We have just completed our Kenya trip, but we had no wifi connection so I was unable to blog while in country. As I find it somewhat challenging to sum up a 12 day project in one blog post I decided to break it up into several pieces. Also, I know you need extra reading material in your day. You’re welcome.
Our travels to Africa were mostly uneventful, although not without some humorous experiences. For example, our flight from Chicago to London was delayed, but this was announced about two minutes after a couple of us swallowed sleeping or motion sickness meds. You can imagine how this went down. Like, we almost literally went down. And what is up with the size of O’Hare International Airport? We had to taxi so far to get to our runway that I thought perhaps the pilot took a wrong turn and got on the freeway. Kevin said, “We might be driving to London. There’s that tricky piece in the middle…”
Once aboard the leg from the US to Heathrow, I chose to fight sleep and stay up long enough for the dinner service. As soon as that was completed I put on noise-canceling headphones and attempted to nod off. I felt like I did not sleep at all, but I must have because I dreamed of totally odd and random things, like being at a flying mall, choosing a toaster from the beverage cart but the flight attendant was a duck. Or who knows, it was British Airways so maybe it really happened.
My first impression of Africa was, “Boy, am I glad to be off that plane.” Miraculously, with two flight legs delayed across the itineraries of the various team members, we all arrived in Nairobi on time and every single piece of luggage was there to greet us. And even more exciting, it was still there after the hour it took to get through customs. We managed to choose the very slowest of the lines.
I give the Kenyan customs agents credit for extreme friendliness. I normally hate customs — they make a point of being totally intimidating and it really works on me. You know how they always have that yellow line you are supposed to remain behind while you wait your turn? Well, Kenya has one but they don’t care if you cross it. When the Crawfords (Brad is our project leader, Alisha his wife) were up at the counter there was this one young man who stood so close he was not so much behind them as on them. The nice woman stamping their passports did not utter a word. When he got to the counter himself (after extracting his chin from Brad’s shoulder), he leaned so far over I thought he was going to propose to her. Or possibly to Brad.
We arrived very late and slept mostly well at the hotel in Nairobi, but not really long enough. Also, there was a party just down the street that stretched into the wee hours and when that wrapped up a rooster dutifully took over the job of waking me up at intervals. In the morning before I had consumed an adequate amount of coffee, Pastor Julius of Touched By Love Ministries (Kevin’s project) arrived. After brief introductions he asked me, ‘How do you find Kenya?” In my jet-lagged stupor the very first thing that went through my head (but thankfully not out my mouth) was, “With an atlas?” I knew what he meant, but we only saw it the previous night in the dark. I had to stall for time by asking him to please repeat his question while I decided how to tell him that Kenya is indeed lovely, even if all you have seen is the baggage carousel and a lot of night.
The drive to our project site was not too far and gave us a nice view of the countryside, including a dude who totally parkoured out a moving vehicle into traffic with such skill I am fairly certain he does this sort of thing daily. I’m so sorry I did not catch it on video.
This is where Kevin’s team and my team parted ways, and thus the blog posts will take on a slant that reflects only what our team experienced in Kinangop at Into Abba’s Arms, at least until I figure out how to be a decent ghost writer.
I would remiss if I did not introduce our team here:
Brad - project leader (structural engineer and eMi COO)
Alisha - Brad’s wife, teacher, fitness coach, chef, awesome sauce
Marisa - eMi intern and structural engineering student
Kyle, Austin, Scott - civil engineers
Rudy, Alex - electrical engineers
Heather - structural engineer
Greg - architect
Jordan - eMi long-term volunteer and architect
me - ninja photographer and wannabe videographer
From the Keiters:
Here is where we share our daily experiences of how God is using our life in the US and abroad with EMI to draw us closer and to make Himself known.