Jambo, from Kenya! It’s been a great couple of days here, after the longest travel period I’ve ever taken. 🙂 Forgive the wordy post, but Internet access has been spotty. I’ll supplement this with photos hopefully later this week.
We left Austin early Thursday morning, on our way to Nairobi to host a free eye clinic for one of the slums. We’re working with an ELCK church called Pipeline, which used to worship near the big gas pipeline but was forced to relocate. They now have a few buildings in the Mukuru slum.
The trip itself was long, but mostly uneventful – the plane from JFK to London was half empty, so we all got to stretch our legs a bit. Getting through customs in Nairobi was the most interesting. After 30 hours of travel, standing around for a couple hours waiting for a customs agent to decide whether you can bring in your supplies is not what I would consider fun. By the grace of God, we finally got through with our footlockers. One of our team members traveling separately had a delay that caused her to get rerouted through Dubai, so I’m glad that didn’t happen to everyone!
We finally got to our lodging near midnight on Friday – a pretty little convent called Little Daughters of St. Joseph. The sisters were very welcoming and I’m glad we were able to stay there.
Saturday morning we left the other mission team to go to Lake Navaisha on a boat safari. We saw mostly birds, with a few hippos tossed in. On the road there, we even saw zebras standing around. I got lots of great nature photos, including shots of a fish eagle diving for some fish we bought for them. That evening we worshiped back at the convent with the Salem team. A children’s choir came and sang for us, and I’ve posted some of the video to Facebook.
Sunday morning we said goodbye to the Salem team, as they headed off to a village about 8 hours away. Then we headed into Mukuru to worship at Pipeline. Getting into the slum was an experience – the road is not in good condition, and the people walking have no care for whether you are driving through. We nearly got stuck in the mud a couple times, but our driver Rosemary is amazing and got us through (though she was stressed!). It was funny when one of the people passing yelled at us with a smile, “Next time take a helicopter!”
The worship at Pipeline was amazing. Lots of music, lots of testimony, and all of it in a mix of Swahili and English. They do not currently have a pastor, and so rely on elders of the church to lead services. Many of the members are involved in worship leading, either through reading, giving testimony, leading prayer, or singing. It was truly a blessing to be involved. At the end of the service, they brought us up to be recognized, as the church will be volunteer partners with us all week. Then they surprised us with an amazing lunch. The church is located in the slums, and the members and leaders all live there, too. They said that they were poor, but always very rich. I can believe that, as each and every one that I have spoken with has an amazing faith.
This morning (Nairobi time) we headed out for our first clinic session. I’ll cover that in a post to come. Goodnight, my friends!