Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Journey

My apologies for the week of silence! I have been writing but not been online.  The next few posts will give the scoop on our first week in Kenya.
Waiting to board in Minneapolis
Saturday, March 21
Praise God we made it to Kenya!  Seriously, so thankful to have our feet on the Tenwek grounds.  Will, the kids and I have been looking forward to our spring break trip to Tenwek Mission Hospital in Kenya for months now.  It is hard to believe that the time is now!  It is also unbelievable that we endured the journey here with no psychotic breaks.  Nothing can prepare you. 

We left at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, flew for 8 hours from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, had a four hour lay over, then flew 8 hours to Nairobi.  So pleasure and happiness – pause – more pleasure and happiness.  I will honestly deem myself one of the worst travelers of our family.  Close confined quarters for long hours – ick .  The ADHD comes out in me.  I just want to get up and move.  Especially when the fasten seatbelt sign comes on.  And as Will immediately goes comatose at take-off, I cannot sleep a wink.  So 4 angelic kids along with my travel issues is awesome.  The first flight - during the time of our normal sleeping hours – everyone was wound up, watching movies, eating jolly ranchers, and hardly slept a wink.  Liam couldn’t watch all the movies fast enough and squeezed in about 4 I think.  Hayden spent the first couple of hours totally overwhelmed with the movie selection – how could she choose between so many? Harper wanted a constant flow of snacks, and Charley was fussy and disgruntled with everyone and everything.  The second flight we were all exhausted enough that we slept off and on.   Kenya time is 8 hours ahead of Minnesota time.  When we landed in Nairobi it was about 8:00pm on Friday night and they were confused, thinking we had just slept and it should be daytime.

After passing through customs (we were deemed safe to enter) and watching the kids roll around on the airport floor during a good long wait for our luggage – 6 large suitcases and a stroller – we stepped out into Nairobi for the next leg of our journey.  Samaritan’s Purse had arranged for a driver to pick us up and he was there waiting for us along with another doctor heading out to Tenwek.  The Samaritan’s Purse team has been so accommodating in preparing us for our trip and making arrangements for our stay.  We are very, very thankful to them and the work they do!  They take care of SO many details.    

So we all trooped across the airport grounds for about 15 minutes to get to our vehicle.  It was actually nice to get out and use our legs after being confined to a plane for so long.  My legs had swollen pretty nicely by the end of the flight and my cute striped Toms weren’t looking so cute with my cankles.  

Our driver, Jonathan, safely and aggressively got us through Nairobi traffic – ain’t nobody yielding to nobody – and took us to the Amani Gardens Inn, formerly known as the Mennonite Guest house. We were given a nice room with plenty of space for all of us.  The kids had trouble winding down – because there is nothing better in life than bunk beds – but they finally gave in around midnight.  

We woke up Saturday morning around 7:30, took hot showers, and were served a yummy breakfast of omelets, fruit and cereal.   Two thumbs up for the Amani Gardens Inn. 

Things I wished I had packed in my carry on for that night: face wipes, bug spray, flip flops.  
 Will teaching Hayden how to brush her teeth with bottled water.
Bunk beds in Nairobi
 First morning in Kenya

After breakfast there was a new driver from SP waiting to take us to a grocery store and butcher near by.  We had been told to stock up in Nairobi before driving in for our two-week stay at Tenwek.  I have discovered that it’s no fun being a foreigner in an unfamiliar grocery story.  They had pretty good selection but little that was familiar to me.  I needed a guide. We all wandered the aisles and I did my best to get the basics for cooking and baking in Kenya – which I know so much about.  I spied on a couple of other white ladies shopping and copied their selections.  How else do you choose between unrefrigerated boxed milk or powdered milk? A nice Kenyan lady helped me get chicken and beef at the butcher.  
In the grocery store

After shopping we took the 4 hour windy road through the Kenyan hills and valleys to get to Tenwek.  While I tried to soak in the scenery and engage the kids in conversation – I really just wanted to puke.  However, we made it through that last leg with no one getting sick and no other problems.  This is amazing to me! Between the six of us, everyone controlled their body fluids!  I had prayed for a good driver and the guy that drove us, Tony, did a great job getting us to Tenwek safely.  He had also packed a cooler of soft drinks and bags of chips for us, which the kids thought made a pretty great lunch.  Thanking God for safety, health and provision for the long journey.  And if the worse thing that happened was my cankles then I say it was a blessed and successful trip!

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