It has been a whirlwind time here. Groups are coming and going so I have been filling in where needed. The word for white person is “Ma-zun-gu” and we get called it so often here it doesn’t phase us anymore. Whenever we have a new person from Canada come, the whole team yells Mazungu! as a welcome. This week I am doing cooking, which is way better than digging holes!
This past weekend one of the older boy took us to the “cinema” (movie theater). We watched some Vin Diesel totally lame boy movie, it was full of unrealistic punches and motorbikes. Although we suffered through it, just watching a movie was a great reminder of home. Thankfully it was in English.
Also the past weekend it finally rained! All the young Canadians immediately ran outside screaming and cheering.
After the crowd of laughter had subsided we decided that football (soccer) and a shower in the rain was needed; unfortunately the kids never joined us. It was almost like all Kenyans are afraid of the rain, they will not leave any building or go out in the rain. Oh well, hopefully we can convince them to join us one day.
On sunday the main Mistress here (her name is Rose) sang a English song for us in church. To put this story into context – at any moment you will hear Rose or any of the kids singing or dancing. All the Kenyans laugh when the Canadians start to dance. So before she started singing she was encouraging everyone to sing and dance along. right before we started she said “some people are good at dancing with sticks. . .and some people should not dance” the whole church crowd bursted out laughing because they think we dance terribly. Our day off is sunday and we had some time to go to the local zoo, which was called the impala park. It was a nice walk through the park, we saw lions, hyenas, cheetah’s and I made friends with a giraffe. We got to feed the giraffe with branches of leaves and it would walk right up to us. It was magnificent, the coloring is like puzzle pieces interconnecting and flowing together.
We get to do a handful of fun activities but it is very busy here. Thus leaving hardly any time for devotions and worship. This has made it hard for me but I have had to learn to spend time with God in non traditional ways. One of our morning talks, my friend here began by reading matthew 28:18 (Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), and this word hit my heart. The Lord said that while I am here I will be baptizing people. I’m not sure if this is spiritually or physically but I’m open to either. Then two days later I opened a monthly encouragement note and the verse of the month was Matthew 28:18. I say that’s confirmation!
All in all it has been a good couple weeks. We are all finally settling in here and the kids enjoy laughing at anything we do. If there would be a few things to pray for it would be – health and spiritual presence. My favorite time here so far would be the evenings, the older kids stay up and try to get us to read swahili and play cards. Learning the culture from these youth is a blesssing in itself. They have come from such a hard life to laughing with us and enjoying every moment. Please send an ice machine!
Update January 28th Saturday
Today is day 20 in Kenya. We started out this adventure with almost 30 hours of travel time. Two stops, in Montreal and Frankfurt and finally landed in Nairobi two days later. From Nairobi 8 of us took a safari through Tanzania. The roads were comically bumpy but we saw a lot of animals close up. We basically saw almost every African animal (lion, cheetah, ostrich, giraffe, and rhino) but my favorite of all were the elephants. We happen to see a family group with a 2 day old baby elephant. I can’t do a justice describing the beauty and majesty of this animal; we sat in the buggy silently in awe of this family group. Adjusting to the climate, water and plus the jet lag I was sick for most of the safari but since then I’ve been fine, except for strange large red spots on my limbs (Seth says its leprosy, I say it’s probably the heat). One thing I found nice about the culture here is that they think and refer to the animals as people; using “he” and “she” or “this family” of lions protecting “their” home. This is a respect that we don’t have much of in Canada.
We finally reached pavement to all of our relief and got to the orphanage on a Friday night. The weekend was hard because we all weren’t sure what to do. The orphanage kids seemed distant and were very shy. We know better now not to waste valuable down time, soon came Monday where it was food, work and sleep. Since then it has been very, very busy. The days are long with a lot of hard work. I haven’t yet figured out what my job description is here so I have been part of the building team. We are building a dorm from scratch, with nothing but shovels, wheel barrels and hand tools ( its hard work (I don’t like hard work)) So far iv dug holes the height of me, paled cement and moved a gigantic pile of boulders. Hopefully I’ll end up with some muscles at the end! My only saving grace is a litter of 5 puppies on the compound. I know dogs are dirty here but I think God put them here just so I could feel a little more loved.
Imagine the noises of roasters crowing, chicks peeping, puppies whining, cars honking and kids crying constantly. That would only be half of the commotion that starts at 6:00am. Now that our group has been here for a while the kids are starting to warm up to us. They will stop watch on their bathroom break to see what we are up to. After school they come to help with whatever we happen to be doing. This Sunday we had a mob of orphanage and community kids coloring. 2 twelve foot tables littered with coloring pages and scattered crayons everywhere. The older boys were outside drumming on 5 gallon pales because my brother brought tons of drum sticks. The drum beat set the tone and we colored all the way till supper. My absolute favorite of favorite time here has been what I call “Africa Walmart”, this basically means we went to a store like Walmart. I enjoyed it so much because it is civilization – air-conditioning, real food, ice-cream, clothes. I have never been so happy to go shopping in my life!
Stay tuned for the rest of my little journey- this week we are getting dresses made for us, planning the amazing race for the kids and hopefully going to African Walmart again. Please send snacks.
I’ve come to believe that we have very little control over our lives. Sure we can run away from God and His plans but in my experience it usually works out to be what He had all along. Which is the best for us anyways.
I have patiently endured to find out when God wanted to take me Africa, and He showed me. One day my mom came back from a family friends funeral and said I know who your going to Africa with”. Three days later I went to make perogies and I was going in January. They must have thought I peeled potatoes really well. I was baffled, God really can make something out of nothing. Here I was doing research and applying to programs and God had it all planned. With only a small amount of hoops to jump I’v started on my way.
I know that – if all things work together for good, if I had choose something else then it would have been okay as well. But if we want the best, then we must wait for what God has planned.
At any moment, we have the option to step back into safety; or step forward into our destiny.
Sometimes I learn things that change my entire being. . .this is one.
I got my travel vaccines for Kenya and like any normal human being I didn’t pay any attention to the side affects of the vaccine. 5 hours later, the only energy I had is to ponder why I’m the one to get the side effects. I said – if I have God’s favor and I covered all my bases in prayer then why the side effects. Of all things Jesus why this?
I think God says to us in these kind of situations – Don’t you think I want the best for you? Of course I don’t want to see you in pain.
I was humbled at this kind of response. Do I always think God is out to get me? If I am His daughter, He would always, always be doing His best to keep me from troubles and hurt. So if this happened for a reason, then what do I have to learn. Maybe to learn that I thought He wasn’t on my side in everything. To learn that even in the smallest tasks and pursuits, He wants to weave in His love and mercy.
To learn that lesson it was worth the couple hours of sickness. Because I got the vaccine, instead of the virus infecting me, the truth of God as a protector, fighter, and father can infect me instead. Let it run through my veins that He is always on my side. I hope and pray that each day we can ask ourselves what God is trying to do in the ordinary.
I recently remember a time when I was talking with a good friend of mine who happened to be in New Zealand. In NZ there a day ahead and I was just checking up to see how his trip was going. Since there are an hour ahead I got the idea to ask him how tomorrow was going to be, good or bad? He quickly responded with – it’s going to be amazing and awesome! I went to sleep set on the next day being great. When I woke up it was just a regular day but It was an amazing day. All day I expected good things.
What we choose at the start of our day has such a big effect on what the rest of our day will look like. My day was just like every other one but I had choose to believe that it was going to be good. And so it was. Our attitude doesn’t depend on the circumstances (although often I let it)
Here’s the God part. If I truly believe that God is always wanting the best for me. My day should not depend on my circumstances, I should focus on the never ending love and compassion He has for me each moment.
All in all, our days are our responsibility. Choose to have a great day today!