My parents came to visit and we were spoiled! They brought all kinds of nice things from the States. The entire family got involved in blessing us. Thank you all! We felt like we had another Christmas!! My parents were here for a total of three weeks. It was neat to see Africa through their eyes – so fresh off the American soil! They were a little culture shocked when we drove home from the airport in the traffic of Nairobi. You can explain how it is to someone but until they experience it first hand, they really have no idea how crazy it can be. There seem to be no rules, or if there are, the rules are broken. Driving into our neighborhood, my parents were faced with the closeness of Kibera slum which contains about 2 million people. People are everywhere – walking to work, sitting on the side of the street trying to sell food and clothes, walking in the middle of the street offering merchandise for a price, all of them trying to make some money to feed themselves for the day. The realization that we are so close to so many people who are poverty stricken can’t be ignored. Even though we live in the capital of Kenya, it is evident that we are in a third world country. I realized this more during my parents’ visit. One reason is because of the tendency to compare the place we currently live to the one that they live in, the place that was our home our entire lives. America seems “right” in so many ways, yet Kenya is “right” too! They are just different. My parents really embraced the differences! It is hard to believe how proud a daughter can be of her parents flying across the world to a place they would never choose to go if it weren’t for their love of their daughter and her family. Dad and Mom kept reminding me they didn’t care where we went, what they saw, as long as they were with us. Oh how great it is to be missed and loved so much! The first couple of days after they arrived I continued to look at them and say, “I can’t believe you are here!” Yet, I knew they would come. They said so and they have never let me down. There isn’t a time in my life when my parents said they would be somewhere for me that they didn’t show up! I realize there are children who can’t say that about their parents. I am so thankful I can.
Every day with Dad and Mom was a gift from God. We had many adventures, most in our day to day life. My Mom made chocolate chip cookies for us (a tradition at her house) and my Dad played cards with the boys. One day we went to the hanger where Paul works. They were able to see the planes (my Dad enjoyed this) and meet the people Paul works with. Another day I took them to the Nakumatt, the closest thing to a Walmart. My Mom was surprised that it wasn’t a Walmart (I had told her it was “like Walmart” so that is exactly what she pictured). She thought it was very different but it is a Walmart to us, relatively speaking. We showed them the “hang out” places for cheap food and kid entertainment. They tried Ethiopian food (one of our favorite meals here in Africa) and loved it! Eating Ethiopian food is a community meal. Everyone eats with their hands and shares one big platter of food. It is lots of fun! We took them to Petr’s school and they got to meet his teacher and classmates. One day my mom walked with me down the street to the local market (this is a market that is outside). I was so proud of her. There are lots of missionaries who don’t like to venture in this direction. The street is lined with food vendors, people selling clothes, lots of trash and street kids – people who live on the streets (usually on drugs). We found some nice fruits and vegetables while getting a chance to mingle with the people. I also showed her the local butchery we use.
My parents were gracious to pay our way for a safari to see the wildlife of Africa. It was our first time (we were waiting to share it with visitors). Upon driving into the park, my Dad’s eagle eyes spotted some lionesses under a bush near the road. It was really exciting to start the trip with that! During our mini vacation we saw Zebra, Giraffe, a rhino, warthogs and impalas. We stayed in a tent (loose word for a tent as it had a shower and toilet, along with beds). Our tent overlooked a watering hole. In the evening many animals came to quench their thirst. It was very exciting to see wildlife up close and somewhat personal. Our adventure continued as our car threatened to break down on our way home. We were in a part of town where you wouldn’t want to be stranded on the side of the road (not that any place is safe in Nairobi). The car had little power. It was crawling down the road, especially struggling up the hills. My Mom and I were praying that God would “push” the car. I remembered the verse in the Bible that talks about being able to move mountains….I thought for sure a little car could be moved up a tiny hill! I continued to pray the Lord would spare my parents from any lessons that we needed to learn…He did. We made it home, just barely, and right as it was getting dark. God sure answers prayer! And of course, lessons were learned. 🙂
Paul went to South Africa for work during my parents visit so my Dad treated us to many days at a hotel. I felt like we were in Hawaii! A break from the city was really nice for all of us. It was perfect timing too since our car was in the garage getting fixed! The highlight of the trip was just having my parents around!!!!! We could have just sat around our house and I would have been content. As the time came to an end, there was an unspoken sadness….just hard to know that we wouldn’t be together for a while. When my Dad was hugging me good bye he said, “I’ll see you real soon”. We both knew it wouldn’t be soon enough. I thank God for the time He gave us and I thank my parents for their willingness to come!