Help! I need house help!
Leading up to Christmas and New Year, I was getting a little stressed. I absolutely love the ladies who help in my house, but it was stressing me out to have someone in my house every day. I was missing housework. I know that’s weird, but I was worried that my kids forgot how to help me with daily chores. Sure, they make their beds and have daily responsibilities, but not nearly as much as they did in the States. I just needed the freedom to NOT make my bed, to allow the house to be a wreck for a day if I didn’t feel like cleaning it up, to NOT empty the dirty clothes bin, to cook for my family, etc. So that’s what lead to this bright idea to let my workers go home (their villages are quite a distance from Tenwek and therefore do not get to see much of their family very often) for two whole weeks.
It’s the end of those two weeks, and I cannot wait for my workers to return! I’ve been running and juggling and getting just as stressed…only in a different way. Let me give you a little peek into life without a helper here at Tenwek.
I get up around 6:30 a.m. to work out. I take a quick look at facebook and my e-mail while my body cools down and my hair water warms up in the microwave. I read my devotional, try to memorize a bit of I Peter (which is proving even more difficult than James!), and remind the boys to brush their teeth and make their beds. I get myself ready for the day and make breakfast (from scratch). I put a load of laundry into the washing machine. It’s now 8 a.m. and the morning is just like any other morning before my helpers arrive.
Normally, I start school with Noah at 8:30 and Joyce arrives at 9. But since she’s not here…
I try to get Noah started on school, but then the clothes are ready to be hung on the line. I move him to something he can do independently while I put another load in the washing machine and run outside to hang the first load. Of course, as soon as I’m at the line, I hear Jacob and Levi fighting. I ignore it until they find me. Levi is crying and I’m trying really hard to be sympathetic.
When I come back inside, I give Levi some ‘schoolbooks’ to read in his room while Jacob has a turn with the new Lego fire engine. Noah is ready to move onto the next thing. I do as much of the parent-directed stuff as I can until the next interruption. The phone rings. Noah gets frustrated. We complete another step of school. Someone is at the door. Jacob and Levi have to switch activities. Noah and I can finish up school for the morning. Some things just have to wait for the afternoon.
Now it’s Jacob’s turn for school. Of course, Levi wants to do school with Mommy too. I give Levi an alphabet puzzle while I watch Jacob write his letters. We do a little math, Jacob reads a book and I decide that’s enough school for the day. The boys go outside to play while I tackle the laundry and the mound of dishes in the sink.
By the time I’m finished with those basic chores, it’s time to prepare lunch…because making an easy meal in rural Kenya requires at least an hour. But I have to run up to the dukas because I don’t have all the ingredients. Fortunately, there are enough adults around that I can leave the kids at home. During my ‘quick’ run to the market, I meet at last 6 people that I haven’t seen in a couple of days due to the holiday. I must greet them and ask how their kids are doing. Although I haven’t gotten into a car or walked more than 300 yards, this quick trip takes me over a half an hour.
I get home to multiple stories from the kids of who stole what from whom. I try to hustle inside without getting involved by lovingly and patiently explaining, “If you want to eat lunch today, you’ll let me go inside to cook!” I start prepping the veggies by cleaning them in Jik, rinsing and drying them, and then chopping them appropriately. Then, all of the sudden, it starts to rain! I must run outside to get the laundry. Fortunately, there are some ladies around to help. I get back inside at 1pm, our lunch time. The cooking is just getting started. It’s a good thing Aaron is usually late for lunch!
After lunch, which somehow was only a half hour late, we finish up Noah’s school once Levi is down for his nap. Jacob wants to play a game, so we do that after story time. Now it’s 3:30 and time to wake up Levi. The boys have a quick snack and it’s time to play outside in the mud. They get disgustingly dirty while I conquer the lunch dishes. By 5 p.m., I’m pooped, so I bring the boys inside for baths.
I whip up something simple for supper so that we can sit down as a family to eat. Then, it’s off to brush teeth, read a story, say prayers and go to bed. I quickly throw all of the dirty dishes in the kitchen. They’ll wait until the next crazy morning. I need to sit and be still for a moment before it’s my bedtime.
I’m so thankful that I survived this week. Each day was different. Each day brought it’s own challenges and interruptions. Each day was fun and filled with new people. We have 4 visiting families, the Bemms moved back to Tenwek, and a new couple moved here this week! (This meant we hosted a lunch and 2 dinners for several of these families…without extra hands to cook and clean up after cooking!)
I’m also thankful for househelp. It is an amazing part of living here. Homeschooling and homework take up a lot of time. It did in the States too, but it was doable because of modern conveniences and the lack of daily dirt. I am spoiled by the way Joyce takes care of my home and my family. I truly treasure her time, service and attention to detail. I wouldn’t be able to study the Bible as much or do as much ministry work or teach the middle school kids or enjoy a clean house or host so many dinners without her. Househelpers are an integral part of our work here, and I just need to give them their due credit. 🙂
Two of these ladies work for me. The others work for neighbors.
1 Peter 4:10-11 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Praises and Prayer Requests:
1. Praise God for househelp! Please pray for these men and women who come alongside us in ministry here at Tenwek.
2. Praise God that our MK teacher made it back into Kenya. (Her vista expired so she had to take a quick trip out of East Africa.) Please pray for the teachers and kids as we resume school this week.
3. Praise God for care packages! Thank you to all who sent them. They’re trickling in…Four more await pick up at the Posta. (Christmas may never end!)
4. Praise God for His mighty work here at Tenwek. Please join us in praying that God will continue to bless this place, that He will give each of us a clear picture of the specific role we play in His plan for Tenwek’s future, that MANY souls will be won for Christ!
5. Pray specifically for the medical staff. They are super busy and must deal with death on a daily basis. It is emotionally exhausting. Pray that God will sustain them.
6. Praise God that the Bemms are back!! Tenwek just got a whole lot louder…and fun!! 🙂