  One of them stood up and thanked me for bringing the Jerseys, which was very nice.  Another thanked me for the boots (cleats).  I am only mentioning this because many of  you donated to make it possible to bring this equipment, and so just know that they appreciate it very much.  One of them said that there new jerseys "struck fear" into the opponents, and so they won.

The students are going to play guitar at mass soon.  They are almost there.  They have learned how to play the Alleluia and are now learning a song.  I heard three students singing the Alleluia today; still awesome.

    This morning I wrote a history of the Father Tom's Kids program and Our Lady of Grace School for the website.  I was handed a history that was written a while ago, and needed some modification, and a brochure with an incomplete history on it, so I compiled and edited them to create, hopefully, a more complete and understandable, history.

     I have put more pictures up on facebook.  If you copy the URL below and paste it into your URL bar, it should take you to them.  The pictures of me in the tree are from a few days ago.  The younger students were having a hard time getting the mangoes to fall out of the tree, so  I climbed up it, and started shaking it.  It began raining mangoes, and it was hilarious.  The kids would hear one coming, and then duck and run away, and when they heard it hit the grass or the sidewalk, there would be a big rumble to see who would get the mango.

      I have had many questions about why people can not comment on the posts unless they are registered users, so I looked into the settings of my blog, and found the setting for comments and changed it so that anyone can comment.  So if you would like to, you are now free to comment without being a registered user.


Thanks again for reading!

God Bless,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Catchy 10:30 Mass Alleluia

So life here has been very busy and eventful in the last week, so please forgive the absence of a mid-week blog.   Celebrating Independence Day in Kenya was pretty awesome.  The Dominicans threw us a “nama choya”, which is a big barbecue.  There was so much food, and it was incredible.  The first course was smoothies.  Yes.  Smoothies.  This was quickly followed by hot dogs that were twice the size of an American hot dog.  I had two of those to chase down my strawberry smoothie.  Crates of soda and Tusker were brought out, and those were passed around while goat and beef were roasted on the fire.  Goat tastes surprisingly like beef.  Along with all of this delicious meat was potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, watermelon, bananas, pineapple, rice, and much more.  Then, after all of the grilled meat, came dessert.  There were three cakes.  The first, and my favorite, was a homemade chocolate cake.  Second, was a lemon cake, and third, was a red, white, and blue jello cake.  These were all made by the Dominican sisters from down the road who had come to the barbeque as well.  The School Sisters of Notre Dame were also in attendance.  The Kenyan Dominicans had never seen jello before, but they loved it.   I had cake and ice cream to my heart’s content, and I was full. 

 I have been continuing to teach music and the guitar to the students, and a there are five of them who have really got the hang of it.  They have gotten down about five of six chords, and are now working on switching between them so that they can move on to playing songs.  It is so cool to see their faces light up when they get it right.  They really want to play at mass on Sunday, but I am not sure that they will be ready.  If they keep practicing every day, then they will be ready by next Sunday.   They have tomorrow afternoon off, and want to practice all afternoon, which should be fine, although I won’t be able to be there with them this time, as Jeff is taking us to the market so we can see it. We hear kids walking around the compound singing the alleluia that I taught them, which is really cool.  It happens all the time too!  We have decided that after each daily mass we are going to keep the students there and teach them a new song.  Today we taught them "Christ be Our Light".  It was cool. 

I have been playing basketball with some of the students after school every now and again, and they really love it.  Today I spoke with Jeff and he has decided to stand in as their coach so that they can play in a league next year.  I guess they have done this in the past, but last year they did not.  Usually a few kids from the village come and play as well.  They are really good.  It is quite fun, and they are quite fair with the self refereeing and creating teams, which is neat.

Today they had a reap lecture again, which is like going to a CCD class in America.  Unfortunately the main hall of the school in where they usually hold the reap lectures was being used for an exam.  The second largest “auditorium” the school has is lacking a roof (on purpose) and it was raining, so that was out.  I pointed out that they could hold it in the science lab, which is quite big, and they decided to do that.  The lab was donated in memory of a science teacher in (I believe) America, who had passed away, and it is very nice.  In the lab there are tons of countertops, and the students were all sitting on them, but many girls were standing while the boys were sitting.  We were told as volunteers that one of the things we should try to do is help the children build character.  So I instructed all of the boys to stand up and offer their seat to a girl who didn’t have one.  They actually did it!  I was very impressed.  The secondary school boys were all standing in the back of the lab.   They had opened the double back doors and were standing on chairs and holding onto the door frame in order to listen, which was quite nice.  Kate and Brother Dominic gave a nice lecture about the sign of peace at mass, and what it actually means.  It was very good.  Afterwards, a student came up to me and asked me about God’s will in the world, and we had a conversation about that.  It was a very nice conversation.  He brought up the face that he saw people try to find happiness and fulfillment in alcohol, money, and drugs, among other things, but the only place one can truly find fulfillment is in the Lord.  I am pretty sure he was a freshmen in high school, and for someone that age in this society to say that is quite impressive.   

There are two students here from southern Sudan, and they are very happy today, as today the Sudan split in half and the newest country in the world was formed: the Republic of Southern Sudan.  One of them is a senior in high school, and does very well gradewise.  He has a brother who lives and works in the United States.  His brother spoke to a college in the U.S. and they have agreed to take him on as a student if he gets a certain grade on Kenya's national exam.  Needless to say, he is very excited.  It couldn't have happened to a better guy.  

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this.  Thank you very much for doing so.  I will be putting pictures up soon of this past week so if you check back in a little while you will see another link to an album of photos!

God Bless,


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beginning of Week 3


     So today is Sunday, the beginning of week 3.  The end of week 2 was incredible.  I have really begun to get to know more of the students, which is great.  On Wednesday I played guitar for the first, second, and third graders.  They loved it.  They sang and danced and now whenever one of them sees me he points at me and goes "Kevin! (while making a guitar strumming motion), which is awesome.  I taught music to the seventh graders again on Friday and then they had a lecture on the Catholic faith, as they do every Friday afternoon.  Fr. Chris told the students that if they wanted to learn some music for mass, and some mass parts, that they should come outside with me, and so 30-40 students followed me outside, and I taught them the Alleluia from the PC 10:30 Mass, which was pretty cool.  They picked it up quickly, and this morning they sang it at mass, which was nice.  There are a few students who are picking up how to play the guitar quite quickly.  At first I was trying to teach a whole bunch of them how to play all at once, but it was very impractical as I only brought one guitar.  I have decided to teach a few of them as much as I can in the next few weeks, so that they will know more.  When I leave they can teach more students how to play.  I just want to get one of them good enough at it so that they can play at mass.  This is quite a feat for four weeks time, but I am going to go for it all the same.

     Yesterday, we went to a soccer tournament that the school team was playing in.  It was incredible.  There were so many people there!  I was half expecting to see some other American missionaries there, but there were none, and so we were quite an attraction.  These little kids followed us around everywhere, and one of the school staff told us that some of the people thought we were sponsoring a team because, well, we were white, and we were taking lots of pictures.  The boys team wore the jerseys we brought from the NOVA Soccer Club, some of the cleats we brought.  The girls team wore some cleats and used one of the balls that was donated by the Attleboro Youth Soccer organization.  It was pretty cool.  I took lots of pictures.  One of the students leaned over to me between the two games they played and said that the team was very grateful for the jerseys.  He said they were especially grateful because they won the first game they played in them.  It was very nice.  I wasn't there when they actually gave the equipment to the teams, but Tommy said that the kids were very, very happy to be receiving all of it, so thanks again to all who contributed!

     So the boys team played in two games, and they are very good, to say the least.  They won the first game (I believe this was the score)  2-0, and tied the second game 1-1.  They would have won but they let in a goal in the last few minutes, allowing the Jesuit school, St. Ignatius Loyola, to score.  I found it amusing that even here in Africa there are still rivalries between the orders.  They play three games today, which we could not attend, but they have a good chance of winning.

      I organized the building of a ping pong table the other day!  It's pretty cool - we had legs built and then laid an old chalkboard on top and that's it!  The kids use it a lot after school.  You can see pictures on facebook.

     At mass this morning, there was a dancing procession before the priest on his way into mass, which was neat; very African.  The students wore long sheets that had images of Mary and the Child Jesus and crosses on them as skirts during the procession.  It was great to see that part of African Culture.  On a separate note, Kenya does not have a stable power grid, and so we had a few dinners by candlelight this week.  It is pretty cool, except when you want to use the internet, but that's ok.  I just end up doing about two or three long blog posts a week, instead of short ones every day.  We were having dinner last night, and the power was out.  It came back on right in the middle of dinner so we blew out the candles, and as soon as we did, the lights went back out.  It was funny, annoying, and ironic all at the same time.
      I have been going to night prayer with the Dominicans, and it is pretty nice.  It's very quiet and so it's a nice way to end the day.  They have been doing that by candle light a lot too.  We don't fraternize with the Dominicans all that often, maybe once every few days we run into them, but tommorow night they are having a barbecue for us in honor of independence day.  Roast meat and Tusker (local Kenyan beer) were mentioned so it sounds like it should be fun.  I will listen to the Boston Pops on my iTunes tommorow, and sing for America.  "O Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.......!"

Thanks again for reading!  If I am not addressing anything that you would like to know about, please just comment, and I will.

God Bless you, and God Bless America!!!!!!

There are more pictures at



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hello again!

    The internet is much faster now so I can load pictures in under an hour......which is nice.  The water is running again too!  I think I should start by going over the beginning of the week first.  On Sunday, the four of us from Providence College went with Fr. Lumala to Maseno University, where he is the chaplain.  He said mass there and it was about 2 hours long.  I like going to mass, but I thought it was a little long.  Afterwards there was a Eucharistic procession for 2 and a half hours.  It was very nicely done, but again it was really long.  After that we sat down with the leaders of the Campus ministry there, which was nice.  They told us about what they do on campus and in the local community.  They have "households" made up of 15-20 Catholic families, and each one has a different theme, such as peace and justice, etc..  We then came back to the Dominican Compound and Fr. Lumala gave us ice cream, which was very nice of him. I half expected to see other American Missionaries at the mass, but we didn't run into any.

      The students took exams on Monday and Tuesday, and so there was not too much for us to do around the school.  On Monday morning, I organized the building of a ping pong table for the students to use.  It was pretty cool.  We took an old chalkboard with plywood on the back of it and had a frame built for it so that it would sit at the right height for the kids to play ping pong on it.  The 2x4 timbers that we used to make the frame were cut out of a tree that had been cut down on the school property, which was neat.  On Tuesday afternoon, I taught some students American Liturgical music and started teaching them how to play the guitar.  One girl in particular really seems to have a knack for the guitar, which is good.  Fr. Chris told us that we would be in charge of organizing the annual semester retreat for the students, which will take place a few days before we leave.  I think that I will be able to teach enough students how to sing the liturgical music to have a small choir singing during adoration, which will be nice.  I think that one or two of them will have the guitar down pretty well by the time I leave.

      Today i only have one class, Phys Ed, at 11:35, and so I got up and went to mass and the rosary this morning at 6 and now I am back in the house blogging.  I am thinking of finishing up some laundry now that the water is running again.  After school I will be teaching music again.  I feel bad that I miss soccer, but there is no time during the day for me to teach them that, so it has to be after school.
      Tommorow afternoon I am meeting with the school sacristan about playing guitar at mass, and hopefully being able to learn some of their music.  Their music is very different from ours.  There is a lot of clapping and singing certain lines repeatedly but with different intonations, so I'm not so sure how it is going to work, but I am going to try.  It would be great if I could teach just one student some chords to go along with their mass music, so that they could continue with it when I am gone.

Anyway, here are some pictures......I hope they load faster than the one did last night.....

     That picture again, took a really long time to load, so I think that I am going to simply post a link to a facebook album of photos when I want to share photos with you all.  For some reason, that loads photos a lot faster.  You shouldn't need a facebook account to see them, but email me if you have any problems seeing them.  You might have to copy and paste the link into your URL bar.....


Thanks again for Reading!  

God Bless,