Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sawa Sawa

The last few days of ministry have been taxing yet fruitful. Yesterday we prayed over a woman who the medical team had just coded and then prayed with her husband while he was told the news that she had died. From there it was back to a young woman with a head tumor that had grown so much that one of her eyes was swollen shut. Here at Kijabe, and I imagine at other similar hospitals, the family often comes in before the patient’s surgery to give blood that will be used during the operation. That is just one of the ways that patients’ families are very involved in their care.


It was a welcome relief to go for a run yesterday evening. Running here is challenging, since we’re more than 7000 feet above sea level and there are very steep hills. The roads are more like trails, and between the surface of the paths and roads and the elevation change, I’ve been logging my runs as trail runs. Fortunately, there are many distractions that require some rest breaks, like monkeys. We came across some Colobus monkeys swinging through the trees and crossing our path. One of them sat in a tree, ate some leaves, and watched us as we watched him. They have beautiful, long fur and huge, white, fluffy tails. A short while later, we stopped to take in the view over the Rift Valley.


Today was a special treat for me as we had a visitation scheduled. At Kijabe, when a staff person is sick or suffers a loss, the chaplains visit him or her en masse at their home with their family. This time, it happened to be one of the chaplains who had missed a few days of work due to a motorbike accident over the weekend. Fortunately, he healed quickly and didn’t suffer any broken bones. We took another chaplain’s beat-up Subaru (though it proved to have an extremely strong engine) down a rocky road into the woods. The scenery changed dramatically, as if we had entered the rain forest. This was the view from his front door, looking across a ravine.


We visited, sang hymns, prayed, and read Scripture with him and his wife as his children were at school. Then, as is typical when inviting someone into your home, they gave us tea and mandazi, a less-sweet version of a beignet. Kenyans are utterly hospitable and welcoming, and it was a treat to be invited into their home.


They also have a cow, several chickens, dogs, and rabbits.


Most of the houses we enter are the domain of other missionaries, so it’s enlightening to see how real Kenyans live. In this case, their family is solidly middle-class, and yet they lack many of the amenities that those of us in the Western world take for granted. Pastor Manyara hopes to build a second story onto his house so that they can have three bedrooms. I’m unclear as to how many bedrooms the house currently has, but they have four children, two of whom we met on our way back to the hospital.

Tomorrow we travel to the Masai Mara for safari, so we’ll be gone for a long weekend. I’ve heard thoughts on the attacks from the other chaplains, but it’s hard to tell what is politically motivated and what is in the best interest of the Kenyans. We’re off to see lions and elephants and gazelles, oh my!