Sep 30, 2007

Meanwhile, Florence Mubichi Stays Busy!

Florence Mubichi is on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma School of Nursing. She just recently returned from delivering a presentation at an international conference in India. Most of this week she will be involved in a conference on "The State of Science on Prematurity and Low Birthweight Babies" in downtown OKC. She is making a presentation at that conference on Wednesday. On November 2nd, she will be making a presentation at the Governor's Educational Conference. All this is on top of the numerous courses she is teaching at OU PLUS the 10 credit hours of course work that she is TAKING this semester for her Ph.D. Wow. It's been a while since I worked that hard! This picture is of Kathy Baumwart meeting Florence at the airport when she returned to Oklahoma from a summer break in Kenya last August.

A Reading Baraza Is Held at St. Peter's Primary School

Click here to read Katie McLain's posts about her experiences in Kenya. Here are three pictures I lifted from her blog at This was a Saturday event where the Miriam Kanana Mubichi Foundation donated text books to the school, volunteers read to children and, of course, everyone ate well! This effort is part of our commitment to help children develop a culture of reading in Meru. Click on any image to view an enlarged version.

Sep 23, 2007

Katie's First Two Days in Kenya

Katie has posted about her first two days in Kenya. Read her blog by clicking here.

For newcomers to weblogs, remember the posts are like diary entries with the most recent entry at the top of the page. If that's too confusing, sign up for a free account at Bloglines ( and then "subscribe" to both Katie's and my blogs! Then you can tell Bloglines to list "Oldest entries first" and it will be easier to read. :-)

News From Fridah Mubichi in Kenya

(This email to Jean Warner and Rev. Grayson Lucky came 9-22-2007)

Good morning on this wonderful Sunday morning from Meru.

I must thank you all for making me the happiest person in probably Kenya if not the whole planet. Katie’s arrival is a breath of fresh air and such a blessing to us all. She has brought with her your love and her calm spirit has us all (the Mubichis -- including our hyper active puppy) slowing down to appreciate the many precious gifts around us. Baby Kanana has a new baby sitter whom she seems to love. Its amazing because she never lets strangers pick her up.

Yesterday we held a reading Baraza in Ruiri which is about 12 km from Kaaga (next to the forest) we went expecting 50 kids but were instead treated to 120 (which made me panic since we had planned for 50). Anyway it was a success as you will read from Katie (my wonderful writer).

I will write more later. For now, I just wanted to let you all know how grateful we all are (especially ME) for having Katie around; she is such a blessing. I bet she will be a pleasant surprise to two of our Sunday school kids (Anita & Sandra).

Will you thank Katie's family and all those who made this possible for us, please?

Peace and blessings,


PS I am not sure that Katie expected to take college courses while in Kenya, poor girl. I have her taking two of the classes that I am teaching at Kenya Methodist University. :-)

You can choose how to view the world!
With optimism and faith or pessimism and doubt.

Sep 22, 2007

What Else Is In Our Suitcases

In addition to library books, our suitcases are filled with cataloging materials for 1,000 books (we have thousands of books still to catalog) and reading “rewards” (bookmarks, pencils, stickers, reader certificates, etc.). Sadly I suspect we will have to mail our American Library Association READ posters, though! To read Katie McLain's Saturday, September 22nd blog post on what we do with those bookmarks, click here.

Books Going to Kenya

Almost all the books in our children's library came out of public schools in Oklahoma. So the protagonists are usually white Americans. Now we are trying to add balance to the collection. So Katie and I are carrying in our suitcases to Kenya children's books that feature African (not African-American) characters. These include For You Are A Kenyan Child; We All Went On Safari; Fire On The Mountain; Water Hole Waiting; Bringing the Rain to Kapiti; A Busy Day for Okoth; A Kenya Christmas; Facing Mount Kenya; A Pride of African Tales; Kidogo; Elizabeth's Doll; and Papa, Do You Love Me? and more. We also are bringing classics like A Wrinkle In Time; Tuck Everlasting; Where the Wild Things Are; Good Night, Moon; Bridge to Terabithia; The Giving Tree and several of Graeme Base's wonderful books. At the request of college students in Meru, we are also bringing some plays written by African playwrights.

During my remarks at the library dedication last February, I held up a book for adults entitled When We Began, There Were Witchmen: An Oral History from Mount Kenya by Jeffrey A Fadiman. Many of the dignitaries at the ceremony approached me later saying, "If you bring more copies of this book, we would each like to purchase a copy!" So I have 4 or 5 copies of that account of the Kimeru tribe's history in my suitcase, too.
There are many other books identified (and "tagged" for purchase on but our big problem is getting the books to Kenya. We are limited on how much luggage we can bring (two 50 pound checked bags and one 13 pound carryon piece). So we may have to mail some books to Kenya at $1 per pound!

Katie Departs for Kenya

On Monday, Sept 17, Katie McLain (2nd from left) departed for Kenya.
There to see her off (left to right) were her father, Tom McLain, and her friends Rebecca Roper and Geoffrey Stafford.

Sep 16, 2007

Katie's Commissioning

Dr. Grayson Lucky, Senior Pastor at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church, with Katie McLain (right) and her mother, Nan. The second worship service on Sunday, September 16, included a Commissioning of Katie.
Click on images to enlarge.