#1 A beautiful sea star on the south coast of Kenya. It seems to be waving to you!
#2 Toby! Toby received an award at the primary school for Best Library User in his class. We are very proud of him for his efforts to study and be a part of the primary school!
#3 A gorgeous sunrise at Sand Island Tiwi Beach, where we were able to spend a week relaxing in the HOT sun.
#4-#5 A Christmas tree for you made out of sea stars!!! We had an opportunity to snorkel off the reef. God's creation is breathtaking!!! Barracuda, anemones, urchins, sting rays, parrot fish, clown fish, bat fish, crabs, sea snakes, angelfish and so much more that I can't remember them all!
#6 On December 2nd we celebrated the graduation of the students in S4 ( the equivalent of 10th grade.) This is a major milestone in their education and we host a banquet in their honor. This year the girls dressed up at our house and I'm thankful to have such a part in their special day!
#7 The New Hope Institute of Childcare and Family graduated their second class this year in Mid-November. They are commissioned to go out and live the things they've learned and to be ambassadors of the truths of God. In this picture is a time of prayer for the students.
#8 -#9 - #10 The New Hope Vocational Institute held their graduation on November 30th and 14 students graduated in the areas of catering, building and concrete placement, carpentry and tailoring. This particular class was highlighted as one exhibiting an excellent work ethic. The parents were quite proud of their children and swamped them as they received their certificates and congratulations. Picture #10 is of one of our children from Kasana Children's Center (many of the vocational students have not been a part of New Hope until their entry to the vocational school.) Mugabe has been at Kasana since 2003 and graduated in building and concrete placement. He is currently working on a small building project with another one of the graduates.
#11 Vicki Dangers and I took time to pose for a snapshot at the NHICF graduation. We value our friendship highly, yet can't seem to find enough time to spend together!!! We felt like a photo needed to mark our being in the same place at the same time!
#12 Also in mid-November we celebrated as a community the completion of our reading together of the Chronological Bible! The day was filled with dramas, song and testimony from our own children, those who listen to our radio station (Musana FM), church members and local community leaders. I shared about Jennifer's (one of our David Family girls) new-found love of reading the scriptures. She told of how she rarely read the Word before we began reading chronologically together, but now she loves to read and looks forward to what is revealed to her as she reads.
#13 We said good-bye to Jenny Aitken, an RN who had been working here for the past year. She was dear to our family and we were sad to see her go!
#14-#15 At the end of the year the guardians/parents of the children come to the children's center to receive the gifts that have been sent from the sponsors of the children. For those children who live on site with us, there is also a parents meeting regarding the holiday schedule and requirements. I had a very nice surprise visit one afternoon from the Jajja (grandma) of the girl we sponsor. She had not come to the parents' meeting the day before (which was not a surprise as she is in her 90s and is not always very well). She came to tell us thank you for the bed we had given her, so I made some tea and we sat together and talked. I don't understand everything she says, but she is a character and keeps me laughing anyway!! She is quite a joker! At one point she leaned over to the chair next to her and just stared. Then she exclaimed, "Banange!!" I asked her granddaughter if she was ok and she replied, "yes, she is fine, she is just amazed at your furniture!" Talk about being uncomfortable!!! Until that point I rarely thought about my furniture, but when someone who didn't even have an adequate place to sleep marvels at your chair as if it belongs in a palace, the disparity in the ways we live come glaring!!!!
#16 This is another picture of the S4 girls at our house getting ready for the banquet.
#17 Our family picture at the Indian Ocean!!!
#18 Our animals co-exist together quite well!
#19 Acacia's birthday party guests had a great time with cake, games and gifts!!!
#20-#21 After the NHVI graduation, the guests were given the opportunity to purchase items that the students had made in the course of their vocational training.
#22 Geoff holds a new size for the bags of posho flour we sell at the maize mill. A 10kg bag is a better option for smaller families and singles and so far is selling quite well.
Sorry for having to put the captions separate from the pictures. We'll see how much I can improve on this apple contraption over the next few months!!!!!
Christmas blessings to you!
Mary, for all the Brittons!