Knox Kids Update

We are really blessed to have a great "home" church in Ann Arbor, which we've mentioned before (Knox Presbyterian). So many people have supported us--financially, through prayer, or encouragement. Before we left, we had several chances to share with the entire congregation what we're doing, and another fun aspect was getting to share with the kids' Sunday school classes about our work in Kenya. The kids were pretty receptive, and each McCropder family was adopted by several Sunday school classes. We recently received a binder full of pictures and notes from our classes, grades 1 and 2. They asked lots of questions, and I just wanted to share our "newsletter" response with all of you as well. There were pictures as a part of this, but I couldn't get the letter up on our blog in "letter" format, and besides, all the pictures we used have already been posted on our blog.

Dear first and second grade classes at Knox,
Greetings from Kenya! We have been here for two months now and are getting used to living in Africa. It has been very fun so far. Dr. Eric and Dr. Rachel work in the hospital—Dr. Eric takes care of babies, and Dr. Rachel takes care of mommies. Maggie stays home and plays. We live next door to the Fader family and the Cropsey family. There is a nice church that we walk to every Sunday, but we miss going to Knox with all of you!
We had Christmas here at the hospital (Tenwek) and it was fun. There were lots of parties, and singing, and some church services. Maggie's grandma lives in Arizona, but she got to watch Maggie opening up her presents on the computer! We shared a nice meal with the Cropseys and
Faders, as well as some new friends in Kenya.
Here are the answers to some of your questions:

What kind of sports do you play in Kenya?
We have played soccer (but they call it football here), frisbee, and racquetball so far.

Are there forests/mountains/ jungles/trees/oceans/flowers in Kenya?
There are some forests and mountains where we live. The hospital is at 7,000
feet elevation, more than a mile high! There are beautiful flowers, some you'd recognize (roses outside our door) and some exotic ones, too. Kenya is on an ocean, the Indian Ocean. But that's a long ways from our house, so we haven't seen it yet. There are no jungles where we live.

What language do you speak?
We are able to speak mostly English, but are also trying to learn Swahili. Do you remember some Swahili words we taught you last spring? Jambo means “hello”, rafiki means “friend”, and habari is “how are you?”

What kind of animals are in Kenya?
There are lots of cool animals here. On a daily basis, we just see cows and dogs and birds. But there are some special places called game reserves where the animals live, and we just went to visit. We saw giraffes, zebras, lions, wildebeasts, jackals, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, baboons, and lots of kinds of gazelles. There are also leopards and cheetahs, but we didn't see those.

Are there shepherds in Kenya?
Yes! There is a tribe of people that live near us called the Masai, and they herd sheep,
goats, and cows. Many times they don't have a permanent house, but travel with their animals all over the country.

Are there schools in Kenya?
Yes. Most children go to school, although you have to pay a fee. And they all have to wear the same uniform. Some children even live at the school.

What kinds of food do you eat in Kenya?
We eat mostly all the same food as you do. Some unique foods that we eat here, like the Kenyans, are called ugali and sukumu wiki. Ugali is a corn mush (like cream of wheat, only
thicker and you eat it with your hands) and sukumu wiki is a green vegetable like

How do you go to the bathroom/take a shower in Kenya?
We have a regular bathroom and shower in our house with flush toilets and running
water. It's even hot water!

What kind of clothes do they wear in Kenya?
Most people wear the same clothes as we do, except women don't wear pants
here, only skirts and dresses. Some people also have a special brightly colored cloth that they can wear as a skirt or shawl, called a kikoy.

Thanks for all your questions! It's nice to know that you're remembering us and praying
for us. Let us know if you have any more questions.
Eric, Rachel, and Maggie McLaughlin


Sandy said...

You guys are great! Your letter to the kids made me want to cry - it's really special. Thanks for taking the time to write to them! I really enjoyed it too!