Category Archives: Africa

Experiencing Her First Steps

Faith beamed as she received her walker, balancing on her bare feet in the grass while holding onto her new treasure. Her smile was infectious, and the excitement of the students gathered around her could not be missed. Solomon, head of the special needs clinic at Tenwek, knelt proudly next to her, ready to show her how the new walking frame worked. Just moments later, we would witness Faith take her very first steps.

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Amani Means Peace

Amani means peace in Swahili. Five years ago, while driving to the hospital when I was in labor with Sam, we chose to give our baby boy the middle name Amani. We hadn’t yet met him, but in the past five years, we have seen this name have true meaning in his life and character. Samuel Thomas Amani Olsen. Our little Amani.

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Miss Ella Turns Eight

Just ten days after arriving in Kenya, our Ella celebrated her eighth birthday. She had been talking for the entire year before about having her birthday here, so we were incredibly happy that it happened! We marked the occasion with a little party on our porch. She invited three other girls whose parents also work at the hospital. They began by indulging in the first batch of cupcakes I’ve made since arriving in country. Just after that, I handed my phone over to the birthday girl who chose a mix of Taylor Swift and the Trolls soundtrack for a very exuberant dance party. I stood in the kitchen doorway, playing the part of a fly on the wall, and laughed over their shrieks and girly outbursts. My Ella really is her own spunky, energetic, witty, super theatrical girl! Once the girls slowed down a bit after their first round of dancing, they sat on the floor and let me paint their nails. Then I was back on the sidelines. It amazes me that we’ve reached this point. Ella wants to do everything on her own, with her friends, often without me. Eight years old. What a year this is going to be!

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Settling into Life at Tenwek

Two weeks ago, we arrived in Kenya. A few days later, we made our way out to our new home at Tenwek Hospital. We were assigned a house in one of the compound areas right next to the hospital. Friends, it is beautiful! We never imagined we would be living in a three-bedroom home complete with a large, screened-in porch (perfect for Sam and for chatting with new friends). The house is right in the middle of a group of houses and apartments, pleasing our social personalities. The kids are both able to run out the front door and join our neighbors in games of tag and soccer any time of the day.

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