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…
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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.

Lights, Alarms, and Turned in Phones

This morning… was the morning to end all mornings….

For those of you who don’t know I get up every day at 5:45 am… and being very specifically NOT a morning person, I value all moments of sleep between my eyes closing and my jealous whore of an alarm clock trying to come between me and my bed.  Now being the assistant dean (without a dean) means that if the girls need anything during the night they will call me.  Today… it was 5:24 when my phone rang asking me to turn the lights on. So, being the wonderful person I am… I drag myself out of my mosquito netting wrapped in a blanket to go turn on the lights that should automatically come on. I then slink back to bed in an attempt to spend fifteen minutes in blissful unawareness.

I don’t know how long, or if I even fell back asleep… but my phone rang again asking if the alarm was off because some of the girls wanted to go for a run.  Unfortunately I had no idea because the alarms were not working properly and I was very much aware that there was only one remote in the dorm… Yeah… it wasn’t off. Great morning right?

So I lived, moved along, did normal morning stuff and handed out the turned in phones for the day.  Then out of nowhere one of the girls, Emika appears.  She just walks in, obviously in a hurry, saying phone repeatedly and just walks over to the phone cupboard and grabs hers… (shakes head) sometimes these girls are ridiculous… I’m supposed to hand them their phones (this is to prevent any sort of theft blah blah blah) but every once in a while they just come and pluck them up.  *sigh* these girls believe they cannot live without their phones… what a sad thought.

Well those are my adventures of the day. Has anyone else had a morning start so ridiculously that you’re unsure how the day is going to improve?

And so it Begins

Habari ya jioni! Good Evening! Thank the Lord it is almost Sabbath! For general information purposes, I have a very hectic and long schedule. My normal day begins at 5 am, when I come into the dorm, and ends at 8 pm when Mrs. V (the principal and current dean) takes over for the night shift. The only time this changes is on Wednesday, when I go from 5 am-11:30 or midnight, and then do my regular shift on Thursday… pretty crazy, I was definitely in zombie mode.  Other than the long hours and the continual confusion, I love my job. I love the girls here. As anywhere, there is a huge variety, some are ridiculous wimps, some scream a lot, others are very studious, and all of them have many talents.

This week contained plenty of fun, from pulling a drowned gecko out of the bath tub drain where it had gotten its head stuck, to almost being hit by a matatu driver. I’ve been printing and compiling records, forms and schedules like… an office secretary on excessive caffeinated beverages, but without the luxury of caffeine. It’s still nice and cool here, I’d actually like to build a fire in the fireplace for funsies.  Thankfully today is Friday and the girls are getting this dorm cleaned up (there have been boxes down from the attic all week that were really getting in the way).

The only thing I don’t like is being continually separated from the other staff, I’m often in the office alone working on something or, like now, writing. I also have one student, whom I love profusely, but it will be very hard to have patience with her. Every day I pray for extended patience to help her.

Now a few hours later, I again come back to the reason I’m here.  Tonight after vespers, we had one of the best afterglows I have ever experienced.  We sang and read some bible verses and then refreshments. However, as the students were getting refreshments, our group of SMs, joined by Richard (the boys’ dean) began singing in a small circle. At first no one else really sang with us, but soon we had expanded our circle to include nearly the whole area that afterglow had been held in.  We just kept singing until thirty minutes before lights out for the students.  It was truly beautiful for all of us to be there praising God on this Sabbath evening.

Fare Thee Well

Jambo! Hello!

I suppose the beginning would be best, it’s definitely convoluted and I’m still not quite sure what happened or how I managed to actually get here.

I have nearly completed my first full week in Kenya as a student missionary. Wow… it seems like I’ve been with these wonderful people longer than just one week! Sadly this was only my second time flying internationally, first time alone… Boy was I inducted into the insanity of it all.  My original flight was meant to leave Thursday afternoon, but due to weather it was delayed, delayed, and delayed again.  I spent seven hours sitting in an airport… the first three I was ready to go, after the second delay I was getting a little nervous about making it out of the United States that night, by the third… I was ready to sit in the middle of the airport and scream (no joke, I really considered it). Instead, I rescheduled my flights for the same time the next day, and played my violin while waiting for my checked bags to resurface and for my parents to return to the airport. I was quite displeased as I’m sure you can imagine, dear reader. So Friday dawned and I again reported to the airport… to meet with yet another delayed flight. Oh how I love delayed flights. So my delayed flight from Louisville caused me to miss my flight from Detroit to Amsterdam which in turn caused me to miss my flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi… Joyous I know. Thankfully though I got to Amsterdam, waited about nine hours, and flew to Nairobi where I made it through immigration, discovered my bags were still in Detroit, and vomited. Thankfully Derek and Yani Raymond were waiting to take me to Maxwell… I just have to say, these are some of the awesomest people around.  They have adopted all of us SMs into their family and I for one am very grateful. They brought me back, got me settled and I conked out for a much needed sleep.

Thankfully the rest of the week was not as crazy. We have a herd of gazelle-like creatures living here on campus, the weather is BEAUTIFUL! We don’t have any students yet, but the eight SMs and the full time staff have been preparing like mad.  I’m working as the Assistant Girls’ Dean, but alas we currently have no Dean, so our lovely principal is filling in.  This week has been a flurry of meeting staff, going on town trips (so much fun), and eating amazing food. I honestly need to stop eating because it’s so good! I’ll end up getting really fat if I don’t watch it. But truly… I love it here, I love my fellow SMs: Tanzi, Katie, Macy, Melissa, Jacqui, Emily, and Keith, and I love knowing that I’m helping someone else. So for any of you who actually desire to read this, kudos, I’ll try not to bore you 🙂

kwa herí kwa sasa (goodbye for now)