Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 10: Adieu Naivasha - Salutations Kijabe

The morning we left Naivasha was full of good-byes, packing, and tying up loose ends. First we attended the staff devotions. The staff included the cook, maid and some of the foondies (construction workers) that lived in the worker house. Pastor Simon came to share. We started with some songs that some of us knew. Really, it was easier to hum along and pretend. As we sang, we shivered in the morning dew- it was actually 48F that morning; colder than most days.


Later we went up to the work site for the community center. We wanted to say goodbye to the foondies. We had all brought work gloves to use and when the foondies first saw some of us wearing them, they sort of picked fun at the guys because their hands weren't rough and blistered. We didn't think they would use them but we left them anyway. Well, they were wearing them that morning. :) Funny how things are more appreciated when one realizes how useful they are.

Our driver, John, picked us up at the meeting point in Naivasha town. We loaded up and drove up 2,000 feet of elevation. The scenery changed drastically from exotic plants and wild animals to cypress forests and winding roads. It was like driving through northern Michigan. The air was 10 degrees colder and it was raining off and on most of the morning. We were warned to bring a rain coat and sweatshirt... glad I did. I was pretty cold though.

We arrived in Kijabe after an hour or so to meet up with George and Joyce and the kids. George is a Psychology prof at Moffat Bible College as is Joyce. 

They both grew up in Kenya, but moved to the States for about 10 years. They later felt called to come back to Kenya and they settled in this past August. We were taken on a tour of the campus where we saw three different hospitals.


One of them was called Cure which was for children. 
There was another hospital and education center devoted to children with AIDS. The main hospital was for adults and children. George allowed us to walk through per request of one of our teammates. I was a little hesitant, but after seeing the people and their state of being, my heart sank. They were packed into rooms of 4-6 people. No privacy. No HIPPA. Babies were sitting on adult sized beds, in pain, crying and just longing to be held. My teammate was interested in getting involved in sending unused instruments and medical supplies to the hospital. The kits that Doctors use one item from and then discard for the reason of 'contamination' are still able to be used if sterilized. It was yet another reminder of how much we use in the States and how much we have at our disposal. 

Later on we toured Rift Valley Academy (RVA). The campus was just gorgeous. The view from the soccer field was Mount Longanot and skies filled with cumulus clouds. From the moment we walked through the security gate into RVA, I felt like we were back in America. It was amazing. It really reminded me of the university campus I taught at in China. It was like our own little bubble. 

That is exactly what RVA seemed to be, an American/Western bubble in the middle of Kenya. We walked inside of the gym and Kenya and any sign of Africa melted away. It was exactly like an American high school. The workers around the school were Kenyan, so there was still opportunity to mingle with the host culture.


We went back to the house for chai, the typical mid-morning and afternoon treat. We ended the evening hanging out with the kids while watching monkeys play in the backyard. A wonderful end to our first day in our new temporary home.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 9: Hillbilly Safari and Lake Naivasha

We began our day at Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha is a well known birding spot in Kenya- and the world. Kenya is the home of 1,100 bird species. Any true birder knows Lake Naivasha. I hadn't heard of it before, guess I'm not a true birder, but now I'll consider myself a little more than an amateur. I saw up to 30 new bird species in a single day. I had seen about 30 while in Naivasha and my last one in Nairobi; the red cheeked cordeon bleu.

Red Cheeked Cordon Bleu

We took a boat into the park area and while we were on the water, we saw the ears and snout of a hippo. We got a little curious so we drove the boat to the spot where we spotted the hippo. It jumped out of the water and hid. It was enormous! We didn't have time to snap a photo:(

After we docked the boat, the guys went net fishing and the girls went bird watching. We saw a few fish eagles and got a nice sound recording. They have such a rich sound. Instead of telling all 63 sighting stories, let's list them:

sacred ibis, maribou stork, lapwing plover, pelican, cormorant, Egyptian goose, split tailed drango, tropical boubu, intermediate egret, common squacco heron, love bird, spectacled weaver, bagalafecht weaver, cucou, ring necked dove, ostrich, lilac chested roller, red cheeked cordon bleu, red headed coot, moor hen, red headed oxpecker, pied king fisher, hoopoo, helmeted guinea fowl, chat robin, cinnamon chested bee eater, hadada ibis, African crested eagle, sunbird, fire finch, hammercop, paradise fly catcher, superb starling, cattle egret, fiscal shrike, swallow, white fronted bee eater, grenideer, coucal, crimson sunbird, mouse bird, common bubol yellow butt...

Lilac Chested Roller

There are more birds that I can't name, there were simply too many to take in.

As we left Lake Naivasha, we went to an outdoor restaurant called Cornelly's. It's a favorite among the westerners. There was a camp ground on the property which had some very unique huts made of recycled materials. For lunch, we had beef and spinach/feta samosas. Then we had crayfish salad which was supposed to have tomatoes and avocado with lettuce and a sauce, but they were out of avocado and tomatoes.... sooo it was a salad with crayfish and a sauce... a little on the light side. Granola bars were my supplement that afternoon. Otherwise, everything tasted great.

After lunch, we had our own little safari. On the side of the road, we saw zebra, giraffe, antelope, warthog, baboons, vervet monkey, wildebeest, gazelle, and impala.

While we were driving by a field of cows, one of my teammates, who will go unnamed, bet the others that we could not smack a cow's butt. So, as this teammate got out of the vehicle, a few of us, myself included, decided to take the challenge. We walked slowly in the thorny, grassy field and the cows got the clue and started to walk away. They may not look smart, but they can smell mischief. The bigger ones got away faster, and most of of gave up, the teammate who initiated the challenge snuck up behind a little cow and smacked it. 

We were all so proud. The problem after that was that from behind the trees, there was a man standing there. Oops.. guess we didn't see the cattle herder. 

Later we went into a wildlife preserve, well, we didn't go through the main entry, we drove the Land Rover down a side road that said “No Trespassing” ;) That's why this was a hillbilly safari.

Our first sighting was an ostrich, jackal, and buffalo. The same teammate who will remain unnamed decided to get out of the vehicle, once again and try to get as close to the ostrich as possible. Well, the ostrich was sitting on eggs. It began to ruffle its feathers and reached a standing position. 


Boy are ostrich tall! At least 7 feet.

We drove into the field the buffalo were eating and one of them stared us down. Good thing we were in the Land Rover, because it would have charged at any one of us. Remember the story of Monica? Yeah, they are not friendly creatures.
In the same area we saw eeland which are the largest antelope. We also saw dik-dik, the smallest antelope.

We drove down the road a bit more and we stopped at another preserve. This was a drive-through safari that wasn't open. Our local white Kenyan did some relational negotiating and got us in... but we got to walk! On the walk, we were in the midst of 10 giraffe! They are incredible creatures. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park.. 

This concluded our Hillibilly Safari. Amazing. I will never look at another safari the same way... this one was way too much fun!
We stopped at a basket weaver on the side of the road home and I bartered him down to about ½ of what he was asking. It was fun. I missed bartering from my earlier days in China.

That evening, we all gathered for the last dinner together and had a debriefing about our experiences.

Remembering back to day 1 when we arrived, I felt comfortable and at 'home'. Over the 8 days time spent with my teammates and the Hovingh's, I realized that they had become an extension of my family.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 8: Church in Gatamuiyu and Lunch at Mama Leah's

 On Sunday, we were told we were going to be making the 3 mile hike back up the mountain to Gatamuiyu... except dressed in our Sunday best. We all considered this factor and decided to drive half the way and walk the rest. It was bearable in dresses and tennis shoes. As we walked, congregation members and the Hovingh's staff met us for the walk up. After about 40 minutes, we approached a tin building with turquoise colored doors. This was a different church than the one we visited on Thursday.

This church seemed more conservative; members were dressed in their best and the service was very organized. We had a time of singing and then many different groups did some specials for us, the honored guests. We had a ladies group come up and sing with all their soul to the beat of a drum. Some mothers had their babies on their hip singing along. A group of men came and sang a few songs as well as a group of children. It was like a showcase of the ages and genders demonstrating their talents yet very unlike a talent show, it was clear their songs were all very focused on worshiping and honoring the Lord. After some time, the church had a time of prayer. Lisa whispered to us during that time and explained that this was a gospel church that believed in praying in tongues. Having grown up in the Assembly of God church, this was a familiar aspect of the service. Later, we got up to sing some familiar songs, some we knew and others they could sing in Swahili. 

The pastor gave a brief version of the announcements due to our time schedule. We were lunch guests at a near by church members house and we had a soccer game to attend in the afternoon. So, the pastor mentioned several times that were only had 2 hours to be with them when church would continue on for at least 2 hours after we left. They made great adjustments to their order of service to accommodate us. Matt and John, two from our team shared a message for the morning. Then the assistant pastor spoke as it was translated for us.


We left at our appointed time and walked to our lunch destination. Mama Leah was the woman's house we were going to. Her name is Monica and she is Rehab's (the cook in Naivasha) sister. So it was nice to get to know one of the family. Monica and Charles welcomed us in. They had a beautiful garden on the hill. The hillside was quite steep and seemed to be challenging for Monica to harvest and plant. However, she personified Proverbs 31, she worked hard for her task and rose early before the family to prepare for the day. 

Charles, her husband, didn't want her to keep a garden because it is very hard and dangerous work. One day, Monica was coming back from gathering some vegetables and on the road she met a buffalo. Buffalo are very dangerous animals and if you don't run, you had better! She ran so fast while holding her basket of vegetation. She hadn't thought to throw basket in order to run faster, she kept it safe and sound. When she got home, she realized that she had rubbed some skin off of her hands and wrists from the basket's force. It was cute to see how  

Charles and Monica interacted as a married couple while telling this story. You could see their love as well as their feisty-ness.

We had arrow root, sweet potato, beans and chicken for lunch. We also chapati, a favorite among Kenyan's. If you ask the kids what they want for Christmas, they all say chapati! I would too! It's like a salty fried pancake. Very good with stew or meat.

As we said our thanks and goodbyes, we headed back down to Naivasha. When we got there, we were pretty much exhausted so the ladies stayed behind and let the guys go off the play in the soccer game.
We had our afternoon Chai and played a few games. Dinner that night went late as we recapped the day's events and prepared for our 'Hillbilly Safari' the next day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 7: House of Hope and Trusses

Today we spent the morning at House of Hope. We taught the kids the Zacchaeus song and they all knew it, so it was nice to build more common ground with the kids. We had spent a lot of time at House of Hope compared to the other places we visited. This seems to be the Hovingh's baby; between that and Back to Africa with the ladies in Gil Gil. Joel and Susan, the couple who started House of Hope, have such a strong vision and calling for the orphanage. There are 27 kids in the orphanage, but they do not think of themselves at orphans because they have 1 mom, 2 aunties, a grandmother and a father. They have a home. The village kids who had families were often found hanging around by the fence with wanting eyes. We could tell they wanted to come in; they could sense the love in that place. Not only was there love, but the spirit of Christ was evident.

The day we were there, a group of girls from Rift Valley Academy (RVA) had come from Kijabe to spend time with everyone. They are a missionary kids' school. There are a lot of Americans and other nationalities who attend. The Hovingh's children attend and they seem to enjoy it. The group brought jump ropes and bubbles with them and the kids went nuts. They loved it. I had two little boys just fighting over who could catch the most bubbles and then who could blow the most. I had to keep a tight control on the wand so we didn't lose it in the dirt.
Something, not shocking, not surprising, but refreshing was revealed to me; the kids were pushing around toy cars and trucks, much like we have in the states, but they had 1 or no wheels on them. They were still pushing them around with all their might in the dirt! They were playing with broken toys and it made me want to purchase some new ones, but inside I also thought, that refreshing revelation, they can make use of anything in any circumstance. Like the the women in Gil Gil and the congregation in Gatamaiyu, they wore the biggest smiles and had the greatest gratitude. Yes, things can be improved and fixed when broken, but the joy in the circumstance was staring me in the face.

Later that afternoon, we had tables with coloring books set up. Some of our team painted the little girl's toes. One of the girls was wearing blue jeans and after her toes were painted bright red, she went into her room and changed into what was probably a Sunday skirt and some sandals that showed off her freshly painted pedicure. She stole my heart. She had the smile of an angel. 


After our time was up at House of Hope, we went back to have lunch. Then we got into our working clothes to finished the trusses from the previous day's work. Now, John, Matt and Jason had been working on a template system to make the cutting and assembly smoother. It seemed that we were remeasuring and cutting custom pieces for each truss. That was taking about 45 minutes. I think I mentioned this in my previous post, but I realize now that I got the days confused. They all just blend into one after a while so, forgive my repetition. Saturday, day 7 was the day of the 15 min 27 second truss building.

At dinner that night, we had received a booked call Live Dead Journal which is a 30 day devotional challenge. It talks about tithing your time to God. So, that is roughly 2 ½ hours a day. The authors give a guideline of how that time is broken down and what to fill it with. I will tell you one thing, it is a true challenge. Honestly, I haven't gotten up to 2 ½ hours. I think split up, I've gotten 1 hour and 45 minutes 1 or 2 nights a week. This book is filled with daily readings and prayer for an unreached people group with a story about or from a missionary. One of the stories was about David Livingstone whose body had been worn down after 23 bouts of Malaria and one of his arms was useless due to a lion attack years ago. He spoke at a conference not long before he died, and he spoke about extravagant time with the Lord. That is the purpose of the Live Dead challenge, to spend extravagant time with the Lord; ultimately, growing in intimacy with Him.

In Livingstone's speech, he talked about Matthew 28 and the word of a Gentleman. He referred to the Lord as a gentleman who promised to be with us always. A short time later when he passed away, he was found kneeling next to his bed with Matthew 28 open and in the margin was written “The Word of a Gentleman.”

Matthew 28:
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. 16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”