Friday, August 16, 2013

Kenya Journal, Last Days, Animals

Appreciation is due to the many friends and well wishers who told me to have fun on this trip. I love you and I'm grateful for your kind thoughts, but fun was not my purpose. As I mentioned in my first journal entry, I felt that I was going on a spiritual journey. My prayer was for Him to show me what he wanted me to see and teach me what he wanted me to learn. Well, I would say that surely happened beyond my expectations!

The Bible school lessons are done, the school and church visits have concluded, food and many other items have been left behind in donations. There is still much needed in the world and it is up to every one of us to follow whatever we are called to do to make it better.











  Spending a full day from morning til mid afternoon at Sweetwaters Game Park was great fun! It's a 90,000 acre reserve for some of the remaining wild animals of Africa to live in their natural habitat. The top of the vans we had travelled in to remote areas all week now popped their tops up for us to stand for great close up views! We saw all kinds of gazelles, antelope, √©lan, water buffalo, elephants, cheetahs, lions, dik dik, wart hogs, chimpanzees, a rhino and lots of zebras! Oh my! One of the lions was a young male just starting to grow his beard and mane; he came right up to the back of our van and boldly, proudly walked past. The other two lions were female and we saw them slowly approach a herd of zebras, antelope and gazelles. The herd immediately went on high alert and established a large antelope guard at one side and a zebra on the other end of their grazing area, amazing to watch! After scouting all the wild life, we had the best meal of the whole trip, an African/Western buffet with French desserts served in their tented restaurant and they had western bathrooms! What a treat!

Driving back to Nairobi in intermittent showers, we came upon a long line of traffic stopped on a two lane road. Someone up ahead had some sort of accident and no one was moving. Sammy , our faithful driver, knew the urgency of the time schedule for our evening meal and then airport departure. He was not about to fail on his duties so he decided to detour on a side road to move ahead of the wreck. Ahead of us on this same dirt/ mud road detour was a bread delivery truck. The truck did not make it up a very steep hill & was backing up when Sammy chose to make a pass around it. We were just past the truck when a back wheel slid off the road and into the ditch, smoking the brakes as he tried to drive out of the hole. Despite his best efforts, we became embedded deeper in mud. A lot of people along this route showed up to offer advice and assistance and Sammy told all the men to get out and help and the 3 women to stay in the van. They brought on rocks and branches to pack the mud under the wheel and physically rocked and pushed the vehicle back into position. You've heard, it takes a village! Since Sammy had jumped back in to drive while the man were pushing he had to keep gunning past the crest of the hill to be sure not to slip backwards; our men had a ways to walk to catch up to us. Always an adventure here! We were on time for our dinner reservation and our flight thanks to Sammy, the villagers and God's providence.

We're now on the last leg of our journey home, (day 12) flying on British Air from London to Dfw. The flight monitor on the seat shows us to be just entering the skies over Newfoundland, Canada. Almost home...

People may assume that those in extreme poverty have nothing to give. Everything I saw in this journey testifies against that notion. We gave time, financial support, food, supplies and listening ears. They gave love, gratitude and blessing upon blessing til it overflowed. What do you think was the best part?

Matthew 5:3-12 The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kenya Journal, Day 10, Masai villages

Day 10, Masai

 Driving up over a bumpy ridge, we saw people in the distance brightly clothed huddled under a tree. This was a group of locals from the Masai tribe gathered to greet us and this was their church, the tree. Our entourage was 2 vans of the mission team, a pickup carrying the bishop and others from her office loaded with donations and a motorcycle ridden by 3 evangelists. Along the way we saw families of elephants, baboons and a giraffe, wild kingdom roadside! Also, en route the motorcycle blew a tire so they piled it on top of the 200# bags of maize and beans and the giant p/a system in the bed of the truck. The 3 men climbed in the back and held on for dear life. Travel continued Kenya style!

When we got closer the singing became audible and upon stepping out of the van, the women clasped our hands and dance-walked us to our seats ( benches made out of split logs) under the tree. Not much shade was provided by the branches and we basked in the sun's equatorial brilliance and in the congregation's warm welcome. The children always manage to squirm their way through the throng to touch us, the muzungas ( white people ).

Greetings, speeches, prayers, introductions and gift presentations followed. The Masai women are very talented in beadwork, wearing elaborate circular necklaces and ornate earrings and bracelets. They brought their handiwork to display on cloth on the ground so we then visited individually and some of us shopped. I preferred to buy items like this where the money goes directly to the families of the creators and you know they need the income.



Intrigued with the babies, I spent some time chatting with a girl named Joyce and her little brother, Bada. It's amazing how the women carry so much on their backs, shoulders, heads. Bishop Catherine taught me how to tie up a women's bundle on my back with a scarf so I'm going to try it with Keller and Sadie. Keller has grown so much, so that one might be a challenge!

Our next stop was another Masai village that had built an enclosed structure for their church consisting of wooden poles , dirt floor, metal roof and walls made of chicken wire. The room was filled with people singing and dancing their welcome greetings. Masai people have their own unique moves; I could follow with my hand claps and feet stomps but no way could I mimic their head bounces mixed with chin juts and occasional rhythmic jumps! A little girl snuggled in next to me here on the bench seating. While ceremonies were going on inside I noticed a tribesman standing outside watching, adorned in his native menswear of skirt, shawl, wooden club and stick or spear. When all the talk concluded I went outside to speak to him, surprised that he conversed so eloquently in English! His name is Samuel and he finished schooling through form 4(senior year of high school). Distressed that he could not find employment he asked for our prayers that he would find a good job and be able to better provide for his family. Currently he is living on his family's land and helping with herding the livestock. (The Masai region is too dry and rocky/arid, like some parts of west Texas, to successfully grow crops so they subsist on raising cattle, goats and sheep). This day he had left the herd to others to come and volunteer as watchman at the church gathering. In this area they have had trouble with bands of elephants tearing up their buildings so he was standing guard for us. Before leaving Samuel brought his 2 young sons out of the crowd to meet me, Baron & Professor. Hopeful names, don't you think?


 Last stop on our schedule was in Dol Dol, a Masai village whose church group used half of a tattered meeting hall. The church in the town of Nyanuki had "adopted" these villages as their own mission territory to support. Today they were donating their old sound system to the Dol Dol mission. The reason was that on Sundays, the other half of the hall was used by a different church group who had a speaker system and it made it difficult for them to hear their own worship service. Ok, can you imagine the battle of the microphones that will be going on in that village next weekend? The rooms are about half the size of a typical US school classroom and their walls are paper thin. Our church also left them maize and beans.

Asking us to stay longer than scheduled for a "brief" meeting, their church chairman presented to us a formal document proposing all the goals that their little congregation wanted to accomplish. His presentation was fervent, researched, detailed and compelling as they had hopes to set up a preschool program for the youngest children, a regional medical clinic to address widespread health issues and a skills training program for teenage girls. He was very concerned about the genital mutilation that was an ancient practice still going on in his community, the girls being turned out of their homes where families could no longer afford to feed and care for them and the increasing amount of prostitution among these girls who found business from the military base in proximity. The problems are so big, but God does have a way of accomplishing miracles through his people!
I wonder what will happen here?

After this full day we drove through rain on slick mud roads back to Nyanuki to check into our last hotel for a one night stay. It was late and we were tired and frustrated that some of our group had to change rooms 3 times before they found ones with working toilets. A minor detail considering all we had seen today. Eventually all was resolved as we loved the hot showers and the deep sleep.

Matthew 22:39 Thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself.