Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ode to John & Erin

My last week with John and Erin in Kenya was filled with fun, a little work, and good times!

We visited the beach, soaked up the rays, fought off the beach boys (vendors who sell things relentlessly on the beach), swam in salt water, bathed in salt water, and enjoyed good company.I did have to work six days out of the three weeks John and Erin were here, so they blessed me more than once with a wonderful dinner. I think they cooked more for me than I did for them!
Erin used sunglasses to fight off the effects of cutting an onion. :)

John and Erin wanted to see the slums of Nairobi, so some friends took us to Kibera, which is the biggest slum in all of Kenya. It's the same slum you see when you watch the movie "Constant Gardener".This is the view of the slum from a school that some friends work with.

We also got in a few work-outs, had a slumber party at a friend's house, and shopped in the market. The market was a bit overwhelming for John and Erin, but they did great. After 8 months traveling, they have the bargaining thing down!
Spending time with John and Erin in my new home was such a blessing! They are the only people who know both my worlds and all my people - new and old. Thank you John and Erin for coming to Kenya, for blessing me with your company and conversation, for witnessing new things, and for being amazing friends. I love you so much! Your transition home will be in my prayers. Enjoy the continued adventure!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Weekend

After a busy first week in Kenya, Easter weekend with John and Erin was low key. On Saturday we hiked Hell's Gate with Scott and Lara.
After church on Sunday, we enjoyed a great dinner with friends.Monday was a national holiday, so we relaxed around the house. John made friends with a chameleon who ventured through the front door.
Then it was back to work on Tuesday. It was difficult to start work again with friends visiting because I wanted to stay in fantasy fun world, but it's not TOO tough. I've saved all my personal days for John and Erin's visit, so we're headed to the coast this weekend for some R&R on the beach. It's really hard work hosting friends! :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Visit Upcountry

Upcountry... In Kenya, upcountry is a term often used to describe towns and cities north of Nairobi, which is pretty much everywhere in Kenya. Upcountry is where John, Erin, and I headed to visit the Stanfields. The Stanfields are a missionary family from Newberg Friends Church who have been working at a hospital near Bomet, Kenya for 19 years. I actually visited with Christine Stanfield (center) while they were on furlough in Oregon this summer before I moved to Kenya. Their helpfulness then and their hospitality now were huge blessings to me!During our short visit, Jeff and Christine shared their stories with us, discussed theology, and taught us more about Kenya. I gained so many things from them, of which I'm still processing, including a lot of questions. As I listened to them tell about God's calling in their lives, share anecdotes of life in Kenya, and their thoughts about the future, I was inspired. What will God do in my future? Will I be in Kenya for 19 years?! Will He lead me elsewhere? Then all sorts of ideas came to me about how God could use me... I would love to open a Christian school to train nationals in Western teaching methods. I could start a missionary guest house on the coast. Or maybe I will teach at Rosslyn for many years to come. What does the future hold? It's exciting to think about what God will do. Ten years ago I would have told you I would NEVER live in Kenya. God's plan certainly holds many surprises, and it excites me to think of all the possibilities. I'm grateful to the Stanfields for sparking these thoughts.

As part of our time with the Standfields, we were invited on a community health trip. Edward and Richard (two nurses from Tenwek Hospital, the Stanfield's missionary hospital) took us to a small village in the hills surrounding Bomet to help vaccinate and bring health care, which they do once a week. Although none of us had medical skills, we went along to help in any way we could.

John helped change our tire puncture on the way to the clinic.

The mamas came with their babies for vaccinations.
So I helped draw injections,but didn't give any! (Molly, we thought of you!)

Erin spent time in the clinic with me, then adorned the little girls with flowers.
Being on a medical trip like this was eye-opening to things going on around Kenya and also made me wish I could provide medical assistance. I'll just have to pray for my dear friend, Molly, who is nursing in Malawi, and stick with my teaching skills.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Masai Mara Safari

The Masai Mara is the most famous place to safari in all of Africa. When you see pictures of Africa's wildlife on the internet, in National Geographic, or hanging in the dentist's office, it's usually shot in the Mara. Being the "place" to go, John, Erin, and I headed there for three days to see Kenya's iconic features.

We left Nairobi by safari van with our guide, George, early Monday morning. After a four hour drive, we arrived at Basecamp, an eco-friendly tented camp on the edge of the Masai Mara. Unfortunately for us, we were rained out our first day. Rain is slowly coming to Kenya, and I rejoiced as I watched the water flow in streams and lightning flash in the sky. I don't think John and Erin were quite as thrilled, but they felt better after two amazing meals of red snapper and lamb in mint sauce. ("Tented camp" is a little deceiving - it's a posh tent!)

The next morning we woke up at sunrise to catch our first glimpses of Kenya's animals. We came across gazelles, zebra, impala, lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and more. We also enjoyed a breakfast in the bush with George.
The highlight for me was watching three cheetah cubs playing with their mom around our van for 30 minutes.
Seeing twenty-three lions was awesome too!
And of course, sunset on safari is always a special moment with God...Although this was my fourth safari, it was just as amazing as the first. I never get tired of going on safari in Kenya because each time I'm in awe of God's beautiful creation - the vast landscape, the painted skies, and each unique creature He made. Maybe it's the Alaskan in me that loves being surrounded by beautiful things. So for those of you who have hopes of coming on safari with me one day, I'm always ready to go!

Ready, Set, Go!

My dear friends, John and Erin, arrived late last Friday night. After hugs, jumps, more hugs, dinner, and lots of talking, off to bed we all went to be ready for DAY ONE of fun with Kim in Kenya. First on the agenda... A hike up Mt. Longonot with friends new and old.I could go on and on about the day, but John and Erin summed it up well on their blog. I'll just end with this... I feel VERY blessed to have new and old friends hanging out together. I'm overwhelmed by the awesome community God has given me!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jess' and Erik's Wedding

Last weekend was spent at the Kenyan coast for a destination wedding of movie-like proportions. My dear friend and co-worker, Jess, married her Swedish hunk surrounded by 17 close friends. It was a picturesque setting as we stayed at a house together and celebrated all weekend. The reception was even spent in our swimming suits, taking dips between dinner courses of lobster, crab, and prawns. Here's a little peak at the glorious weekend...

I was blessed to do another friend's hair for her big day - it's tradition!We all wore white for the glorious beach-set wedding.We had fun posing for the camera in movie-like fashion.Laughter and sweat were abundant!We danced to the rhythm of an African band in the sand. The instruments were all hand made and there was a Caribbean feel to the beat.It just doesn't get much better than this!
Congratulations to two wonderful friends!