Monday, August 4, 2014

Wrapping up our time in Kenya

2014-06-23 14.55.51

On our way back from the Masai Mara (another, later post), we stopped for our traditional nyama choma down in Mahai Mahiu. Our driver Philip calls in the order, and by the time we get there, it’s ready to go. The goats are freshly slaughtered that morning, and the roasted legs are served with ugali, an odd cross between grits and cornbread.

2014-06-23 14.11.31

The legs are then chopped into small, bite-size pieces in front of us. Washed down with a cold Tusker lager, it’s a fabulous Kenyan meal. Lots of places advertise nyama choma and the quality can vary, but we trust Philip to guide us to the right spot.

2014-06-24 17.53.01

With only one working day left, we scrambled to wrap things up and pack. On my last day on the wards, I suddenly fainted for the first time in my life. There wasn’t anything particularly disturbing going on, so I think I must have locked my knees while at a patient’s bedside. More than anything, I was terrifically embarrassed. The patients all sat up in their beds, and the nurses rushed in. I continued to visit patients while seated with Abraham, my fellow chaplain. Later he commented how strong I was! If a Kenyan tells me I’m strong…

2014-06-24 18.23.51

Even though we were gone from home for nearly three weeks, our time in Kenya went by very quickly. The next day we made our rounds of final meetings and good-byes. My chaplain family threw me a Kwaheri (Goodbye) Party with a huge platter of snacks.

2014-06-25 10.44.51

Despite feeling more like a burden than a help most days, everyone said lovely and moving things about me. Oftentimes my own viewpoint is so myopic, limited to my city, my country, my denomination, and my culture. My faith is buoyed by their passion for Christ and knowing that we are brothers and sisters in the Church. Those bonds cross the boundaries of language, race, country, and continent. And with social media and e-mail, we can continue to keep in touch.

2014-06-25 10.56.09

Pastor John Mugo, interim director of the Chaplain Department, and me.

We left Kijabe and stopped at the Bata shoe factory store at Joe’s request. While Bata shoes are available in Europe, they’re difficult to find in the US, and the factory store offers some steals. Both Joe and I bought some very nice, high-quality leather shoes for a pittance. My “comfort” sandals, equivalent to Clark’s brand, were about $22USD!

2014-06-25 15.34.13

Then we visited the Kazuri factory in Nairobi. Kazuri jewelry is also available in Europe and in places like Ten Thousand Villages stores in the US, but it’s difficult to find and quite a bit more pricy than in Kenya. We went on a tour of the factory where our guide showed us how they make the ceramic beads. Kazuri employs mostly single and unwed mothers, and we saw how hard these women work to create this beautiful jewelry. The clay is fired at such a hot temperature that you can bounce a bead on the floor, and it won’t break!

Before his evening flights from Nairobi, Joe always takes Philip to a Nairobi restaurant called Carnivore. The concept is like that of a Brazilian steakhouse, and before the ban on eating game meat, they used to serve exotic meats. It definitely caters to the tourists, but we had a good time and ate a lot of food. All the better to help us sleep through our flight!

2014-06-25 19.57.50

The ostrich meatballs were delicious, and the crocodile was a little chewy. We also tried some drinks made with Kenyan cane liquor made at our table.

Philip dropped us off at the Nairobi airport, and we said our tearful good-byes. The Nairobi airport is a crazy place, full of all different kinds of people. I managed to find a somewhat quiet corner to wait to go through security and get into the gate area. Next stop, London!