After a night of little sleep, around three or four hours, my mother and I were ready to set off to Austin to meet up with my cousin, Daniel, and his wife, Ava. Of course prior to being able to set off I had to make one last stop, Mahaleys café for some amazing breakfast tacos, I expect that they will be the last for the next two weeks. We finally headed out for Austin, rolling in around 10:30am or so. Today was the first time that I had met Ava, and in the short time I have known her I have recognized her large heart, and her joyful attitude when dealing with just about anything. Needless to say, I am happy that we are now related. Well done, Daniel, well done. A side note, Ava and I share a sweet friend, Chelsea Shay Lanning. As my father once told me “the world is a smaller place than you would imagine, but the would of Christians is smaller.” I see this more and more each day, and this is great testament to it. Anywho, back on track, once we loaded Daniel’s element up for the supposed three-hour drive to Houston for our flight, we hit the road.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with an element, it’s a giant box with wheels and doesn’t fair well against wind, which there happened to be lot of on the drive. At first I was dreading adding more time to my already long day of travel ahead of me, but that three plus hours of driving was such a blessing. In those three hours I was able to get to know Ava just a bit and got to catch up (somewhat) with Daniel. Ava’s willingness to try her best to give me a bit of insight of what the next two weeks will look like was fantastic. It just made me all the more excited to get there! Luckily I am not completely unaware of what Kenya is like, shout out to C. Lu, Matt, and Tyler, my buddies from this past semester that I worked on a case study of Kenya with, Knowing the current standing of the state and a bit of what to expect in Kibera has really taken the edge off any nervousness that I had/have.
Forgive me, my thoughts run wild. However, I think its okay since I have been sitting for the better part of 11 hours, and as I write this, I still have around three hours till we land in London. Already God has been reminding me with one of the things that I struggle with the most, patience. Currently the little boy and his sister sitting in front of myself continues to turn his reading light on and off, about once a minute, and its getting old, fast. It also happens that they are sitting with their grandmother and flying with the rest of their family, who happen to be sitting behind me…..I’m sitting on one of the aisle sides of the middle section and let’s just say that their family likes to talk, with little to no concern with those around them, they also like to walk back and forth to the other seats. I can also say that I am not the only one that is irritated at the moment. However, I feel like it’s the Big Man just preparing me and reminding me to have patience even when I’m completely and totally exhausted.
Ah, I almost forgot. When we made it to the airport we met up with the rest of the team. Mindy, one of Ava’s best friend’s is heading up the group of high school girls that will be doing clinic and nursing stuff while we are there. Currently, their names escape me, but cut me some slack, I’m not even sitting near them on the flight, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to get to know them over the next two weeks. UPDATE: the family I mentioned earlier, just completely switched aisles, the parents went forward and the kids behind….I just don’t know anymore. I pray that the Lord would give me strength and patience to not be upset with this family.
Flight Two and after.
After an incredibly long flight, about 9 hours, from Houston to London, I was finally off that airplane. It was amazing to get up and walk around and luckily we had about 3 hours before our next flight boarded. So myself and the rest of my travel buddies had a nice time relaxing and getting some much needed stretching, coffee and decent food. Soon we had to board our next flight to Nairobi which would take us about 8 hours or so, another long flight.
Luckily this flight was much better, no annoying families and I was able to catch a nap for about an hour or so. The route we took ended up taking us over France and down the coastline of Italy. At one point I was able to see where I will be living for 6 weeks in the fall, Nice, France. But that’s besides the point. We get through the flight with no issues and get though customs quite quickly as well. Before I go on one thing must be noted. If you do not know, Kenya has a reputation for corruption at every level of government and often time anyone will try to extort you or make you pay for something or other so you can go about your daily business. I never would have thought that I would not even have to step outside the airport before I came across something like that. One of the things that we checked was a large box of things that are going towards the Kibera Penda Project (http://newhopeinitiative.org/projects/kenya/kibera-penda-project/). One of the girls who was pushing this box out of the airport was stopped by an airport official for a “random baggage search.” Mind you this is after baggage claim. So long story short the man found the laptops (that we are giving away to the school) and told us that we were not allowed to bring them into the country. He said we had to pay a fee (or tax) on bringing them in. He had no and provided no proof that this was an actual rule or law. Essentially her wanted us to pay him to lets us go on our way, that or leave the laptops for him. I was amazed that I had not even been in Kenya for 30 minutes and this occurred. The sad thing about it is that things like this are a part of life and are normal in the eyes of many Kenyans.
Shortly after this ordeal we met with Ava’s parents, who are the founders of New Hope, and loaded up the bus the head to the house. On the ride to the house I had my window down, doing my best to absorb everything passing me by. There was the constant smell of burning rubber and trash in the air, and the sky was a purple hue due to pollution I would bet. I was amazed by the amount of infrastructure that we passed, and the quality of the buildings at that. But I was equally amazed by how about only 50% of the buildings we passed we actually finished, many looked as if construction had stopped years before with only half of the building being built.
After our drive we arrived at the house, a very safe part of Nairobi. There is a guard at the 10ft tall iron gate at all hours of the day and the compound is patrolled for extra security. I feel incredibly safe. Upon arriving, a man named Moses had prepared us homemade soup and bread rolls. The food was amazing, and not just because I had been eating airplane food for the past 16+ hours. I was excited to know that Moses would be making all of our breakfasts for the next two weeks as we stay in the house.
Back home it’s almost 5pm, it’s 12:30am Wednesday morning here. I’m looking forward to sleep and waking up and starting service tomorrow, Keep the prayers coming. I’m sure I’ll need them to make it though the day.