Back in Kampala after a wonderful home leave

After an amazing two months of spending time with friends and family in Kenya and the US, we are now fully recovered from jetlag (which is much harder when small children are involved!) and back into the swing of our life in Kampala.

Our home leave was a real blessing and came at the right time.  From Jan – May, we had several stressful situations come up and were at the point where both of us really needed a break.  Some highlights from our home leave were:

  • Visiting family and friends in Kenya, and especially getting to meet our newest nephew Uba when he was just 12 hours old. He was due on May 15th and we were planning to be in Kenya until May 29th, so we were sure we would meet him.  However, by the 27th he still had not made his arrival.  He finally decided to be born at 1am on the 28th, so at least we got to meet him the day before we left.  Our kids also had a great time playing with Shamal, Taj, Rio, and Chichi, their cousins from Muigai’s side, and we enjoyed spending time with Muigai’s mom and his siblings.

Cousins from Muigais side – from left to right, Muigai’s sister Njoki with her son ChiChi, Taj, Rio, Njeri holding her newest son Uba

  • Visiting our small farm in Murang’a, Kenya where Natalie and Nathan learned how to pick tea and helped to harvest cabbages and potatoes

Natalie proudly showing off her cabbages

  • Spending time with the US cousins Kiara, Lucas, and Briana – it’s hard living far away from both families, so it was really a blessing that our children were able to spend time with all their cousins (and of course aunts, uncles, and grandparents as well)

Nathan and Briana, who were born only 6 weeks apart, became best buddies


  • Spending lots of time with my parents and sisters and meeting Kelly’s new “babies” – George and Freddy, her cats. We are so grateful for my parents who sacrificed the peace and quiet they usually have in their house to host us for almost 2 months.
  • Meeting our friend’s new babies that had been born in the past year, particularly Logan, James, Emma Hermes, and Emma Leftwich (well we “met” her via skype at least)
Baby Logan

Meeting Baby Logan, Brandon and Alicia’s sweet little guy


James, David and Csilla’s little boy, who also graciously agreed to be my model!

  • Spending time with family and friends in the US – we were grateful to get a chance to see so many of you, though were still many others that we would have wanted to see.
  • Taking trips with my family to Virginia Beach and Dutch Wonderland (which was probably one of the biggest highlights for Natalie – she is quite adventurous when it comes to rides and was thrilled to ride on a “big roller coaster.”)
photo 3 (1)

Nathan and Lucas take a break from the rides to climb in the giant pretzel


Having fun in the waves

  • Attending the Duke Summer Peacebuilding Institute for a week, where we met some incredible people and reconnected with friends
  • Enjoying some of our favorite American foods that we can’t get in Kampala – grapefruits, grapes, raspberries and blackberries, mint chocolate chip ice cream (I’m surprised I didn’t gain 10 pounds with all the ice cream I ate!!), chipotle, Red Front butter (seriously the best butter in the world – for my H’burg friends Red Front carries big rolls of Amish butter which are amazing) and chocolate chips.
  • Muigai was able to take a 2 week course on Project Management at Georgetown, where he met a lot of interesting people and learned some great skills that are relevant to our work here.
  • Having a good time of rest – reading books, playing with the kids, good conversations, watching TV, etc. We are definitely feeling rested and refreshed after our leave.

And it’s a good thing we had a nice rest, because we have a lot coming up between now and December.  Some things that are coming up:

  • This month we are welcoming Revi, a new volunteer from Indonesia, who will spend a year working with Stella Matutina
  • In late September/early October we will have a country review, which happens every 5 years. It’s a lot of work preparing for it and will be two weeks of intensive traveling and interviews, going to 4 different parts of Uganda in just 14 days.
  • We will be traveling to Soroti in the eastern part of Uganda in Oct. for several days for an advisors meeting and to visit partners there.
  • In Nov we have 9 days in Kigai, Rwanda where all the MCC Reps from African countries will meet together.
  • In December we will be traveling to Nairobi for a biannual retreat with all MCC team members and their families from East Africa (about 100 people!) and then will be staying in Nairobi to spend Christmas with family and friends there.
  • Because of all these travels, we realized Natalie would be missing about 15 or more days of school. So we decided to try out homeschooling for the rest of the year.  We have found a tutor who will work with her while I am in the office and we’ve found a few homeschooling groups for her to be part of.  We’ll see how it goes and decide if we want to continue homeschooling in Jan or put her back in school.

Thank you again to all of you who we were able to spend time with during our home leave, and please keep our upcoming travels in your prayers.



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