Kenya Journal – I’m Fine, Yes.

August 2, 2011

(The title of this post is for James – the 16 year old member of our team – totally an inside joke and I apologize).

I can’t believe today was our fourth day in the village and our sixth day away from home. Time is flying by and that makes me sad.

After breakfast and devotion we loaded the bus to Kiria. The drive from Lake Naivasha to Kiria is about an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half – 90% of the drive is on horribly bumpy roads. But one of the nice things about the drive is that we get to see a lot of the diverse scenery of Kenya. From the landscape, to the people, to the towns, to the wildlife…

Well, when we we turned on one of the main roads we use to get to Kiria… We saw ZEBRAS!!!! A whole pack of Zebras crossing the road! Our driver, Patrick, was so awesome to stop the bus and let us get out to take pictures. I took pics on my real camera and not my phone so you won’t be able to see them till later… But they were so awesome! I got so excited.

Back on topic – we got to the village, and some of the kids greeted us with a song! It’s so freaking cute!! Click here for the video of the song.

Update on my eye: woke up this morning and it was all dry – but my vision is back to 100% clear! After putting some saline solution in it, it was good the rest of the day – just achy. But if anything blows in it it hurts really bad – dust, dirt, and oh golly campfire smoke. Burns! But still, I’m so thankful that it’s all good now. 馃檪

Well today was day two of working on the school. We got a lot done yesterday, but still had a lot to do. We spent the morning hauling more rocks, breaking more rocks, and we even had another classroom where we were making plaster and plastering the walls. That was a lot of fun, but very messy!

This is Grace. She was next to me in line today when we were hauling rocks – she was so kind and had such a great sense of humor. She was teaching me how to count in Kukuyu (the local language) and she would smile when I would try to make a joke.

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I ran into the women who helped me yesterday with my eye and had to take a photo with them:

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After many, many hours of hauling, we finished putting rocks on the floors of both classrooms! Here’s the proof of our hard work:

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We had lunch and after lunch the men and women of our team split up to work with the teenage boys and girls. This was to be an opportunity for us to guide and counsel and serve as a sounding board for any questions they might have – about anything. To be honest, it didn’t go as we had hoped – we didn’t have a translator and so many of the girls couldn’t understand us as well as they probably could have and I think it was just a tough and intimidating environment for them and they were embarrassed to talk in front of their friends. We were able to talk to them a lot about the importance of education and working hard. All of them talked about wanting to grow up to be doctors and nurses and judges and lawyers – and all of them want to go to university. The sad truth is, many if not most of them won’t. The opportunity, the access, the cost, etc provides huge obstacles for these girls. But it was good to spend that time encouraging them to work hard and finish school before even thinking about getting married or having children.

Then, we had a surprise for the girls – we brought nail polish! So each of us sat down for some quality one-on-one (or sometimes one-on-six) time with them. The smiles on their faces as they got to pick out their nail polish color was priceless. To them, nail polish is only for the women in the movies or in magazines or newspapers – not for them. It was truly an honor to be able to serve them like that. Plus, it was fun to put glitter all over their nails and draw flowers. One girl even wanted to paint my nails but only ended up painting my thumb. Well, I’m rocking it till it chips off. Hilarious.

Here are some photos from the afternoon:

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Then, of course the day got away from us and it was time to leave.

I do also want to share a story of something that happened to me today. A woman was asking for me outside of one of the classrooms where we were eating lunch and so I went out to meet her. She said in somewhat broken English, “Hello, Molly. It’s good to see you – I want you to know that I like you and when you come back to Kenya next year, I will have a gift for you. You do so much for us here in Kiria. I also want to take a photo with you. Will you bring me a copy next year? You have a beautiful smile and you work very hard. I don’t know why, but I like you.”

Her name is Rechel. It was one of the most genuine and heartfelt things I’ve ever heard someone say to me – and it seriously meant the world.

Here’s that photo I promised to bring Rechel next year:

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That continues to be one of the things I admire most about the Kenyans. Their love is pure and honest and they are some of the most generous, selfless, and community minded people. It’s amazing to learn from.

Tomorrow is our last day in the community and I’m really dreading it. I don’t want to leave – I feel like our five days with them has been so short. But the truth is, these people are special and they don’t forget anything. We will be back and we will continue to foster and build these incredible relationships and learn and grow from each other in life and in Christ.

I’m exhausted and sore so I should probably try to sleep now.

All for now and much love,
Molly