Well, after 15 hours in an airplane, we made it to Nairobi last night. We were met by our driver from Samaritan’s Purse who took us to a Christian guesthouse somewhere in Nairobi. It was strange driving on the other side of the road, and there didn’t really seem to be set traffic rules, rather, each vehicle made their own path with varying amount of risk. Despite this, we did manage to arrive safely at our guesthouse at about 11:00 pm Kenya time. The guesthouse offered a nice comfortable room, and we both slept well after two days of flying, but were awoken early by loud songbirds. In the morning, we were better able to appreciate the beauty of the guesthouse, which was surrounding by lush green fauna with dozens of different colorful flowers. Gorgeous!
Yesterday morning, the 4th, we had our first Kenyan breakfast, and met our driver for our trip to Tenwek. He first took us to a grocery store in Nairobi to stock up on supplies that are not available near Tenwek. The supermarket was fun, with some things we had never seen before. The first item we came to was milk…with options of a powder form (apparently one just has to rehydrate it and it is good to go), an unrefrigerated ultra-pasteurized form, and also in a standard refrigerated form. We opted for the ultra-pasteurized liquid milk that is not even refrigerated and unfortunately Whitney thinks it tastes funky. We otherwise stocked up on various essentials, including a variety of local type foods.
Our driver, Tony, then took us across Kenya to Tenwek. We first drove by what looked like a slum of Nairobi, which was an eye-opening experience with thousands of tiny, tin-roof shacks set right next to each other seemingly forming one great mass with lots of trash scattered about. It was interesting to see this part of Nairobi, although there are various parts of Nairobi that feel a bit more Western. The whole city was very active with people walking about everywhere and made for fantastic people-watching.
Once outside of Nairobi, we traveled through lush areas of vegetation over hills until reaching the Great Rift Valley. Here, the hills/mountains suddenly dropped off and hundreds of feet below the land flattened out into this immense expanse of plains stretching as far as the eye can see.
Our road took us through the country of the Masai people which are a well known Kenyan tribe. They are nomadic people and cattle herdsman so we saw countless herds of cattle being led by a Masai, sometimes crossing the road right in front of us. From there we continued through the valley and encountered multiple herds of gazelles as well as some zebra!
We enjoyed traveling through various villages, seeing the varied landscapes, and asking our driver questions about Kenya.
Finally, we reached the town of Bomet, and eventually arrived at Tenwek hospital. Tenwek is more or less in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by large beautiful hills with tea fields.
We will discuss Tenwek more in future blogs, but from the moment we arrived we loved it. We were met by Gladys, one of the visiting missionary coordinators, who brought us to the hospital canteen for lunch and then took us on a tour of the hospital (more on the hospital in upcoming blog). We met various other missionaries on the tour who were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. Following the tour, we arranged our apartment, prior to going to a large fourth of July BBQ put on by some of the long term missionaries. We met many more missionaries there, and had burgers, coleslaw, fruit, and lots of dessert (Whitney had about 5 different desserts).
At the end we sang the Star Spangled Banner which was fun. It is interesting that some of the families have spent 10-15 years here, but still consider America home too. After a great dinner, we came home, and were pretty exhausted, so we crawled under our mosquito net, and had our first night of sleep in Kenya!