4th Anniversary (21/3/15)
This April we are celebrating – we will have been in Kenya for 4 years.
Our toddler and preschooler are now 6 and 8. They have lived between half and two-thirds of their lives in a country that neither they nor their parents were born in. They play games with grandparents over facetime, celebrate Thanksgiving, Australia Day and Jamhuri Day, are learning how to count dimes, how the Indian Ocean joins Australia to Kenya, and how to say “I don’t like to eat garbage” in Kiswahili. They are fourth-culture kids – not quite Australian, American or Kenyan, almost-belonging everywhere.
Andy has come from trailing-spouse with potential plans to mentor engineers, to capacity-builder in leadership and infrastructure with more opportunities to sow into the communities here than he can say yes to. Between Moffat, the hospital, and SIM Kenya teams and beyond, he continues to figure out daily where God is calling him and working in and through him.
I look back at my arrival in the hospital in 2011, and I remember my relief at meeting Jennifer, who would work alongside me and help me gain confidence in a completely new medical setting. Months of her and I trying to get our heads around being the first permanent pediatricians here in a long time, determining – how sick of a child can we handle, and can we really make a difference? Starting to collect the first data on sick children in the hospital in 2011 so we could answer questions like “How many children do we take care of? What are their most common illnesses? How many of them die? How are we improving?” Figuring out how to prioritise constant overwhelming need with family and rest and growth and prayer and friendships.
A couple of weeks ago, Jennifer submitted a presentation for the annual Kenya Pediatric Association meeting, looking back over our nursery data. It shows that in our first 3 years, with the gradual additions to our pediatric team of Sarah, Imma and now Arianna, we took care of 2,277 babies under 30 days of age. That’s not including any of the kids from 1 month to 15 years of age outside of the nursery. And when we compare how they did with other babies in Kenya, at hospitals without such good training or resources, there are so many babies that have survived that wouldn’t have anywhere else. Through those three years, innumerable nursing students, nurses, intern doctors and surgeons learned in our nursery and have since gone out to Kenya and our neighbouring countries, better equipped to improve care for babies just like these ones.
I am so grateful for our life here. Celebrating an anniversary, taking the time to reflect on the last 4 years, brings me such joy. Looking back and seeing how our kids are thriving and maturing and learning; seeing Andy continue to develop into a more fully alive human being in so many aspects of his life; considering my continual journey in figuring out who I am as a multifaceted creature walking alongside Jesus in this life of restoration and participation… I cannot imagine a life other than this.
I can scarcely believe how much has happened in and around us in only four years. Andy, the kids and I are going to take a week in April to get away from Kijabe together as a family and rest, retreat and celebrate, looking forward to more anniversaries of recollecting what God has done and is doing.