Northern Frontier

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...

A glimpse of Kenya

Cooking and grocery shopping have been a real adventure so far here in Nairobi. There are many things which we cannot get here at all. Then there are some things that are available… but only for a price (like Kelloggs cereal for $10 a box)! Missionaries here hoard chocolate chips, ranch dressing, Jello and pudding, and several other “everyday” items from America. I also just realized that I have to change some recipes because we’re living in a high altitude city, and that’s why the cookies and biscuits I baked were flat!! I’ve achieved several “firsts” already in the kitchen: homemade tortillas and tortilla chips, real whipped cream (no Cool Whip here), and chai (the Kenyan drink of choice). We’ve enjoyed getting to know the grocery stores and places to shop here. There are even malls here in Africa (some are really nice) – and the grocery stores are in the malls (along with the butcher, the pharmacy, the video rental store, etc.). Oh… and now we have Java House and Dormans, which lessens the pain we feel from missing Starbucks. What I wouldn’t give, though, for a fountain Coke – the bottled stuff just isn’t the...

Nairobi, part 2

Friday, Aunt Shirley drove us around Nairobi, to a shopping area where we were going to meet with another director at AIM. On the way, we really got to experience some of the more rural areas around Nairobi. The poverty here was incredible, many many roadside markets, people digging through garbage, workers harvesting produce in the fields, people walking everywhere you looked. Where were they walking to? How long had they been walking? It seemed like we could be out in the middle of nowhere, not close to any town, but everywhere you looked you’d see dozens of people walking along the road. We met with “K”, one of the directors of AIM, and had an incredible time with him talking about the work they are starting in North Africa, and TIMO (Training in Missions Outreach)- an intensive, medium-term, immersive introduction to missions. After our meeting with K, we visited the Masai Market, a big flea-market-like weekly market, and we grabbed several souvenirs here. Later that afternoon, we hooked up with our friends, John and Joy Haspels. John lived next door to me at Sterling College, and Lesa and him had many missions classes together. It was great to catch up with him, and hear about the building project he is working on in Loki, northern Kenya. That evening, Katie and I attended a worship concert at a big pentecostal church in Karen, near my aunt and uncle’s. It started out pretty slow and boring, a bunch of drawn-out, old American worship choruses. Katie and I tried to leave, but the monstrous downpour of rain must have prevented the...

Nairobi

Our overnight flight to Kenya was very pleasant, and the Kenya Airways plane was absolutely the nicest plane we’d ever ridden on. We arrived around 6:30 in the morning, and were totally wasted. We slept maybe an hour. Sydney’s benedryll wore off shortly after supper, and she was up most of the flight. We met my uncle Roger and aunt Shirley (missionaries with AIM) at the airport, and they took us to a friends house for a short nap. Shirley then drove us through Nairobi (an adrenaline rush, if it’s your first time) to Rosslyn Academy, where Lesa and I led worship for a chapel service. This is the school where my cousins, Rachel and Hannah, attend. It was beautiful, as was Nairobi in general. Lots of trees and flowering vegetation, and such a great, mild climate that the school campus was a real open-air architecture. After lunch at Rosslyn, we went to an orphanage for infants who were orphaned by AIDS. Many of them had tested positive for AIDS because their mothers had AIDS, but we found out in many cases they end up not being infected at all. The next day we had planned a tour of the Kibera slums, but ended up spending the morning at the doctors office as Sydney was throwing up again, and had developed strange spots all over her torso and arms and legs. We thought it might have been an allergic reaction to the malaria meds she had just started taking, or maybe an interaction with the chickenpox vaccine she had had along with a buch of other required vaccines before...
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