You guys, I am tired. It’s 5:47pm as I sit to write this first official Kenya update… which means it’s technically like 10:48am back in North Carolina.
The jet lag seems to be affecting me a little more this year than it did last year. Also, I have not felt too hot all day – as have a few other team members. SO, if you can, pray for good health for our team?
Well, relatively speaking, our flights went smoothly. They were long, but smooth. Except for the turbulence over the Sahara desert. That was not smooth. Seriously, at one point I thought we were going to crash land in the Sahara and it was not going to end well for us. But alas, we made it safely into Nairobi airport.
Today was pretty much another travel and short welcome in the community day. After breakfast and devotion in Nairobi, we loaded the bus for the three hour drive to the community.
Although the drive sounds long, and it is, truth is, it’s such a gorgeous drive you never notice the length. We stopped really quick at the Great Rift Valley lookout point.
This is the view from the lookout point:
Seriously, how amazing is that? The Valley is HUGE and really a sight to be seen. Off to the right in the back of the photo is Mount Longonot, a dormant volcano in the center of this region of the Valley. Most of the land in the Valley (that’s brown in the photo) is Maasai Land, the native tribe of Kenya.
After leaving the lookout point, we headed to the village for introductions and welcome! The trip took a little longer than usual, the roads are TERRIBLE (READ: the worst, bumpiest roads you have EVER been on) and it’s been raining a TON here so the mud really slowed us down.
But as usual, when we pulled in the community and met at the primary school, we were welcomed by the most precious faces. I can’t even begin to tell you the feeling of seeing these people again and having them remember and recognize me AND getting to then introduce them to my husband.
They LOVE cameras and they LOVE pictures. You walk off the bus and suddenly 25 kids are grabbing on to your arms, fingers, jackets, skirts, you name it. They hug and smile and yell, “PITCHA ME!” (picture me…) And the best is when you take their picture and show it to them and they just LAUGH and laugh and laugh.
It’s been cool to see in such a short time how we as a church know these kids, have seen them grow, and, in turn, they know us. It’s a close relationship that’s forming and trust is being built daily. It’s the fact that we say, “See you again!” And we mean it, that really makes a difference.
Now, I did notice that the welcoming group this year was a little smaller – and we found out why. Right now the teachers in all of Kenya are on strike. I still am waiting to find out the details of the whole situation and what exactly is going on, but needless to say, the government of Kenya and the teachers are not agreeing on things and so schools have been put to a halt.
Please pray that this gets resolved soon. Having these kids, ANY kids for that matter, out of school for an extended period of time is not good for anyone.
When I find out more information and details, I’ll be sure to share.
Now, this here below is Nafthali. I call him granddad. Nathali took me under his wing early in the trip last year and I just love this man. He’s a member of the leadership council in the community and is just one of those wise souls you could listen to tell stories for hours. I never really had grandparents that I was close with or knew very well, so Nafthali’s encouragement has meant a lot to me.
And this man right here… this is Christopher. There’s not much you can really say about Christopher to do the hilariousness of this guy justice. He has a story about a lion that I will be sure to share with you soon.
The community leadership council took us into a new building that has just been completed for some bottled soda and a few pieces of bread.
In Kenyan culture, but especially in Kiria, when you have a visitor, it is customary to give them something. A gift, if you will. The gift can be small or large – but this was their welcome gift to us. They had a few bottled sodas and some fresh loaves of bread. So, we sat around eating, drinking, and laughing.
It’s a humbling thing, to sit there and have them serve YOU when we are there to serve them. Makes me grateful every time.
Sadly as the rain started to creep in, we had to leave the village a little earlier today to head back to check in to where we are staying. But, tomorrow is going to be an amazing day. Church in the morning and a crusade in the afternoon. I have no idea what a crusade is or what to expect, but I am pretty sure that it’s going to be amazing.
I am also sharing some photos on my Instagram account as well in case you want to see more.
Thanks again for all your support and encouragement, guys. <3
**Nakupendasana, Rafikis means love you very much, friends.
***Mzungu is what the Kenyans basically call white people / Americans.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11