Christmas Highlights

The McCropders’ first Christmas at Tenwek included:

- A festive church celebration of Jesus’s birth
- Christmas carols in the hospital wards after rounds
- Party hats for Micah’s 1st birthday (Christmas Day)- Skype calls with our families- Gifts from the Grandparents- Cookies and gatherings and good food- A Boxing Day picnic- Time with friends- Giving thanks to God for many blessings

Christmas in Kenya did not include:
- Visiting our families and friends in the USA. We really missed you.
- Eggnog
- Ice skating
- Sweaters, jackets, or mittens
- Inflatable yard decorations
- After Christmas sales
- Santa
- Snow
- A dramatization of the nativity stable scene. So Anna came up with her own re-enactment.

Merry Christmas from Kenya


Christmas Eve at Tenwek

530p 24.12.09 -

I'm finishing up in the NICU, seeing just a few more crazy small babies before heading home. We've got plans for Micah Cropsey's 1 year old birthday, and a McCropder dinner and caroling session at 600p. It looks like I should have plenty of time.

"Mass casualty," the nurse says, all too calmly.

I look at the pediatrician "Again?" he says. Again?

Now, I don't want to appear ignorant, but sometimes the truth is hard to hide. "Um, what's going on?"

"Come on, were going to Casualty (i.e. the ER). There's been a big bus accident."

What followed was, at the very least, instructive. Apparently what happens when a "mass casualty" occurs in our cachement area of Kenya is that they pretty much call every doctor, and we all meet in Casualty. I arrived to find the Family Practice docs, the pediatrician, a few surgeons, some OBGYNs, some orthopods, and a slew of interns, residents, and PAs. I also found the first and most severe victim of the accident, who was likely the most mutilated human I've ever seen that was still sitting up, talking, and even flailing around. (Details upon request only)

And then everyone set to work. Xrays were ordered, pupils checked, antibiotics hung, wounds cleaned, and the worst of them taken to theatre (OR). Being as green as I am, I chipped in, but wasn't as busy (or useful) as the veterans, so I had a moment to observe.

I know these professionals, and I know that they want desperately to be with their families on Christmas Eve. But they and their families have been changed by the incarnation of the Son of God, by a baby who caused Mary a good bit of inconvenience, but who bore much much more. There was great need, and so at great cost, God has come and brought salvation. And so do his followers. Regardless of whether they were on call, they were here to meet need, and they bore it with joy. As it turned out, many of the patients went off to another hospital, so our influx was somewhat shortened, and most everyone got home within a few hours. However, no one knew that at the beginning, and yet there was no grumbling, just a desire to make sure that care was delivered, and needs met, as best as could be.


Trust and Real Estate - Part 4

Today, we have special reason to celebrate. Here's the story. After delay and more delay, our real estate saga finished unexpectedly quickly, and with way better terms than we had hoped. We are thankful for this, and thankful to those of you who supported us through this, and thankful to God. We may or may not learn reasons for this saga.

Also, possibly of interest, some shopping tales and a video home tour of our apartment here at Tenwek (in 3 parts).


Tenwek FAQ - Part 2

FAQ #3: What types of animal wildlife live near Tenwek?

Well, I now feel qualified to answer this question, because Anna has already been the proud owner of no less than four small pets. Luckily our apartment does not allow pet monkeys, zebras, or elephants.

First, Anna brought home Sluggie the slug.

When Sluggie perished, she found Snailie the snail.

When Mommy released Snailie the snail, Anna talked her friends into catching her a frog.

Another kid offered to trade Froggie for a cool bug. Thus she was given Deedee the bug, who is still in captivity in the living room.

She is pretty excited about trapping bugs.

Little does Anna know, we also have geckos who roam our walls at night feasting on the mosquitos who like to feast on us.

We also have beautiful butterflies, like this one that we noticed last week while taking a walk.

What Anna really wants is a chameleon like the ones that our neighbors found in their yard.

For now, thankfully, she seems to have changed her focus. Today the object of her affection was a squash.

Pretending to be Mary with her squash named baby Jesus, she insisted upon carrying him around in modified Kenyan baby-carrying style.


Tenwek FAQ – Part 1

Here on the McCropder blogspot, we will attempt to answer our readership’s Frequently Asked Questions. We’ll tackle a few at a time.

FAQ #1: How are the McCropder apartments furnished?
You will note several apartment amenities in this picture of the Fader living room. Couch, chairs, dining room table with rose bouquet. The door to the left center leads to a small hallway, through which you can see a yellow bedspread, a blue mosquito net, and a bedroom window. The door to the right center is to the kitchen, in which you see a refrigerator. That’s right, we have a refrigerator, an oven, and even a washing machine (for which we are especially grateful, since 4 of the 5 McCropder children wear cloth diapers). We do not have dryers or dishwashers, as you can see.

Running water is a nice feature of these apartments as well. The water comes out of the tap in a murky shade of dirt color. Not good for drinking. So we collect rain water, boil it, and then filter it in a water filter as seen here.

FAQ #2: How do letters, Christmas cards, and packages arrive at Tenwek?

The US Postal system can be used to send mail to Tenwek. Letters and cards usually take approximately two weeks in transit. The McCropders are not opposed to post-holiday arrival of Christmas cards. Bubble-type package mailing envelopes usually arrive within a few weeks as well. The mailing address here is:

Tenwek Hospital
PO Box 39
Bomet, Kenya 20400
East Africa



In a transition like this, one of course builds up more expectations that one realizes, some of which may be totally unfounded. ("I don't know why I thought it would be like that, but I did...") These expectations can lead to surprises, some pleasant, and some less so. A few surprises from our first few days:
Pleasant: Vines growing in through our shower window in Nairobi.

Less-than-pleasant: Our first shower at Tenwek being ice cold and filled with enough sand to make the bathtub floor look like we just returned from the beach.

Pleasant: Each apartment has both 110 and 220 electrical outlets

Less-than-pleasant: We left one appliances' AC adapter in Nashville, Tennessee.

Pleasant: The Rift Valley escarpment is more beautiful than we imagined, and our wildlife viewing began on the road to Tenwek, where we saw about 100 gazelles and 100 zebras.
Pleasant: Our second shower having nice warm water, and less silt than the first.

Pleasant: Our "shamba" (garden) is growing some cilantro.

Less-than-pleasant: Unthinking, I discovered it was really cilantro by chewing down on it, without washing, before remembering that many neighborhood pets relieve themselves in our shamba.

Pleasant: My favorite carbonated beverage, Bitter Lemon, is here in abundance

Less-than-pleasant: Mosquitoes are even more abundant, though apparently malaria is still rare.

Not surprising: Cows on the street by the dukas (shops).
Not surprising: Anna Fader takes to Tenwek like a fish to water.

Not surprising: Two nights ago, when the Cropseys hosted us for a McCropder dinner, John demonstrated how well he is adapting to "Africa Time".


Team McCropder Reunited

The three-part migration is complete. The McLaughlins are settling in. The adventure is underway.


The Perfect Journey

Rachel and I talked a couple days ago about feeling like Daniel Day Lewis and his two buddies, the last 3 Mohicans, when everyone else has gone on. Not just the Cropders, but also many of our friends linked on the sidebar.

But all that has changed. Last night around 11pm, Nairobi time, we pulled into the Mennonite guest house in Nairobi, with visas in our passports, among the newest residents of the country of Kenya. We were delighted at breakfast to find Alyssa Pfister (see sidebar), who came into town to meet us, and tomorrow evening will be the long-awaited southeastern hemisphere McCropder reunion extravaganza! The jetlag is significant, but Maggie is a champ.

If we could have planned the details of such a trip (which one never can), we would have planned it just as it happened. Totally amazing. Things we are very very thankful for:

-Getting to see all of Eric's family within 24 hours of leaving Nashville
-Making all our 3 flights, in Nashville, Detroit, and Amsterdam
-Never having to check Eric's guitar (they let us carry it on for both int'l flights!)
-Getting an empty seat between us to Amsterdam, where Maggie could sleep in her carseat.
-Getting into the "baby row" to Nairobi, where Maggie got to sleep in a wall bassinet.
-Paying the minimum visa fees in Nairobi, with a nice guy to process our application who is from the region near Tenwek Hospital.
-Maggie having zero significant crying spells the entire time
-ALL our luggage (all 8 pieces plus the carseat) arriving the first time through
-the grace that all this represents to us, confirming our decisions, in a time of a whirlwind of change

Thanks to all for supporting us so much in the last days in the US.


Quotes on Leaving Home

The following is a somewhat random collection of quotes that have been running through my head, mostly encouraging, in regards to leaving home:

"Leave your father's land and go to the place that I will show you." God to Abraham

"I'm home anywhere if you are where I am." Rich Mullins

"We ain't never done this thing, but I guess that's how it goes. You breath deep when it comes to you and hold tight when it blows." Don Chaffer

"Heaven holds a promise for all the friends we've left behind. Time is not the ruler that I thought he was." Andrew Osenga

"I believe in... the communion of the saints." The Apostles' Creed

"I'll walk in the rain of his mercy, let it soak me down to the bone, splash in it's puddles and dance in its streams as I go... all the way home." Andrew Peterson

"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are for." Matthew Perryman Jones

We're back in Nashville, packing up our own luggage, getting ready to head out. Some many emotions all at the same time.


Faders Arrive at Tenwek

We are so happy to be here at Tenwek! We had a smooth trip, and we have moved into our apartment (with a lot of help from the Cropseys). Jason has done hospital orientation, and he starts work tomorrow. The girls are having a fantastic time, as you will see.
Thank you for your prayers in this move.
Jetlag is hitting in full force here, so in lieu of written descriptions, here are some pictures of our trip and first days at Tenwek.

Anna rides with the luggage in Nairobi. 11 of 12 pieces arrived with us, and the 12th arrived to us today.

We sleep under mosquito nets here. Anna loves it. Yesterday she forgot what to call it, and she called it a spider net.

Here’s our apartment building home. We live on the first floor, these two windows, and the Cropseys live on the top floor. Anna and Elise are good buddies already.