Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Karibuni Kenya!



A few Masai men at the Nairobi National Game Park
  Got back from Kenya yesterday – the longest trip away from the hubster and it was so difficult! I had been to Zambia for five days before, without communication and THAT was something else, though he wasn't the hubby yet... Amazing how out-of-sync you are when you are not around loved ones or, just not at home. Peace for your soul really is at home.
T’was quite an experience – nine days in Kenya, where I had never been before - neither my two colleagues.
Throughout our trip, our Kenyan friend sang ‘I am safe… in the shadow of Your wings…’ and that’s our testimony. Every fear we had regarding potentially dangerous ventures during the trip was washed away by the truth that I am always safe in the shadow of Jesus’ wings.
When we first arrived we were taken to Nakuru – the fourth largest town of Kenya. There we spent five nights working on stories in the Displaced People’s Camp. These people have been displaced for over two years now and they’re waiting on the government to allocate land to them. Most of them have no source of income while some breed chicken for eggs and food, and a half-decent income. Others make (from paper!) and sell jewellery, sell coal, make clothes… anything!




Jewellery made by ladies in the camp
 
It was boiling while shooting! The first day out shooting I felt close to collapsing – thought I’d smack on the sunscreen and wear a vest the next day but that resulted in a multi-coloured back!
Each day we’d drive about thirty kilometers into the camp to return to our hotel late afternoon. The hotel was noisy at night, people up and down the streets, but under my mosquito net I was safe.
The food at the hotel was decent. In fact, the first night it was great, but the service deterred thereafter. Food in the town was worse though, we found one place I liked – where I had to pay in dollars because I had run out of Kenyan Shillings! ;-) The Shilling is weird to handle, R100 roughly equals KSh1000 so our minds had to be tuned a little.

On day four we visited another area, Ewaso Kedong – about four hours drive from Nakuru because the roads are so bad. There we met the Masai community. This experience was great! We’re always amazed by their stretched earlobes and the fact that they jump really high but they are more elegant than you’d imagine. They served us lunch: pap, beef and morogo. The latter was a first for me, and I admit – a last, it really wasn’t my thing. Our host brought around a dish and soap and poured clean water on our dusty hands in preparation for our meal. They let us, their guests, eat first. When we had our fill, they ate. Elegant.





The Masai we met at Ewaso
  
They really are not rich, some own cattle – to sell in the market and live off the income, and others own just two goats. Their houses are small and dark, their ‘windows’ are little holes in the wall, big enough to peep through but small enough to keep the cold out. Oddly, a lion would come into their land and kill a sheep. Beyond the hurdles, they’re satisfied. The Masai, at least those we met, have a remarkable appreciation for life: they live day-to-day but without worry. They get up in the morning, put on their best, jewellery included, and face the world smiling – and jumping! We could learn from that.
On day five we journeyed to Nairobi, where our trip would conclude. We headed to our hotel, in the city’s centre. I said Nakuru was busy – I hadn’t been to Nairobi yet! The hustle and bustle of the city never dies down – at night I would check if my windows really were closed because the noise streamed in!



View from hotel
 

On Saturday we had important interviews that could have turned dangerous but within a couple of hours, we were through! Then we spent some time on the streets of Nairobi, shops are always stocked and business apparently booming. We even came across Debonairs and Steers – I smiled… then I ate ;-)
We visited the ‘Masai market’ in the city, where you’ll find Kenya tokens to take home. My eyes feasted on all the colours!
On Sunday we went to church on the outskirts of Nairobi. It was a poor, broken area but church was amazing – it was there that I stopped missing home for a bit. Praise and worship reminded me of home, we tore the place down with praise!
Monday, aaah – our last day in Kenya. Of course, I was excited – soon I’d be home, but also because it’s Safari day! We spent the day at Nairobi Game Park – the only park within a city! It was awesome – picture a giraffe, with the backdrop of high-rise buildings, a unique jewel of Kenya.
Hardly fifteen minutes into the park, we came across three lions chasing a buck. They missed – but we scored! We followed them for some distance, modeling along the road – beautiful! Giraffe, zebra, buffalo, rhino, etc. etc. etc. and three more hunting lions! What a day…



Second group of lions hunting
 
But what a TRIP! Some places shiny, some places broken and forgotten but a place to see for yourself. I had always said I’d like to travel Africa, and so the journey begins.
But now, my soul has peace – at home.