This past week I also had my 1st opportunity to travel outside of the Nairobi area on assignment. Ted and I hitched a ride on AIM AIR up to Korr, in the northern frontier district. It was beautiful, hot, dusty, sandy, and remote. It was a 2 hour plane ride, but might take you 12 hours to drive (as they say “the road ends somewhere back there, but the journey continues”) as there are no real roads, you just kind of point your car in the general direction and look for tracks of those who have gone before.
The people we were videoing/photographing were the Rendille, a beautiful tribe of Cushitic origin, known for their goat and camel herding and colorful beads they wear. They live in small huts, gathered together in small villages, many miles apart from each other. We were working specifically with a Rendille pastor who had a church, school, and many literacy outreach projects, as well as being involved in translating the Bible into Rendille.
The first morning we arrived we dropped some of our gear at the house we’d be staying at, then toured the local village. After lunch we hopped in the back of a Land Rover and bounced through the desert (picking up anybody on the way who might flag us down… this is part of the responsibility of owning a car here… at one point we had 12 in the car!) to see some of the literacy classes going on. The classes would meet at a large Acacia tree out in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere near each village. We visited at least 2 classes that day and walked probably 2 or 3 miles. We arrived back at the house sweaty, dusty, and hot. The shower felt good, but I didn’t take a long one knowing that every drop of water was pumped from a well in town and carried by hand to that house.
I was awoken that 1st night, and each night, by the sound of hyenas crossing by the house. One night there must have been 5 or 6, with their evil laughing barks, searching for dogs or small animals to drag back to their den and devour.
The 2nd day we visited the school, and some of the village’s children’s literacy classes, also under random, large Acacia trees. We also went into some of the huts of a local village with the pastor, after getting the required permission from the village elders. Drank smoky chai in a sweaty hut and met the extended family of the Rendille pastor we were with.
The 3rd day we brought our camera, sound and light gear inside a hut of a woman named Ndubayo (sp?) who had an awesome testimony of how she came to trust Christ. We recorded her testimony a couple of times, with and without translators, and were blown away each time by the joy of the Lord that was reflected in her beaming smile. Blown away by the fact she couldn’t talk about Jesus without grinning from ear to ear.
As the sun was setting on our 3rd and final day, we climbed a hill near the town of Korr for some excellent lower-light photography (shooting in the noon-day sun was not only killing us but provides some of the worst lighting conditions you could ask for). As we wrapped up our shooting, we counted the tapes: 8.5 hours of video from the past 1.5 weeks, which we need to log and archive, and create a 3 minute video from within the next 2 weeks!
Lesa and the kids survived the 4 days/3 nights without dad/husband/superhero, but were glad to see me return. I had such an awesome time, and between Kibera on Monday and Korr on Tuesday-Friday, I feel like I’ve gotten to see a part of Kenya most people don’t get a chance to see except in journalism or coffee-table books. I feel totally blessed to get to take a part in all of this, and know that many people have sacrificed for us to be here. We’ll never forget that, nor our God who pulled all things together and sustains us in this strange and fabulous and foreign land.
Click here for more photos from Korr