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Kenya, Week 1

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Some of you know my sister is in Kenya with a group who is working to build a medical clinic in Kaugi Village outside of and up a mountain or two from Meru, just about on the equator.

The group stays at Meru County Hotel where they also get breakfast and dinner. Meals take 3 hours to get their food. I think it's because they go out and harvest the fruits and vegetables when they see the bus coming. ; ) They have a lot of spinach and fresh fruit. They are given bread and most have a supply of peanut butter to make a sandwich for their lunch. My sister wised up and took a banana from breakfast to put on her sandwich yesterday.

The medical team is there, working to see as many as they can while the building team builds.

I haven't known how lucky I was. Read on.

This photo shows how villagers power a single LED light in their living room at night.

I couldn't figure out how someone could live in such a rickety structure up in the air like this. I learned it's not a house. They are water towers.

In the process of trying to convert power from the generator to a power saw brought from the US, they burned up the saw and had to resort to using hand power to cut plywood to size to create the frame for the concrete footing .

When the rebar arrived, it had been folded in half. If you don't have a tool you need, you make one. So they used a stump that came out of the foundation hole to bend the rebar straight to be cut and welded into the framework.

Bucket Brigades have moved rock into the base of the foundation trench. And then moved it again when they needed more height but had no more rock so they had to refill underneath with that red clay. Then the Portland Cement arrived and they started mixing and bucketing the equivalent of 3 of our truckloads of concrete.

My sister got concrete in her eye as she set her bucket down. She tried to wash it out with her water bottle, and remembered she had added Propel to it. After a trip to the medical center where they rinsed it out with saline, she reports she's okay.

The group is far away from home, well, anywhere, really.

They are working to build a medical clinic in honor of Benjamin's mother.
She raised 7 educated children, and worked to helped other children in the village. When a mother was expecting, she would give a banana tree to her so the child would at least have bananas during hard times.

Benjamin has been to school here in the states, and his first job was working for the St. Pete Times--now the Tampa Bay Times.

This is Benjamin with his daughter.

The whole village met the bus the first day and everyone walked the rest of the way together.

If you would like to know more about this project, you can access their "Blog" at

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAGELADY2 2/9/2013 10:13AM

    It is an entirely different world there and so many diseases and deaths can be prevented with just a clean, dependable water source. I've read where villages had put in a well and someone came and stole it (the pump head) to sell for scrap. It was heartbreaking.

We are blessed to have what we have and not have to worry about where you next drink comes from, or next meal.

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NORASPAT 2/8/2013 10:22PM

    Thanks for the Goodie, I have had so much to do this last week DH had 2 Dr visits this week and they were both long. Then shopping alone and dashing back to DH, he is doing great but I do worry when i am gone.
I lost the subscription to your blog and overlooked you I am so very sorry. Forgive me please. I was glad you brought it to my attention. The Project is amazing bringing steel and concrete in to the village must be an education in itself. It is great they have the ability to modify when needed. Your sister is really living life to the fullest, HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 2/8/2013 5:08AM

    Very impressive, the situation there. And you made an interesting blog entry out of it.

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JO88BAKO 2/7/2013 8:11PM

    Wow, that is awesome! Whenever I turn on the water faucet I think of people in Africa. I won't waste a drop. We are in N.C. It's a great place to be in the winter. Hope you have a great day!! Thanks for stopping by my blog emoticon

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ANGEL1066 2/7/2013 6:39PM

    Clean water is so critical in Africa. One of my former students is now working in Tanzania with several villages on a project to get reliable clean water to their people. So many diseases are a direct consequence of the unsanitary water in so many places. May God Bless your sisters clinic project!

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LESLIELENORE 2/7/2013 5:56PM


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ROBB1N 2/7/2013 4:42PM

    We really don't know how good we have it here, do we?

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Spark Coach and FitBit Advice requested

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I'm going to have to make up my mind soon about whether to continue with this program now. If it had been available last July when I came back to Spark People, I would have definitely used it and found it VERY helpful.

At this point, I think I'm doing pretty well. Perhaps I'm in the wrong part of the program.

I am very impressed with the organization of each day's plan.

Does anyone have experiences which might help me make up my mind?
I'll take your response in spark mail if you wish.

The other thing I'm looking at is buying one of those fit bit arm bands.
I might be calling it by the wrong name. I'm thinking since so much of my workouts are in the pool, that I wouldn't get enough benefit. Also, since I don't have a smart phone--just a MacBook. Will that be compatible.

If you have info or a link, I'd appreciate any help with this.
I have watched several Youtube videos, been to the website,, etc.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAGELADY2 2/9/2013 10:10AM

    I trialed it in the summer I believe and it wasn't for me at that time. I don't have very much time to spend on the computer while at home so each new "thing" that takes time isn't needed. I know my workouts and what I can do when. My food choices are pretty much set now. I've had a dietician work with me to set that up.

The fitbit is nice, but I have a different pedometer. I would have to re-enter all my recipes and things in the website for fitbit and that would mean double entry here and there. I guess since it now sync's to SP you can avoid that. When my pedometer shoots craps I'll probably get either that or the armband thing they use on Biggest Loser (which sync's here too I just found out).

So, right now I just enter in my steps, mileage and exercise stuff here manually. I also keep a spreadsheet that logs all that plus my calories, carbs and weight where I chart everything. But, I'm weird like that. :-)

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LESLIELENORE 2/7/2013 3:16PM

    I use the motivation program on Sparkcoach. I find it helpful and still challenging.

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PINKKITTY65 2/6/2013 10:10PM

    I love sp coach program is give me extra support and the push I need I could never do it alone..

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THESUBY 2/6/2013 9:59PM

    I've been using Spark Coach for a few weeks. I had already used SP for a couple of months before that. I've actually found it very useful; I think if I had started Spark Coach at the same time as SP, I would have been overwhelmed.
With the late start, I find it's much easier to follow Spark Coach; it's more like filling the blanks and reviewing the program. I like to go through the steps as I eat breakfast in the morning, and it gets my day off to a good start.
I don't know enough about the fitness armbands; I want one, but my budget won't allow it right now.

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NORASPAT 2/6/2013 9:56PM

    I would love a fit bit one but for me a very fit bit is missing.

I fully expected it might register heart rate but it does not.

I am rethinking it.

I think I should have had Spark coach in the beginning because after three years here I did not get enough out of it to keep using it.

I think it is just like buying Spark points so I stopped using it. Great for learning but not foe me, HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon It's a great place to be.

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Walkin, Swimmin, Eatin

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

It's 84 degrees. Yorkie and I walked a mile early this morning. Then I walked four miles on the bike trail. And since it's so nice, I'm going to the pool. I'll feel like I'm taking a bath because they heat it to 84 and the air will be 84.

I started the Spark Coach Program and chose rewarding myself for meeting goals as a goal. Thing is, it is a daily reward for meeting the goals daily. And I stopped rewarding with food a long time ago. It's been interesting coming up with rewards that don't const money.

So going to the pool seems like a nice reward for all the walking. I'll spend a little time relaxing but the rest treading water and swimming. I might really treat myself and use the sauna.

On the eating front, I roasted 12 Roma tomatoes last night with italian seasoning on them. They have been delicious on pita bread or an xtreme Wellness Spinach tortilla (with some black olives). You can't beat the aroma or taste of roasted tomatoes, unless it's fire roasted tomatoes!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAGELADY2 2/9/2013 10:16AM

    I LOVE roasted tomatoes and especially with garlic. YUUUUUMMMMM. Can't wait for summer and all the fresh veggies.

Still wavering on joining the YMCA so I can swim. I'm getting my schedule sorted at the moment. It'll be a few months until I know how my days are going to go. Just hanging on there with walking at lunch and as the weather warms, taking Dix to the parks around here again.

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ANGEL1066 2/5/2013 9:46PM

    somes wonderful, especially the 84* pool, I am envious! will try your roasted tomatos when we get our fresh ones this summer.

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NORASPAT 2/5/2013 8:11PM

    Another thing we have in common. I have never liked GREEN fried tomatoes but I was raised on Red fried tomatoes, fried in Butter and only on Sundays. Hugs pat in cold Maine. I would love an 84 degree pool again it used to be 85 for arthritics but the swim team rules the temperature.

You are getting in awesome time HUgs Pat emoticon emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 2/5/2013 4:27PM

    Yum! Great way to reward yourself! I wish the pool I use was kept that warm.

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CBRINKLEY401 2/5/2013 3:21PM

    I assume this means you were able to find a swim suit that wouldn't slip off the moment you jumped in the pool so you wouldn't end up skinny dipping?

No outside walks for me today. It's around 30 right now, snowing big flakes, which will cover up all the icy patches that are on the sidewalks so you won't know they are there until you suddenly find yourself flying through the air with your feet above your head! At least shoveling snow counts as exercise!

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A Door to a Forever Lifestyle

Monday, February 04, 2013

As long as I can remember, i have believed that if one door closed, another door would open. And I could share when that seemed to be true in my life, over and over. In fact it was so true that I usually had no thought to put my energies to creating a new door. Even when I kept opening that door to low calorie diets and quick weight loss, which always came back just as quickly, without building in those forever habits of healthy eating and activity.

When I saw this graphic and Milton Berle's quote this morning, I thought "That's what I have been doing the last 6 months here at SP, actually building the framework for a new door which would open on a forever lifestyle of health."

And right now, I'm carving the design in that door. I don't know what the finished design might look like, but I've no need to rush it. Fine craftsmanship takes time.

Are you building the framework for a door that will open on a forever lifestyle?
What does the design on your door look like?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAGELADY2 2/9/2013 10:18AM

    Realizing that even though I "hung on" for a couple of months over the winter, I still lost a pound or two a month. That tells me I've made a complete lifestyle change and it's sunk in. I ate "worse" more often those months but not terribly. I still moved, walked, did the healthy things I needed to do. It's more of a habit to do the healthy stuff now. No thinking involved.

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ANGEL1066 2/4/2013 10:34PM


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NORASPAT 2/4/2013 6:47PM

    Mine is framed in perseverance, I am just not a quitter. Sometimes people get frustrated with me but if it has to be done and can be done I will do it.

emoticon JUST DO IT, Nice Blog Thanks Pat in MAINE. emoticon

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NSTARSMITH 2/4/2013 3:58PM

    Consistency AND a total commitment to NEVER QUITTING even if I am INconsistent - that must constitute the "frame" of the door for me, right there!

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LINDSEYJ 2/4/2013 1:46PM

    Mine is framed in FRESH food.

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SIMONEKP 2/4/2013 12:04PM

    Framed in consistency and forged on the pillars of learning, exercise and accountability to myself.

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LESLIELENORE 2/4/2013 11:31AM

    Mine is framed by consistency.

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It's a Balancing, no a Juggling Act

Sunday, February 03, 2013

This journey to health is at best a balancing act, keeping all the plates spinning and in place on the sticks: planning menus, produce shopping, cooking, managing cravings, work, family in sickness and health, time for fitness, the weather, fun, housework, family celebrations, friends, spiritual work, and on and on.

At other times, it feels more like a juggling act, making hospital visits, attending memorials, getting bills paid, pulling together tax information, finding something that still fits to wear to church or the Valentines dance or the pool. Sometimes a plate crashes to the floor, even for the best, seasoned, performer. Like when the bathing suit just hangs on you and you know if you wore it to the pool, you might as well be wearing your birthday suit, and where can you find a new suit the first week in February, except maybe on a cruise ship?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAGELADY2 2/9/2013 10:20AM

    Great news on the bathing suit. Online is the way to go.

Juggling, my middle name right now. It will get better, and as we all know, will get worse. Otherwise known as life happens. :-)

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NORASPAT 2/3/2013 2:43PM

    Look for a suit on-line they are there all the time. In fact this is usually the time of year when the suits are on sale. Take care and keep juggling most of us have to you know. Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 2/3/2013 12:47PM

    Can't help it have to say it: are you sure the birthday suit is tighter, after losing all that weight?!!! emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 2/3/2013 10:30AM

    It definitely feels like juggling at times! Sorry to hear about your bathing suit crisis, but it actually sounds like a milestone indicating you are getting closer to your goal.

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