Kwaheri Kenya

So sorry for not writing an update. We were without internet for over a week and it still wasn’t fixed even when I had left. It was a bummer to not get to communicate with people as well (I could use my phone some), but it just meant I spent more time with the kids and staff. πŸ™‚ I feel like so much has happened in this last week. So let me back up and hit some of the highlights.

Wednesday, Aleyna and I spent some time at the Maasai market in Nairobi and I bought the majority of my Christmas presents for people. Talk about way early! πŸ˜‰ I learned that day though how much I love bartering with people. I’m sure Aleyna thought I was absolutely crazy as I was way excited about it. There’s something cool about being able to go somewhere and getting the price you want for an item. And because I’m mzungu they give the worst prices. Depending on how high I think the price is that they gave me, I usually give them a hard time and tell them they’re giving me a mzungu price. They of course then either bring down the price some or tell me that they β€œgive me best price as a friend.” πŸ˜‰ Haha! I was telling Bonface today that my way of bargaining is by asking them the price, asking them again to give me their best price possible, and then I shoot for lower than that. Then depending on how quickly or slowly they come down, I can usually estimate (sort of) what the actual price would be. It’s awesome! Puts a huge smile on my face when I’m doing it too. πŸ˜€ It’s rather amazing the prices I’ve gotten for some items. Makes me so super happy. So, what am I doing before leaving tonight? Well, of course I’m going back to the Maasai Market and enjoying myself!

My last few mornings have been spent in the baby room. I love walking in and all the babies squealing with excitement and running up for hugs. Such little darlings. I’ve enjoyed getting to spend time talking with Peris and Maureen who are the baby moms. Had such good conversations! Talking about coffee, roller coasters, America, families, how many kids everyone wants, school, boys, etc. We did a lot of laughing. πŸ™‚ I took the majority of my clothes to the baby room before I left so all the house moms could go through and pick out stuff that they wanted. Made me happy to do something for them, especially since they were excited for the stuff. πŸ™‚

Probably one of my greatest accomplishments while being here was driving to Maai Mahiu and back. I mean, I know it’s just driving, but it’s not every day you get to drive in a foreign country! πŸ™‚ Tuesday afternoon, I had been talking to Peter who has stayed with us on several occasions, (he was overseeing the work being done on the house). He then found out I used to work on an ambulance and said something about driving here. I told him I’d wreck for sure (the cars are manuals and very few are automatics), and soon after our conversation ended and I went back to packing. Then Theresa comes up to me and said that Peter was wondering if I’d drive him in to town because his head was bothering him and he didn’t want to go alone. When I walked outside he had started the car and said I was going to drive. Finding out his car was an automatic helped in my decision to say yes. πŸ˜‰ It was definitely weird to drive with everything in the vehicle the opposite as in America. And no pressure, but I had five passengers. :O Might’ve been just a little nervous, but it went really well! No one panicked, I stayed on my side of the road and the only thing I kept doing wrong was turning the wipers on instead of the blinkers. πŸ˜‰ Kinda sad I can’t do it again. That and ride a piki piki again. Gonna miss those rides!

This weekend involved water balloons, painting little girls toes and fingers, and watching them prepare for tomorrow’s end of the school term ceremony. The kids loved having their nails done and it was pretty fun….besides the fact that occasionally they would get upset over who got to go first, and then someone of them would decide they didn’t like their color and take it off and come back for more.

The end of the school term is a big deal here. They go all out with food, dancing, cat walk, poems, etc. It’s a huge show and I’m rather sad that I’ll miss it. I got to watch the girls practice though for their cat walk and one of the girls had a solo dance she is doing. So cool to watch, and to watch the aunties get into it and show how it’s supposed to be done. πŸ˜‰ Wish I had recorded it!

This week, they had races one afternoon and I got rounded into it. Joel came up to me and said he wanted to race me. Shouldn’t be a huge deal…. I mean, he’s only ten. Oh man, was I wrong. These kids can sprint! I take a little longer to be going that fast and then I never really get going that fast. πŸ˜‰ So yep, two little boys (Dennis had joined in) beat me in a race. Seeing the happiness on Joel’s face over beating an auntie was great though. Man, I’m going to miss these kids!

This week, Paul (probably the most attached to me) said, β€œI’m going to miss you.” We hadn’t even been talking about me leaving and he brought it up. Yesterday, Joshua comes running up to me with his hands behind his back, hollering, β€œAuntie, I have something for you!” I was really expecting a bug of some sort, not a gorgeous bouquet of flowers that he handed to me. Such a sweetheart with a killer smile. πŸ™‚ Saying goodbye to the kids today was hard. I almost cried on several occasions. The kids all wanted to know if I was going to be back for Christmas and then if not for then, if I would be back next year. I almost teared up when I was with the toddlers and heard them call me β€œauntie.” I’m going to miss being an auntie to these kids. As hard as it was leaving the kids, it was just as hard to leave the staff. I have gotten to know so many of them, hear their stories, and laugh with them, that it’s hard to think that I won’t be around them anymore. And let me just say again (cause I know I’ve said it before), Naomi’s Village has some of the greatest staff working there. It’s amazing to think that in one place there can be so many wonderful people that all get along, are happy, and show how much they love the kids. I have been so blessed to spend the last two months there and make some friendships that will last a lifetime.

Well, this is going to be one rushed blog post. I had written the above earlier, but because I didn’t have WiFI I wasn’t able to post it. So I now have 10 min of free WiFi to get this up before it shuts off. Haha. I had a good shopping day at the market and finished up with all the Christmas gifts. Woohoo!! Mission Accomplished! I even got proposed to which was hilarious. πŸ˜‰ I’m going to miss being here and seeing Kenyans all the time.

My flight leaves just after midnight so I would greatly appreciate prayers that I have no issues with flights and that my bags all arrive safely. I will try and post later if there’s internet….

A few pictures and videos :)

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Stella and I after church on Sunday πŸ™‚

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And she wanted to take my picture…..and she got about a million. Something about clicking that button is really great to the kids. πŸ˜‰

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Today I stole baby Jacob and we enjoyed some outside time together. πŸ™‚ He’s smiling so much now!

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Esther called him her baby. πŸ™‚

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This guy is a hoot! Bonface is the spiritual leader at NV, and he is a great guy for these kids. He calls all of them his children and he also includes himself as one of the kids because he’s so silly. πŸ™‚

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Dennis caught this picture perfectly! I asked Ann and Kevin to get a picture with me and then they started kissing me. It was so incredibly sweet! I think this was right before they knocked me over with all their kissing. πŸ˜‰

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Dennis showing off some muscles. πŸ™‚ He has opened up so much since when I first got here. It’s amazing to see and I love that he comes up and gives me hugs. πŸ™‚

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Another one of my favorite pictures. πŸ™‚ Laban and Dennis giving kisses….and a lot of them too!

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Laban wanted a picture of the two of us. πŸ™‚ Just love these kids!

Hope you enjoy the few pictures and videos! Now to get to bed.. Getting up early for a run and then Bonface and I will be taking Aleyna to Nairobi where we’ll spend the day together before dropping her off at the airport at seven. It’s been a good day and I’m going to sleep happy. πŸ™‚

Love these kids! I have so many amazing memories and good times with them. Earlier this evening, Paul, Joel and Kimberly were all trying to stand on their heads. Joel did amazing at walking on his hands while Paul needed a little help. I so wish I had my camera on me, but maybe it’s good thing that I didn’t or I’d be focused on it and not the kids. I know you guys would love more pictures and videos, but maybe I’ll get through my older videos and post them. πŸ™‚ Played some ball with a couple of the girls. Got chased around by Paul who was trying to tickle my feet. Almost did the splits when the kids asked me how far down I could go and Paul decided to grab my leg and make me go down farther. Thankfully, my leg is still intact. πŸ˜‰ Everyone did some screaming at a little spider….poor thing. We did some dancing and cheering for the girls playing ball. And Aleyna and I teased Kevin about his girlfriend. He was trying to tell us that Benton had a girlfriend and Aleyna teased him and said, “Oh Kevin, do you have a girlfriend?” Haha, it was so much fun teasing him and he loved it since he kept up with it. Have I mentioned how great these kids are?? Seeing their smiling faces, getting hugs, high fives, kisses, etc.

Learned some patience yesterday from my class 2 kids (4 girls and 4 boys)….and hopefully they learned something as well. As you know, every Sunday the kids all split up into different classes and we teach them different lessons. Right now, we’re teaching the attributes of God. Yesterday was on how we can trust God because He is loving. The kids always have a hard time listening and two of the girls never seem to pay attention, are always talking and never stop even after I get on to them. So this time was no different. I started to get a little frustrated and my patience was about out. I told the kids that if they didn’t sit quietly that I they wouldn’t be able to go and play once the lesson was over, but to sit quietly until I said they could go. Two of the boys did really well and were even telling the others to be quiet. Well, needless to say, they couldn’t even keep the others quiet. When the lesson was over, three kids got to go and the other five stayed with me. We talked about why I kept them back instead of letting them go play and they behaved so well! If only they had been like that during the lesson. They were really sweet when I told them next Sunday would be my last time to teach them. They told me not to go and that they wanted me to stay and keep teaching them. Okay, so maybe they just said that because they thought they were in trouble, but it was still sweet in my opinion. πŸ™‚ We’ll see how next week goes.

Been running the past several days and I’ve realized something on my runs…. I will most likely greet in Swahili to people in the States, it’ll be strange to not have people stare or video tape me as I run past them, little kids hollering, “How are you?”, and that I won’t have to stop and shake hands with people in the States while I’m running. Everything is so different here and yet I’ve gotten used to it. It’s only when I stop and think about it that I realize it’s not normal in the US.

I’ve been improving on my Swahili and finally made it through the first unit. I slacked off quite a bit last week, but I’ve gotten back into the swing of it. I would highly recommend if anyone wants to learn a language to use Pimsleur’s Method. It teaches you words and phrases that you would use in every day life. It’s a little on the pricey side, but I think well worth the money. Takes only thirty minutes a day and is a very easy way to learn a language. In my opinion, anyway. πŸ™‚ The first few lessons were pretty easy as I already knew the greetings and other phrases, then it started to get harder and I began to think I wouldn’t be able to do it. I also thought maybe I was just stupid and there was no way I would learn a new language. πŸ˜‰ lol, but I kept pushing away at it and it’s amazing that when I go back to review that it’s extremely easy. Makes me a little sad that I didn’t know about this method sooner so I could have been working on it for the whole time I was here, but I am grateful for all I’ve learned in just the past month. I can now greet someone, ask them directions, say how I’m just learning Swahili so that’s why I’m rotten at it… Haha, ok. Not really. I can say that I don’t speak it well. Kenyan’s might not get what rotten meant in relation to the language. πŸ˜‰ I can ask someone where they want to eat, when they want to eat and what. I can now ask what time it is and count on all my fingers! Now isn’t that just impressive;) Ok, so not really but I’m pretty happy about it and I even did better than the younger kids when we counted on our fingers! Yeah, I beat some little kids who already speak fluent English and know way more Swahili than I do. πŸ˜‰

Well, if internet were only a little bit faster I’d have a video on here, but I guess you’ll just all have to wait. And some random bit of information… I’ve been in Kenya for 11 weeks, the date is 11/11 and I will be home in 11 days. WAAAHHHHH!!!!! So crazy. Anyway, usiku mwema!

I’m still alive! ;)

Ok, so I have a legitimate reason for not posting the past several days. We’ve been without internet since Friday night. It’s really windy here at night, and that night it just knocked the satellite right off the roof! Apparently, multiple people had it happen because the guys took forever to finally come out and fix ours. I am thankful for internet, that’s for sure! It really wasn’t so bad living without it though.

Not much has happened around here. Just playing with the kids, riding piki piki’s as much as I can, making new friends, hiking, running on these crazy dirt roads, listening to sermons, working on projects for the staff, reading to the kids, and of course always loving on them. πŸ™‚ Monday, Aleyna and I went with James and Joseph to check the water lines for leaks. We ended up doing way more walking then we thought, but it was a gorgeous day and the walk was beautiful. And you can’t help but feel pretty great walking through the bush of Kenya with a machete. I mean, it’s no gun but it’ll take down a leopard. Or so I was told. πŸ˜‰ We found several leaks in the water lines, and got them patched up enough to last till they can replace the pipes. I even got my hands all muddy and helped them out! πŸ™‚ I enjoyed getting to know James and Joseph more as well. James showed me what plants/fruits were good to eat and I even tried them. One tree that has fruit on it, actually can make you go blind. James tried tricking me into eating another fruit saying it was “sweet”, I called him out on it when his face twisted up into a sour expression. I did end up trying the fruit off that tree and it tasted very similar to a lemon. Found little tiny berries that are poisonous if you eat them, but can be used as soap on your hands. And I tried a leaf that literally dried out my mouth. I didn’t eat the whole leaf as one bite was enough. πŸ˜‰ Love all the little things I get to learn around here!

Yesterday, Aleyna and I went up to Kijabe on piki piki’s. And I video taped just about the entire ride. I’ll have to post it sometime so you can see how bumpy and wild the ride is. It’s not easy trying to hold a camera in one hand and to hang onto dear life with the other. My legs were killing me once we finally made it up to Kijabe….felt like I had run a half marathon instead of just hanging onto a piki piki. πŸ˜‰ It was a good ride otherwise though. We then took a matatu up to the Pizza Inn where we had lunch. We then took several more matatus and made it into Naivasha. There we ran into Antony (worker at NV) who offered to give us a ride back to the house. This was an awesome plan. Until he ended up locking the keys in the land rover and we waited three hours before we finally made the trip back to NV. Talk about a long day!

There’s been some amazing memories made here at NV. Special moments/sayings from a few of the kids from this past week:

Joel – “Will you be my sponsor?” Joel is extremely quiet until you get to know him (and even then he’s quiet). So for him to ask me to be his sponsor was a big deal for me. πŸ™‚ He now always ask me to sit by him during mealtime and during church. I love it!

After seeing two huge rainbows in the sky, Paul runs up to me, throws his arm around me and shouts excitedly, “GOD IS COMING BACK!” Haha, made me just about die laughing. πŸ˜€

Helping Soni as she read books to me. Today she told me, “I love you.”

Paul – “I want you to come to Mombasa with us… and then we’ll never leave and stay there forever!” And a little bit later, “You look sketchy.” πŸ˜‰

Kisses from toddlers, hearing giggles and laughter, being tickled, getting hugs from the kids, etc. Life here is simply beautiful. ❀

Here’s a video about Evalyne and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy. So proud of Evalyne and so privileged to know her! I don’t know many 13 y/o that say they want to be a neurosurgeon andΒ  yet I totally see her achieving that goal. She’s one of the harder ones to get to know, but I’ve gotten her to laugh and talk, which I feel is quite an accomplishment. πŸ™‚

A post in pictures

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A week ago when we had a water slide set up and had water fights. πŸ™‚

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Bonface and Margaret. We were celebrating birthdays and a big thing that Kenyan’s do to celebrate is that the birthday girl/guy gets water dumped all over them. So here is Bonface dragging Margaret over to the water slide. πŸ™‚

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Priceless! You should’ve heard the screaming and hollering. πŸ˜€

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The kids had a blast on this slide πŸ™‚

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It started to get cooler out and these kids were all shivering and teeth chattering, but they kept going for more. πŸ™‚

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Love these kids in crocs! πŸ™‚

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Yesterday morning while the bigger kids were on an outreach, the younger ones played dress-up. This is Joshua decked out with some blonde hair! I about died laughing after seeing him. πŸ™‚

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Haha, Issac is such a doll! Love the style he’s pulling off. πŸ˜‰

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Kimberly lookin’ all stylish!

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Love Hannah’s new look. πŸ˜€

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They could almost pass as twins πŸ˜‰

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Getting a group shot wasn’t easy and this is the best I got. πŸ™‚ Aren’t they adorable!

Sorry for the lack of writing lately! This week has been draining. By afternoon I normally have very little (if any) energy and so by the time it’s evening I’m done for. I’m lazy, but I feel like writing a long blog post would require too much energy and thought. So I normally do something mindless…. like nothing at all. πŸ˜‰ Hope you enjoy all the pictures! Maybe I’ll work on getting some more videos posted. I have about a million… πŸ˜‰

A few of the kids

Sorry for such a delay in posting! Things have been crazy around here. Crazy good though. πŸ™‚ The kids were out of school on Friday because of mid-term break, and then today is a Kenyan national holiday. Celebrating fifty years of independence! Had an amazing day with the kids and a massively huge lunch! We had chicken, beef, goat, potatoes, chapatis, cookies, and soda. Definitely not going hungry here! Have I mentioned how great the food is here? I really do love it. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow though, we’re (Katie, Ricky, Tim, Aleyna and I) are all going to get pizza! πŸ˜€ I haven’t had pizza in over a month, so I’m excited!

One of my big projects that I’ve been working on is getting pictures of all the children and staff here at Naomi’s Village. It’s not easy getting good smiling pictures of all these kids. Definitely been a difficult task. Today was pretty amazing though as I got a good picture of almost every child and a few of the staff members. πŸ™‚ So, now for some of those shots of the kids…. πŸ™‚

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Evelyne

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Mary

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Zakayo

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Soni

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Jojo

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Mary W

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Millicent

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Esther

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Brian

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Joel

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John N

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Emily

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Samuel (here it’s pronounced Samwell)

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Joshua

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Francis

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Essie

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Isaac

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Evans

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Millicent

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Stella

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Mary

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Laban

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Ann

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Jane

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Naomi

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Moses

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Jacob

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Sorry for no names on the pictures. Maybe when it’s not late and I’m more awake, I’ll get around to labeling all of them. πŸ™‚

African braids!

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It took me awhile to get up enough courage to actually do this. I’m really Kenyan now! That’s what I tell all the people here anyway. πŸ˜‰ It’s amazing the connection I’ve had with people because of my African braids. I went to church today and the women there loved it! The kids did some screaming when we walked into the playroom yesterday evening. It was great! Even the aunties were excited and wanted to touch our hair. πŸ™‚ I will say that it’s not the most comfortable thing; I think I woke up last night every time I turned over because the hair hurt. Goodness, what we woman do to look nice. I tell ya, it’s a crazy world we live in. πŸ˜‰ Haha. It’s not permanent though, so I can take it out whenever I want. And I’m getting more used to it and I think tonight will be much better. Anyway, that’s what we did all day yesterday. We left our place just after 8 and didn’t get back home till after 7. Talk about one really long day of lots of sitting. It’s a good experience. Something I probably never would’ve done, but I’m glad I did. πŸ™‚

Random bit of information: I totally rode on a piki piki today in a knee-length jean skirt, flip flops, and no helmet! Definitely in Africa! πŸ˜€

Mt. Longonot!

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Getting ready for a long day of hiking/climbing! Boy did I not know what we were getting into. πŸ˜‰

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Right before setting out! Look at us all clean and ready to go! That changed so quickly.

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Totally worth that hard climb to see all this beauty!

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Taking a break at the top

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Love this shot!

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Silly friends πŸ˜‰

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This may be a young acacia tree. Whatever it is though, it is not something you want to run into!

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I felt like we were in Sound of Music when their walking across the Alps. Except there’s no snow here. πŸ˜‰ haha

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We did a lot of climbing through tight spaces and did a lot of sliding. It was a hard climb mostly because of the ash/dirt that was hard to get a grip on.

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At the very top of the summit!

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Isn’t this just amazing?! That tiny little path below is where we hiked down. Basically you slide down the mountain because of the dirt

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It was so amazing to see where we had come from. πŸ™‚

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We climbed down about halfway into the crater to see this vent. It’s been since the 1800’s since Longonot has erupted, but there’s a couple of these areas where the heat from the center rises. And boy was it hot! You could cook a meal pretty quickly over this heat! Btw, I have no idea if “vent” would be the way to describe that. It’s all I could come up with though. πŸ˜‰

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The steam rising

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This was what we had to come down to get to the vent. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You pretty much hang onto grass and trees while you scramble down. I was already exhausted by the time we did this, but it was worth it. Coming back up was even more difficult especially since it wouldn’t have taken much to fall all the way down. Haha, one of the rocks we had to climb up, my legs were shaking so bad from all that we’d already done, that I didn’t think they would hold out for me. Such good times. πŸ™‚

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Made it back up and still alive! I have raccoon eyes because of all the dirt on my face. πŸ˜‰

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I just love these flower pictures with the mountain in the background. So cool. πŸ™‚

Monday, we hiked up Mt. Longonot and had an amazingly hard, fun time! πŸ˜‰ Seriously, it was probably the hardest hiking I’ve ever done. Even harder than running a half marathon! There were some steep parts, and because of the loose dirt it was hard to get a grip and to actually get anywhere without slipping back down. The view from the top (as you can see) was absolutely gorgeous and was totally worth the pain. I would love a house on top and to wake up to that view every day. πŸ™‚ Still feeling the pain in my legs though, but I’m ready for our next hiking expedition!

This is Esther. She’s the most mature nine year old I’ve ever met. And she’s totally awesome and I love spending time with her. She’s the one I dance with a lot. πŸ™‚