Thursday, August 16, 2007
Parent's Visit to Kenya
I haven’t had much time to write lately because for the past two weeks I was very fortunate to have my parents come for a visit. They came to see where I live and the work I am doing. To become witnesses to the poverty and illness that is a stark reality in this country. But also to enjoy the simple beauty that is Kenya.
I took the night bus from Malava to Nairobi the night before we met and checked us into the Flora Hostel. The Flora Hostel is a special hostel in Nairobi run by the Consolata Sisters and is reserved for missionaries and their families. Compared to many other places in Nairobi it is clean, safe, quiet, and reasonably priced. An added bonus was that all meals were included and the triple occupancy room that we stayed in was housed in it’s own separate cottage out back of the main building. There was also an on-site chapel that offered daily Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Having never been to Kenya and not knowing if they would ever get the chance to come again they wanted to see as much of the country as possible. So when they arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on Wednesday, August 25 I became their tour guide that would take on the impossible task of showing them the country of Kenya in just two weeks.
After spending seven months out in Malava, where the kitchen isn’t far from the slaughterhouse, the showers are from a cold bucket of rain water, and a white person is unheard of, it was good to get back to the city, even if for only a short while. I checked into room number 4NC and while I waited for my parents flight to come in I enjoyed a long, hot shower, ate meatballs and cold potato salad, and even talked to a few white people from Australia.
I had been planning for my parent’s visit for several weeks, but even still it didn’t seem completely real. I waited for over an hour for them to come through the baggage claim at the airport, but when they finally emerged from the exit doors I realized it was true. My parents had actually come to Kenya. Although at first I looked on in disbelief, it was good to finally see a familiar face. We greeted and hugged and then headed for the Sister’s convent in Racecourse, Nairobi. I introduced them to the Sisters and after a late supper the three of us slept easy in our beds at the hostel. We would need all of the rest we could get for the following day and the weeks to come. The schedule was extremely tight and there was a lot to see and do.
In the time that they were here, we feed giraffes by hand at the Lang’ata Giraffe Centre, we saw baby elephants being feed and got to pet a cheetah at the Animal Orphanage. We saw traditional African dancing and mud huts at the Bomas of Kenya and visited the Karen Blixen Museum. We visited Arielle and Sandy and the girls and Rescue Dada. We crossed over the equator through the Great Rift Valley and came to Malava to attend the Kenyan Mass at St. Teresa Parish. We visited the St. Julie Centre for Disabled Children and were invited to eat authentic Kenyan food with Tom, a member of the staff. We took boda bodas, or bicycle taxis, to Webuye Falls and took a tuk-tuk, or a three-wheeled motorized vehicle to Lake Victoria to see hippos in the town of Kisumu. We took a trip to the coast of the Indian Ocean, to the island town of Lamu, the oldest town in Kenya, and caught a glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro on the flight back to Nairobi. But the ultimate experience had to be seeing the Big Five game animals on the four-day safari at the Maasai Mara National Reserve and seeing thousands upon thousands of wild flamingoes at Lake Nakuru National Park.
Posted by tim at 12:42 AM