Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Tory, Emma, Tye, Claire, Levi, Josie, Jane and Ethan

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Simple Life

Jeremiah, Jamie and Peter hanging out at the newly erected campsite.

Drinking coffee by the mud brick fire pit.

Jeremiah pouring a freshly brewed, and very stout, cup of cowboy coffee, a skill he learned from Grandpa Kinkel.

Remnants of a night of big fun...

Over the past week, Jeremiah has been uncharacteristically efficient with finishing his homeschooling assignments. As soon as Latin, literature, Algebra, and history are finished, he is gone…for several hours. “What is he up to?” I asked myself, and, knowing Jeremiah, I figured it involved something related to digging, chopping, cutting and fire. He would show up for dinner covered with sweat and dirt, smelling like a 12 year old + boy, but with a very contented look on his face.

Yesterday, the mystery was revealed, as Jeremiah invited me to see the campsite that he, Jamie and Peter had been diligently working on for days, tucked in a secluded area, what appeared to be a remnant of the high altitude rain forest that used to cover this area. Entering through the back, and going down dirt steps meticulously fashioned, was the fort, a small clearing created by pangas, with a lush canopy, a mud brick fire pit, and a leveled dirt area for sleeping.

When Jeremiah asked if they could sleep in the fort that night, the answer was easy. “Just be careful,” I said as he was gathering supplies: a bucket of Cokes, two onions for roasting in the fire, a package of marshmallows, a bag of Farmer’s Choice sausages (advertized proudly to be at least 62% meat), a panga, OFF!, and materials for making torches (the OFF! was not for repelling insects). I told Heather that the combination of pre-adolescent angst plus indigestion would guarantee about two hours of sleep for the boys.

This morning, I carried fixings for “cowboy coffee” to the fort for the boys…I figured they would need it. Jeremiah had already fried eggs over the fire, and the site was strewn with the remnants of last night’s events. Jamie was finishing off the last of the hideous sausages, and they all smelled like the open pit fire.

As I walked back home, I recalled the worry I had when we first arrived in Kenya, that our children would, in some way, suffer as a result of being here, not having the same opportunities available to kids in the States. And, there are missed opportunities for our children…piano lessons for Claire, violin lessons for Emma, football for Jeremiah, and, more importantly, missed family events with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. But, we have seen God provide for our children in ways far beyond what we think they need, or what we could even provide. Now, we see the incredible blessing of raising kids in a simpler environment such as this. Without TV, soccer practice, McDonalds, school events, (and, for the first three months even, a vehicle), the kids finally have time to be kids, to use their minds, to create, to explore, and just have fun. Sometimes the things we think we so desperately need actually hinder that which our hearts truly desire. The simple life at Tenwek…not so bad after all.


Em said...

There is so much fun to be had as I kid at Tenwek. We miss the simple fun.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh...this makes me miss him so much. Reading this I was reminded of how much Cody admired him. I know Cody would have loved to be hanging out at that fire with him. Miss you all!