Tuesday, December 1, 2009

my blogging has slowed down over the last month or so, and i think i figured out why. i got past the "this is new and interesting" phase for my everyday activities, and we have been so busy, that when i do have a break i dont necessarily want to jump back into thinking about all the stuff there is to do. ill try to get a few observations posted in the last couple weeks here though.


the second trip was way better than the first. amazing what not being sick can do for you. we got to see them introduce the Proclaimer. it is an audio box with the entire bible contained in it in pokot language. this is the first time many of them have heard the bible in their mother tongue. that was a cool meeting.

it was also amazing at the church we went to on sunday how welcoming the people were, and how thankful to God they were for every little thing they had. hour and fifteen minute walk to the church by the way, in the blazing sun...too hot

and i discovered the maquaja tree. it has little pods which contain edible fruit. the fruit tastes exactly like warheads. seriously, its natures warhead. this tree was so amazing mainly because it had the best places to sit and read of any tree iv ever been in. i could basically lounge with feet extended on a branch, and be leaning back on another branch. it was very comfortable.


took two overnight buses in order to allow a couple days in mombasa. the first touristy thing we have done. it was insanely hot there, and the ocean felt like a hot tub so we didnt spend much time in the water. it was incredibly nice to be able to slow down for a couple days and get some reading done again. moryn, a friend of a friend of an acquaintance, set us up with a hostel to stay at and took us around both nights. she is incredibly nice, and was a lot of fun. she made the trip so much easier and better than it would have been if we had been completely on our own. it was also nice to hang out with a christian who didnt mind having a drink. alcohol for most kenyan christians is seen as about the worst thing ever. had a corona with lime...so good

for the next two days we will be at bonifaces so probably no internet. but i cant wait to spend two days out there reading, writing, and enjoying the serenity. also the boys are back from school now so we will get to meet them.

Monday, November 23, 2009


so about a year and a half ago i decided to quit baseball for two main reasons. i wanted to put as much time as possible into my relationships at school during my last year, and i wanted to come to africa.

nothing that has happened in the time since that decision has done anything but confirm that it was the best possible decision i could have made. the list of things i have done which i would not have done otherwise is too long to even think that i know all the contents of said list.

but one thing i made sure of at the time of my retirement was that i left the door to baseball cracked open. if upon my return from africa i still had any desire to play again, then i could conceivably do that.

now i am less than a month from returning which means i had better decide what i will do. while i wont say 100% right now, its at least north of 80%.

so after a week or so to recover from jet lag, assimilate back into american culture, and eat a very unhealthy amount of food; ill start trying to transform my body back into something that can throw a baseball ha. im the smallest iv been since freshman year of high school right now so iv got a lot of work to do...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Q: how many mzungus have spent the night in kibera...

...that you know?

A: 2 (or possibly just 1 if you dont know sarah)

i kinda feel like i should have something really amazing to say about how different, or scary, or weird it was...but i dont.

i have spent enough days in kibera, and i have left kibera after dark a couple times so that just being there wasnt a big deal

we spent most of the time at nicks place. we were constantly given tea, mandazi, and lots of food for dinner and breakfast. we painted a bed frame at his workshop last night. i still have some of that paint on my hands 2 days later.

it was a bit sobering while walking out of kibera at 8am to see so many kids just squating along the edge of a little hill going to the bathroom.

oh yea, and i get/have to preach on sunday. managed to make it 22 years without ever preaching to even a youth group. now i get a pentecostal african church

Friday, November 6, 2009

global leadership summit

the last two days sarah and i have attended the global leadership summit at nairobi pentacostal church with grace, nick, and sylvia. the gls is put on by willow creek church in chicago and has satellite showings in over 200 cities and 54 countries around the world.

the speakers were very good, but since there were about 10 that is just way too much info to try to mention at all. but just very good overall. it was very good for us to see how christianity can be done well in america again. we have been over here for long enough that it is hard to remember exactly what the american perspective is.

Monday, November 2, 2009


it took quite a while for sarah or me to have an attempted pickpocket, but weve had a couple in the last two weeks.

the pickpockets get onto the matatu with a poster board wrapped in a plastic bag normally. it gives them something big to lay over your bag or pocket as they go in for the steal.

on the first ride this happened sarah noticed her bag was unzipped and scared the guy off, while i felt something im pretty sure was fingers trying to get into my pocket. it was a crowded matatu (the only kind really) so i couldnt tell where it came from. but nothing taken

then a few days ago some guys made another attempt, it was at least two or three working together. they created a distraction, something about everybody putting on seatbelts, but sarah was wise to them from the start so she pulled my bag out of their reach. however, just before the matatu stopped, i noticed a guy in front of me handing back a cell phone held between his poster board to the guy next to me, who tried to grab it between his poster board. they dropped the cell phone and the owner noticed his phone was gone. then everybody was getting off, and i looked on the floor and grabbed the phone, and gave it back to the owner. we need to learn how to call out the thieves in swahili.

so...never try to put on a seatbelt just cause everybody else starts doing it, and look out large flat objects as the only thing somebody is carrying. just in case your ever on a matatu...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a time of taking in

"In a way all of us at Oxford knew, knew as an undercurrent in our minds, that it wouldn't last for ever. Lew and Mary Ann expressed it one night by saying: 'This, you know, is a time of taking in-taking in friendship, conversation, gaiety, wisdom, knowledge, beauty, holiness-and later, well, there'll be a time of giving out.' Later, when we were scattered about the world. Now we must store up the strength, the riches, all that Oxford had given us, to sustain us after. She stood there, Oxford, like a mother to us all with her hands heaped with riches. We could take what we would. We, Davy and I, would, for one thing, take all who came to the Studio. Whoever came, whatever the hour, was always welcome."
-Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy

i read this today and was stopped dead in my tracts. i think i read it aloud to sarah before i had even finished the whole quote above.

for our whole group of friends "community" is such a buzzword. and rightfully so, its a big deal that is so fulfilling for everyone who takes part. this quote articulates more than anything i have ever seen the hope i have for me, and everyone else when i return to waco. if everybody understands and strives to meet this idealization which this passage describes, i cant imagine anything but good occuring. realizing that the setting for this quote is in oxford with a lot of graduate students who were between 25-30 for the most part gives me so much hope for the next few years as well as so much to look forward to.

just replace any oxford with baylor, and these are my feelings written down, i just didnt quite realize it this precisely till i read it.

the Studio is van and davy's home which was always bursting with life, friendships and conversation. reading this, my first thought jumped to my home last year- 5th and daughtrey. i love the sentiments expressed here for a way of life as symbolized and summed up by the perspective of home.

"This, you know, is a time of taking in-taking in friendship, conversation, gaiety, wisdom, knowledge, beauty, holiness-and later, well, there'll be a time of giving out."

Monday, October 26, 2009

american believe in God. kenyans trust God.

the most succinct way to sum up the difference between christians in america and christians in kenya is that americans believe in God while kenyans trust God.

aside from anything that i thought i might be able to help kenyans with when preparing for my trip here, i was hoping that in some way this trip would help me sort out some ideas i had about christianity, and what it means to be a christian. to say i had a fairly cyncical view on most things related to christianity is pretty accurate. also, the feeling of people acting a certain way because they think thats what christians do rather than because they are sincere gave me uncomfortable associations with even the most necessary and best things in christianity, prayer and reading the bible. i cant pinpoint where some of my feeling came from, but i have some idea as to parts.

the root of it comes to how i feel/felt fake or false doing much of the things which are expected acts of christianity. and there is nothing that i hate more than putting on a front of any kind, so i avoided the things that game me those feelings. and i also hate cliches which im using right now. cause sometimes there isnt any other way to say what you mean and be understood. what was odd about this spiritual "dry spell" was that i was doing many of the things that as far as i know a christian is supposed to do, and loving every bit of it. those things came from my involvement with after school programs, and planning my trip to kenya. it seemed odd to me that i was spiritually stagnant, yet never more sure of the decisions which i had made that allowed my involvement in these programs and my trip to kenya. also, the swiftness which the doors had opened for these respective activities was amazing.

so among other things, i hoped prior to the trip that i could gain some perspective of all that prayer and reading the bible stuff.

by getting immersed in the culture and getting to know the people here better it really becomes obvious how different christianity is in kenya and america. this difference, and how kenyan trust looks or might look in america are topics that sarah and i have spent a lot of time discussing. sarah was about 2 years ahead of me on all topics related to kenya and spirituality. as i have come to realizations about some things and mentioned them to sarah, her response has been along the lines of, "well yea, thats what iv been trying to figure out for two years!" its been good to be able to talk to sarah about things which she has thought about and struggled with for some time, while i am just arriving at the questions.

what we keep coming back to in all these conversations is what does this kenyan level of trust look like in america, especially as college age students. but that question really applies to any point in life. in america there isnt the issue (for me or anybody reading this blog probably) of where the next meal will come from. another issue, is how do we convey the difference we experienced over here to anybody who hasnt had the same experience? despite all my friends who have taken trips here, nothing really got to me just from hearing their stories in remotely the same way that spending 2 months here has. while that makes some sense, it is a story that american churches need to hear. and more importantly understand. but again, how? dont have an answer yet.

i have examples that i can remember from growing up of many times when our family didnt necessarily have the money to pay for things, but it would be provided from somewhere unexpected. so i have seen similar types of trust in God exhibited by my parents. but again, this still comes from a position of not having much money. and that is not the position that a majority of american christians are in. so how does it look especially when somebody does have enough money to live a comfortable life? trusting God becomes harder and harder the less reliant a person has to be on God in their basic needs of life. so not a lot of answers so far. but im very thankful to have learned enough thus far to be asking these questions.

im sure there will be more musings along these lines in the future

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


have spent a lot of time in kibera this week. kibera is africas second largest slum with about a million people living there. and we have walked allllll over that place.

nick is one of the guys who we went to pokot with last week, the one who did most of the planting. he is a carpenter who lives in and has his workshop in kibera. he is also very very good at kenyan time. between us and him, nobody is on time, or at least it hasnt worked out in the first 4 days of meeting with him. nick is also very interested in leadership, and he trusts God in everything he does.

this past week we have had a few long and very good conversations on love, marriage, and dating. part of the reason they are so long is because very little applies between our two cultures as to the problems that occur in relationships. and that takes a while to get through. nick is very good at talking, but gets on such a once track mindset when he is that it is hard to slow him down sometimes.

he left us the assignment one day of making cross joints at his workshop as he disappeared for about 4 hours. it was a good day. its kind of cool to have spent enough time in parts of kibera that we can navigate it alone.

also decided we need to get to mombasa somehow this week. not sure when, but it should happen

Friday, October 16, 2009


just got back from pokot. it was a good week. i was an invalid on tuesday cause i was still sick. im not used to being immobilized by sickness, didnt like it much. but wednesday morning i was feeling better and able to resume activities with everybody.

the pokot we visited this past week did not have too much in common with the pokot ben visited 2 years ago. sure it was in the middle of nowhere with by far the most primitive community culture that i had ever been around. but everything which we did, or were showed, was not there for ben's visit.

they have projects growing vegetables near all the bore holes. different groups are responsible for the gardens, and some of the groups have done amazing jobs. they school they have is nothing by american standards, but its a good start there. the classrooms are made from wood frames with mud stuck between the wood to form walls. they have a dorm built for the girls, however no beds. the boys sleep in a building that is currently unused. they just pack in there like sardines. while the progress is great, its crazy to think that these kids will sit for the same test as andrew and jean in high school.

nick planted some tomatoes and onions which will be transplanted next month when he goes back.

we had really good food too. julius, bill, and alex cooked lunch and dinner for us ever day. i knew they church had brought some food to cook, but i didnt realize how much it would be. we brought a lot of water, but after it was done, we still had good water from the bore holes (once treated of course). so this aspect of out trip was also much different than i expected.

and then there was the goat we ate last night. i was given the honor of killing it. i have never intentionally killed an animal before so i wasnt really sure what this would be like. it probably would have went a bit smoother if the blade i was using had been sharp. i knew it was a bad sign when my first swipe didnt break the skin...this may be getting more graphic than you would like. lets just say it wasnt quick.

after they skinned and gutted it, i helped a little with the butchering. before they started cutting and chopping i saw these huge chunks of good looking meat. but once they started cutting i soon realized there would be very few clean pieces of meat. every bone in the goat was hacked with its surrounding meat. this made getting an easy-to-chew piece quite the treasure hunt.

another thing i learned in a late night conversation around the fire with nick was the huge role corruption plays in keeping pokot illiterate and uneducated. the government minister for the pokot area has had the job for 15 years. he knows that nobody pays attention to pokot on a larger scale so he pockets any money that is earmarked for improvements in the area. he tells the people to only send one child to school because they will leave the family if they get educated. the illiterate people keep voting for him because they do not realize how he is holding them back, but anybody who goes to school for a few years does not vote for him.

each night we also had kenyan "coffee". trust me, it needs the quotations. it was a large pot of water, with a fraction of the necessary instant coffee, and lots and lots of sugar. pretty much sweet brown water

i enjoyed the week, but dont think that i got as much out of it as i could have because of being sick.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

hospital visit

it seems that it is absolutely impossible for somebody to take a trip over here for over a month without getting sick. ben went above and beyond in this respect. sarah made sure to add her name to the sick in kenya list after only a week. and i have now joined.

i woke up at 7 this morning coughing like crazy and with a pretty good headache. took some advil and throat lozenges and everything seemed all right. then i started getting cold in church, while remembering that andrew and jean had just gotten sick with the symptoms of- cough, headache, feeling cold.

beatrice had to leave early, and that meant that we were leaving a little early. but then we contacted beatrice, and she said to go to the hospital. by this time the advil had warn off i was feeling progressively worse.

5 hours at the hospital got everything sorted out, and i am able to go to pokot tomorrow, something that i thought would not happen mid afternoon. before getting paracetamol from the doc, i was feeling as bad as i can remember. might have been that sick senior year of high school.

but now i feel fine, so lots of drugs in the near future and i should be ok.

pokot should be pretty interesting

Saturday, October 10, 2009

chrisc saturdays

as another connection from sarahs trip over here a couple years ago, we spend our saturday afternoons working with chrisc for a leadership program for the street kids who hang out at their office. chrisc stands for christian sports contact, and sarah worked with them a lot last time. her friend joseph runs a lot of stuff in nairobi for them and has set us up with matthew and lynn to run this saturday program.

a couple weeks ago i had told matthew that i would bring a couple baseball gloves and we would play catch, and i finally remembered today. it was really fun, and funny playing catch with him, and then with alex (an incredibly bright and good kid who is always at the center). nobody knew how to put on the baseball glove, which makes sense if youve never seen one before, but funny none the less. it was good to throw a ball for the first time in ages

today was the third time we did a lesson, and by far the most fun. we talked about teamwork today, and had a lot of games to go along with the lesson. we played a teamwork land mine game, and tried to throw a ball back and forth between sheets(it required teamwork). we did trust falls (but i didnt go, nobody thought they could catch me),

the games were a ton of fun to play, and everybody got involved- sarah, me, matthew, and lynn. we took some pictures, but missed out on a ton of other good ones when we left the camera inside during the land mine game where one person is blindfolded and has to listen to his team to know where to go.

also, sarah and i managed to be complete twinkies today, from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet. and somehow neither of us noticed until just after we left the house.

Monday, October 5, 2009

poor time to experiment

i guess saturday was destined to be a bit adventurous given that we started off by trying to find a couple shops for craft material in the insanely busy maze of streets which make up the city center. so we accomplished that- found two shops far away from each other and sarah got all materials needed in more than enough time for us to get to chrisc.

i think as an explanation of our trip back that afternoon i will just go with what i posted as my facebook status upon our return...

Tried out a new bus route: √ ended up a mile from home: √ in the pouring rain: √ walked back in the mud while trying to protect a camera: √ gave lots of africans a solid laugh: √

our experimenting in bus routes took its first wrong turn. but since i was laughing right along with the africans the entire time, i cant say i wish it hadnt happened

Friday, October 2, 2009

outside of nairobi

i had been in kenya for 4 solid weeks before i was finally able to venture outside of nairobi. i have had a great time thus far, and met many amazing people. and i didnt realize this until after the internal change had occurred...but i had not quite reached the point were i knew i had to come back here. i mean, i figured that i would certainly have to come again, but there wasnt this concrete knowledge, a realization of how great this place was. i loved the people, no doubt, but there wasnt a connection the way scotland got me my first time in the highlands.

on wednesday, after going with boniface to the street kids we went out to his house with him to see the place, and plan a little for the future.

he lives about an hour outside the city when there is no traffic, but it is worlds away from the kenya i had seen so far. for anybody who knows me, i am not exactly a lover of cities. the traffic is what gets me most, but second most is probably the artificial light which kills the stars. while in nairobi there isnt much of that light, there is also no where outside really to go to look at them in the city. the reason i had failed to make that heartfelt connection with kenya thus far was the thick smog which obscured my vision.

just a few hours in the country, and i was hooked. all of the hustle and bustle of the city absolutely melted away at bonifaces. it almost seemed like just an annoying dream compared to the fresh air and sight lines of many miles from the hill where liberty house is located.

there were no sounds of the city. no cars honking, and revving. not the constant movement of hundreds of thousands of people which goes on all hours of the day. no matatu conductors yelling out slang swahili and sales pitches to possible customers.
there was just a gentle breeze which slightly rattled the tin roofing of the house, and some of the trees rustled. the sound of running water could be heard from the flower nursery across the street. (that is not a common sound in nairobi, especially if the water is remotely clean) the random sheep or cow might let out their respective communicative noise as they got herded by. there were houses spotted sporadically across the countryside.

that description is of how amazing of an experience it was, yet there has been no rain in months, and everything that can die, pretty much has. when we go out there after some rain has come, it might be beyond words to describe.

and all that has went without mentioning the numerous fruit trees, and large garden they have there, which is just waiting on water to get started.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


i just read sarahs blog about last week and the hiv/aids training. she does a wayyyy better job of explaining the significance of the training for those involved than i did (and of how much we learned). so just go read her blog if you havent already.

today we went with boniface to his church service for the street boys. this time we went to where they sleep, on a slab of concrete beside the river, or under the bridge. it was a little more sobering than the first time we went out with him, because we got to see them at their dwelling place, and in the light their overall dirty and unkeptness is more obvious. it was good, im really glad that we got to go see them where they sleep.

there are certain things in my life which i have grown up with no appreciation for. i have probably tested them out at some point long ago, failed, and then written them off all over again. aside from blogging for the first time in my life the last month or so, i have attempted to journal while here for the first time as well.

after church with boniface today we went to java house.

i have been reading (re)understanding prayer by kyle lake this past week. there were some things which i wanted to write about today, so i did that. but while reading, i kept remembering other things and kept journaling. there are some things that have been bouncing around my head for the last couple years that i finally decided to write down. then i kept connecting those ideas with other things that i have thought about, just not in conjunction with those other ideas before. by the end i was kicking myself to never writing my thoughts down before, and very satisfied with the time i had put into writing. i guess a lot of it centered around my perception of prayer and trying to figure out what factors contributed to putting my perception of prayer at its current place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

getting there

this past week we finally did an entire trip around the city without a guide. we took buses and matatus from home to south b and back all by ourselves. we have been lucky enough to have guides all around us so we havent been hung out to dry in our transportation at all. and now we have got a good enough grasp of the ropes that we can get around without help for the most part. we also have went to and from church unaided a few times this week. im pretty sure we got overcharged on at least one matatu ride.

today at church wiki (yes mom, i will eventually post pictures of people) taught us how to make kenyan tea. its pretty easy, and now i have its secret locked in my mind forever, i think. the best part about knowing how to make kenyan tea is that next time at ubc when we decide to do a kenyan day....we wont screw up the kenyan tea.

ill actually give quick, probably inadequate directions
combine 1 part milk with 3 parts water. ex. 500ml milk and 1500ml water
pour into pot and bring to boil
once boiling, add two tea bags (for amount given above)
let the bags bounce around for about 5 minutes while still simmering
remove bags
pour into cups and add lots of sugar

wiki has also said he will teach us how to make chipati, which is amazing and super kenyan.

i thought that handling public transportation, making tea, and making chipati should set us well on our way to being honorary kenyans, but wiki told me that there were many more things he would show us, so i guess we still have a long way to go

we went to ktdp in kibera the last couple days. it is a school loosely associated with city harvest. sarah has some art supplies and we did stuff with a couple of their classes. my experience with kids and art has come entirely from waco arts up till this point. waco arts, at least in its initial stages (south terrace) was more like chaos with attempted organization. therefore i was completely unprepared for the kids to quietly and quickly accomplish whatever it is you asked them to do. the first day (and second day too) all activities went super fast. it was weird to realize that it was harder to plan a lesson when the kids actually listened and did the work, rather than anything but.

it was also hilarious the way the little kids mobbed us. i legitimately couldnt move for fear of crushing a kid.

spent time at the hairdressing school today, and will be back in south b tomorrow, possibly attempting to learn to knit or something like it

Friday, September 18, 2009

hiv/aids training

the last few days have been hiv/aids training for women before they can join a post test club. i learned a lot about hiv, the drugs used to fight it, and how long and normal life can be even when someone has hiv. because most of the talking was done in swahili, we used a lot of time to try to learn words and phrases from sarahs handy swahili roughguide book.

we got some iced coffee at java house the other day which was pretty much blissful. i love coffee. she gave me some pointers for communicating better- speak slower, pick words carefully, dont go off on tangents and use needless words like i tend to do.

some differences kind of set in too. the way water is such a commodity here, as opposed to turning on any tap anywhere in america and having drinking water. i really got hit with that as i saw about 30 women lined up waiting to get water that was not even clean. one activity done during the training was to set out a days worth of food for five people on a 100 shilling budget. that is $1.33. maybe a loaf of bread back home

Sunday, September 13, 2009

in comparison

its been a few days since my last update because things have been a bit hectic lately.

last thursday we didnt end up doing too much, but a guy named matthew who works for SNV (not sure if thats right) was visiting the church. he is the guy who connected one laptop per child (olpc) with city harvest in pokot. after morning devotions we talked to him for about two hours, and learned a lot about how loans and contracts were given out for construction. apparently anybody under 40 does not have enough collateral or security in order to get a loan. so a lot of people who may have entrepreneurial ideas, cant get the money to do it. also he said that contracts, government especially, normally go to whoever offers the most kickback, so the cost for buildings is often almost twice what it should be.

on friday we spent most of the day in south b. first at the slums and then with a ptc group there. we were late meeting with the ptc group because mercy, the women who was meeting us and taking us to the group's meeting place is super social and was talking to people all along the way. mercy is not much older than me, has aids, and is about the most hopeful person i have ever met. the hope which these women have once they come to grips with having aids, and realize that they will not die immediately is amazing. mercy is going back to school, at a grade 8 level now and talked about going to university once she graduated. a couple of the other women in the group were also going back to school, some of the women much older than mercy. i think mercy is possibly the most vivid example of the hope and joy which they have, however it is very similar with all the groups.

as sarah is quick to point out on her blog, any problems which we (and we means mostly sarah here) have encountered the last couple days, pale in comparison when we think about the lives of the people who we spend most of our week interacting with in the slums. however, to sumarize, sarahs allergies have been incredibly bad, and her computer crashed yesteray. so bad breathing, plus bad sleep, plus bad computer isnt a good combination. the days havent been all that much fun for me by virtue of feeling bad for watching sarah struggle and not being able to feel like im helping. i think skype last night with ben, marshall, and carly didnt hurt though. i was also thinking how much more amplified the feelings have to be for those with aids, whose friends are struggling with aids, when somebody is sick or dying. thats so much worse than a stuffy head and throat, and much more prevalent in their lives as well.

going to a second straight 4 hour service was a little different today, it didnt have the newness of last week's service. but the conversation with pastor edward on the way back from church was really good and made the whole experience worth while.

for my mom, i swear a post with pictures and explanations of people will come eventually.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

sleep is sooooo nice

tuesday- i survived. thats all that matters
sunday night i slept fitfully. monday night i slept till 330, then couldnt sleep any more. so tuesday was a long long very tired day. and we walked. a lot. we went to south b and walked to the beauty school then to new biofuel project a ptc is building there. later we walked with wiki to kibera from the church and visited the elementary school city harvest has there. thats about 40 min each way. then walked another 45 minutes or so to the city center. all while i was the most tired i can remember. i was swaying near the end. and i went to bed at 9. earliest bedtime since gradeschool

but sleeping pills from nakumat junction were the answer i needed. and today i woke up feeling refreshed for the first time in kenya.

we went around with a group from ireland that got in yesterday. they are working primarily with nairobi chapel, another church in town that worked with the amahoro meetings a lot. they saw the vtc and the beauty school. we left them after lunch and went to another post test club(ptc) group in a different slum. we didnt stay there too long because we had to get back in order to leave before traffic got bad. thankfully there wansnt too much traffic. which made...

...it possible for me to drive :-) despite a decent amount of time spent in left side driving countries, till today i had avoided getting behind the wheel. i was also a bit more nervous after watching the driving habits of kenyans for the last week. the clutch in my car back home is super easy so i was a little rough at first, but was smoother by the end. and those constant speed bumps dont make is any easier for a nervous american. but no problems and a nice little thrill

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ben Freakin Carroll and mutatus

as i got into beatrice's car today about to leave the city center my first thought was man, that was a looong day, im dead tired and will sleep well tonight. then i started thinking about all we did and how much ground we covered in a variety of ways, and realized what an amazing day i just had. i feel a hundred times more comfortable around the city now. what follows will describe that day. but first....

...if you are anything like me you probably have very little appreciation for the impact that one Benjamin Carroll made during his semester here two years ago. i have yet to meet somebody who did not immediately ask about ben, and that is not and exaggeration, literally every person has asked him. and about half of them have said i reminded them of ben because we looked similar. pastor humphrey told me today that i would be little ben as far as he was concerned. and i havent even got to west pokot yet, where edward tells me they love ben more than anywhere. pretty impressive buddy

so today was our introduction into the world of mutatus. we rode to the city center with beatrice, and then met grace there in order to take a mutatu to the church. after the first 3 mutatus going on our route were full, we finally got on one with a little shouldering for position. we went to one of the oldest post test and counseling (ptc) groups in kawangware, a slum fairly close to pastor edwards house. in kawangware next week there is training for 35 more people who will be joining ptc groups. while learning some of the bead work which they do, grace and sylvia had a meeting with some of the members from that group planning for next weeks training. i made 3 different types of necklaces. while i have added more art to my resume in the last year that ever before (wai), today probably topped my crafts experience for my lifetime. i really enjoyed learning what i did today, and look forward to picking up many more skills in the ptc groups throughout this fall.

they served us tea with lots of sugar, sandwiches, and mandazi. mandazi is otherwise know to anybody who has been to new orleans as a beignet. i could be wrong, but i think this made sarahs day up to this point

we returned to the church via mutatus, but not before absolom bought sarah some grilled maize on the cob from a street vendor. it was surprisingly good, kinda like the half popped kernels in a bag of popcorn with some kind of hot spice sprinkled on.

i really enjoyed riding on the mutatus. it would be conservative to say a near accident occured about every 2 minutes involving the current van i was in. because the speeds werent fast enough to kill, it was kind of thrilling/entertaining to see how bad the driving was. however, if it was not for grace and sylvia helping us navigate, and by helping i mean steering us around like animals on a leash, it would be very scary to try to get where we wanted to go. the numbers on the vans tell what route they go on, however just because two vans have the same number does not necessarily mean they will go the same place. they are always yelling out in swahili, but i obviously dont know what they say. it would also be easy for them to rip us off if we werent with friends because i have no idea what certain rides should cost, nor can i tell what price they announce. im sure i will have plenty more experience with mutatus in the coming days and months.

we met a friend of sarahs from her trip here two years ago in the city center a bit before we had to meet beatrice for our ride home. his name is joseph and he is as enjoyable and funny as i was led to believe. he works for cisco, a program that works with street kids in the slum which he lives in, as well as preaching at a local church sometimes, and some music activities. we talked about going on saturday to work with him, i hope it works out. this is probably what was the actual best part of the day for sarah, even better than beignets. to get sarahs perspective on this whole africa thing, if you dont already, go here.

at dinner tonight rene was here again so we got to talk about south africa a lot. i forgot how much i loved that place and how fast i want to get back. speaking of south africa-best place ever- cape point.

i forgot my camera again today, but hopefully i can correct that tomorrow.

im tired, goodnight

Sunday, September 6, 2009

baylor football and amahoro

saturday was a very long day

we had the day off, and went to the local club for a bit where jean was having her birthday party. we lunch at java house on the way back and turned andrew off milkshakes for life. following a much needed nap the planning board amahoro africa all came over to the house for dinner.

after dinner everybody sat around the living room and gave a short explanation of where they are from and how they became involved with amahoro. amahoro means peace, and its intention is to connect people all over the continent of africa who are working to improve life. many of the people here last night said that it gave them hope knowing that there were many others working on the same things, and with the same goal as they were doing. the continental meeting for amahoro will be taking place in nairobi next may, and this weekend of meetings was the main planning session.

when we were talking in smaller groups later in the night i talked to kelly a lot. she lives in burundi and works with the poorest tribe in the country, which is the third poorest country in the world. this tribe had previously had no land, and were looked down down upon socially. kelly and her husband have partnered with a church from texas in their work with this tribe, and the progress they have made in the past few months is incredible. they have done all the work themselves in the building of permanent homes, bathrooms, and beginning to farm for sustenance as well as for cash crops to sell. these 28 families have built 15 permanent bathrooms, all their temporary housing, and a lot of their permanent housing just since june when they got the land on which they will now live. i found the work ethic and energy which the whole community has thrown itself into the project to be amazing.

then everybody left and baylor football took center stage.

i was able to listen to the game with no problem on the baylor athletics website. it started as good as possible, went pretty well for the whole game, and then almost ended me at the end. now that i think of it, the near meltdown at the end may be sarah's fault because the decided the game was in good control and went to bed. only about 3 minutes later to get back up after i informed her that it was a 3 point game and the momentum was against us. not really. a win in a game like this just gives me more hope that i will return for a baylor bowl game in december. it better not be false hope this year.

this morning we went to church at city harvest. it was 4 plus hours long, which is a bit different than what i am used to, and a different style, but it was good. i really liked the singing. we talked to wiki after the service about learning the swahili songs, so that should be good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Sarah!!

its the end of our second full day in nariobi today, and the last two days have been good, although i have pretty much sleep walked through them. anytime i sat still today i was almost falling asleep.

we spent much of the day yesterday going all over nairobi in search of an apple charger for sarahs phone. her original charger hid in her car back in new orleans. on the way back sarah and i got dropped off at the nakumat. it legitimately has everything. we ate dinner with the family that night and another visitor arrived right at dinner to stay the night and have some meetings the next day. she was from south africa so of course i was happy to have a little talk about capetown.

today we went to city harvest with edward in the morning. we got up at 630, and by about 8 i was pretty tired...dang jet lag. we attended the morning prayer meeting with the staff, sarah played computer wiz and set up edwards computer that was screwed up, and then we went out to see a couple of the church's programs. we first went to the hair styling and beauty school in a slum called southbee (probably wrong spelling but thats what it sounded like). we met some of the girls in school there and the teachers. we also hung out in alex, wiki, and kevin's room for a while. they live right by the beauty school. after that we went to the vct (voluntary counciling and testing)center. this is where they have HIV testing and counseling. next week they are going into kibera to make testing more accessible and i think we will probably be going with them.

andrew and jean are a ton of fun and have been keeping us entertained constantly. the difference between a 9 yr old boy (andrew) entertaining visitors, and an 8 yr old girl (mia) is not surprising, but i still find it amusing. one is jumping over stack of backpacks and chairs, while the other is putting on singing and dancing performances.

and tomorrow baylor begins their football season!! i will either be listening to the game online, or watching it via channelsurfing.net (fingers crossed it works out)

and aint technology great, we had an hour long skype with ben carroll today, just blissful.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

kenyan morning song birds

i awoke just a few minutes ago to lots of morning birds singing. its not yet dawn, about 6am right now, but still dark. i guess i didnt get much sleep, but that was a great way to wake up on my first morning here.

im sitting alone in the downstairs living room cause i beat everybody else up, ideally i would be sleeping for a lot longer, but i feel wide awake right now so that doesnt matter.

i forgot to mention last night that nairobi is currently under electricity rationing. we will not get electricity on monday, wednesday, and friday during the days. thankfully its thursday so we get a day to adjust.

our day today will probably consist of getting a new apple computer charger, a frame, and whatever else it turns out we need at the supermarket. i forgot its name. interspersed with that will probably be me hitting a wall of tiredness about 3 times throughout the day.

one thing i left out yesterday was how much better my layover in london was with sarah being there than being by myself like i have always been in the past. so that was great even though the seats changed on us again once we got on the flight.

the internet here is really good...which means i will be listening to baylor football games!! and skyping will definitely work so if you have one then talk to me.

at the moment i am skyping with brett. he is in cairo. it is about 630 in kenya, 530 in cairo. i am already awake and brett is about to go to sleep after being up all night. this is so awesome! it sounds like he is having an amazing time. its ridiculous, he needs to start a blog...

i met the cook at pastor edwards house, her name is susie. she has the morning breakfast table set up with tea cups and cereal.

apparently the roads arent as bad as they used to be to the pokot tribe. it might only be 6 or 7 hours now and not nearly as bumpy.

i am loving everything in life at the moment so much right now. things went great arriving here and it is just blissful talking to by brother in egypt right now and hearing all his unique stories already.

arrived in kenya

well first of all, im here!

as for the previous 30 hours before arriving at edward's house...they had their ups and downs much more than my normal international trips. right at the start of my flight from dallas, i had about 4 annoying/frustrating things occur which just added up and had me fairly annoyed. they were- bank of america's slow phone service after not working for two days, my leaving my newly bought Freakonomics book at the airport, and sarah and my seating plans not working. but after i got calmed down from that buildup the flights werent too bad. i didnt have anybody sitting next to me so i was never cramped.

i think i caught about 10 minutes of sleep on the flight to london ha. so 3 movies, 2 tv episodes, and one rugby game got me through the flight. our layover in london was pretty good, just 3 hours, so it never felt like we were there for way too long. i actually slept a bit on the second flight which was a nice change.

arriving in nairobi ariport was very smooth and laid back. one of the guys there showed us where a shorter line was to get our visas. we met victor right outside and he drove us to pastor edwards house. he is a driver for city harvest. we have spent the time at edwards talking about some of the church's plans, and friends back in waco.

no water, but whats another day without a shower given my recent pace. andrew, edwards son, is intently watching the emperors new groove, actually i think it is the emperors new groove 2 by this time. there are mosquito nets for the beds, however theres no malaria risk in nairobi, but they still are annoying.

if i think of anything more ill add it

Friday, August 28, 2009

5 days remaining

some quick hits.

brett just left for cairo today

im so bored i have started packing 5 days early. really not a lot left to do. by far a new record

surprised by the amount (or lack there of) of clothes and stuff im gonna take. which is good because i think i will take a lot of books. its a tall stack and im not done. recommendations welcome

scott gets into town for a few days tomorrow. im excited, another unexpected visit from him

hadnt posted a picture yet so i thought id just make sure how it worked

Sunday, August 23, 2009


for anybody who has ever had even a short conversation with me it does not take long for my love and appreciation of waco to become obvious. i dont think i have ever spent more than two months away since i first arrived. as i prepare to leave for a few months in nairobi, kenya it will certainly be more than four months till i come back home. that makes my last week here especially important. its been good, nothing too mindblowing, but definitely just good solid waco time.

im not sure what it speaks to that i have managed to improve my halo skills more than i ever have noticed before, but ill take what i can get i guess.

im now down to a week and a half before leaving for kenya. iv had some good conversations over the past week and feel like i have a fairly good mindset going into the trip. one thing that has got me a bit excited is thinking about things that we can do in the many hours per night in the house. aside from hopefully large amounts of reading, theres p90x to some extent, and any other activity that can be carried out in a house that i am willing to consider. this is a trip that i have been looking forward to for long enough that while i dont expect everything to be perfect, i have no hesitancy in going.

its getting close.

oh, and a major assist to jack and aaron for removable hard drive and p90x. they're lifesavers, or at least major simplifyers

Monday, August 10, 2009


yesterday i did the last of the dunking booth promotions which i have been doing periodically this summer with Crazy Water. i thought i had completed the entire summer without having to get dunked. i was wrong.

but the really amazing thing about yesterday was my epiphany moment concerning sushi. i had had sushi before, but never really good sushi, and normally california rolls, but not much with tunu and salmon. at market street in collyville they have a sushi chef making it right in front of you, and he knows what he is doing. so i ate a bunch of sushi yesterday and can no longer understand why i had felt no desire to try really good sushi before. and raw meat is so good im not sure why ill ever need it cooked again. well not quite.

also, imagine my surprise as i walked out of the store while setting up and saw leasha heffington. i thought it was her at first glance but could think of no possible reason why she would be there, much less be in conversation with carol, my boss. yet it was her and we were both in for a pleasant surprise. leasha was there with a wish for wings, the charity we were partnering with for the dunking booth this weekend.

and you know something is consuming your thoughts when it becomes the subject of nightlong dreams. that would be the case with my upcoming trip. even when i am not conciously dweling on it, i seem to be pondering it.

and anthony bourdain has the worlds best job, id like to be his intern...travel the world eating the best local food and drinking beer

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


i just returned today from another weekend in waco. for any who know me, you know that there are few, and none other that i know of, places where my soul feels as happy and content at just being there. i have yet to make it more than two weeks this summer without a visit to waco.

i stayed an extra day this time in order to be present for the return of griffin kelp. griffin is one of my favorite people and one of my roommates this past year. since i hadnt seen him since graduation there was no way i was going to miss him by a couple hours and have to wait a few weeks to see him again. his return coincided with mug club and it was a blissful night.

i was also able to get a good deal of reading done at common grounds. before the summer i had grand plans of long reading list of classics and gk chesterton. however i was soon hit with the realization that having a job where i work all day for the first time in my life puts a huge damper on reading plans. the book im currently reading is The Everlasting Man by GK Chesteron. this is possibly the most dense book i have ever read. it is basically chesterton looking at the history of man and then Christ from a non christian perspective. but that really does not do the book justice. i have probably only read about 50 pages during my two weeks in mineral wells while reading this book, however a few days in waco has allowed another 120 or so pages which i am very thankful for so that i now have a hope to finish it.

i spent my drive back today pondering africa. trying to find the specific feelings and thoughts that cause me to want to go so badly, and what i am even hoping to get out of the trip. i also had a great conversation saturday night with tanna, and my new friend lotto about their trip there earlier this summer. i just cant wait, however i am trying to enjoy my time before i leave as much as possible.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a blog? by me?

i have found writing to be my weakest subject in school by far. odds are, this will be visible the more i write. my goal of writing as little as possible when it is not mandated for class has now run into the wall of a trip to africa, something that i have been asked about enough to know i need to chronicle it in some way. that being this blog i think.

i have been trying to find a way that i could take a trip to africa since my freshman year at baylor when i was introduced to invisible children and numerous other stories about what life was life in much of africa. many of my friends made trips over there, ben stayed for a semester, but i was caught in a situation that didnt allow any chance to take a trip. when i say "caught in a situation" that makes it sound bad, which isnt the case really. i had the privilage to play college baseball for baylor. however eventually it reached the point where i could no longer tell myself that baseball was more important than a trip like the one i am about to embark on, amoung other things.

my trip to nairobi, kenya has been planned for a year, but it never really consumed my mind due to all the other things i had going on. this summer was broken up into two sections for me- pre katie's wedding and post katie's wedding- and i never gave much thought to the second half of the summer. the last few weeks i have been thinking a lot about africa, getting shots, and trying to get the details worked out.

i really have no idea what im getting myself into. the closest iv been to nairobi has been a few videos watched, and some conversations with those who have been there before. possibly the most important thing about the trip is that i am not going alone, i know i wouldnt be able to handle that.

im just writing random stuff by this point. my life has no plans made past christmas. i have never had a good idea of what i want do, or an extended plan for my life, but as long as i was in college i had a few years of cushion. thats not the case anymore. i hope that my time in kenya will help me figure out where i want to go with my life, but i dont know anything for sure.