Through the Droughts (and Storms)

30 Oct 2009

As Philippines, Samoa, India and other parts of the world suffered severe floods, tsunamis, landslides and other natural calamities, Kenya too had her share of severe weather conditions. First there were the droughts, leaving livestock dying. Skeletal cows could be seen roaming in the suburbs of Nairobi, grazing on whatever little grass that could still be found. Cattle were sold as cheap as 500 Kenyan Shillings (less than US$10) each as it would cost much more to feed them. Baby elephants were dying as no leaves could be found on the lower branches of trees and they were simply too weak to walk for miles in search of water. Now the rains have come and it’s so refreshing to see the brown crisp grass turning green again – a hopeful sign that things will get better. And I guess it’s also about time to post an update!

The past months since my last entry have simply whizzed by, filled with extra busy days! Not all were filled with work though. Otherwise I’d be quite dead. Yes, I also had a little fun and recreation. Last Aug 8, the Indonesian embassy hosted ASEAN Family Day and the few “orphan Singaporeans” (we don’t even have a trade office here yet alone an embassy!) participated in it, with all our might and energy – as you can see from the pics!

Sometime in the recent past I was also graced to indulge in some great Singapore food and company – ta da!

(The baby is Lara Blanc, cutest babe in Nairobi!)

After more than a year and a half here, I finally had the chance to visit Bomas of Kenya (thanks to Sr Roselyn) and the Giraffe Centre (thanks to Sr Augustine and Steven, a visitor from Australia) – I’ll let these clips speak for themselves:

And here’s how I celebrated my 42nd birthday in the convent together with 2 other Sept born Sisters (plus two other Sisters who were leaving for Rome – paw ka liau!!):

Work wise, after many weeks of toil, uploading, tweaking around with HTMLs, I finally completed the construction of our online shop at You can listen to sample tracks and watch clips of every title from our AV catalogue on this site. And so finally our CDs and DVDs can be purchased online. Working on this was quite a formidable feat considering the regular power shortages of up to 3 times a week (as part of the nation wide power rationing program) and the somewhat slower internet connection here. Please, please, please give us your support and help spread the link to as many as you can on your mailing list!! The Sisters and I would be most grateful!! (You can also donate to our mission if you so wish and you need not sign up with Paypal even though Paypal is facilitating the payments!)

At present, I’m in the process of dubbing a French DVD called The Choice. It’s the latest addition to our series on the Sacraments and this video is a short drama on the life of a young priest. It was produced by our Sisters in Ivory Coast – hence it’s in French. Being the Year of the Priest, this comes appropriately in time to highlight the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The cast contains 38 characters in all so I’ve been working with several voice actors to dub the French dialogue into English. Quite a formidable task too! Please pray for a smooth production!

In the midst of this production, we were also commissioned to do a video coverage of the very first Festival of Christian Art in Africa which ran over four days in Oct. Fortunately the completion of the project is not due till Dec so our own Pauline projects can take priority and the later deadline gives us a bit of a breather between the various productions.

An ongoing project is also the series of Scripture Music Videos on the Parables of Jesus. We went back to the studio to record two songs in Sept but they have yet to be mixed as there is still some tweaking to do. The good news is that we got approval from the Superior to purchase a digital keyboard so that means apart from the guitar, I will be brushing up on my piano skills, and develop some new keyboard skills (familiarizing with its synthesizer and its array of polyphonic sounds). So hopefully more creative and experimental sounds will emerge in our new songs....

I’ve also had some great reads these past months. Among them, I’d like to highlight All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein, a holocaust survivor who lost everything and everyone dear to her. What thrilled me initially was that the copy I was reading was not only a first edition but also autographed by the author herself!!! Recalling an afternoon during her "captivity" in a labour camp (where only a morsel of stale bread and tasteless watery soup - if that did not run out -was her daily sustenance), here’s one of the most touching, heartbreaking, poignant yet sweetest passages from her story:

Dust jacket still in relatively good condition considering the book is 52 years old!

Publication details

(anti-clockwise from bottom right) the author, her husband, her only brother, and her parents

The book brought tears to my eyes as I was touched to the core by the faith, hope and persevering spirit of a teenage girl in the midst of the injustices and blind cruelty of the Nazi regime. Thank God Gerda lived to tell her tale and what a tale it is! An absorbing read that stirs one to appreciate life and its precious little moments which we so often take for granted. And at the same time, also to reflect on the evil that exists in humanity.

Those same ponderings were probably brought to the fore for Hilda Kawuki, an old friend from Dover College days, and her colleague, Sharon Commins, while they were held in captivity for 107 days after being abducted in Darfur last July. Fortunately, and thanks to the many who prayed for them and to those who worked tirelessly for their release, they were finally freed last Oct 18. This article describes in detail their traumatic experience. And to those of you who prayed for them, THANK YOU so much!!!

I guess when you ponder deeper, you come to realize that indeed wherever we are, whoever we’re with, whatever we do, life has its cycles. Drought - rain, winter - spring - summer - fall... and it is the Spirit within us (and with a little help from our friends) that enables us to get through all kinds of weather on our journey of life, on our journey of faith, hope and love.

Ironically, despite the very dry weather we've had, the Jacaranda trees in our grounds were in full gorgeous bloom this year! Like some of us, we need to be tested to the extremes, to really grow....

I pray that as you continue your own journey in life amidst whatever weather conditions life offers you – sunshine or rain, drought or storms - you will always be at peace and never falter but continue to bloom in faith, hope and love.

Thanks for being a faithful companion on the journey! May you continue to blossom where you are.


PS: Yesterday, 29 Oct, was the birthday of two women I love – Caryll Houselander (1901-1951) for her awesome spiritual writing and Winona Ryder (born 1971), one of the most talented and beautiful actresses ever. I dunno if it’s just a coincidence that they have a common birthday 70 years apart (I remember nearly falling off my seat when I first discovered their mutual birthdays!) but one of my dreams has always been to write a screenplay on the life of Caryll played by Winona!!?! :-) Here’s a recent interview with WR at the Giffoni Film Festival -

Square Dance which she mentions above really reveals her great acting skills even as a young teen. Her latest film is Rebecca Miller's Private LIves of Pippa Lee (also with the amazing MARIA BELLO!). And here's a fan tribute of some of her work over 20 years (1986-2006) including the very best screen portrayal of Jo March!

OK lah, last WR clip - tak boleh resist - a featurette on one of my all time favourtie movie (and book of course!):


  1. H1 Wen,
    Thanks for your blog, very interesting and lovely pictures esp. on the Giraffes.
    You must have spent a great of time preparing all of them. God bless you for all the work you have put in to give us your updates in Kenya.
    I am sure everyone who sees your blog will appreciate and enjoy what they see.
    God be with you always!

  2. Thanks Mum! The giraffes are such wonderful animals! It was such a treat to feed them. We had the option of putting those food pellets between our teeth and the giraffe would slurp it up, licking your entire face in the process and hence you'd experience being kissed by a giraffe! I was almost tempted to try that but when I saw how long and huge their tongues were, I chickened out :-)

  3. It is so good to see you having so much fun and energy Wendy and all that yummy food! Thank you so much for the update.

  4. Dear Sr. Wendy,
    I really enjoyed this post. its amazing I cant imagine how Kenya is so beautiful a country with its nature, flowers giraffe etc. I saw your birthday party there in Kenya, its fun something different, I love to watch the African tribe dance and its music its wonderful, reminding us though we are many races or creed but we are one body in Christ and are all children of the same Father in heaven, we call ABBA FATHER. You must be enjoying your stay there. Anyway belated happy n blessed Birthday n more to come. Your message towards the end of the blog its inspiring n awesome thank you.
    Love, grace n blessings to you,
    Uncle Ray

  5. Dear Wendy,
    Loving greetings to you from Priya. Thanks a lot for all the news about you. I was so delighted to see you feeding the Giraffe. Wonderful. Congrats for all the good work you do in the AV department. Keep in touch and do pray for me sometime.
    All the best Wendy it is so nice to hear from you.
    With much love,


    Fellow Noni fan.

  7. Love every bit of your blog!
    Keep it up.
    Writing from Java Hotspot Gate 14 JKIA awaiting call for Qatar Air to SGP!

  8. always enjoy reading your blog....thanks for the updated and good job! god bless.....Eunice

  9. So glad to hear your fren and colleague made it out of the Sudan at last!!

    Hey my fren Alberto Eismann is writing a memoir of a Sudanese priest and i hear it will be published by the Paulines! Hv u heard of this work??

    Thx for nominating Lara as the cutest babe in Nairobi! She is really a toddler now...

    Am leaving for SG next Feb.. howabt u??

  10. Thanks y'all!
    Linda, will ask the Editorial dept about the book. We usually get a stack of manuscripts to go through. Yes, Lara is a toddler now but "cutest babe" sounds better! ;-)Wish she was mine!!!!
    I dunno the plans for next year yet - may not go back which means may be able to take a "local" break with you!

  11. Hi Sr Wendy,

    Thks for sharing with me your exciting and spirit-filled journey all this while.

    Congrats to the inauguration of your paulinseav.blogspot. It’s good to find that you have included the sample clips and tracks for the DVDs and CDs, thought it would be easier to promote sales this way… I will try to inform friends about the online shop.

    Didn’t know that Nairobi also have “cherry blossom” trees. May you also continue to bloom in faith, hope and love just like the Jacaranda trees.

    Take Care and God bless you in your good works.
    SIN - Jo ;p

  12. Hello Sister and congratulations for the blog, you have really worked.
    thank you for your thoughts, sharing on Nairobi and the funny times.
    I have appreciated the videos, clips and photos, they are nice.
    for me they have helped me to relive the beautiful memories of my novitiate, and to carry it as intention in my prayers.
    thank once more for your sharing.


  13. Hi Wendy
    Thanks for your very interesting blog, very inspiring articles. May God bless you and your wonderful blessed and inspired life.

    Your friend
    John Chan

  14. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful moments with us again, Wendy. Good video post on all your fun days and your favourite personalities.
    I think Winona Ryder is a great actress, unfortunately she has been out of the scene lately. Didn't know that giraffes had such long tongues. I would be frightened too. well, I know you'll continue with your good work over there. May God bless and keep you safe.