To Africa and back . . . (part the first)

June 14-15

I will enjoy sharing this story over and over again, until the day I return to Africa to bring back new stories. Some however, may not have the opportunity to hear me ramble for hours and hours about too little time spent in Kenya, hence the purpose of efforts here. My goal shall be to write a little every week until I chronicle seven days spent on Kenyan soil and 3 spent getting there and back. I shall also attempt to add pictures with captions/explanations. Much of the story overlaps with the images, but to tell the story twice is hardly a crime. Forty-three of us arrived at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on June 14 of the year 2007. It took us nearly 2 hours to completely check in, I’m glad for the urge to be early. While I’m am social by nature, as I look at the people I choose to surround myself with, they are of similar sort. The group I went with had many different and interesting personalities. I believe that was the most challenging thing for me, continuously relying on God to help me interact in a pleasing way with personalities I would not normally choose to spend 3 hours with, let alone over two hundred forty hours. Our group was quite diverse in age, walk of life, relationship with God, and more. Several families went, father, mother, children, one grandmother traveled with her family to care for the children when the parents served the MCF staff and children. We flew from GRR to Detroit to Netherlands to Nairobi, for a total of just over 17 hours in the air each way. As there were forty-three of us, there was always a team member nearby for conversation. Being the logical (efficient, ocd) person I am, I chose to try to sleep over the Atlantic, then stay awake and tire out in time for bed in Nairobi. I’ll not go into details except to say my journey over the Atlantic was not restful but opened my eyes to areas of my life I was still trying to control. I would have said that I allowed God to direct my path, but he clearly demonstrated I have an area or two where I still hold very tightly given the right set of circumstances. Thankfully he gave me the opportunity at the beginning (rather than the end or not at all) of my trip to decide whether or not he was on the throne, in complete, unchallenged control. I am grateful that he doesn’t leave me in my own mess, that he draws me to him over and over and over again, hoping I will stay one of these times.In the Netherlands, when you deplane, you are dumped out of security, so that was interesting to hop off a plane into a line to be checked again. We were a little nervous about customs in Nairobi, sometimes you aren’t allowed to keep what you bring without handing over some merchandise or money. We were able to all leave with all the things we brought. Once outside, a few gentlemen thought they would “help” me with my bags, they disappeared when I started using a loud voice saying that I was fine and didn’t need help from anyone. MCF (Mully Children’s Family) picked us up and dropped us at our hotel for the night, then returned the next day to bring us to the Ndalani MCF campus. Time is viewed differently there. It’s very relative, even when an exact time is given. We left the hotel later than originally anticipated, the hotel managers decided to take advantage of ignorant foreigners and over charge us. We had to wait for our friends who spoke Swahili to help. It was interesting to watch them try to divide up our leaders and get one to agree to something without the other’s knowledge. It was all worked out, we were “allowed” to leave eventually. There were guards at the entrances and one of the leader’s passports was held.We loaded ourselves into a huge bus (thirty-three of us), a van, (forty-three minus thirty-three), and a produce truck (used for fruits and veggies) of luggage, then headed to Ndalani, two and a half hours away from Nairobi. As we got out of the vehicles, there were twenty or thirty children there to greet us along with Charles and Esther. (You will notice the organization is Mully, while their name is Mulli. Companies must have a different name than the owner in Kenya, much like one would set up an DBA under an LLC to protect self and assets. If they are the same, the individual is held responsible for all matters of the company.)

At the farm

We spent the weekend at the farm . . . pastor’s breakfast on Sat., family reunion on Sun., and wedding planning in between.

The plans . . .

I finished the bookmarks that we will hand out as favors, sent them to print. I also ordered business cards. Jason is giving me the wonderful opportunity of starting my own business, so I have my work cut out for me.

Randomness of life

So I set up this domain in April and keep changing my mind about how I want this to be. I am going to try the ‘blog’ thing again and see if I can manage all the content that way. It seems to work well for others. This may change again as I haven’t talked with Jason about what if anything he wants to contribute to this.