Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mitumba Slums

This last month, I have been working together with an organization called Christian Mission Aid, on a community outreach fundraiser. Our goal was to collect 150 food buckets, from West Nairobi families, to feed the less fortunate in Mitumba Slums (see earlier blog). Each bucket contained basic food items such as… rice, beans, flour, salt, maize meal, etc. Since local Kenyan schools are out of session for the entire month of December, this means the children are not provided the two meals a day they normally receive at school. One bucket is equipped to feed one child’s family for a week during this Christmas break.

I am happy to report, that we exceeded our goal by six. I was so excited, and so were our students to find out the final results. My faith was put to the test though, when a week prior we were only at 30 buckets. I can honestly say, at that point, my optimism had turned to disappointment. I was sure this was a project that God had placed in my hands, and I didn’t understand why there weren’t more buckets coming in. Never underestimate our heavenly father, a lesson I am learning here in Africa, over and over.

Thursday, November 20th, I took the eleventh grade class and a few staff members into Mitumba to deliver these buckets. When we arrived, after one set back of getting the bus stuck in the mud, we were welcomed by many open arms. The students had prepared a presentation for us with singing, awards, and words of appreciation. We were loved on, that is for sure. It is hard to put into words how my heart was blessed by this event. I think I could speak for us all. Later we played games with these 270 students. Who knew a tire had more than one use?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I have finally set eyes on the Indian Ocean. It all started with an eight hour bus ride on a Friday night. We arrived the following morning at 6, took a matatu to our hotel, in hopes to shower and rest a bit. We arrived only to find that our reservation had been lost. So we gladly wasted time by finding a place to eat breakfast and going for a walk along the shore line, waiting for the hotel manager to come into work.

The view was spectacular. Just like the Pacific, there was fine white sand (minus the dried out seaweed), blueish-green ocean water, unique tropical plants, and the smell of fresh salty water. It wasn’t long before my shoes were off and my feet were in the soft sand. I approached the water, preparing myself for a shocking cold. To my surprise, it was a pleasant temperature.

The manager eventually showed up and found a place for us to stay down the street. It wasn’t quite as nice as our original location, but still a site to see. Because of the last minute changes, all eight of us teachers crammed into a two bedroom place, where we fixed our own meals, played some competitive card games, and rested from the long journey the night before. Most of our time was spent around the pool, sipping on coconuts and enjoying the slow pace of our weekend.

The location even included our very own family of monkeys. These guys were an active bunch, swinging from tree to tree, only stopping for a bite to eat. I finally had to leave them alone when they started to use me as a tree.

I would have to say, there were two highlights from this trip. The first was a camel ride down the beach and the second, an exploration through the deep waters, with a snorkeling mask. I saw some fascinating creatures. I only wish I could have captured them all on camera. Sunday night we started our journey back home. Another 8 hours on the bus and no sleep. Thankfully, Monday was a holiday, so I slept the day away. It was a fabulous weekend.

Pictured: Jen, Brenton, Jonathan, Kate, Joel, Steven, Becca, Amy

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A National Holiday

Today, in light of the US presidential election and Obama's win, Kibaki (Kenya's president) has declared tomorrow a national holiday. I am left a bit confused as to why we are recognizing a US event, other than the fact that Obamas father's roots are tied to Kenya. If it means the day off, I won't argue though. It is amazing how many Kenyans are up to date on American politics, even the kids. I walked into the Kindergarten class this morning to... Obama won the prize, Obama won the prize. They sure do love this man. I have learned not to say much when I'm asked my opinion, through encountering some pretty heated debates. What will the next four years hold? We shall see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Another birthday has come and gone. But this one I spent in Africa (somebody pinch me). I turned 27 on a Thursday this year. It was a pretty ordinary work day, with soccer practice after school. A few exceptions to the norm though. I had dinner out with friends, a call from home, and a chocolate cake celebration with my third grade class. It was a hard day to be so far away from home, but thankfully, a busy one. Last week, I received in the “snail mail” my birthday presents. A sweater, movies, candy, and more movies. Thanks family, who I dearly love! I now have something to do late at night. The real b-day celebration happened the following weekend. Eight of us went to Mombasa, a city located on the African coast. Another lifetime goal I can check off. I have now seen three out of the four oceans. Thank you to all of you who sent cards. I appreciated them!