Greetings from Africa

This is my first Internet connection since my brief connection at the airport in Grand Rapids. I was too cheap to pay the fee to connect for a such a short time at Detroit or Amsterdam.

Here is a rundown of our trip so far. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use Grand Rapids time:

Friday, 30 October
1:30 pm | Leave Grand Rapids
2:30 pm | Arrive Detroit
5:00 pm | Leave Detroit
Saturday, 31 October
12:30 am | Arrive Amsterdam (5:30 am local time)
5:20 am | Leave Amsterdam
1:00 pm | Arrive Nairobi (8:00 pm local time)

After arriving in Nairobi, we spent approximately one hour waiting in line for our Visas. Then, after retrieving our luggage, we found our MAI greeters at the airport entrance. Our driver took us to the van, where we were later joined by three more people who had come in our flight (Jeanette Windell, Esther Zimmerman, and Ian Darke). We then waited for the 9:30 flight coming in from London. A few of us were just about ready to go back to the airport for a drink of water and a potty break when Alice Lawhead arrived. After rearranging the luggage so everything would fit, we headed for Brackenhurst. We drove through Nairobi, but by now it was nearly 11 pm local time, so the city was quiet. We headed “upland” through much fog, which, because of the elevation, may have been clouds (I’m still not sure which it was).

After a few wrong turns, which took us down some very deserted roads, and a few phone calls, we finally found Brackenhurst. We drove into the complex and found the reception area, which was totally dark. However, this was the place where the driver was told to drop us off, so he unloaded our luggage and told us that someone would come to show us to our rooms. So there we were, the six of us and our luggage, standing in complete darkness waiting for someone to show up. A short time later, four people appeared out of the darkness and let us into the reception hall. One of them gave us keys to our rooms and told us to follow the other three to our rooms. The person Jay and I and Alice were to follow was bundled from head to toe in heavy clothes and had a thick red scarf wrapped around his neck and head. The temperature probably wasn’t lower than 60, but apparently it was cold for him.

We hauled our luggage up a hill along flagstone walkways, then along a grass-covered driveway, up some flagstone steps, along another flagstone walkway, and finally to our room.

We didn’t waste any time getting settled into our room. Although it was only 6:30 pm Michigan time, we hadn’t had any real sleep since getting up the day before at 6:30 am.

Getting from the airport to our room took 5 ½ hours. If my math is correct, that’s only 2 hours less than it took to get from Detroit to Amsterdam.

We slept until about 11:00 Sunday morning, and got up just in time to get ready for lunch, which was delicious and plentiful. After lunch, Jay went to an afternoon session, and I went back to the room to work on my workshop for the next day. I had somehow managed to leave at home the copy on which I had made my last-minute changes, so I had to try to remember what they were. I finished in time for supper.

At the Sunday night session, a band from a Presbyterian church in Nairobi led worship. They were excellent. Very talented and very enthusiastic. Nothing can compare to an international worship experience. The keynote speaker Sunday night was Kenyan Ambassador Bethuel A. Kiplagat. What an amazing person. I’ll have to write more about this later. I’m in a hurry to finish so I can get online and get this uploaded.

Sunday night when we got back to our room, the power was off. We’d been warned that Kenya has temporary power outages, so we had flashlights. We set our alarm clocks and went to sleep hoping the power would be back on in the morning. It was, but only temporarily. Before the water heated up, it went off again. So we had to take luke warm showers. The power was on briefly when Jay dried his hair, but it went off again before I got to use the hair dryer. So I had to show up for breakfast with a wet head.

Oh, well, it’s an adventure.

Jay was supposed to visit a couple of sites with an organization located nearby, but they couldn’t go because the roads were closed due to so much rain. I forgot to mention that part of the story. Apparently this is the rainy season. Thankfully it was raining in Grand Rapids when we left, so I have my raincoat with me. Everyone here is jealous.

If we have power in our room tonight maybe I will upload some of the pictures I took today when it wasn't raining.
 Oh, my workshop today went well. Thanks to everyone for your prayers. I think Jay said there were 16 people there. Of course, he was one of them. I was honored also to have Alice Lawhead and Nicholas Gray attend.
 That’s all for now. It’s almost time for supper.

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