Wow.  It has been an incredible summer so far.  The interns have been amazing, Stephen (our first year-long journalism fellow) is doing a fantastic job, and all six of us have had experience after experience that will undoubtedly shape and influence us for years to come.

So far, we’ve all gotten sick at least once (except Molly. Hmmm…), but nothing has been bad enough to knock us off our feet for more than a couple of days.  And although there have been several inevitable ups and downs with our host ministries and host families, we have all really started to fit in and connect with the Kenyans we’re working with.

Anyway, since we’re roughly halfway through the summer right now, I thought it would be worthwhile to catch you up on a bit of what we’ve been experiencing… Enjoy!

Stephen

Stephen Crane, WND’s first year-long journalism fellow, has been working with Tumaini Clinic in Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s most dangerous slums.  However, instead of dealing with knife and gunshot wounds, which you’d expect, Stephen has spent most of his time working with something quite different… babies!

Stephen, you’ve got to deliver a baby. You can do it! We believe in you!

The rest of us are all hoping and praying that Stephen gets to help deliver a baby while he’s at Tumaini, but he doesn’t seem quite so eager.  “I don’t want to see that stuff until it’s my own baby,” he told us, “and maybe not even then!”

Bridgette, who now has a real love for “Boda bodas” (motorcycle taxis).

If you haven’t had a chance to read his articles, I’d highly recommend that you take a look.  His article “A Dirty Indictment” was particularly moving to me, and I can’t wait to see what he has for us next.

Keep it up, Stephen!

Bridgette

Bridgette Tilyou has been working with Karura Community Chapel up on the far north side of Nairobi.  Working in slums, helping to organize medical camps, participating in feeding programs… Bridgette has definitely had a unique experience this summer.

She’s even ridden on the back of a motorcycle taxi halfway across the city!  (oops, I hope she’s already told her parents about that one…)

Her articles so far have been great, but “Anything but Alone” is a must-read.  It’s the story of a young man she met and his determination to get an education, despite the obstacles in his way.  So powerful!

You’re doing great, Bridgette!

Jocelyn, not missing “Berto” a bit.

Jocelyn

Jocelyn Post has been embedded with Tanari International, working primarily with their Young Entrepreneurs program in Mathare and Kawangware slums.

So far, Jocelyn has gotten the sickest of anyone on the team (on our mid-trip safari, no less!), but was able to bravely defeat “Berto the Bacteria” (as he became known), with several doses of courage, humor and endurance.  Oh, and a powerful wide spectrum antibiotic.  :)

All of Jocelyn’s articles have been great, but you should definitely read “Modest is Hottest” if you haven’t already.  It’s a great discussion about how Jocelyn’s desire to rebel against the prevailing culture has clashed with Kenya’s strict dress code… a fascinating perspective!

Keep ‘em coming, Jocelyn!

Laura

Laura, who built a replica of Notre Dame Cathedral out of toothpicks and chewing gum the other morning before her host family got out of bed (kidding… but I wouldn’t have been surprised!). :-)

Laura Stump has been working with Zana Africa in Kibera Slum.  Spending time in primary schools, learning about the issues facing teenagers here, helping Zana put together a photo book… Laura’s been busy!

Now, Laura is one of those remarkably creative people who wakes up super early and has already made four flower garlands, written an opera and befriended a host of woodland creatures before the rest of us have even had our coffee, so this shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, but Laura’s really a natural at photography!

It’s hard to believe that she had never really used a DSLR camera before this summer when you see her photo gallery, “Girl Power in Kibera.”  And lest I forget, her other articles have been great as well!

Can’t wait to see what’s next, Laura!

Molly, who has not yet said “yes” to any of her Kenyan suitors.

Molly

Molly Meyer has been working with Beacon of Hope, a ministry in Ongata Rongai, a small town southwest of Nairobi.  Medical camps, preschool, home visits, even trips to rural Kenya… Molly has had her hands full this summer, to say the least.

Oh, and being the only tall white girl in town has its perks as well.  If Molly ever wanted to marry a Kenyan man, it could happen in about 10 seconds flat.  She’s already had more marriage proposals than she can count, including an elderly Massai man with six other wives… :)

Of course, through it all, Molly has been able to write some really gripping articles.   Her article, “The Exceptions,” really spoke to me.  It’s a story that asks the difficult question, “What do you do with the ones you can’t help?”  Wow.

Looking forward to reading more, Molly!

Me

Finally, there’s me.  I’ve been living in Kibera Slum with my dear friend Pastor Fred Ogutu and his family.

It’s been an awesome experience, as always, but I’m discovering that taking care of a bunch of interns, coordinating their articles, planning retreats and keeping a non-profit organization running in a country with spotty internet and agonizingly slow public transportation is more than a full-time job.  Writing my own articles has been a bit tough!

Me, surrounded by kids in Kibera. A pretty standard sight around here. Don’t worry. A new photo gallery is coming soon!

Nevertheless, I have had a few adventures of my own, including having my phone stolen right out of my pocket by a pair of very talented thieves (an account of which is on my personal blog, here).

If you want to read any of my WND articles, you’re welcome to.  But definitely check out “A Loss for Words,” to hear the unbelievable story I heard on one of my recent home visits in Kibera.

Stay Tuned

Well, that’s it for now.  A whole bunch of amazing and powerful articles will be coming your way this week, so be sure to stay tuned!

And don’t forget, you can always follow the WND Twitter feed, subscribe to our posts via email, sign up for our monthly newsletter or join the WND prayer team if you’d like to stay even more in the loop.

Have an awesome July!

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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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Comments

  1. Jane VanOsdol said... 

    Reply

    July 11th, 2011 at 2:25 pm  

    All of these stories are shared with such honesty. Thanks for not glossing over the hard parts, but letting us mull over them and digest them with the hope that Jesus brings.

  2. k d wilson said... 

    Reply

    July 11th, 2011 at 2:30 pm  

    thanks for this very good “halfway in” column/article. more good writing and I can see that you are learning that being responsible for others, etc. is a stretching experience. I’m glad to be reminded of some articles I missed when my internet access was limited!!!

  3. Jim.M said... 

    Reply

    July 12th, 2011 at 8:01 am  

    Nice update, you guys look great, hang in there the stories are beautiful.

    Stephen, its not that difficult. Control the head and neck, bring the shoulders out gently, the rest comes naturally. Place the newborn on moms abdomen and quickly clamp the cord. Keep the baby warm, be sure the mouth and nose are clear. Be prepared to wipe tears from your eyes.

    Bridgette, please wear a helmet.

    Jocelyn, Isn’t it amazing what an amoeba can do. Next time you think anything is too small to make a difference… well you know the rest.

    Laura, your photos have been great , keep them coming. You are building much more that a toothpick cathedral.

    Molly, Great stores, looking forward to more. The photo of you above holding that child’s hands is precious, and says volumes about where you are right now.

    Guys hang in there. “Encourage one another, and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

    Barry, Peace be with you.

    jm

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