Our orientation school, ABO (Africa Based Orientation), was a really great time of making new friends and learning many things. It humbled us, challenged us, and helped us push through the culture shock. We realize how shell-shocked we were that 1st couple of weeks in Kenya and now we feel a little more like this is home, thanks to our 3 weeks of immersion in rural Kenyan culture. We learned a ton about Africa worldview and thought patterns, not only the obvious ones like event [Africa] vs. time [Western] oriented cultures, but more difficult ones like how to communicate between a shame [Africa] vs. guilt [Western] culture.
We stayed in dorms at Scott Theological College (or, as Avery says: Scottological College). The kids had one room, Lesa & I another, which was nice. We ate primarily Kenyan food for those 3 weeks, stuff like ugali and sukamowiki and rice and beans, in different orders but pretty much the same food every day for lunch and supper.
In addition to classroom “lectures”, we also participated in ministry on Sunday mornings. First, at a rural church where we taught a children’s Sunday School lesson and second at a girls’ high school boarding school where we got to deliver the “sermon.” We also went to visit a Mosque during our unit on Islam, and went to visit the home of a Kenyan family for tea (Chai and cookies). The home was a one room “apartment”, we sat on the bed as we were served tea and visited. We also got to go shopping for veggies and fruit at the market in Machakos – a wonderful experience! We made guacamole to share with our ABO friends (the avocados here are super-cheap!).
We are now on our second day of staying with a Kenyan family in Nairobi. We will be here for four weeks. The couple we are staying with have grown children and one baby grandson. The “mama” has declared that she will spoil her new “grandchildren” with whatever they want! We know that we will have a great time joining in with this family and their extended family that seem to be in and out quite frequently. There are many things here that will take some getting used to – even from our ABO experience. We are quite a few steps deeper into African life. As an example, we have both tried a piece of goat head meat – which they have cooked and cut up right here at the house. It actually didn’t taste too bad, but the thought of what it was made it a bit hard to keep down! The boys will start school on August 14th – we’re all looking forward to that!
As I (Andy) swang in a swing at ABO, a few afternoons ago, I marveled that as I was thinking about supper, most of you were finishing breakfast. I marveled that as most of you are sweating it out in the humid summer heat, we are wearing jackets and sleeping under several blankets because they don’t heat the dorms (or homes) here (don’t forget we’re on the equator!). I realized how different our 2 worlds are, but yet the sky looks the same (but a different set of constellations at night). I marveled that so many people 8-9-10 hours behind us were praying for us, and had sacrificed so much for us to be here, right now. We praise God for each of you, and think of you often.
-Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, Sydney