Monthly Archives: January 2011

Kenya 1

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My Christmas trip to Kenya was an amazing time and true blessing! It was so good to rest, relax, and have a family for a week!

Tuesday the 21st

We left about 6:30 or 7am from Kampala with our destination to be Nakuru, Kenya by nighttime. We left with excitement, but with sleepy eyes as well. I think almost all of us did some napping that first day (and most traveling days thereafter!). I set off that day with excitement and some trepidation as well! I was going camping in Africa…and had not been camping at all! Things started off well, though. Our van filled with 7 people including our driver. Our family included Terri (our registrar at school and our mom while in Uganda), Donna (math teacher and my roomie), Karli (PE teacher), Jessie (Art teacher), and Nathanael (Social Studies teacher), and myself (Grade 5 teacher). The combination of all our personalities is simply comical to start with and made for lots of fun times.

We made it to the campsite late that night, which was really really nice! My first night camping was fine other than having to walk a distance to the bathroom! Kenya is soo much colder than Uganda (at least in the Nakuru area). I loved the cool mountain air and farmland! I saw herds of donkeys and lots of carrots being sold on the sides of the roads!

Wednesday the 22nd

We left the Kembu Camp early in the morning so we could make it to Mombasa by nightfall, which we ended up doing, quite literally! One of my first exciting points of the trip was the lookout point! We were 8,000 feet up! It was beautiful, but the outhouse squatty potty was not! Let’s just say, I got a bit damp! Haha! But before all that, I slipped while handing my purse to Jessie and twisted my ankle and then got dizzy getting up due to the high elevation! So damp pants and twisted ankle were some the first things I remember about our trip!

It was nightfall or past by the time we reached our rented house! The scenery this day was amazing though! I finally got to see the amazing African savannah that was portrayed on “The Lion King”! As we drove down the road to Mombasa, we were able to see a couple camels that were in one town for tourists to ride on and a zebra! The zebra was so funny and fat! He actually just stood there and was showing off for us for a while!

Thursday the 23rd

Our big adventure truly began this day! We finally headed to the beach in Mombasa! Our driver first took us to a local beach, which we soon left and headed for another nearby beach. We spent the day exploring a beautiful beach that was mostly empty of people due to houses being built on the beach instead of hotels. We stayed nearby at Nyali beach. Let’s just say the beach looked like something out “Pirates of the Caribbean” with the rocky cliffs and wide white sand beach! One of the first things that Karli and I got to do was a ride a camel! It was really cool! It felt like riding a horse only taller and the start and ending is bit scarier because camels actually kneel down. I see now why the Apostle James was called “camel knees” because he had calluses on his knees from praying. Camels have very knobby callused knees! Later on during our journey down the beach, we stopped and saw some fish that local fishermen had caught! We saw a Puffer Fish, a Stone Fish, a starfish, and sea urchins among other things! It was so cool seeing such exotic fish!

About 2 or 3 o’clock we finally went in to get food at this funny little resort (more motel-like)! The staff actually had to go out and buy food to cook for our lunch! So that being said, it took a long time to get our lunch! While we were waiting, I chatted with our drive, Abdul, who compared Uganda and Kenya for me. He told me that Kenya has lots of money in comparison to Uganda. I think he was right. The grocery store “Nakumatt” in Mombasa had all kinds of things that we don’t usually see in Kampala. Before our lunch was finally ready, I went out to visit the rest of the gang at the pool. They were chatting with a somewhat nutty British lady, who had married a Maasi chief. She told about the horrible custom of female circumcision that the Maasi practice and apparently told the rest of the gang all kinds of interesting things. Let’s just say she was a true character!

After lunch, we learned our adventure was not yet over! We went back down to the beach to retrace our steps, but learned we could not! The tide was up to the rocky cliff and we couldn’t get back! We ended up walking through a construction site and then a young man lead us back to a main road. It felt like we were walking through a jungle on the way! We even saw monkeys! We finally made it an intersection and waited at a bus stop of sorts for our driver to go and get the van! We then drove back to our house and cleaned up for dinner.

We went to a great Italian restaurant for dinner that was about 5 minutes drive from our house. It even had a funny Christmas snow painting up! I order some amazing ricotta and spinach ravioli along with a passion fruit juice and couldn’t have been happier with my dinner! Our adventure got even more exciting on Christmas Eve! We drove down to a ferry boat and went down to the touristy hotel beaches!

To Be Continued

 

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You Can Have Me

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There’s a song by Sidewalk Prophets that inspired my time here in Africa. It’s called, “You Can Have Me”. The words are:

“If I saw you on the street, And you said come and follow me, But I had to give up everything, All I once held dear and all of my dreams, Would I love you enough to let go? Or would my love run dry when you asked for my life? When did love become unmoving? When did love become unconsuming? Forgetting what the world has told me, Father of love you can have me, If, you’re all you claim to be, I’m not losing anything, So I will crawl upon my knees just to know the joy of suffering, I will love you enough to let go, Lord, I give you my life, I give you my life, When did love become unconsuming? Forgetting what the world has told me, Father of love you can have me, You can have me, I wanna be where you are, I’m running into you arms, And I will never look back, So Jesus here is my heart, When did love become unconsuming? Forgetting what the world has told me, Father of love you can have me.”

These words hit my heart while I was off work due to snow last February and inspired me to apply to teach with NICS (Network of International Schools). I nearly took a job teaching in Nairobi, but God had different plans. As most you know, I’m here in Uganda teaching instead. This song has meant so much to me especially, “If you’re all you claim to be I’m not losing anything.” Those lines mean so much to me when I’m missing America and my family. To know that there are eternal ramifications to my time here is awesome. I hope that my students will also come to know Christ is they don’t and impact future generations. I want to take Christ at his word when he spoke about those who leave “home and families for him receiving a hundredfold and eternal life.”

Also, the lines, “If I saw you on the street and you said come and follow me,” came to life for me this past weekend. My co-worker Nathanael decided to hand out food and talk with people that live on the street or beg along the street near our church. I thought what a great idea and was excited about spending the morning with him as well as Karli and Jessie, two of my other co-workers. I couldn’t help but think of Keith Green’s song, “The Sheep and the Goats” and read that scripture before leaving that morning. I was excited at the thought of being a blessing to “the least of these.” We went off to share the sack lunches and Jesus. Nathanael and I ended up talking to a poor man that lived on the streets for a while. He has worked for a company for 17 years and then was laid off. His family lives further north, but he is waiting in Kampala for money from the government. He was catholic and knew God knows what is happening and seemed content. Content! How is it that someone like him can be content? God taught me something through him. It’s not what you have the makes you happy. It’s in blessing other that we are blessed. Shane Claiborne put it this way in “Irresistible Revolution,” “At first I went on mission trips to take the “good news” to poor people. Then I discovered that they were the ones who brought good news to me” (p. 18). It boggled my mind to think that this man taught me something when I went hoping to bless him! Also, I want to give say that Jessie was a true example of selflessness. She left for church with sandals and came home barefoot! She gave her shoes away to someone that needed them more than she did. Which made me ask myself, “Would I have done that?” I probably wouldn’t have. But thank God, Nathanael’s idea and the desire hang out with coworkers got me off my butt and into service. God took me out my own little world into his for just a little bit! As Matthew West puts it,

In my own little world it hardly ever rains

I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe

I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet

In my own little world

Population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church

I throw a twenty in the plate, but I never give ’til it hurts

I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see

Yeah, it’s easy to do when it’s

Population: me

What if there’s a bigger picture?

What if I’m missing out?

What if there’s a greater purpose

I could be living right now

Outside my own little world oooh

Well, I stopped at a red light, looked out my window

I saw a cardboard sign, said “Help this homeless widow”

Above that sign was the face of a human

and I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”

So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye

I thought how many times have I just passed her by?

So I gave her some money then I drove on through

And my own little world reached

Population: two
What if there’s a bigger picture?

What if I’m missing out?

What if there’s a greater purpose

I should be living right now

Outside my own little world yeah, yeah

My own little world oooh

Father break my heart for what breaks Yours

Give me open hands and open doors

and put Your Light in my eyes and let me see

That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture?

What if I’m missing out?

What if there’s a greater purpose

That I could be living right now

Well I don’t wanna miss what matters

I wanna be reaching out

showing the greater purpose

so I could be living right now

Outside my own little world oooh

My own little world yeah

My own little world oooh