I usually get up early for my morning Quiet Time (the baby normally helps with that) but today it was, quite unusually, raining a bit in the early hours and I wanted to stay in bed. I got up at 6:10 when the baby cried, which is when all the bigger kids also started rolling out of bed. I fed the baby and handed him over to Deborah, who was the first girl up with hair brushed and ready to go for the day. She entertained Enoch in the living room while I got dressed.
I sent Isaiah next door to collect our two liters of milk and began setting the table for breakfast (cups for tea, a peanut butter coffee cake made the night before, and some bananas). Pastor David arrived from Nairobi at about 6:40 AM, having taken Easy Coach through the night. (He’s joining Marc and Tonny on a training mission…somewhere…for the next few days. Tonny had stayed overnight and surprisingly, even with all our noise, wasn’t up yet.) By now all the children were up and gathered in the living room, either having Bible time or chatting with their Dad and Pastor David. Thankfully Enoch, who had started the day rather cranky, was now pleasantly entertained by Pastor David’s charming smile and soothing manner.
By 7:10 Isaiah arrived with milk, which I boiled in preparation for making tea. Tonny finally got up and everyone washed their hands while I finished getting breakfast on the table. I emptied out the pan of coffee cake and everyone probably would have had more if there had been any. Afterwards, Marc left on his motorbike with our 11 year-old to pick up the battery he had left at the charging station over night. Isaiah chatted with the guys outside while Hannah cleared the table, Rebekah started dishes, and Deborah began the task of washing clothes. Our neighbor, Jane, had arrived to complete the task of transplanting some onions in our garden, which she had voluntarily begun the previous afternoon. Micah (4) and Jubilee (3) went out to “help.” I sat at the table and checked my email and Facebook while feeding Enoch. Then I sat on the couch (still with Enoch) and turned on the Kindle for some Bible reading (Psalm 31).
I swept out the kitchen, especially all the mud that had accumulated by the back door with just a few early morning trips to the out house. Tonny interrupted my task to ask if I could help him prepare a bath. I put on a big pot of water to boil, had Deborah take a break from laundry so I could borrow one of the big wash basins, and gathered all the supplies Tonny would need in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Baby Enoch entertained himself by playing with the piles of dirt that Hannah was sweeping from under the table. When moved, he would find his Dad’s Bible on the coffee table. When moved again, he meandered into the kitchen and discovered the electrical wires left disconnected when we had removed the battery the previous day. Then back again into the sitting room to find more trouble…
After setting Tonny up to bathe, I got the bin of clean laundry that had been taken in the previous afternoon but not yet put away, and I sorted it into piles. By now Hannah (after a few gentle reminders to stay focused on her work) had finished cleaning up from breakfast and I asked her to put away the folded and sorted clothes. Isaiah, temporarily distracted by a low-flying agricultural plane, was now reigned in to empty the indoor “pee bucket” that we keep in one of the stalls of our bathroom. (Now that the mosquitoes are out when the sun goes down, we use the emergency bucket as needed!) I also instructed him to roll up and shake out the throw rug in the sitting room and prepare for floor washing (which involves putting coffee and end tables up onto the couch and moving the toy box, shoe bin, and carpet out onto the veranda, then doing a thorough sweep of the concrete floor.) By now Jonah and Marc had returned, so I sent Jonah out to burn the garbage.
Marc, Pastor David, and Tonny left at about 9:00. Not much later, Jane came in from the garden and asked if I needed eggs. She scored really big last week in finding a place where we can get eggs in quantity–we got FIVE DOZEN and wasted little time in consuming them. We’re down to eating meat about once every 2-3 weeks, so eggs are a preferred source of protein. We normally can only get 3-4 eggs every few days, though. Anyway, I was happy to give her some money for another four dozen, and the two older girls begged to go with her, so I agreed. First I had to scrounge a 5-gallon bucket from the veranda and clean it out for egg transport.
Meanwhile, Micah and Jubilee had begun playing but their diversion was neither messy nor loud, so I let them continue. Isaiah had finished clearing out the sitting room, so I put him on the mission of entertaining Enoch while I prepared to wash the floor (a task I had intended for Rebekah, who was now gone. But both girls had at least gotten through the laundry and dishes!) I set Jonah to cleaning his room and Hannah to washing about four pairs of very dirty flip-flops (necessary for using the outhouse, but not so nice to use when they leave your feet muddy.)
With everyone occupied, I was able to wash the sitting room floor and decided to do the bathroom and hallway as well. I started cleaning carrots, tomatoes, and peppers in preparation for supper, which will be vegetables and ugali. Realizing that lunch time was rapidly approaching, I put Jonah on prep duty, skinning unripe “cooking bananas,” which would be mashed and added to rice for our meal. I asked Hannah if she could pick skuma (collards) to add to my veges for dinner. I confirmed that she knew how to do it, recalling that she had done so before with her sisters. Meanwhile, Jane arrived with the big girls and the eggs. Rebekah said that Auntie Jane’s “not too far” walk turned to to be pretty far, indeed, but…she wasn’t really tired. In a moment of distraction, Micah asked if he could go help Hannah cut skuma, and I agreed. Jane bounced Enoch and Jubilee in her lap while I put the eggs away, freeing Isaiah up to look for a recipe online, at my request. Today is one of our two weekly dessert nights, and I was unusually enticed by a recipe for Kentucky Butter Cake that I had seen on Facebook earlier.
Jane said her goodbyes and I began cleaning the skuma that Hannah and Micah had now brought in. I asked Rebekah to set the table, gave Isaiah permission to do some work on the computer in Excel, and gave Jonah direction on completing lunch preparation. Deborah entertained Enoch, who was now apparently complaining about Jane’s abrupt departure. A few minutes later, Jane returned, and in broken English explained that evidently Micah had gotten a little over-zealous in his skuma-cutting and stripped about a dozen plants of all their leaves. I thanked her for the information and went inside, rather ungraciously reminding Hannah of her responsibility to supervise and direct her little brother, and Micah to slow down and (for the thousandth time?) please wait for directions instead of just jumping in to do the work!
I finished cleaning the skuma and then collected Micah and Hannah for hugs and kisses and an apology (will I ever learn?). Then, finally, we were ready for lunch–a rather late 1:20. And I sat down to blog, wondering if anyone would be interested in the minutiae of our day and realizing that schooling hadn’t been a thought in anyone’s mind…but, praise God, we’ve almost finished our 180 days anyway…