Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All Packed

As you can see we're all packed up and ready to go. We're truly sad to be leaving Nairobi, but looking forward to seeing friends and family in the USA. We're truly grateful for all of you that have kept us in your thoughts and prayers over the past year, and especially now as we head back for a major transition.
bekah & ian

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Can you trust your eyes?

One of the projects I have been working on here in Kenya is making the digital presence of Amani more attractive. They have had a number of products for sale online for a while now, but contribution has been giving them the nudge from normal to something special when it comes to some of their images (or at least that is what I am trying to do). For the past couple days I have been running photos from an extremely rushed quilt shoot through my computer.

Now, I am an okay photographer when i put my mind to it. I can take my chunky SLR out and get some nice shots, but what I enjoy even more is a little digital slight of hand. I love post-production. Sure taking out dust spots might not sound super to everyone, but giving a photo a little more life than it could naturally have really makes me happy. Here's a little example of what I am talking about:
Photo 1 is more or less what came straight off my camera. I was having a hard time getting the lighting right in our limited space and we were ducking the rain all day. Instead of our usual location to photograph quilts, we had to get these quilts shot in a few hours so the could be shipped. No time for the usual trek out to the tea fields. On top of that, while getting some of these beautiful quilts photographed, I noticed that the focus ring on my go-to lens is loose...which messes with my ability to focus in on the subject correctly. All-around this was not my best day of work, that and our garden at Amani was being replanted so we had a lot of bare spots. Here's what we got-
not bad... def not great

Here's what a little digital TLC turned it into-

Little bit of a difference. Maybe still not great but definitely better.
Just wanted to give you a little taste of the nuts and bolts of what serving in Kenya has looked like for me, and encourage those who are looking to serve abroad through non-traditional means, that your talents and interests can be put to use to help people

Wondering where you could snag one of these quilts? Check out Amani's etsy page at in a few weeks for some fresh listings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wrapping up

As most of you know by now, we are headed back to the states in a few weeks with no plans of returning to Kenya, but we wanted to make sure that even if you didn't get our email that you are filled in.

First of all, thank you for all of your kind words of encouragement, prayers, and blessing us with your finances. As you know we had decided to stay until July in Kenya and were fund-raising towards that goal in our last newsletter. After having a frank discussion with my boss, the field office director, we decided that it would not be advantageous for us to come back in January.

When we had made the decision to stay it was under the impression that I would be working on a structural transformation project. Unfortunately, this project never entirely manifested itself and instead I had been working on program design. I like program design so it has been enjoyable but as I have worked on it my job description has kept changing. My boss was frustrated with this though and did not know how to best manage me. After this discussion it seems clear that my position wouldn't
stabilize anytime soon and should be postponed until it could be stabilized. So we decided that this would be a good time to have our time with IJM come to an end which is also the time that we thought we would leave when we first came to Kenya.

Instead of staying until July, Bekah and I are headed back to the United States in December. While we definitely are sad to leave Kenya. We are happy that we will soon be near friends and family again. We will be around for Christmas and looking forward to talking to many of you and will keep you up-to-date on opportunities for us to meet with you.

After December, we do not know what we are doing but we are sure that God has a place and a plan for us. We would appreciate your continued emotional support and prayers as we transition back to life in the United States and as we look for options for our future.

For those of you who have been giving to us financially this means we will no longer be receiving this money and instead it will go into IJM's general fund. If you would rather support another intern you are more than welcome to, and you just need to let IJM know that. To change your monthly support let us know, and we wil forward you details for contacts etc.

If you have any questions about this please let us know and we will try and set up a time to talk. Thank you once again for partnering with us during our time with IJM.

Ian and Bekah

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big Babies

October holds a couple different holidays here in Kenya, so this year on Mashujaa Day (Heroes Day) we took our day off from work and explored a little bit of what greater Nairobi has to offer. Our first stop was The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which is home to a number of orphaned baby elephants that are being hand-raised and then released back into the wild. For one hour a day, the handlers bring the babies to the swimming hole to eat and play while excited guests hear about the project while being entertained by the immense cuteness of these pint-sized pachyderms!

Follow the leader!
The Sheldrick Trust was the first group to perfect the milk formula for baby elephants. These babies need to be fed every 3 hours at least day and night.

Elephants mature at about the same rate that humans do, so the little ones love to play and wrestle... and mud just makes it more fun!

After a bath it is important to get a good coating of dust to protect them from the hot Kenyan sun.

Ian loves rhinos! This rhino is kept by the Sheldrick Trust because he is completely blind. They feed him and try to make sure he gets exercise.
Of course the rhino does have friends visit from time to time... this warthog was wandering the grounds and decided to pop in to say hello.
And what Kenyan holiday would be complete without meeting a giraffe? Not ours! We of course thought it would only be proper to offer it a snack.
PS- we're working on our November newsletter... let us know if there is something you've been curious about that we can fill you in on!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A perfectly good pumpkin

Don't think just because we are in Africa that we are missing out on all of the Autumnal fun! Gary-o-lantern (named after a certain founder of a certain NGO that a certain Kitterman works for) made a return performance this year, although pumpkins are easier to find in Kenya than they were in South Asia... so Gary got to be a pumpkin instead of last year's watermelon incarnation. You work with what you have.

And the reaction from Kenyan friends: "that seems like a waste of a perfectly good pumpkin."

That was a little disappointing, but we will soldier on continuing to bring more American ridiculousness with us to our home away from home. (A just like in the US, our jack-o-lantern is sure to sit on the porch until near rotting state.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Captives will be set free...

Check out IJM's latest fund raising mailer with the story of a client from Ian's office at IJM Kenya! This case touched our hearts and further convinced us that we are here in Kenya for a reason.

(ALSO... we completely admit that we stole this update from the blog of our housemate Betsy, who is the super-star intern in church and community relations. Check her blog out here at )

Still, it is great to see this story going out to supporters and we hope that it encourages you that justice is being seen by 'the least of these' through your support!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Jenny Craig...

your help is not wanted here....

We saw these signs around Ian's work as we were appropriately munching an after work snack. :) Unlike in the US, if someone tells you that your wife is very fat you should take it as a compliment and not punch them in the face. *wink*