Go ahead and prep yourself that this might be a long blog post. I know it has taken me a long time to finally compose it all! In fact, it has been days. I will come and write a little bit then leave it alone for a while. How do you sum up two extremely life-changing weeks in Africa? It is extremely challenging. I decided to go through and share some of the major experiences we had while we were there. This probably won't touch the surface of all that I learned but I'll give it a go.
We left Atlanta on May 8th and headed for Amsterdam. We ended up being delayed in Atlanta therefore missing our connection in Amsterdam. Day one and already a test of faith. Upon realizing there would not be another flight out of Amsterdam until 10:30 the next morning, I failed. The water works started. Poor Sam...he just didn't understand. I figured it was preparing him for his wife one day. We girls are pretty emotional. Oh, and Delta did not compensate us...at all. We got a little money for some food but that is about it. Sam and I set-up camp and prepared for a longgg 22 hours in the Amsterdam airport. Don't worry, I only had one melt down at the very beginning. It wasn't all bad though....we had some fun and because of a lack of sleep, took some delirious pictures. :)
Our pal Ronald....
After finally boarding our flight to Nairobi, Kenya the next day, we could not wait to be there! The next day at about 8 p.m. we were greeted by Michael and Lesley and lots of rain! We headed to their house, ate some dinner, chatted, showered and hit the hay.
The next day was pretty relaxed. By our third day there we were hitting the ground running. We only had two weeks and the Steven's were so sweet to make sure we got lots of Kenyan experiences in our short time there. Michael teaches at an American school so unfortunately, he wasn't with us all day everyday. We were, however, in great hands with our guide, Lesley. Lesley works in a slum called Kibera with an organization called D.I.G. She has helped some AIDS victims learn to plant their own vegetables so that they can nourish themselves properly.
We went to that slum several days and the first day we were greeted by the Steven's good friend Moses. After meeting Moses and talking with him a little bit the one word that I would use to describe him is, selfless. This man is so willing to serve. In fact he thrives on it. Everyone knows him and loves him. He loves to help people. Anyways, Moses showed us a school in Kibera that could really use our help. We went to visit the school and see the kids.
Overlooking Kibera....1.2 million people living on 600 acres.
We can NEVER complain....
They LOVE having their picture taken!
Beautiful Lesley showing us the garden in Kibera
The next day, Sam and I actually started teaching a little bit. They have all the same subjects except unlike public school in the states, they have CRE or Christian Religious Education. I was all about teaching that and it was what they loved to learn. I taught math, english, science, and reading as well. I was just excited that I actually got to share the gospel with many Kenyan kids at a school! Talk about an experience that is not likely to happen without serious consequences in the states. It was such an amazing experience.
Moses....These kids LOVED him!
Lunch time! Quite possibly the only meal they get all day....
Seriously....how cute is this face?
I love this picture!
Another fun opportunity was getting to help at a special education center called Heshima which means respect in Kiswahili. Children with disabilities are pretty much disowned in Africa. Parents, mostly fathers, are so ashamed of these children that they leave them locked up in houses or closets and do not care for them. We met Tracy, an American missionary who started this center for children with disabilities. What a blessing this was. They were precious and so smart!! I was so impressed by all that Tracy had done to make this center nice for these children.
FYI: If you want to make a donation to this ministry that is in great need or if you just want more information...their website is:
We had the opportunity to shadow teachers at Michael's school as well. As I said, this is an American school so it was definitely different than the slums but still very different from the states as well. In case you didn't know, Sam is a secondary education/history major and I am an elementary education major so that is why we were set up with all of these experiences in schools!
The one full weekend that we were there, the Steven's took us on a weekend safari. First, we went to Lake Naivasha. We went on a walking safari at Crescent Island. It was so much fun and so cool!! Here are some pictures from that safari.
Great Rift Valley
Sam even killed one of the big 5....the cape buffalo. Stud.
So...to southerners this may not be a prize to kill.. It is called a Dik Dik and it is the smallest deer in the world. This is a full grown Dik Dik. How cute!
Beautiful! We got so close!
The next day we headed to Lake Nakuru. We went on a driving safari there. Again, so cool. Such fun experiences.
I like this picture...there were a million flamingos in the background
Beautiful African sunrise...
So...maybe we were really close to this zebra.. haha.
We also had the opportunity to FEED giraffes while we were there! Pretty sweet....
We also went to the market and learned to barter from Lesley. However, I have to say, no one can barter like this girl. She would fight and fight till she got the best prices! On our last day there we climbed the Ngong Hills. This was intense but there were some magnificent views.
After climbing the hills we headed home to finish packing and headed to the airport around 6:30. It was such a long trip back and we were so thankful to be greeted by some beautiful faces when we got home.
I took over 1,000 pictures so...I couldn't share them all. haha. We saw lots more animals and had more amazing views. Here are a couple of pictures from our last day at the school...
I'm in there somewhere!
I wanted to take sweet Cynthia home with me
So...that was my trip. I cannot explain the ins and outs of all the I experienced and learned while I was there. I can say that we, as Americans, are blessed beyond what we could ever imagine. We should never be allowed to complain. Those children that I had the privilege of meeting have NOTHING and still are thankful and content. It is a desperate land.
Also, the Lord has definitely been breaking my heart more and more for the world. I mean, if you would have asked me 3 years ago if I ever saw myself living overseas I would have said, "I hope that I would go where the Lord would lead me but I really just think I am supposed to serve in the states and maybe go on short-term trips." I still hope that I would say this. I do only want to be in the center of His perfect will. However, I think the Lord has definitely used these last two summers to break down some major walls. I am excited to see where God will allow me to serve one day. Whether it be in Mobile, Alabama forever or somewhere across the world. I am thankful that He allows me to have even a small part.
If you have made it to the end of this forever long post...Congrats! I hope you got just a small insight into what I experienced. Sorry it has taken me almost 5 days to officially post this. I will be back with more posts soon! I start my summer job/enrichment program next week and I finished my book for May while in Africa! So...lots to update!! I am still trying to catch up on sleep and get back in the swing of things.
Finally, I have to give a huge congratulations to two very special people and two amazing friends. Richard and Brynn are ENGAGED! It happened on Tuesday and I could not be more thrilled for these two! Congrats my friends!
Until later, Bwana asi fiwe! (Praise the Lord in Kiswahili)