So we finally arrived Saturday morning to Nairobi. Sr. Lucia and the Daughters of Charity (DoC) driver Gabriel were there to meet us.We stopped at the Sister’s house in Nairobi for breakfast and then went on our way to Kitale. We left around 10 am and didn’t get there until 8 pm so it was a very long day of driving…but there were many interesting aspects. There are people EVERYWHERE in Kenya. Just when you think you are leaving a town and you won’t see anyone, there are just more and more people walking and biking all over the place. Cows and goats are roaming around everywhere as well. There were lots of big markets dispersed throughout the drive and many people also selling their produce right at the road (conveniently where the speed bumps are so they can approach your car). On one part of the drive, we passed by a bunch of Zebras, and lots and lots of Baboons near the road. About 5 minutes before we were to arrive at our destination we got a flat tire (of course!) but Gabriel and the driver from the other car, Alfred, fixed it in no time.
|Kitale and Chepnyal Group at the Equator. This was actually the coldest point on our journey to Kitale!|
We ate dinner with the Sister’s in Kitale and stayed overnight. I have never been so happy to sleep in a bed before in my life after two overnights on a plane! I went to bed at 10:15 and was probably asleep by 10:17. I woke up a few times to dogs barking and music playing, but other than that I slept straight through the night. The next morning we went to Mass after breakfast…which I could write a whole blog about in itself but will just say that the Spirit is alive and well in Kenya. Music, dancing, clapping…just pure love and happiness…I don’t think I stopped smiling once! At the end of Mass they had announcements and one of the Sister’s arranged to have us introduced to the congregation (about 350-400 people). All seven of us went up and had to tell them our names, where we were from and where we were going to serve (Kitale or Chepnyal). They were all very happy to have us there and we received a roaring applause. On our way out of Mass the kids were swarming us and shaking our hands, some of the girls were reaching up to touch mine and Raelynne’s hair and saying welcome. I think that’s the closest I will ever feel to being a celebrity.
So, back into the car for a three hour drive to Chepnyal and it was like entering into another world. Still, there were many people around but less cars and bikes on the road. About an hour into the drive the road went from paved to dirt and it was a bumpy ride up the mountain but very very beautiful. At one point we stopped to throw rocks, with our left hands, over a cliff at a specific location to pay homage to a fallen war hero. It’s only necessary to do so the first time you visit, so we are good for life now!
When we arrived at our destination, a group of local parishioners stayed after Mass to greet us, and they did so by dancing, singing and waving branches in front of our car as we pulled up the driveway. We got out and joined them and they continued to sing and welcome us for quite a bit of time. At one point we joined in the local dance custom, which involves a lot of jumping up and down.
In Chepnyal, we are staying with Sr. Esther (Kenyan native), Sr. Sharon, and Sr. Mary (Sr. Pat will be joining us soon and Sr. Lawerencila is studying in Nairobi right now so we won't get to see her). After meeting them, we spent the rest of the day getting everything organized, unpacked our things into a delightful mission house overlooking the mountains, had prayer and adoration with the Sister’s and ended with a wonderful “Chepnyal Pizza” dinner. Long but very fruitful day!
Sleep was great, with the exception of 4:30 am, when the local truck beeps its horn for about 30 minutes to tell people it’s time to get on the truck for town, and around 5:30 am when the Roosters start crowing (yaaaay Nicaragua memories!).
Today, we had our first half day of camp with the kids, which we spent playing soccer with the kids, making name tags and giving them wrist bands (silly bands) so they could come back the next day. We had to limit the number of kids because they told us if we didn’t, more and more would keep coming. So, we planned on accepting 100 kids and wound up with 148. Now, we are off to plan what we will be doing with all of them over the next 4 days!
Things I am grateful for on day five of this experience:
1) The beautiful Kenyan children that we have the privilege of serving, their bright eyes and shy smiles.
2) The hospitality of the Daughters of Charity that we have met along the way and their dedication to serving the people of Kenya.
3) The 6 helpers/translators we have for camp over the next three weeks!
|This is the view from our Mission house!|