Under the Mango Tree

In rapt anticipation I waited for this weekend, a weekend that marks the beginning of spring break, but also brings me down to SAU for a visit with some of the coolest people I know: my SM friends.  As it has been nine months since I last said goodbye to them, the complete and overwhelming euphoria continued to mount building up to this weekend.  I am so thankful for Melissa, Macy, Emily and Keith for taking time out of their lives to chill with me and reminisce for a minute about times past.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, given the opportunity, I would drop everything and go back to Maxwell, to Kenya, and to my girls.  It is ridiculous how much I miss them and wish I were back joking with the girls, having worships, and even dealing with the issues that will always arise in a dorm.  Yet here I sit, sipping my Starbucks mocha, texting, and working on school work; going back to my life’s charade as though my ten months in Kenya happened ten years ago.  All the stress of not having a full time dean for a semester, the trials of PE class, and the moments just chilling with the ladies in my office.

I will never forget my year as a student missionary, just as much as I question if I will ever be able to go back. Veterinary medicine is not a very prominent area in mission work… However, God willing, I will get to go back to Kenya.  God willing, I will get to tell the girls how much they mean to me and how often I laugh in memory of the times we had.

To any students, SMs, or staff with me in Kenya who read this, I love you all, I miss you all, and if nothing else, I will be there under the biggest mango tree in heaven waiting to see you. ❤

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Less than 5

Holy cow batman… I have less than five days to spend here at Maxwell.  After ten months away from home, family, and friends, on would think I’d be excited to go home.  Truthfully, I’m very excited, I’ll be glad to see everyone again, but then I think about what I’m losing.  I am leaving behind a new life that I’ve established and adjusted to. I’m leaving new friends and family.  I’m leaving my new home in Kenya.  I’m leaving it all to go back to a life that doesn’t seem to fit me anymore.  Maybe (probably) once I get home I’ll readjust and things will be the same again.  Still, I can’t shake the thought that my life can never be the same again.  So here and now, I’ve decided to make a list of what I will miss here in Kenya… an abridged version.

-The People. Not only my fellow SMs, full time staff, or students, but the people of Kenya who are awesome.
-Maxwell. Even though I won’t miss a lot of the rules, I’ll miss looking out my  window at acacia trees swaying in the wind and gazelles grazing on the grounds
– Deaning. I cannot convey to anyone who has not been a dean how fun and rewarding it is… granted it is also a trial and frustration, but the good always outweighs the bad.
-The weather. The coldest it’s been here has been about 50… granted on those days I thought I would die of cold. Oye, I’ll soon learn what REAL cold is again
-The diversity.  There are students from so many places here, Rwanda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Phillipines, Malawi, Ghana, DRC, Zambia, Mozambique, US, and Canada (to name a few). With all of these places come different languages and customs. I have enjoyed learning what I have about every place I can.  I will miss my students most of all I think
-The wildlife. At home to see a giraffe or a lion you have to go to a zoo… after my 10 months here, I don’t think I ever want to see a zoo again… you can’t get close enough to make it worthwhile.
-Kenya. From Mt. Kenya to Mombasa, Kenya is beautiful and provides plenty of variety.  Anyone who stereotypically thinks the whole continent of Africa is hot and arid… they are sorely mistaken.

Kenya will always hold a special place in my heart… I will never forget this place and what it has taught me.  Nor will I forget the people I have met and come to love with all my heart. I will miss this place, and one day I will come back.

11 and counting…

Yesterday Macy and Melissa left *sniffle*

What this means is I now have the whole duplex to myself… it’s quite the strange feeling to have two of us gone.  We’ve been together every day for nearly ten months. I keep expecting to have Melissa walk through the door at home and have  conversations about any and everything on the random. I don’t have anyone to turn the hot water on for me when she goes to bed before I get off… sounds selfish, but I just found it awesome that Melissa never forgot. I think what is the strangest though is thinking about going home… I’m excited, really excited actually, but at the same time, it feels… odd, as though I’m leaving my life.

The only thing I can compare this feeling to is when I left to come here.  When I left home I was vacating my life to go somewhere else and live… now, I’m going back to that life, but both it and I have changed.  I guess you can only understand if you’ve had two different lives in two different places… I’m leaving my new friends to go back to old friends, some who might not even realize I was gone for ten months.  I’m leaving my new home to go back to my old home that has changed in my absence. I’m leaving my new life that I’ve grown into and returning to my old life that I feel does not fit me anymore.  The worst part is, I will be a stranger in my own world.

Alas, I have eleven days before I vacate my life here, instead of sulking and pondering what could go wrong in my head, I shall instead live it up, enjoy my last few days as a dean at Maxwell, and enjoy my last bit of time in the beautiful country of Kenya.

Shocked Silence

Completely rough with no revisions.  I just wrote this after this morning… it was the quickest way to deal with the shock and confusion I experienced

I cower in my chair
The anger overwhelming
They all are sitting there
Pointing fingers
None are delving
To find the truth

“I don’t think it’s fair”
“would you all just listen”
“I have work to do”
So do we all
So do we all

I’m not asking for anything much
Just a slight consideration
If only one could touch
Their hearts
With a bit of satisfaction

We’re all in this together
But we tear each others throats
It’s amazing that a feather
Can tip
The balance of conversation

I reel in my thoughts
They should not be said
I’m not the boss
Of them
I’m just a volunteer

The shock is wearing
Thank goodness
For that
I thought it would never
leave

The Hills are alive! With the sound of music.

What do hiking, the Sound of Music, sandbags, and cold have in common? Today in the Ngong Hills

Compared to Longonot, the hike today was awesome (at least for me).  The temperature was cool, even cold at times, windy, and cloud covered.  Our hike was not as long, nor as strenuous.  There was however the 10 kg (22 lb for Americans XD) that weighed down my pack.  Honestly, after today I hate sandbags… infinitely. Next weekend we’re doing the same hike, same weight, but since we’ve done it once already… it should be easier.

The Next Weekend
Well the hike this week was definitely easier, same place and same hike. I actually kept up really well compared to the last week when I seemed to be dying every now and again.  The downside of this week’s hike was the sun. It was out and cursing our existence. Still, overall a great hike.
The Last Prep Hike
I don’t know how far we walked… all I know is it was nearly 6 hours of hiking. We started away from the main base of Ngong,back in the country somewhere.  In the beginning it was all like, oh yay! it’s easy.  We went through a lot of greenery, attempting to follow a mix of cattle trails and human trails, as well as making our own.  When we got down to the river gorge I thought we were getting close… No. the hike following the river (dry) was the longest part of our hike. So sometime in this gorge I get a thorn in my shoe.  I thought it was inside and so I ignored it for quite a while, it wasn’t consistently pricking my foot so I thought I could manage.  Eventually though, I got tired of the pain and took my shoe off to get it out… it was much to my agony and horror to find, after putting my shoe on and walking a few steps that I did not complete my task.  From then on it was a constant annoyance.  As I climbed to where our bus was 2 Corinthians 12:7 kept popping into my head. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” I was honestly a little bit pissed at God because after all I did stop and try to get the thorn out so I could hike properly.
At the bus we ate, and I again took off my shoe to fix my problem.  I think the worst part of the entire hike was what came next.  Normally hiking up to the rocks is a good part of the hike, it’s when we are fresh and ready to go… Today our beginning became our end. We struggled and dragged ourselves up the hill (the thorn was still in my shoe) We all made it there and back down, utterly worn out.
It is then that I take a good look at the bottom of my shoe… THE THORN WAS THROUGH MY SOLE. Legit, this stupid thorn worked its way through the bottom of my boot and was pressing against my foot through the bottom of my shoe.  The worst part is I have yet to successfully extract it, and I need these boots for next week…

This is the Story of How I Died

A quick Breakdown of Mt. Longonot:
3.1k climb to the rim through dust
7.2k climb and descent around the rim
3.1k back down through a dust storm of your own making

Honestly I loved the hike… once I was on the descent. The ascent to the rim of the crater was definitely a time when I questioned my existence on the planet Earth.  I have a problem with starting way too fast, so by the time I got to the first gazebo (end of the first ascent) I was not ready to continue going up… I honestly considered going back, just because I knew it was going to take determination to get up the next ascent.  Thankfully, about this time, I stumble across Keith who, like me, started off too fast.  We were possibly a very pathetic sight.  so for the rest of those 3k Keith and I pushed ourselves up to the rim, stopping probably ever 4 meters.  During this whole time I thought I was going to end up puking… but I didn’t

The rim was victory number one.  Which we celebrated by sitting in the gazebo, catching our breath, and drinking some more water.  Then came the next part of our journey… the rim.  Comparatively, the rim was not nearly as bad as the first ascent, even though it was a further walk.  The worst part of the rim was the climb to the summit… from there, I declared it was “all downhill” which was a lie. There were more ups and downs, each one bringing us a little closer to the final descent.

The second arrival at the gazebo was greeted with jubilation, and lunch! after a quick apple and water we headed down for the last 3.1k stretch with the students who were in front of us.  The descent was my favorite part. Granted my toes started hurting and I was basically taking a dust bath like a chinchilla, but a bit of running and jumping and not having to drag myself up another hill made it my favorite.

So the moral of the story is, GO! Go find an adventure and finish it, because once the end is in sight, you can forget most of the horrible stuff that happened on the way.