It has been three months since we arrived in Nairobi. I am finally getting around to blogging. There is much to say. I am not sure where to start. I want this blog to be like a journal, an avenue to express myself, but also a method of communicating and recording our family’s experience as missionaries in Africa. I pray that I am open enough for you, the reader, to see into my heart. I hope that my words are transparent, that I will not keep anything hidden. Only then, will you be able to know all that the Lord is doing in our lives.
We spent the first two months going through AIM’s orientation to African culture. The program consisted of three weeks in Machakos while staying at Scott Theological College, followed by four weeks of living with a Kenyan family. Needless to say, our family went through one transition after the other. There was a full gamut of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges. This is my main reason for not blogging earlier. I have been trying to process it all. Many times I have sat down at the computer, only to be staring at a blank screen. I have missed our dear family and friends so much that it hurts. Each amazing experience has been underlined by the fact that some of the most special people in my life aren’t physically here to share it. There are times when I feel like my heart is going to explode. I have never been put in this situation before. Family and friends have always been a short drive away – or at least a phone call away. Forgive me for not blogging earlier. Originally, I desired to do so every week. I wanted you to know exactly what was going on at the time. However, when I started to write anything, I would start crying. My words were weak in expressing the complexity of my emotions – pure joy at finally being in the place that God called us, mixed with an aching sadness of people and home. After three months of silence to the world of blogging, the numbness is passing and I am ready to share. Instead of backtracking over the last three months, I am going to start with the present, knowing that the past will emerge.
This week was a huge milestone for me. Paul went to Uganda for a couple of days to help out with IT. I took this opportunity to go on an adventure with the boys since we had the car. This was to be my fourth time driving in Nairobi. We set out to experience the city life, me with my handy street map and the boys with their sense of adventure. Let me start by saying that driving here in Africa is just pure craziness. If you read some of Paul’s blogs, you will know what I am talking about. If not, let me explain. First of all, it is hard enough to remember that the car needs to be on the LEFT side of the road. Then, throw in some traffic circles – most of which lack street signs, pedestrians crossing in front of you with no warning, and from every direction, men pulling wagons that take up most of the lane…oh, and there are rarely lanes painted on the roads. Did I mention the potholes? Everyone is trying their best to avoid them which means that you will go into their lane and they will come into yours. Finally, come the Matatu drivers (public transportation), who follow no rules. The concept of defensive driving has a new meaning in Nairobi. Well, I must say that I felt liberated to be able to drive my boys across town and return in one piece! Ten minutes into the journey, we found our selves in a traffic jam. Our car was completely stopped. The air conditioning ceased to work and it was a warm day. In Nairobi, it is not safe to have the windows rolled down, especially in a jam. Therefore, we sweated it out. The boys were troopers and I just kept reminding myself that this was PART of the adventure. Traffic started picking up, but only to find us going through a traffic circle with no signs. I had to guess which way to go. After heading down the street, I finally spotted a street sign informing me we were on the wrong road. After turning and backtracking, I did it again. Oh, how I was wishing to be back where I knew the roads and there were no traffic circles! After an hour and a half of driving, it should have been only 40 minutes, we arrived at our destination. We went to a mall where there was an outside market for the Masai people. The boys and I enjoyed looking at all the hand made items and getting to talk with the people. Petr learned how to bargain and bought a small stone in the shape of a heart. He talked the lady down from 30 shillings (about 45 cents) to 20 shillings (about 30 cents). I was so proud of him! Somehow, Andrej got one for free from another lady. I think he batted his big blue eyes….those eyes really stick out here! After our LONG drive to the market, I decided to try a different route home, thinking that it would be easier. I was very wrong. I got completely lost after hitting another traffic circle with no street signs. We ended up in the middle of downtown. I realized that we were heading in a direction that lead to a very unsafe area. After lots of prayer and an opportunity to study the map while stuck in traffic (once again!), I was able to find the way home. During the chaos, Andrej fell asleep. But, Petr was wide awake. He was well aware that we were lost. I was glad to have him to talk to and knowing I had to keep calm for him, helped me stay calm. I just kept driving with as much confidence as possible. When I saw that we were going to make it home, I couldn’t help yelling out, “I know this street. Petr, I know how to get home!” Petr replied, “Praise the Lord!” And we did!