Sue & Richard update
We have safely reached Kenya! The journey was interesting: we flew via Istanbul as this was the cheapest flight available. We thought we would have 2 hours in Istanbul but when we checked in at Gatwick we discovered that our onward flight had been cancelled that day and we would have 26 hours there instead! After some negotiation, we were promised a hotel overnight, so we boarded our flight. It took a good deal more negotiation in Istanbul to actually get Turkish airlines to give us a hotel bed but eventually they did. The next day, wandering around near the hotel, we saw a number of migrants and were reminded that many people, like the Lord Jesus, have no place to lay their heads. It put our delay into perspective.
After our overnight flight to Nairobi, we were met at the airport by Sue’s brother Alan and his son Nate, who brought us back to their place where we received a warm Kenyan welcome from the family and the African friends who help them.
On Saturday, we visited Pamoja’s Kware Care Centre at Ongata Rongai, Nairobi. The ‘main’ road into the area where the Centre is situated is in a shocking state – deep potholes and large rocks all over the place. We were grateful of the ‘Pamoja’ 4×4: you certainly wouldn’t want to tackle it in a normal car.
Mildred, the Centre Manager, along with the staff (Kioko, Janice, Beth and Julius) welcomed us enthusiastically, as did the children. We spent time chatting to everyone, renewing friendships and meeting new people. One of the lads, Alfred, had drawn a picture on the blackboard to welcome us. He clearly has a talent, and it is sad that in Kenya, there is no teaching of Art (or Music for that matter) in the schools: the curriculum is very narrow by the standards we are used to in UK.
One of the purposes of the visit was to see a demonstration of a wood burning cooking stove that could be used at the Pamoja Centres here and in Kisumu instead of the open fire cooking that is used at present. The demo had been booked for mid-day, which duly came and went. At about 1 pm a young chap called John arrived with the stove in the back of his van – but the salesman, Wycliffe, was still delayed. John set up the stove, lit it, and … it worked really well! Wycliffe arrived sometime after 2 pm and, as is so often the case with Kenyans, was charm personified. Now we hope finally to be able to move forward on the cooker saga!
We had taken a keyboard with us to the Centre, and, having refreshed everyone with a treat of popcorn, squash and biscuits, we had a good sing together. The children learned new songs we had brought very quickly, ‘God, you made the big blue sky’ proving a particular favourite.
With many shouts of ‘Kwaheri’ and much waving, we set off back down the rough track.
On Sunday we attended a small Church that Sue’s father and brother had helped to build many years ago. Once again, we were welcomed warmly, and were particularly pleased to meet Lazarus, who heads up the Emmaus Bible School in Kenya. A friend from UK, Stephen Gillham, had put us in touch with him, as they also produce Bible teaching material for children. Lazarus had brought some samples with him: they are truly excellent both in content and presentation. We asked how we could get some to take with us to the school at Magina (Kisumu), and he said he could let us some boxes straightaway, free of charge. So we now have about 400 copies of some excellent material (suitable for Primary age) for the school. Thank you Lazarus, Stephen, and all others who are involved in this great work.
Today has been a day to prepare for the journey to Kisumu, which we intend to make on Tuesday. We would appreciate prayers for safety in travelling: some of the roads have improved (but some have not!) and there are some crazy drivers around. Yesterday, for example, we saw a bus driving down the central reservation of a dual carriageway!
Impressions of Kenya so far: lots of lovely people; extremes of wealth and poverty which seem to be getting further apart rather than closer together; litter and mess all over the place in the urban environment contrasting with natural beauty. The people are anxious for the rains to come: we’ve had a few showers but no El Nino yet! Thank you for your interest in reading thus far! We will hope to update again later this week, but we’re not sure what we’ll find in the way of internet access where we’re going.
Kwaheri for now!