Where ever you find your self living there will always the reasons you love to be there…and the reasons you find it more than frustrating.

Here’s what I enjoy in Kenya.

WILDLIFE – No matter where you, wildlife abounds in Kenya. Because seeing zebra on the side of the road…is well…normal

SUNSHINE – Need I say anything more. I said to my mum I wanted to go to the centre of the world for…sun. From 7am till 5.30pm we have glorious sun.

FRUIT – Mangoes, Avacardo, Bananas, Passion fruit, Pineapple, coconut – all fresh, all sweet and all cheap!

MACADAMIA NUTS – You can buy these golden nuts in big packs for a bout $3 – Nothing more to say about that!

PEOPLE – Animated, fun, happy, passionate, friendly, welcoming.

LANDSCAPES – Kenya is a land of true natural beauty. Volcanoes, ,mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, white sand coast and national parks,

CHILDREN – They are crazy, fun, loving and like little actors on a stage. Always asking for something or asking “How are You”

MATATUS – Are they are good thing or not?…well I guess they are in some strange way…as they can take you anywhere you want to go in the country at…almost…anytime.

SODA BOTTLES – There is no plastic soda bottle here. They recycle all their soda bottles…so its glass all the way

MAMAS – The most hardworking people I have ever meet and they wear the brightest clothes in the world.

LOCAL – Everything is made here…

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Christmas is in 2 days – what! Days have merged into one this month but here we are, Christmas 09 then the dawn of a new year begins. Personally, I am really excited for the new year. In fact, very optimistic. Because this new life in Africa, though a challenge, has shown me, dreams really do have the chance to shine like stars in your life. Things can happen. Things can change as soon as I just start moving and walking.

So for this Christmas and New Year, I’m in Lamu, on the coast of Kenya just north of Mombasa and along the Indian Ocean. Lamu is an ancient Arab-Egyptian Island dating back to early civilization. Think: long sunlight hours; heat that reaches 30+; donkeys as the only mode of transport; narrow streets; stone walls; wood carvings around the door frames; simple-beautiful furniture; greetings from every kid on the street almost with, “Jambo”; tiny art spaces where artists work for a living; magnificent tropical plant life; a slower pace of life; white sand beaches; silky warm sea waters for swimming; lush fruit and seafood; warm people; strong Swahili culture; boats as transport-mangrove cruising-tropical fish coral reef snorkeling-Christmas evening sunset trip-yes yes yes!

So yes its been a great holiday so far. Relaxing; soaking in the sun: eating fabulous food; staying on an ancient island that just happens to have few annoying tourists.

Its funny though, as we really have no idea its Christmas season as there is little of the associated madness. There’s a festival groove and vibe all over town, but the stores haven’t got their sale or Christmas window. Its weird. But its also incredibly cool to do something different. To be somewhere different and to appreciate Christmas through the lives of a different culture.

For this year I want to say, thanks. Thank you for all the love you have sent me this year through email, this blog, facebook and twitter. I have really appropriated it, it has meant a lot.

Have a happy Christmas my friends and family and good start to 2010.

Love and Peace
Marcus.

One hard week. But a significant and beautiful send off for our director, hero and friend, James.

Thursday presented a day where we celebrated and remembered a life well lived. A memorial service for a life of humor, achivement, grace, living justice, mission, family, international connections and dreams accomplished. 
The service was at his home church Cornerstone Faith Assembly near the Fadhili offices.
This service was deeply moving and incredibly hard but by the end of the day, it felt like a lot of pain had been lifted.
 
James was 31 when he was murdered just outside gates of his compound. His young 9 month old daughter and beautiful young wife are left behind, but with the support of Fadhili Community the family will be well looked after.

His legacy expands well into all corners of Kenya. He was part of planting 30+ churches. He established a childrens home for orphaned children, Madison House. He built a house for his mother and took care of finnacial burdens of his family. Built a very successful local NGO, Fadhili Community with a strong volunteer network accross the globe.
But more than any of this he was just a super fun and enjoyable person to be around.
 
On Friday we travelled about 50mins north near Naivasha to the community of Kinani where his mama and family lived, the site of the new house; to conduct a funeral and burial service. The first part of the servise involved speachs, prayers, messages, song, photographs and eulogy. Memory and praise for a life well lived. Close to 1000 people attended. The second half of the service the coffin was carried out around the side of the property into freashly cultivated land where the pressesion of the coffin slowly made it’s way to final resting place. As soil is scatered and covered over his coffin final closures are made in lovers hearts. Flowers are placed all over his grave which represented the colour of life he was to so many people, even from all around the world. The final prayers and the cross pushed into the soil. The final resting place for a life well lived.
Then several trees were planted around the site. This was so good, to plant a little tree. 
And then food!….Kenyans know how to feed a crowd. So by this time tears have started to go replaced by smiles and a lightness begins to ease heavy hearts.

So that’s the last two days.
James was given the memory that was so true to who he was.

I will miss and love him always…RIP my bro  

My eyes are tired and
  my bones frail
My heart is heavy and
  my mind is questioning
My faith has been punched and 
  my face is broken
My body is brusised and 
  my energy deflated 

To find some resolution,
  is refused 
To find solace, 
  is waiting patiently

To discover truth 
and to understand humanity 
means to find life 
is full of pain. 
 
Valleys and deserts
Mountains and lakes

The truth of life 
plays his symphony 
 
that to discover true life 
is to discover true pain

Tears stream down faces
Sadness pulls the soul throgh gravel
Mysterory is ever mysterious
And once told stories, 
become gulps of weight

Love is waiting for her ticket
Pain meets her at crossroads
 
Pain is pushing for strength to come
A strength not yet here
A stength that hides from tomorrow 
But a strength to come

Like the stars in Africas night sky
Like the energy of a Cheateh in the Mara
Like the Fish Eagle soaring Lake Naivasha
Like the style of Zebras stripes in Nakuru
Like the majesty of Elephant herds in Aberdere

James fashioned true beauty 
And lived for more than his eyes had seen 

For the good news was given to the poor;
Mouths were feed
Books given to little hands
Shoes onto bare feet 
Medications distributed freely

A legacy shown
A generous heart offered

James has written new history for his own county bacause;

Love was given 
Grace was opened wide
And peace was created for all
 
Rest in peace James.
My love always… 

grief is personal
grief has few answers

grief leaves permanant stains
grief has holes too wide for covering

a murder or suicide
a tradgedy or natural passing

death creeps and swallows
internal swiming to find a shoreline

too wide to gasp 
too dark to see light

grief appears 
then grief slashes hands

hands that once held love

a love is taken and space created

galexcies following the cosmos
oceans dancing in the same deep sea

a love is taken and space created

James I will love you forever: RIP