The Countdown

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kenya comes to Canada!

I guess Kenya came to Canada this summer, when Mary and the Bishop came and did a tour. I didn't get to see them, though.

I spoke at First Baptist's Women's Prayer Breakfast last month on my trip. Took some souvenirs to show and filled a whole table. I talked for a long time. :)

Last week, I took two of my young adults up to Saskatoon for CBM's Hunger for Change seminar, about the world food crisis. Two of the speakers were Sam Mutisya who we spent quite a bit of time with on our trip, and Dr. Judson from India who was in the same course with us at Lukenya. So amazing to see them and visit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

the animal update

We saw elephants (only in the orphanage, not in the wild), giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, warthogs, a rhino in a pen, about three different species of antelope, buzzards, lots of birds, lizards, baboons and monkeys, hyenas, a cheetah (which I got to pat!), a few lions in a pen and one glorious wild lion.

I almost forgot! We saw lots of camels on the road to Garissa, cows and goats everywhere, and sheep and dogs, which all strangely looked alike...

This was at the Giraffe Center; we did see many more giraffes (twigga in Swahili) in the wild later in our trip.

a blessing?

Here's a funny story from our time in the town of Machakos. We walked from the ABC guest house into town to find phones (with no luck, although there were a couple of places to go online) and to look around. Some of us were tempted to take a three wheeled taxi just for the experience; I got a kick out of the bike taxis - for 20 Kenyan Shillings (ksh) you could ride on the back of a bike on the little rectangle cushion. We saw many people taking advantage of this mode of transportation - the ladies seemed quite at ease riding sideways in their skirts, even. Twenty ksh is about 3 Canadian cents.

The funny part comes in while we were waiting for the rest of the group before we made our way back. There were about five of us waiting, and we were approached by an elderly lady. She spoke no English, but showed us a letter from the government authorizing her to raise funds in public (legit begging) for the care of her three children, who all had disabilities. A couple of us had some cash on hand that we gave her, and she was grateful and cheerful and talking our ears off (not in English!) and then started spitting down her shirt! Beth explained to us that the older generation spits to give a blessing; knowing this we could do nothing but laugh as she shook each of our hands and spit on them, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

brave coward

A story from our last full day on the ranch: The owners of the ranch have a pet cheetah. We drove out to see her, and about half of us took the offer to go right in her pen. She had just finished eating (actually the keeper took away her meat so she'd 'play' with us!) She came right up to me and I got to pet her - so amazing! She mostly avoided the people (I think she was a little ticked at losing her supper) but some of the others got to pet her through the fence. So that's where the bravery comes in, although I don't think it took much bravery - I really wanted to play with her! The coward part comes in when we got back to the camp and I screamed and jumped out of the washroom because there was a gecko in our shower. Yeah. I showered in the morning instead. Ick.

Today was the first day back into routine - I meant to go into work, but Madeline was sick this morning and stayed home sleeping on the couch. So I got stuff done here and did some baking and some work from here - I guess part of routine is dealing with whatever comes up each day. The hardest thing I had to do today was plan the week's menu. The last 5 weeks have been full of Kenyan food that I didn't really enjoy and restaurant food - I thought I'd be happy to get back to making my own meals...

Now my mind is trying to figure out how to tell my stories and show my pictures. I don't have time to do a big elaborate scrapbook, but I should at least get some pictures printed off so I have a few to show when people ask. If you're on facebook, I do have one album up, of the Canadian Adventures of the giraffe I brought home. I'll make an album of Kenyan pictures there, too. I think I'll be able to put a link on here to that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm writing this one from my own computer in my own home.

Feels strange. I am so happy to be with my family, but it is hard to know that I won't see my new friends tomorrow and the next day and the next. We've been together day in and day out for so long now... didn't realize I'd get quite so attached. Hopefully the promises to keep in touch will be kept.

This morning we did our presentation for the CBM chapel, and I think we did a pretty good job of painting a picture of our experience through the stories we chose to tell.

Sean took the day off work tomorrow and we're letting Madeline stay home from school so we can have some time as a family before she heads off to Brownie camp this weekend. She had a great time in Winnipeg both with family and making new friends, and she is looking forward to seeing her friends here, but family comes first. It will be a good day.

The time in Toronto at the end wasn't as hard as we thought - being in Canada but not home yet was tough, but we kept busy with debriefing and preparing our presentation, and with being tourists and having fun together. We went to Niagra Falls the first afternoon when it was important to stay up and fight the jet lag, and had way more fun than we expected. Three of our friends had never been there, and we went on the Maid of the Mist boat - the one that goes right up to the falls and gets you drenched... good times. We also got in a little shopping - Leona took me to the shops we don't have here and played my personal shopper. Lots of laughs there, too.

More later...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

back in Canada

The guest houses and towns we've been in for the last couple of weeks have not had computers and internet available, or phones, or even much hot water... While I wish I could have kept you all more up to date, the freedom to visit and play games together in our free time was a better use of it than taking turns using a computer.

Now we are back where we started, in Toronto (and here I am on the computer...) We left Kenya at midnight on Monday, arrived in London (a two hour time change) in the morning, went straight through to our connector and arrived in Toronto at 11:30 am (a 5 hour time change). So it's 10 PM here now, and I'm feeling like it's time to go to bed - our bodies have wanted sleep for a while now, but we spent the afternoon going to Niagra Falls to try to re-acclimatize ourselves to the time.

I will get back on here when I can and fill in what we did over these last few weeks, and once I'm home again I'll add pictures, too. For now I'm going to collect my laundry and hit the sack... I am looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Friday, May 30, 2008

black and white

some things are black and white.
like zebras.
i saw 3 today, at the side of the road as we drove by.
we drove a fair ways today, so i was hoping i might see some today.
so cool.

some things are not black and white.
like the conflict here in kenya.
we visited a church in the rift valley that was used as an idp (internally displaced people) camp.
we heard stories from the ones involved in making that work, and later had a good talk with our group about what the post election violence was all about and how it affected them.
i won't begin to get into it all here, but it was a good day of learning and understanding.

one thing that struck me was that in the town we were in, there are 40 denominations, and the pastors of them all meet together.
when the first wave of people came needing somewhere to stay, they came to the aim (africa inland mission) church because it has been used for that purpose twice already in different conflicts.
the pastor there called the other pastors, they met together, and planned what they could do for the people.
how is that for unity and being the way the body of Christ is supposed to be?
that impressed me.