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. ❤

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.

Left Side Tail Gating

So I am officially cleared to drive in Kenya! WOOOHOOO! My first driving experience here… in one word… Terrifying. I shall set the scene for you.  It was a Tuesday, we were heading back from our town day.  There was quite a bit of traffic, and here you have to be basically right next to the car in front of you to avoid being cut off.  I was driving on the left side, in an unfamiliar car, in some interesting traffic, oh! and the brakes could have gone out at any time.  On top of all this, it ended up getting dark before we were in Rongai… which means I got to drive in traffic in the dark…. Now at home, driving in the dark isn’t so bad, there are lights and random speed bumps don’t jump out to bounce you off the road… but here in Kenya… let’s just say I never want to drive at night here again.

My second check out drive was much better.  I was more used to the way of the road AND there was less traffic.  I was a happy camper that time.  I’m still a little nervous about driving but heck I think if I weren’t I’d probably kill someone.  Also, this took place 2-3 weeks ago but I had much more interesting and funny things to post so this one was neglected.  Happy Sabbath everyone!

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)