One Month and One Day

Posted on October 1, 2012

Hi friends!

I hope you are all doing well right now. I am sitting in my house alone, only the second night since I’ve been here where no one has come over. It’s sort of nice and sort of weird at the same time.

I am trying to get a better internet option figured out for Eburru. Right now I’m stuck with either Orange or Safaricom, the phone companies here, and the fastest speed I’ve been able to get is 175Kbps. That’s right, Kilobytes per second. So while you all are buzzing along anywhere from 7-320Mbps I am crawling along in kilobytes. ¬†All that to say, the reason I haven’t been blogging is because the internet is slow. Actually, it’s painfully slow. I could probably do all my laundry by hand before the blog would update at these speeds. It’s not so much that I’m complaining, I’m just saying this is the reason updates have not happened.

But, since it’s been a month and a day that I have been here in Kenya I wanted to let you know things are good here. Actually, they are better than I imagined they would be. I imagined having fun with my friends here, hanging out, hearing their stories, laughing with them and enjoying time together. What I didn’t imagine is the new friends I would meet, the joy in crying next to an old friend, the hope in the kids’ eyes, the beauty that is all around me every single day….all this and more is truly beyond what I could have hoped for.

Every day here is an adventure. No two days have been the same, even when I’ve done the same thing over and over. It’s actually fun to wake up everyday and not really know what’s going to happen.

Just as an example, here’s what happened last Friday:

9:30AM I go and get Elijah from school to take him to his dentist appointment in Naivasha. He has a lot of problems with his teeth (most of the folks here do), and he had an appointment at 11:00AM.
9:45AM Pick up Elijah’s oldest brother who was standing on the side of the road waiting for the matatu to take him to Naivasha
10:20AM Drop off Bonga, Elijah’s brother, (no idea how it’s really spelled, but that’s how it sounds) at the matatu station
10:30AM Drop Elijah off at the hospital so he can go to his appointment (yes, the dentist works out of the hospital…)
10:45AM Go to Labelle Inn to relax, eat breakfast, and wait for what I thought would be a very short time. (I should never, ever, ever think anything will be fast in Kenya)
11:30AM Go to Safaricom to buy more credit for my phone (all phones work like pay as you go phones)
11:35AM Get a call from Elijah that the dentist has just arrived at the hospital and he hasn’t been seen yet and is not sure when he will be seen. Spend about 5 minutes trying to figure out a new place to go waste time in Naivasha
11:40AM Head to Panorama. This place is amazing, and if it didn’t cost $100/night to stay there I’d probably go spend the night there because they have internet. Real, fast internet :-) And, it’s up on a hill so it overlooks Lake Naivasha. It’s really beautiful. Also, they are incredibly nice there and they let me hang out and use their internet for about 2 hours and all I had to do was buy a Coke. Pretty great way to waste time.
1:00PM Get a call from Elijah that he is just going in to his appointment. Figure I have another hour to waste.
1:30PM Get a call from Elijah that he has finished his appointment. Things work differently here in Kenya…
2:00PM Meet up with Elijah at Safari Cafe. This is a good place to eat lunch because it’s tasty, fast, and cheap. Elijah and I both ate lunch for $3 total. These are the sort of places you need to know about when you’re here.
2:30PM Go to the Kubwa. This is the grocery store here. It’s called the Kubwa because it’s big. Only thing is, it’s actually small compared to what we’re used to in the US.
3:00PM Leave the Kubwa. Elijah informs me that we now need to go get fertilizer and pick up his brother. I had no idea that was in the plan of the day….
3:15PM Get to Delamere to get gas and a Mocha Milkshake. Only problem is they are out of diesel, so we have to go back in to town. No worries though, the Mocha Milkshake was worth the stop.
3:35PM Finally head back to Eburru.
4:15PM For about the next hour, this is what happened:
Stop by the school to give something to someone. While I’m there I pick up a guy who was working on something, and two teachers who want to go to Camp. While on the way to Camp I see Hannah, a little girl from the school, hanging out by the road so I pick her up to take her home. Come to Camp to drop the teachers off, and pick up Njeri, another little girl from school, and my neighbor, Kariuki. Head up to Center, and along the way meet a mob of school kids walking home. I decide they can all fit in the boot (back of Simon) so I stop and about 20 kids pile in to the very back of Simon (as far as I can tell Kenya has no real road safety laws, and there are certainly no rules up here in Eburru, so all is good :-). Next stop is dropping off the guy I picked up at school. Then another stop to let about half the kids out. Then up to Center to drop off the neighbor and the rest of the kids. Get back home, and find some kids waiting to do homework. Since it was about 5pm by now I decided it was too late for them to start homework so I loaded them up in Simon and took them home. On the way back to Camp I picked up 3 girls who live near here and brought them back with me. Simon was a very busy taxi.
5:30PM Spend about half an hour cleaning my house because it’s “Members Day” (“Members Day” was created because I told the gang I hang out with that I’d like to make them dinner every Friday night. Apparently at GreenPark, the super ritz area about 7KM from Eburru, every Thursday is “Members Day” where Members eat free. The name “Members Day” was created and has stuck).
6:00PM Start making spaghetti for Members Day, and spend time with Elijah and Njeri.
Sometime around 8:00PM everyone shows up for Members Day. There were 2 people I met for the first time, and 7 folks I spend a lot of time with on a regular basis. I can only describe the events of Members Day as laugh out loud hilarious.
Sometime around 11:00PM I take everyone home.
Sometime around Midnight I go to sleep, completely exhausted and happy.

That’s just one day’s events. Sort of, every day is like that. I head out in the morning to do something and end up doing about 20 things I had no idea would come up. I’m finding myself learning to be open to whatever the day brings, and trying very hard not to make a plan for every day so that I’ll be able to do whatever comes up. There are definitely times when I wish things were more streamlined, or organized, but for the most part it’s pretty great not living life by a schedule and not being bound by the constraints “organized” living brings.

There are a few things I’ve been doing on a regular basis:
-I’ve been serving lunch at the school almost every day. It’s a blast seeing the kids in their school setting. Those who know me really well are super shy and don’t want to admit they know me. Those I don’t know super well act like I’m a rock star and want to shake my hand and be near me wherever I am. There are 200 kids enrolled in the school right now, so serving lunch takes about an hour. It’s one of the highlights for me because I love seeing all the kids. Usually when I’m done serving lunch I’ll hang out at the school with the kitchen crew for an hour or so. It’s been really fun getting to know them. They make me laugh a lot.
-I’ve been getting Napier grass with Peter about twice a week. Napier grass is crazy. Whenever I’m around it I get really itchy. It’s not fun to load, but it is fun to hang out with Peter. His English is only a little better than my Swahili, so we make each other laugh a lot because we try to talk to each other but often times we misunderstand everything. Kimani, another guy here, has been helping the last couple times we’ve gotten grass which is super fun. Last time Kimani and Peter refused to let me carry any Napier grass saying I was the boss and I was just supposed to watch them work. Kimani speaks English really well, so it helps in communication with Peter and I. Very fun times.
-There are 6 kids who come to my house every day to do homework. I love having them here, and it’s great for them because they have a quiet place with electricity where they can concentrate on homework for about an hour and then have some fun playing before I take them home. I love seeing them study and learn because I know their education is really the best way for them to break the poverty cycle here.
-Church every Sunday. While I love seeing everyone, church is an exercise in patience for me. The service is from 10:30-1:30. That’s a whole lot of time for me to be somewhere not having much of an idea what is going on or what is being said, and, it turns out sitting on a wooden bench for 3 hours is just not that much fun. But, before and after church it’s super fun connecting with the Mamas and other folks of church.

Every single day I am amazed that God brought me here and this is my life. I am surrounded by beauty, joy, and I am so thankful to be here in this place.


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