Thursday, July 19, 2007

Africa Part 1

So, it has been a week since I've been back and I haven't really told anyone much of anything. When it comes down to it, I realize that I am almost scared of telling people anything that happened while I was in Kenya. I get scared because I know I can't even begin to portray it all to you. I am not able to explain to you exactly what Africa is like. You would have to be there. I can't tell you how beautiful Africa and its people are. I can't tell you what it feels like to eat your lunch while you know that kids in the next room are hungry. I can't tell you what it smells like in a mud church filled with 250 Africans. But I am going to try, because it is my responsibility to tell you. From this, I hope that someone may be inspired to step out in His calling and make a difference for Him. I don't know how long it wil take to get all of this posted, but I will do it until I have attempted to tell it all.
So, we left town on Wednesday the 27th. Me and my gang of cohorts (check out the sugar cane gang in my pics) were extremely excited. Outfitted in long shorts, comfy t-shirts, and bandannas, we were ready for the three days of travel necessary to get to the Kenya. We were so excited, even DIA was exciting. Whoa, check out the cool escalator things that are flat on the floor. I dunno what they were called. This early on in the trip, even they and the bright yellow tags we had to fill out to put on our luggage was exciting. :)
So, we took off on the flight from London to Denver. As I was too young to remember my last plane trip, I was pretty stoked. I was amazed at the fact that I could listen to music or watch movies. And food...Hmm, not too shabby. Believe my, by the time I got on my fifth plane at the end of the trip, I was not amused in the least bit. Anyway, we got to London in the middle of their day and in the middle of my night. I was awake enough to go explore London. Sure, London is exciting, but it paled in the anticipation of getting to Africa in a matter of hours. So, Big Ben, Thames River, changing of the guard, Houses of Parliament, yadda yadda, get me to Africa. :)
Next flight was from London to Nairobi. By the end of this, I haven't slept in about 36 hours, not to mention showers. This gives credibility to the whole stinky American thing. As we are landing, I strain to see my first glimpse of Africa. Most people realize that airport runways and buildings are very boring and ugly. I didn't think so. I was in freaking Africa and anything was amazing me. I saw the cool trees that are flat at the top. Acacia I later learned. Something I had worked towards for so long and dreamed about for years was actually happening. Now get me off the freaking plane and let me breathe it...
We got off the plane and had to get our luggage. After about an hour of filling out paperwork for visas and picking up our thousands of trunks filled with our belongings and clothes for the kids, we went outside. It instantly felt different. We were all in short and t-shirts and everyone was in jackets and pants. They told us it was winter. It didn't feel like it. We practically had to chain our bags to our wrists, because Nairobi is such a dangerous place. It is a common occurence for things to be stolen.
Then our drive to Webuye, Kenya. My first experience with African "buses" and "roads". They are really roads. They're giant potholes and invisible speedbumps with road interspersed between. We were driving on this road for about 8 hours. Amazing the vehicles do this on a daily basis. I took so many pictures at this point. I look at them later and they all stink because they are out the window of a bumpy vehicle, but I had to record it all. After about 4 hours of taking it all in, I fell asleep. I didn't want to, but couldn't quite help it. I woke up when the whole car of Americans started exclaiming about baboons on the side of the road. That became a common occurence, but it was amusing. A few minutes passed, and we started seeing herds of zebra.
After a while, the inevitable occured. The infamous roadtrip bathroom break. I would soon learn that there would be many more to come. Some better than others. In all the time we were there, we came across one place with toilet paper. Our most common phrase soon (I'm sure one that made us closer as friends) became "Who has toilet paper?".
After what seemed like a bazillion hours of travelling, we finally arrived in Webuye at the orphanage I have been waiting months to see. All the kids came running out saying things in Swahili. Right away, I saw my kid Osiemo. I have had a picture of him hanging on my wall for about 4 or 5 months, and something just totally happened over the time I had been praying for him. I am not the crying type and rarely admit it, but I almost started crying when I saw him.
We took all our bags in with the help of the Africans. The orphanage was an old hotel which is being renovated into one of the best buildings in all of Webuye. This hotel was formerly responsible for much of the spread of HIV and AIDS. This is the reason many of the kids are orphans, so it is amazing how God was able to turn a place of sin into something that brings him glory.
We had beds which was amazing. Many don't. It is different than any bed most have ever slept in though. The mattresses are tiny sheets of foam with no pillows. It was lucky we Colorado kids felt warm, because many of the blankets have been used by kids and peed on. We all felt very thankful right away. These types of qualms quickly wore off though as the African adventure continued.
Right away, we got out some paper and crayons to hang out with the kids. They colored for two straight hours. With no toys to entertain them, this was like heaven. The kids at this age are unable to speak English. They do not learn it until later on in school. Luckily, the understood what we were saying when we asked their names. They all replied in the same way with the same accent. "My name is...". After about 24 kids answering, I couldn't remember many. It took most of the two weeks to get them all down.
Finally we had to let the kids go because they had to eat. We took our first sink showers and fell asleep right away.
More later...


Saturday, July 14, 2007

I posted some pictures of Africa on my MySpace. Check them out if you would like! :)