Saturday, January 31, 2009


More meat than I could ever eat. Carnivore is the name of a local restaurant that serves a variety of exotic meats, such as ostrich and crocodile, in the setting of a tropical forest. This is a must see place when you visit Kenya. The meal starts with a bowl of hot fried cornbread and leads into a dinner salad with brown bread and butter. Oh so good! Then comes the main entrĂ©e… nothing but meat. A scolding hot iron plate was put before us without a single thing on it. Before I could blink there was meat on a skewer coming at me from the right and from the left. If I said “yes” the waiter would take his machete and slice off a piece of whatever it happened to be. In fact, this whole process didn’t stop until we “surrendered the flag.” On our table was a white flag that was only to be put down when all twenty people at out table were full. I did my best to stay up with the best of them, but I think I surrendered way before the flag was actually taken down. To add to the grandeur of the evening, when all was said and done, NICS picked up the tab, so our meal was not an expense taken from our own pocket. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and those that I went to dinner with.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Church Life

My goal, when I first arrived here in July, was to visit a few different churches and then quickly find a community to call home. I have to admit this was a frustrating process. Basically, what it came down to, I was only able to visit places I could get transportation to and from. I'd like to say that I was patient though, in holding out for the right fit. A church home where I could be fed biblical truth, and at the same time, feel like I could give back to the congregation. After two and half months of searching, I came across a place called Mamlaka Hill. A church that is fairly traditional to something you might find in the states, but has what I like to call an "African flare" to it. The worship at Mamlaka is outstanding. Lots of energy and talented voices. Some songs are sung in English and others in Swahili (the mother language). I feel like this was an important part of choosing a church, being that it is one of the main ways, I personally, relate to God. Another aspect to be considered, in this decision, was that I needed to be challenged though the sermons. Other churches I had visited were fairly basic (at least in my opinion), or I had a difficult time understanding the pastor through his thick African accent. Either way I had been struggling to find a fit.

The community at Mamlaka Hill is open hearted. Right away I felt welcome, even though I had to stand up with a mic and introduce myself to the congregation. I proudly announced that I was a Kenyan resident, which locals love to hear. Any time I take interest in their culture, they make it well known that they approve. I have grown to love the people here and some of the ways in which they live life. While in Africa, I am determined to experience as much of the culture that I can, not live in a sheltered bubble. Some Sundays, I still struggle to find transportion, so I visit the children's orphange down the street from where I live. I am usually greeted with three or four leg hugs and one or two "please hold me". Last Sunday, I walked into the infant room only to find they were short one staff member. With 16 babies needing to be changed and fed, I was able to be of some assistance. It was nice to feel needed, plus I was blessed to be surrounded by all those precious and innocent faces.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!

Okay, so I really only saw a lion out of those three, but I thought it was an appropriate title for this piece. I have just returned home from my first safari to the Masai Mara. This was a vacation like none other that I have experienced thus far. A group of us from school (Kate, Jonathan, Julie, Lynn, myself, and the Bussell family), went on three different game drives over a three day period. Hours and hours of looking for wild creatures. The Mara was absolutely beautiful, quiet, and peaceful.

Our safari guide wasn't afraid to get up close and personal with any and all of the animals we came across. Most creatures could care less, with the exception of this elephant. After charging at us a couple of times, we decided it was best to leave him alone.

I posted this picture of hippos for Chris. I've been here six months and this is my first time to see many of these things. One of my favorite sightings was these four lions, eating a giraffe. Our safari guide said this was an unusual find and that these guys were on day two of this one course meal.

Our late evenings were spent back at the hotel, taking advantage of the food buffet, sitting around the fireplace, listening to the chirping of crickets outside, and drinking hot tea. The restaurant we ate in was an open area, with the exception of a grass and bamboo covering. Our dinner table viewed the nearby river where crocodiles stirred about.

On day two of our safari, we visited a Masai village. I learned that this is the largest of the 42 tribal groups in Kenya. Our people were warmly welcomed with a traditional dance by the young warriors of this tribe. We spent the afternoon finding out the way in which they live life... how they construct their homes with branches and cow dung, how they build fires and hunt wild game, and why they drink a mix of cow blood and milk on special occasions. While I was fascinated by the their very different ways of life, I decided that I would not do well living in the bush.

A list of the things I saw in the Mara:

vervet monkey, stork, guinea foul, giraffe, topi, warthog, hartebeest, elephant, eland, lion, cheetah with cubs, crowned crane, plower, wildebeest, zebra, toad, cape buffalo, baboon/albino, impala, jackal, mongoose, hyena, turkey vulture, toni eagle, gazelle, hippo, ostrich, crocodile, goat, cow, monitor lizard, bat, secretary bird, water buck

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Busy Christmas Break

I recently completed what I would call a challenging, yet successful semester. On December 19th, West Nairobi School, began its three week holiday. I am thankful for a time of rest and an opportunity to see more of Africa. The following are some of the things I’ve been up to…..

·An all staff luncheon

·I have been volunteering at an orphanage down the street from where I live, called New Life Childrens' Home. They take in infants from the ages of 0 to 3. A percentage of them are infected by HIV/ AIDS.

The Elephant Park

·Shopping at Village Market

·Christmas Eve we went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, and then invited some people over to watch “The Grinch” on a projector we borrowed from school. We don’t have a TV, so it was a treat not to watch this movie on my laptop.

·Christmas day consisted of house hopping. We joined the Gibson family for brunch and the Germo family for dinner. It was a blessing to be in a "homey" atmosphere for a days time.

·Camping in Hell’s Gate was a definite highlight. We spent 3 days exploring this national park and all its creatures, through hikes and a bit of rock climbing.


The Nairobi National Museum

·We brought in the New Year with a game night that lasted until 11, and then headed over to a local hot spot/restaurant called Carnivore. We watched a spectacular fireworks show and danced throughout the night until we were completely exhausted.

·Masai Mara is a village I am headed to this week. There, I will take part in a three day safari.