Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back in Buffalo

We made it back safe and sound. After about 27 hours of either flying or being in airports, we are exhausted but happy to finally be on the ground. I always find international airports to be very interesting, each with it's own special checks, and pushy travelers who irk you just enough to make you think you'll never travel again. We could have easily missed our flight to Buffalo if we didn't hustle through customs like we did, but thankfully we did not, although we were the second last people on the plane.

After many hours to reflect on the plane, (Side note: I cannot sleep on planes, thus why I am struggling to get my schedule re-adjusted...at least I got about 6 hours of sleep last night...add that to the meager sleep I've got over the past 4 days though, and I am running on empty. Thankfully, I am not cranky, just very dysfunctional in tasks of daily living, so Matt is very entertained :-)) I had a few stories that came back to my mind that I wanted to share:

1) We unfortunately had to leave Chepnyal two short days before a huge celebration that the bishop was coming for. One part of that celebration was the 10th Anniversary of the Daughter's work in Chepnyal. The second was Sr. Pat celebrating her 50th anniversary as a Daughter of Charity! What a blessing to serve God and His people for 50 years! The four of us were so sad we could be there to celebrate with them but we were so grateful to have shared meals and prayed with Sr. Pat, Sr. Mary, Sr. Sharon & Sr. Esther while we were there. Here's a picture of the eight of us on our last night in Chepnyal (it's a photo of a photo, so it's not that clear, I have to get the original from Sr. Sharon)

Nick, Sr. Pat, Liz, Sr. Esther, Matt, Raelynne, Sr. Mary and Sr. Sharon
2) When I was feeding the Giraffes at the Giraffe Center in Nairobi, there was a sign that said to be careful because the Giraffes could head-butt you. Well, at one point, I had finished my share of feeding Kelly (each Giraffe had a name and actually would respond to their names) and told Matt to get a quick picture of us. Apparently, they don't like it when you don't feed them, and don't see a need for you to be around so that's when the head-butts ensue. Kelly went for it to get me out of the way, and I just narrowly avoided being the victim of one of the head-butts. The worker simply looked at me and said: no food, no friends, and then handed me another scoop of stuff to feed her. Lesson learned!

3) While we were at the elephant orphanage, they had two sets of elephants come out to feed, the younger group (1 month - 2 years old) and the older group (3+ years old). When the older group was out, the four of us were listening to the man talking about the elephants when we heard this fairly loud noise from an elephant about 15 feet away. Raelynne and I looked at each other, pretty puzzled and wondering if that sound was what we thought it was, until the smell wafted our way. We just burst out laughing couldn't believe how
rotten the smell was and that an elephant just pushed some gas our way. It was definitely potent and took awhile to clear out. What an extra treat for us I'm sure not many people get to experience!

4) While working with the nursery students the first week there, as I have mentioned before, they were probably a little less shy than the older kids, but still really shy. While they were finishing up coloring one day, I noticed that those who had completed their tasks kept staring at me, but turning their heads like they weren't as soon as I caught their eyes. I eventually decided to entertain them and start making silly faces at them. At one point I made a fishy face at them (sucking in my cheeks, puckering your lips) and most of them were then trying to figure out how to make that face. I was showing them how to push their cheeks in and they were trying so hard to do it. One little boy though, had it down! With little effort at all, he fishy faced me right back and I was delighted. Every time I saw him for the rest of the week, if I made a fishy face to him he made it right back. I didn't catch his name by the end of the week, but he was my little fishy face and I knew I'd always remember him for that. Well, it turns out he was one of the kids that lived in town so I ran into him  a handful of times while walking through town and found out his name was Buthia (pronounced Bu-dee-a). As soon as I'd see him, I'd fishy face and and he would return it. The last day we were in Chepnyal, Sr. Sharon said she walked through town and as soon as she saw him, he gave her a fishy face - I wonder if I made him think all muzungus (white people) would want him to do that?
Here's probably my favorite sequence of pictures from our trip:

My little fishy face
I will definitely post our pictures to picasa once we sort through them - there are a lot - so I will put a post when that happens. I am also thinking of having some sort of get-together as well, to show video and talk about our experience in person. I will figure that out in the next week or so and let you know about that as well.

For now, I will say this: I am going to be talking about this experience for years to come. I am going to be talking about the Vincentian Lay Missionaries program and the efforts of the Daughters of Charity for the rest of my life. My only hope is that by hearing our stories, whether they come from Matt, Raelynne, Nick, myself, the other five Kenya VLMs or four Ethiopia VLMs, that your hearts will be touched even a fraction of the amount that ours were. Our mission has not ended, it has merely just begun.

 Things I am grateful for this day:
1) For my awesome family and the fantastic welcome we received by all yesterday.
2) For all the people that have been placed in my path who have encouraged me to do mission work and for my husband who has more than willingly been by my side every step of the way.
3) The power I have as a citizen of a first world country, to truly work to change the lives of others in my own community and around the world.

1 comment:

  1. Only a missionary could appreciate #3. And please continue to share your missionary stories, even to the point where people can start repeating them back to you - ad nauseum! This is being a missionary. Could you imagine where the world would be if the Apostles and disciples stopped sharing their missionary stories after the first telling? Thank you for your yes! BE MISSIONARY