On our last afternoon in Kinangop, we went for a lovely stroll around the neighborhood.
OK - not really. I mean, it was lovely and it was the neighborhood, but my choice of words there conjures up something very different from what we really did. It was more like a hike through muddy cabbage fields, forest, and roads, to visit with as many neighbors as possible in a 2 kilometer radius. Or something like that. We may have walked farther. I was really lost so I have no idea.
We started out just down the road only a short distance, next door practically, at the home of Mercy and her father. Jane has known them for a long time and I am guessing she makes a point of going to visit whenever she is here, though I did not ask. Mercy translated for us, as her father only speaks Kikugu. They were kind to allow me to take photos while “we” talked (Jane and Mercy talked and the rest of us sat politely), and Chris took photos of me taking photos because we had had this conversation about how I am never in the photos on any of my trips because I am the one taking them and everyone else tends to put their cameras away.
People, please stop that. I love seeing your photos too, mkay?
Anyway, we had a nice visit with Mercy and her dad and then moved on up the road, way up the road. Or maybe it just felt like a long way because for every actual meter of progress we might have walked 2 meters just to dodge the boot-sucking mud puddles and ankle deep water. Did I mention it rained a lot that week?
At the second home we visited, no one was home. And they were not out in their fields in sight so we left some candy for their kids and moved on. We ended up at a creek crossing and a lake and talked (sort of, again, no English) with a man who was tending cattle with his kids. I think they were his kids. He introduced them by name and seemed fatherly. When Michele produced candy a few more kids appeared, as if pulling Smarties out of one’s pocket can magically cause tiny Kenyans to pop up out of the rain-soaked ground. I’ve seen this work in other countries too. It’s quite possible that Skittles are actually seeds that will grow kids if you drop them on the right soil.
The two young men who were sort of leading us on beckoned us to join them around the bend in the lake to see the waterfall. Of course we had to go do that. It was not spectacular (I’ve seen some killer waterfalls) but it was pretty and worth the hike. And Michele had more Smarties still, so more kids appeared! Imagine that.
Looping back from the falls, we walked across a grove of eucalyptus trees with mushrooms carpeting the forest floor. Coming out on the other side we walked back on the other side of the cabbage fields and began making our way back to the IAA campus. On our way we did manage to connect with one neighbor Jane knew and was surprised to see. We did not stop to chat long but she shook all our hands and greeted everyone. Africans are like that, they don’t bother waiting to be introduced. If you are in the company of someone they already know, then you are greeted just as warmly.
And then roughly 2 hours and 4 kilometers after we began, we made it back to the campus, muddy and tired in a good way.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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