African Old Wives’ Tales

  • If a baby boy wears diapers, he will have fertility problems as an adult.
  • If you wear glasses you will damage your eyes, but carrots will “wash” your eyes.
  • Chameleons are dangerous and mzungus who handle them must put special chemicals on their hands when they do so.
  • If you sit on cooking stones, you will grow a cow’s tail.
  • Men and women who are interested in becoming more fertile should run around naked at night.
  • If you have joint aches and fever, it must be malaria.
  • A baby who does not wear a hat during the cool of the afternoon will not grow hair.
  • Chewing sugar cane cleans your teeth.
  • Ugali (and only ugali) makes you grow strong and healthy.

You Might be a Kenyan if…

…you use your cell phone as a flashlight during a middle-of-the-night trip to the outhouse

…a 5-liter kerosene container gets rinsed out and re-used as a water jug

…you carry gasoline in a plastic bag

…you are one of 5 people on a motor bike, along with a propane tank

…a motor bike can transport a complete living room set from point A to point B

…you put kerosene on your cat to rid it of fleas

…the medicine you get from the local chemist is labeled as a known carcinogen and is not available in the US

…you think that chewing sugar cane is a reasonable substitute for tooth-brushing

…you start looking for a hat and jacket when the temperature drops to 70 degrees

…you’ve never eaten cheese, chocolate, pizza, spaghetti, ice cream, or ground beef

…tea made with water is totally distasteful (because everyone knows that tea is made with milk!)

…cleaning the toilet consists of dumping a 5-gallon bucket of water into the potty area and letting it rinse down the hole

…a meal just isn’t a meal without ugali




Baby Enjoying Sugar Cane :)

We’ve been eating a lot healthier since arriving in Kenya; by default, no processed foods and very few sweets as well. One of the few “treats” that the children have enjoyed is chewing on a fresh stalk of sugar cane. Oddly enough, we’ve learned that some of the locals think that chewing sugar cane cleans their teeth.

One day when Enoch was cutting a new tooth and was VERY fussy, the children were having sugarcane for snack and, in desperation, I told them to let Enoch chew on some as well. Result? One very happy baby! (Note in this photo how very dirty a newly crawling baby gets on dusty, and often wet, concrete floors!)

Outtakes (Or, Why we don’t take more pictures)

While my sister was visiting the other day,  we took advantage of the opportunity to snap a new Carrier family photo.

And here are the outtakes:

Not bad, except that the baby isn’t looking at the camera.

Getting worse…Micah (down in front) is getting antsy, and now the baby is screaming. Mom is wondering if he’s going to stop any time soon, or should we just give up?

Baby’s demeanor is slightly more promising…but what are those two down in front looking at?

Oh, dear…the baby is DONE…but we’re not giving up yet.

Baby Enoch wants DOWN, and Micah’s trying to hide from the camera; Rebekah is checking out Enoch…


The baby isn’t giving up…even Jubilee (down front) is wondering if we’ll manage to snap a decent photo any time soon. Micah’s getting bored.


Are we done yet?!

And finally, WE HAVE A WINNER!!…

Like Mother, Like Daughter

While putting the girls’ laundry in the machine this morning, I found this:

It’s a little blurry, but hopefully you can tell that it’s my 8 year-old’s “to-do” list. Only difference between me and her is that I like to cross items off my list, and she prefers check marks.

Oh, and I don’t very often have a visit to the “gift shop” on my list. 😉

If a Mom Notices Water Under the Refrigerator…

If a Mom notices water under the refrigerator,
chances are she’s going to pull it away from the wall.

If she pulls it away from the wall, she’s going to see all the gunk underneath it that’s been accumulating for much too long.
So she’s going to get a towel and some cleaner and wipe up under there.

If she stops and thinks about how long it’s been since she’s cleared the dust from around the coils,
then she’s going to get out the vacuum cleaner and crevice tool to clean up down there.

And as long as she has the vacuum out, she makes quick work of the rest of the kitchen floor, which never got swept up after the children came in from outside.

And since she finishes vacuuming at the threshold of the living room, she takes a quick look around and decides to keep going with the vacuum. After all, it’ll only take a few minutes.

Then she looks in the boys’ room and realizes what a mess they left it. Upon closer inspection, she realizes that if she threw away just a few things and vacuumed, it would look immeasurably better.

So she does just that, and decides to keep going with the vacuum down the hallway.

And then she realizes she hasn’t seen the toddler since she left the kitchen. So she returns to the kitchen, where the water puddle on the floor reminds her that she never did find out the source of the leak under the refrigerator……

Inspired by real life and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff.

If Only I Had Caught this on Video….

…because my writing of it is not going to do it justice. But, I’ll try anyway.

Our 18 month-old, Jubilee, has been increasing in her language abilities, to the delight of the whole family. (You know how cute those baby pronunciations can be!) She usually gets her point across, but occasionally we’re slow to figure out just what she’s trying to say. Such was the case yesterday.

I was elbow-deep in raw hamburger, egg, and milk, mixing up a meatloaf while the older kids were schooling at the table. My 7 year-old daughter had already finished her math, so I had put her in charge of watching Jubilee briefly while I finished up the meal preparations.

 Suddenly, Jubilee dashed into the kitchen. She yelled, “Now-Now!” and then opened her mouth wide, stuck out her tongue, and made a wretching noise.

Hmmm. Unusual. Just to be sure, I asked, “What’s in your mouth?” Always when I do this, she’ll spit if she has indeed put something in there. Instead, she shook her head and ran back out of the room.

A mystery. So, I began scraping hamburger off my hands and into the bowl. As I turned to the sink to wash off the raw meat, Jubilee returned.

“Now-Now!” Tongue stuck out, she gagged once again. Never before had I been so confused about a translation. Curious, I said, “Show Mommy!”

Dutifully, Jubliee ran off toward my bedroom. Halfway there, she turned to me again and repeated emphatically, “Now-Now!”, stuck her tongue out dramatically, and gagged.

Finally, we made it into the master bedroom. Jubilee looked to the bed, saying, “Now-Now!”

Ahhh! Meow-Meow!…the cat…

Then she ran around the corner of the bed, where her older sister sat on the floor next to…

Oh! I see…the cat has thrown up on my bedroom floor! Thanks for letting me know, Jubilee. I’ll get to cleaning that up right away

Mystery solved. 🙂

The Infamous "Sand Fit"

I’m so bad about blogging regularly. We’re moving at the speed of life here, and so often I do not feel as though our daily doings are that inspiring. And, I’d rather focus on discipling my children and whatever else the Lord would have me do than just filling up words in cyberspace. But every once in a while I know there’s something I just need to share…and the infamous “Sand Fit” is one of those things.

Our 16 month-old daughter is so sweet and such a joy…it melted my heart when she started giving really slobbery kisses at about 14 months, and we all cheered her big accomplishment of learning to throw garbage in the garbage can at about the same time. She was learning to respond to the word “NO,” particularly when it came to keeping her little fingers out of the cat food dish. Of course, as she gets older there are a few other things she’s told “NO” about, like putting things in electrical sockets and climbing up on top of boxes that are precariously perched. For the most part, she’s learned to obey when she’s told “NO,” but she doesn’t always like it. So she sometimes lets us know how she feels…in a “passive-aggressive” sort of way. 😉

Once in a while, she’ll be told “NO”…and she’ll obey…but she’ll protest a bit by throwing a “fit.” She already knows better than to scream and cry, so she’ll simply throw herself on the floor and plant her head down in front of her–in a way that has always reminded me of an ostrich burying its head in the sand. Eventually I coax her out of it and ask her to come put her head in my lap to hug, pat, and reconcile. She’s happy to oblige and then we carry on as normal.

Over Columbus Day weekend we were blessed to enjoy a brief family vacation at the beach. Everyone had a blast–even Jubilee! She dug in the sand, walked on the beach, splashed in the water, and watched the big kids play with kites. Of course, I insisted that she stay close to me and our usual spot was pretty high up on the beach, away from the water and waves.

At one point we were up on the beach and everyone else was down in the water. She wanted to follow along but was told “NO,” because I was enjoying a conversation with my sister and didn’t really want to interrupt it to move down to the water. Jubilee obeyed, but she wasn’t happy. So imagine a sunscreen-coated (literally from head to foot!) 16 month-old stopping, throwing herself down in the sand, and burying her head in quiet protest! I unfortunately didn’t have my camera on hand but my sister captured the moment and later emailed me the infamous “sand fit” photos. They still make me smile.

Head in the sand.

Coming to Mom.

Reconciliation and comfort.

Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of the clean up. That was not fun!