This is my first time to have internet long enough to be able to tell you some stories from my first week in Kenya! I’m sorry in advanced if it’s a bit disconnected…It has been a whirlwind and almost an entire week since I arrived! My journey here was a bit crazy…my first flight was delayed which caused me to have to literally sprint through the London Heathrow airport to make my flight to nairobi. I was barely fast enough, but my bags were not so fast. I made it to Nairobi without any luggage, but was completely unbothered! I know that seems surprising to most of you that I wouldn’t freak out, but when I am coming to Kenya, something in me changes. I put on my hypothetical flexible pants, and roll with the punches. I know, I know…I should really learn how to do that in the states. 🙂
I arrived to a different Kisumu than the one I left in November. There is a new airport, new businesses and a lot more “Mzungu’s” (white people). I don’t know where they all are coming from and what they are all doing, but I DO know there are more of them! My bags came a few days later, and now I am starting to attempt to settle in and get busy with Ndoto!
I have gotten to spend some precious time with the staff over the last few days, and the reunions with everyone have been so sweet and good for my soul! We did take the staff to dinner one night to celebrate and hear their hearts. As they shared what they love about Ndoto and what they see it doing in their community, my heart was overflowing with joy and I just tried not to weep! I cannot believe that God would call me to a place and a people like this. I don’t know that there is a more beautiful place He could send me, or a more incredible group of people that I could work with and minister with! I truly felt a truer sense of understanding of the scripture “my cup runneth over.” I am blessed by each of the staff, and I have only been here a few days! They shared what they see Ndoto doing in Obunga…things like restoration of hope, an organization that is God-fearing and producing God-fearing students, changing lives, bringing transformation. Those are their words! Each of them has a deeper articulation and pastoral heart than I could ever hope for!
I have the blessing and privilege to see my sweet little Rida on a daily basis for the next 6 months, and I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see her and watch her grow in real time! She brought me her papers after mid-terms and she has moved from rank 10 to rank 3 in her class! I’m so proud…like a proud mom. If you’re wondering what it’s like to sponsor an Ndoto student, let me just tell you that there is no greater joy…except knowing the Lord Jesus!!!
Yesterday was my first full day without effects of jet lag. We went to Obunga to do a coloring project at the Akili Preparatory School! We took little cut outs of Noah’s Ark, and a lot of crayons. The school is preschool and kindergarten age (a school started through a micro-finance loan to one of our graduates). Watching them all color was priceless! We then watched them get ready and eat their lunches and prepare for nap time. Some students go home for lunch and others pay a small amount per month to have their kids get lunch at the school. What’s so neat is that Ndoto students that are home between form 4 (senior year of high school) and going to college, take turns serving the little muffins lunch! They just might be the cutest little muffins that I have ever seen on the planet! They are well behaved, smart and just precious.
I have the blessing and privilege to see my sweet little Rida on a daily basis for the next 6 months, and I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see her and watch her grow in real time! She brought me her papers after mid-terms and she has moved from rank 10 to rank 3 in her class! I’m so proud…like a proud mom. If you’re wondering what it’s like to sponsor an Ndoto student, let me just tell you that there is no greater joy…except knowing the Lord Jesus!!! Last night, we took 11 students to go do something fun in Kisumu, with our other visitor Sandy. Some of the students who went, for those that sponsor them, were Rida, Domnic, Emma, Pastor and Ogoe, Lawi, Cynthia, Zeddie, Innocent and Hillary to name a few. We took them to see a production of the Lion King at an international school in the city. These kids have never seen anything like this, or anything close. They were so well behaved, considerate, polite, and absolutely enamored with the play. Lawi, a 5 year old who lives in the boys dorm at Ndoto, asked if they were real people!! We were in the midst of people from all over the world, and I was so proud to see our students there, hanging with the best of them! 🙂
I promise I’m almost finished…but I have to tell you something kind of funny about celebrating July 4th in Kenya! One of the Tuk-Tuk drivers, Sammy, who is becoming a dear friend, picked us up and said in his awesome kenyan accent “Happy American Day!!!!” and told us all about the history of it! haha He also took us to a restaurant called Laughing Buddah, run by an Indian Family who lives in Kisumu where Anand made American Flag cupcakes in the bakery just for the American’s who live here! They not only were super delicious, but made me feel a little at home! 🙂 I explained to Sammy that when we get excited about our independence, we set off fireworks / blow stuff up! haha I do not encourage him to do the same, but he got a good laugh. Another blessing from Laughing Buddah (while there are many) is that they have Mexican Nachos that actually taste like the real deal!!! So, if I get home sick for some good ole tex-mex, I can just get me some nachos!!
Ok, I know that is a lot, and if you’re still reading…blessings to you! My future blogs will be more focused, but I just had so much to share from this first week! Please pray for rest as I get settled and adjusted to the time, and for strength to deal with each day as it comes!