Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mt. Longonot

Mt. Longonot National Park is located an hour and a half from where I live. On Sunday, we drove through kilometers of scenic countryside to climb the park’s main attraction, which happens to be a dormant volcano. I went with four other girls, three of which were making this climb for the second time. It really wasn’t that difficult of a hike, but when you factored in the direct sunlight, elevation, and loose dirt it definitely took a toll on everyone. The outside walls of the volcano were sparse with dry brush, rock, and sand. The view was spectacular, but there wasn’t much to look at on our way up. That is, until you reached the very top. It was like we had found a hidden treasure. Standing on the rim looking down inside the crater, there was nothing but lush, green landscape. We spent quite a bit of time at the top admiring God’s creation and sharing life stories.

So, I mentioned how dusty it was. Driving into the park, we had to take a dirt road for 4 kilometers. As we continued to drive, I became aware that it was getting difficult to see. At first, I thought the engine was producing smoke, but then I quickly realized, it was dust coming up through the floorboards and open air vents. Jen, our driver, was a trooper. There were times where it was hard to see the road. We made it to our destination safe though. We got out of the car, brushed ourselves off, and continued on. Part way through our climb, Jen looks over and says “Amy, you have something in your teeth." Sure enough, what do think it was? A thick layer of dirt. Grouse I know.

And I can’t forget… Have you ever had to wait for a herd of cattle to cross the street, or maybe a stray dog? Well me too, but what about a herd of zebras. I still can’t believe this story and I was there. While these zebras were crossing the main road, I was in such an ooh and awe state that I forgot I had a camera in hand. The occasion would have made for some great pics. Oh well, maybe next time.

Soccer in Session

Intramural soccer started Thursday. Lots of preparation, but the season is finally here. Paper work, charts, sign ups, phone calls, teams, coaches, trips to the store, equipment, field prep, and wow I am exhausted. Our first practice lasted for an hour after school. Forty- six students in all, first through sixth grade. I was impressed with how many kids signed up. Soccer, or should I say “Football”, is a very popular sport here. My goal during this first practice was to teach basic drills and avoid what I call the “bee hive” during our scrimmage. All students like flock around the ball. Positions are hard to maintain for younger players, so I found out. I can honestly say we all tried our best. Good times!

Immediately following practice, it was off to the activity bus for yet another adventure. Being the adult in charge, I felt responsible to make sure, on the first day that everyone got off at the right stops. So… I hopped on the bus and we set off for home. It brought back memories of my elementary bus days, the only difference being the roads. The paved roads here are not exactly what you would call level. Kids bounced around like crazy. They actually have to wear seat belts here, this being one of the reasons. The good news we didn’t loose anyone.

Two days later we scored through our first games. In the end, I would call it a success, but I was holding my breath through the beginning. After fifteen minuets of warm-up, kids were ready to play, but I only had a little over half my players and two of my nine coaches. What to do? I grabbed parents from the sidelines, gave them a whistle, some rules, and off they went. I should have known better to factor in Kenyan time (show up later than planned). Despite our rough start, we all had a lot of fun. It was a beautiful day to be outside.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beautiful Smiles

How do I make the most of life in Africa? If I am only here a short while, what kind of things should I be spending my time on? I have been praying, God how can you use me the most here? One answer to this question I found this Thursday. When offered this teaching position, I was also asked to head up a program called Community Development. Out of the blue, I got a phone call this week about a project in the slums. A woman by the name of Cindy, has asked our school to help out with 3 local slums. WNS will be putting together hygiene/ food buckets to take to students there, who then take them home to their families. This is one of the many ways we hope to bless them. We are also looking into hosting a fundraiser to stock their library shelves full of books. Right now they are completely empty.

One of these slums I got to visit. It is called Mitumba. There are an estimated 200 students who attend the school there, Kindergarten - 8th grade. This is comparatively a smaller slum than most. Therefore, Mitumba does not have any large sponsors like Compassion International or World Vision. We will be working with Christian Mission Aid to help where we can.

It was an overwhelming rush of emotions upon our arrival. Excitement, devastation, burdensome, contentness, joyfulness, sadness, the list goes on. I was in awe to meet these kids, to see what life was like for them. Before Jonathan (another WNS teacher) and I could get out of the car, we had kids grabbing our hands and trying to get in as close as they could. I guess it didn’t matter who we were as long as we were there to love on them. It had rained earlier that day, so wearing rubber boots was a must. Mud and sewage made the ground hard to walk on.

People in Mitumba live in 8x10 shacks made from scraps of metal. The school walls were decorated with homemade charts and the floors consisted of dirt and mud. I met the pastor who also welcomed us with open arms. This man has a gigantic heart. He walked us around to each classroom, where we were greeted with beautiful smiles and a song the students sung. I am hoping to go back and teach on Thursday afternoons.

video

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lukenya

This last weekend was our staff retreat and my first attempt to get out of the city. Everyone and their families were invited to come. We had a great time relaxing and getting to know one another. All it took was one bumpy bus ride to get there. I think I inhaled more dust than I ever have before. But it was worth it!



Lukenya, the beautiful place where we stayed, is a resort located roughly an hour outside the city of Nairobi. It is your typical vacation spot with a pool, basketball and volleyball courts, Kenyan food, conference rooms, free internet, filtered water, etc. All great things that I was thankful for! Landscaped in Acacia trees (full of thorns I learned), walks where you accumulated ticks, and water pressure of a trickling stream. I have to say, before this trip, I was really looking forward to a warm shower that I didn’t have to pay for. Well, I got that, about a gallons worth. That didn’t matter so much because the night sky made up for the not so great shower. The constellations in the southern hemisphere are quite a site. One of the other teachers and I spent over an hour trying to figure them all out. The first night we were there I went out in a jeep in search for some wild life. Here’s what I found…



zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, and some unique birds. So fun! I think this has been my most adventurous thing yet. Sorry Chris, still no hippos.