Copy of the main blog post

(It's been awhile since Team Kenya has posted on the blog, but after determining that failed e-mail has been the cause, we're ready to catch up!)

If Etago is Jennifer's African home and Moi's Bridge is Kristen's, then Uganda is definitely mine. I've been the newbie the entire trip, not knowing what to expect, so I'm glad that everyone is at my level here.

We arrived at the border of Uganda and Kenya on Friday afternoon. Immediately, we could sense a difference in the temperature (hot), and see a difference in the terrain. While Kenya is green, Uganda brings it to a whole new level and is brimming with green.

For first school we visited, we arrived at 5 pm, by that point some of the children had needed to leave for the night, and we didn't know how many would even be there. For sure, I thought, there would only be 10 left. However, we were greeted with the beautiful singing of more than 50 people, clapping and smiling as we arrived. What an encouraging sight!

Saturday, we got a taste of a Ugandan church service. Lots of performances and songs and audience participation, definitely a different experience, but a welcome one none the less. We all are trying to soak up as much of the African experience that we can before we leave in less than a week.

Yesterday, after another church visit and a detour or two, we got to be real tourists for a couple hours and visit the source of the Nile River. Today we head back to Kenya for the last leg of our journey.

We have been incredibly blessed with good weather and good health the entire trip. It's clear that the hand of God has been at work for us these last few weeks!

It's gotten to the point where I've stopped keeping track of how many days in we are and started keeping track of how many days we have left: 5. 

Writing that number seems like a joke almost, how can we only have 5 days left? I write today, not knowing what the Internet access will be like once we travel to Uganda tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a new space, a new country, Matunda is getting a little old. 

Everything is starting to look more normal here. I would say the biggest change I've noticed in myself is patience, but it's still a work in progress. Patience with not being in control, patience with plans falling through, patience with just waiting. I've never been one for being in the moment, always anticipating something new. I can't see all the benefits that come from this trip, but hopefully learning to be in the moment will be one of them.

Today we take it easy, tomorrow we go crazy. 

Hannah, mother of Samuel

Been a couple days since my last post. I haven't written on the "official" blog yet, but I might eventually.

Also, it's Chipati...not Chobani. I think I might be missing American food a little more than I thought.

Happy Independence Day yesterday. It's one of my favorite holidays and I'm thankful for the pictures and videos I got. Oof, does that make me miss home a little bit more.

I feel like I'm really settling in this part of Kenya. I met our host family and they are exactly how everyone describes them--super nice and welcoming. Upon being introduced I was instantly named "Hannah, mother of Samuel" by the matriarch.

We had church at Emmaus in Moi's Bridge this morning. I went into the day thinking, "Hm, all we have is church today...what are we going to do the rest of the time? Little did I know that church was going to take four hours. It was the most fun I've had at church though. We witness a baptism, had communion, went to a wedding reception, and sang plenty of songs (which I loved, of course.)

I can't wait to go to the school tomorrow and see a new batch of children. Should be a good time!

Travelling to all the places, Eating all the things

Day 4-ish in Kenya and I'm getting the hang of this.

My appetite is back, and I'm pretty sure it's due to a medication who's side-effects are...loss of appetite. So thank you for all your thoughts, turned out to be no big deal! I've also been keeping pretty well hydrated, no surprise since I'm essentially a camel back home. Water is dirty from the tap, but they sell bottled water everywhere for a very reasonable price. At the home where we ate lunch, I was able to redeem myself a little bit and try some Chobani and Ugali. The ugali is a little weird, but I could eat the Chobani (essentially a puffed tortilla) for days. Good thing we won't be here too much longer!

If you are wondering about the other groups, all have checked in on the blog now. I have a few friends in the Zambia group and we've been a bit worried that no one has checked in until today. It will be interesting to swap stories when we return.

Today at the school I was in the zone. We didn't have any lessons to teach so it was playtime while Pastor met with the teachers. I think I taught at least 4 songs to the little ones and could have sang all day long (the children could have, too). I got to use my camp counselor skills to learn names and more about the kids. They got a kick out of me trying to learn Swahili and trying to sing along with their songs--but of course I had to sing!

Tomorrow we travel. We will be in Kitale for the next week. My understanding is that it's bigger that Kisii. We're going north so I'm excited to see how the terrain changes.

Just call me the Mzungu in the boot

Day 2-3 (depending how you look at it) in Kenya and I feel that we're really getting into the heart of Kenya. I realize that I prefer the villages to the city, maybe because the view is better, maybe its because it smells better, I'm not sure.

We taught for the first time today, seeing the kids in the school just made me feel so happy, like I do anytime I'm in a school, really. I figured out a couple spots I could work on in my lesson, but the kids seem to know their stuff pretty well already. It seemed like throughout our travels today we've seen so many people stop and point while saying "Mzungu" (translation: white person). We were given a ride to the school by the Pastor of the connected church, and I offered to ride in the trunk, so a native noticed that there was a "Mzungu in the boot."

We visited a village that makes a bunch of soapstone carvings and decorative plates. I think I managed to find 90% of my souvenirs for my family and its only a couple days in. Hopefully my spending habits will get a little better over time.

The only trouble I'm having is loss of appetite. The pastor's wife made a wonderful huge meal that I was only able to eat a little bit of it. I felt so bad when she saw my plate. Hopefully as I keep going I'll have a better tolerance for the food.

We have one day left in Kisii and then we'll be heading to the next school, where we'll be for the next few days. I'm pretty excited to head over there because that's where I got the most perspective of what to expect from Kenya.

Keep sending encouraging words I love reading all your comments and at time the culture shock can get pretty nasty. I'll post again soon!

On Travel

Things I've learned while travelling internationally.

1. I am much more of a picky eater than I thought.
2. I am much more affected by smell than I thought.
3. I am able to sleep better on airplanes than I thought.

Last night we arrived in Nairobi around 8 pm. Customs and visas took a bit, finding our luggage took the longest. By this point I was still getting used to the differences between countries and kept to myself. I've been spending a lot of time looking out the window, not because I don't want to talk to anyone, more because I'm just trying to take it all in. Driving through Kenya is crazy, and there's no way that I would be able to do it myself. I'm thankful that we have a driver.

The accommodations over the past few days have been very nice considering the rest of the countryside. We have flushable toilets and our own beds, so there's not much to complain about, Making the change to not be on the internet all the time has been a change,, but a good one. It makes communication with family and friends that much more special, so keep it coming!