Today I visited Mattaw for the first time since all the girls left. I have taken a break from things and had not made it out there in awhile. It’s not like I just jump in my car and drive out there. One, its about 15 minutes by car, and two, I don’t have a car. Today I took public transportation with Georgina, my Kenyan friend. I met Georgina last year when she was staying in the guest house at Bud and Kim’s. We were roomies for a couple of months while she was doing her attachment, it is what they call an internship, or equivalent to student teaching. She is going to university in Nairobi to become a social worker and will return next year to be on staff full time! While she is on break from school she stays in Kitale. So, we loaded up and headed out to Mattaw. Here is how public transportation works in Kenya:
First, I call my piki-piki driver about 5-10 minutes before I want to leave my house. I have 3 different drivers I use, depending on how fast I want to reach my destination or how busy the first one I call is. Our piki (motorbike) arrives and I tell him I am going to Transmatt (grocery store). I decided that since I had been away I would lavish my love on the children with soda and biscuits (cookies). After I purchased my goodies we walked through town to the matatu stage. You have to know what a matatu is if you plan on using transportation in Kenya. A matatu is a small van that Kenyans squeeze as many humans, chickens, jugs of milk, groceries, etc. into as they can. We have counted up to 30 people in a matatu before. We pick our van and hold on. I was the last one in the van and was squished between a giant Kenyan man and a creaky old door. I thought for sure if I leaned on that door it would fly open and I would fall into the road. Luckily, that didn’t happen and we made it to our drop-off point and began walking. Mattaw is about a mile off the main road. Georgina and I carried those heavy bags of happiness all the way! Of course I got the usual greeting while walking, “Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you? How are you?” We made it to the gate and I was very happy to see the children and staff. We stayed a couple hours and watched the kids run off the sugar by racing around the soccer field and running relays. I had to leave so that I could finish up shopping for dinner and I could get home and start baking. Georgina and I hit the road walking again, this time sans Fanta and cookies. We reached the main road and watched a HUGE, loaded down bus drive by. Georgina told me that it was going to Lodwar. Lodwar is right near the largest refugee camp in the world. If you are familiar with the horrific famine that is going on in Northern Kenya and Somalia, that is where the refugees are going. Anyway, we stood by the road waiting for a matatu to pass by and pick us up. We waited for a few minutes and I mentioned that we should just get a piki. Just as I said that I man drove up on his motorbike and asked if we wanted a ride. In my limited swahili I asked him how much. He gave us the correct price and I looked at Georgina and asked if she was up for it. The reason I say that he quoted me the correct price is because many times a Kenyan will see a white person and immediately hike the price up double to triple what he would give an African. We hopped on and went cruising in the open African air. About half way we stopped to fill up. There was no gas station, only a mud hut with a wooden floor. An older woman filled a measuring cup with fuel and using her funnel put 1 liter of gas in the bike, all while we are still sitting on it! So we continued our journey back to town. I completed my shopping and at the last stop it began to sprinkle, however, within seconds it was full blown raining. We sat in the restaurant and had a little snack while we waited on the rain to stop. I called Aly to tell her we would be home soon and she said it was still sunny at the house. We waited it out for few minutes and decided the rain had slowed enough to ride a piki home. Georgina and I hopped on ANOTHER piki and as soon as we got home the sky opened and drenched our neighborhood. I was very glad I packed a jacket, but felt bad for our driver who was going back into town.
You may be asking why I called this post ‘Riding Oreo’. It is because when I ride a piki between two Kenyans, I look like the cream between the cookies. So this was my day, riding Oreo.
Today was laundry day for me. I get my laundry done about once a week. We have a sweet young woman, Caroline, that does our laundry. She fills up 3 large plastic tubs with water and laundry soap and does it all by hand. I know this is tough work! Caroline can do all my laundry in a couple of hours. She is so fast because she has been doing it for so long. Now occasionally our clothes come back strange and unusual colors. We have learned to hide the bleach. After scrubbing, soaking, and finally rinsing our clothes Caroline hangs our things on the clothes line our day guard built. Usually your clothes will dry by the end of the day. Right now it is rainy season. This means we have to watch for rain and when necessary run outside and get things off the line before the sky dumps all over our clothes. Personally I don’t like the smell of clothes dried outside. They sometimes smell like dirty dogs and get crunchy. I made sure to bring lavender and vanilla dryer sheets with me this year. I rub them all over my sheets once my bed is made. It makes me feel at home. I am blessed to have clean things, and blessed to be able to give someone a job. However, I love modern technology. I miss pulling my warm sheets out of the dryer, or wrapping up in a warm towel. I love being able to wear my favorite jeans until they are so stretched they sag and then when they are clean you have to bend and stretch just to get them to feel right. I love clean clothes. I still don’t like putting them away.
You may think it strange that we pay someone to wash our clothes by hand. By employing Caroline we are making a huge difference in her life. Caroline lives in Shimo slums, just a neighborhood over from us. What we pay her for 3 half days of work would cause you to gasp. It is very little. By employing her we are able to help her provide for her family and son. It is people like Caroline that I get to bless with what I have been given. If you have blessed me, you bless Caroline.
Also, the photo above was, um, borrowed from another website.
My birthday is near. In just over a month I will enter my 30’s. I am currently planning a trip to the Indian Ocean with my roommate, and possible others. I am so excited to spend my birthday at a place I love so much. My dream birthday gift? A MacBook Pro. I recently read reviews of laptops and this one had amazing things said about it. Everything I need it for, it does brilliantly. You may have noticed the lack of photos on this here blog. This is because my current computer is ancient and outdated. It allows me to type, email, blog, and is a good DVD player. The problem is I can’t Skype, post photos, or download video, or download music from itunes. The other day I tried to post pictures from the past few months and my computer wouldn’t let me. So, I have made my birthday wish. A new computer.
If you are wondering how I got this picture of the MacBook on here… it was a long hard process of copying pictures from other websites.
Well, it’s official. Summer is over. For many of you reading in America that means Back to School. For me, it means back to bed. Kidding, except since Thursday I have been enjoying catching up on much needed sleep. It was a unbelievable summer. It was the first of many amazing Lima Schools. We had such excellent young women come through our home and made connections through teams that will grow into future Lima girls. On the Mattaw property there is a new house, House 5, and a new church building!!! I can’t wait to see them finished. Especially the church building. We have been meeting in the big school building and it’s getting kind of crowded on Sundays. Kimberly and I also have a wedding to plan. Not mine. Just needed to clarify. It will be the first wedding in the brand new church and we are very excited to make cake, buy a dress for the bride, and celebrate. Wednesday was the official last day of Summer. It began with Aly, Alicia, and me getting up around 5 am and waiting for our car to arrive. I was driving us to Eldoret. This was going to be the farthest driving I had done since being in Kenya. I wasn’t nervous, but I was hoping to get Alicia to the airport on time. Evidently the one thing they do on time here is taking off from the airstrip. So, we loaded up the car and hit the gas station. Here it’s called the petrol station, just a little side note. Since it was still kinda dark I left the lights on while we filled up with gas. When I went to start the car back up, the battery was dead. Great! Alicia and Aly headed into town to hit up the ATM and I waited for the owner of the car. He showed up and asked if I knew of anyone that could jump us off. Really? No. To top it off, the station didn’t have jumper cables. For real? What gas/service station in America doesn’t have jumper cables? TIA (This Is Africa). I ask the owner if he had a friend in town that could come and help so he took off to find someone. When he finally showed up the guy pulled out 2 wires. One red, one black. Neither of the wires had those clamp-thingys on them. They were just plain ol’ naked wires. The two men held the wires onto the batteries and then the guy looks up at me and says, can you start it? Um, NO!! I am not going to be responsible for two men’s deaths! Another of the owner’s friends just happened to arrive and quickly volunteered to start the car. Better him than me. The car started right up. No one died. Whew! We were on our bumpy way. When we arrived in Eldoret we were looking for the turn off to the airport. After a few (15) minutes we were on the right road and Alicia made it just in time. Again, whew! When we made it back into town Aly quickly got her Visa renewed and we hit up Nakumatt. Nakumatt is the best Kenyan grocery store, EVER. We love it. A lot. It is where we can get good imported food and household items (and 2 liter Diet Coke). When someone spots something you usually make sure all your friends know about it and how much it cost because you are not guaranteed to see it again in the near future. For example, we found Betty Crocker cake mixes and canned icing for less than $3 each. Have I mentioned I am on my beach diet and not allowed to eat cake? Want I really want is my Meme’s chocolate pie. Yumm-o! Chic-fil-a would be amazing right now. Oh, did I get off topic? So, Aly and I did some shopping and hit the road. We were actually home by 1 pm. This is an amazing fete. The roads used to be so bad it would take you over 2 hours to get from Eldoret to Kitale. Now it is about an hour. I was home, and didn’t have a schedule. I was like a 3rd grader on the first day of summer break! I had a huge burst of energy and a weird desire to deep clean my house! Well, the house isn’t cleaned. However, I have gotten over 10 hours of sleep every night since! I am slowly making up for all the late nights and early mornings. Now I am preparing for Lima School 2012! This sounds crazy to me, but I am so blessed to do what I do. What a summer!
I like to shop. I am not shy about it. I like clothes. I am a missionary. Who says missionaries only have to wear denim skirts to their ankles, hair braided or in a bun (or both), and wear socks with their sandals? Occasionally we will venture out into the wild frontier that is the clothes market. I wanted to share with you some of the great deals we got.
J.Crew sweater – $2.75
Banana Republic top – $6
Old Navy cardigan – $2
Pashmina Scarf – $2
This week has been a crazy one. Since Friday I have said goodbye to 5 beautiful young women. 2 were here for Lima School, and 3 were living with us as they were here serving with Buckner Children’s Home.
I never would have thought I could live in a house with 10-11 girls! I truly believe that in any other circumstances I wouldn’t have. These girls have been the most amazing ever. I also need to include Rachel who was here in June and helped Aly and me move in and get our house ready. Every single one of these girls have come with open and willing hearts to let Jesus mold them into courageous lovers. We have had many good meals together, laughed so hard I think I actually peed myself a little (did I really just admit that?), and had powerful and encouraging conversation. Jesus rocks my socks off. Period.
Last week all the Lima girls, Aly, Kim, and I went on safari to Nakuru National Park. We started our journey by picking up Mary from the small, cottage hospital she had been staying at. We then hit the road to take her an amazing new medical facility, Living Room, about an hour away. This place is so peaceful and such an answer to prayers. We got Mary checked in and immediately had peace about leaving her. 3 hours later we were checked into our hotel and headed for the restaurant. We arrived a little early and immediately got an intense card game going. We proceeded to play Nertz until our food arrived and picked up our game shortly after the food was gone. We played cards for over 3 hours! The next morning came very quick and we were up before the sun and headed out by sunrise. Usually I am not a morning person, however the sunrise was gorgeous! Unfortunately, I am the world’s worst camera person. I forgot my camera at my house, and came only with my iphone. Who actually goes on safari and leaves their camera? It turns out, I do. The whole morning we were asking our driver to see lions. He told us he could not promise, but it was a 50/50 chance. About an hour an a half in, he spotted lion tracks and started asking other drivers if they were spotting them. A short while later he turned the van around and starting driving out of the park. We trusted him, and quickly asked where he was taking us. We knew he knew something we didn’t. We were technically still in the park and turned down a road where we passed another vehicle. We had finally made it to the lions. They were just around the corner and had just made a fresh kill. If only we had gotten there minutes sooner we could have seen it. We sat there the longest just waiting for the lioness’ to entertain us. We passed around the binoculars and watched as 100 yards away, with only grass separating us from them, the cats had lunch. It was awesome! By this time we had been swarmed by monkeys, seen cape buffalo, tons of the most amazing birds, zebra, warthogs (Pumba has we called them), gazelle, and white rhino. The only other thing we wanted to see were giraffe. We had about 45 minutes left and our driver wasn’t sure if he could make it. He was so gracious to us and trucked it to the back of the park. The whole way to the giraffe was a blur. I was in and out of sleep and the whole van was quiet. We were so tired. As soon as we saw the giraffe we told the driver thanks and he headed towards the front of the park. With no exaggeration, before the van was turned around we were all asleep! I had a blast.
We had lunch then Keela, Anna, and myself headed to Nairobi for shopping. The girls were flying out that night. This was just the beginning of the goodbyes. Tuesday morning we said good bye to Kasey, Kendall, and Laura, and Friday we say goodbye to Tiara. It is so hard to say bye, but it has been an eventful summer. When I got back home and we were talking about safari, we realized what an eventful trip it was. There really isn’t enough space or time to tell it all. You are probably tired of reading already. Thanks for sticking it out.