Sunday, May 19, 2013

Experiencing Kenya

We arrived in Mtwapa, Kenya, around 6am on Tuesday the 14th, relief flooded in when we saw our luggage slowing circling at the baggage claim. We had been on 3 planes and traveling for 2 days straight within 3 airports by this time and we were so excited to finally be here! Two of the girls on our team welcomed us home and we headed out into the streets of Africa. I have been in foreign countries before but it was that first taxi ride that became my definite reminder, we are no longer in America. No lanes, no speed limits, no stop signs, no street lights, no walk ways for pedestrians, nothing, the vehicles don’t even have to stay on the streets if they don’t want too. I smiled, choosing in that moment to trust the cab driver but mostly to trust God with this new beginning. The smell of rain and humidity, sweating already, noise everywhere, the streets filled with honking and yelling, this is Kenya and I LOVE it!
Our first day consisted of unpacking, meeting new people, riding my first piki (dirt bike driven by a man, one of Kenyans main ways of transportation), grocery shopping, walking through the village, a “Can’t Be Bought” meeting, and a dip in the pool to cool off before bed. Defiantly a full day but honestly it seemed easy, little to no jet lag, Praise God! We fell asleep at 6pm and slept like babies awaking at sunrise fully charged and excited for the new day to begin.
On our second day we walked to the school in which we would be teaching our first classes. As we arrived all the children starred and peaked around other children to see us, yelling “Jambo, jambo!,” which means “Hello, hello.” Soon we were ushered into the principal’s office, here called the head mistress, and welcomed to take a seat. She then began discussing with us our classes and class sizes. This is when we found out that there are 200 girls in classes 4-5 and 400 girls in classes 6-7! Our faces looked shocked and we laughed nervously realizing our own personal class sizes. Kylee and I will be teaching 100 girls in class 4 on Wednesdays and 200 girls in class 6 on Fridays! Granite this is only one school! We also will be teaching Mondays, and Tuesdays at another school and again on Saturday at another school! This all seemed so overwhelming and impossible but oddly I was so calm and super excited!  All I could think about was Katie, a missionary living in Uganda, who taught a class of 130 young children or more and how God helped her and brought her so much joy through it. She was able to touch and affect so many lives and inwardly I had been jealous, and could only dream of that opportunity.  When the head mistress said this, inwardly I bursted with joy!  Now is my chance and I know with God nothing is impossible!
On our third day Kylee and I ventured out into the village to walk the streets and meet some of the locals. Honestly I think I understand how a famous person feels living here in Kenya;  95% of the people’s heads turn as we walk by, children run to us wanting to say hi or touch us, piki drivers and matatu drivers fight over us, people stand so we can sit, and people say, “Karibou Kenya,” everywhere we go which means “Welcome to Kenya.” At times it can be overwhelming, especially when in a crowd of people or its night time, but my favorite is being at the schools when all the children each want individual hugs and kisses from us. Being in the mists of these little children is my favorite part of Kenya! They fill me with such love and I only hope I can love them each in return as much as they love me.
 As Kylee and I walked the village we met a family in particular who welcomed us into their home and offered us chi and potatoes. We sat and talked with them finding out that they had 8 children, 2 girls in whom we met, and 6 boys. Their youngest daughter is unable to attend school because the small tuition fee is too much for the family to pay and she stays home cooking, cleaning, and doing regular house work. Her name is Joyce, she is eleven and her eyes can light up a room. She smiled the whole time we were there and peaked at us, often, from around the corner where she was washing clothes. She is beautiful and Kylee and I are so excited to get to know her and her family.
Kylee and I love it here so far. It feels like we have been here a couple weeks and it’s only been 6 days! Each day is full of new surprises and just leaving the house is an adventure every time!

Amazing things we have seen so far: a group of babies ages 1-3 making a small fire using only sticks and stones, monkeys, cattle being herded down the street, women carrying large amounts of different items on their heads for miles, and lizards everywhere with green heads and blue bodies or orange heads and green bodies,
A few amazing things I could defiantly live WITHOUT: Seeing the spider the size of my fist, a big yellow gecko that fell from my closet and onto my arm, centipedes the size of baby snakes, and a slimy poisons worm that moves very fast.

Check out Katie and her ministry in Uganda-

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