• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
firsttrip
Day 2

Day 2

Habari yako?  (how are you?)
We’re in Kijabe, which at least this week, must be one of the most beautiful places on earth.  The village -if you can call it that – sits on the side of rift valley and from our porch we can look out and see an incredible view.  As best I can tell there are people living all the way up the mountain and all the way down in the valley as far as the eyes can see, connected by some dirt roads and worn footpaths.  They say it is winter here and normally bitter cold, but this week is spectacular, 70 degree days and gorgeous winter light.  Last night I was wide awake at 2 am, so I walked out and saw the most beautiful display of stars ever.
 The areas directly around us are owned by several organizations, the AIC hospital where Arianna works, CURE, an organization which takes care of kids with every sort of disability, Moffat Bible College, and the Rift Valley Academy which is a school from pre-school to 12thgrade that has to be one of the most beautiful school campuses in the world.  We can walk up to RVA for the girls to play on the playground or tonight where I played a bit of indoor soccer with some MK’s and RVA alumns (missionary kids = mk’s – that’s what Madeline and Annabelle technically are).  The number of people in the area is thousands during the day and shrinks to hundreds at night as people walk back home down the mountain.
Arianna jumped right into work and as far as medicine goes, she feels right at home.  Though the hospital doesn’t look like the new children’s in B’ham. . ., she does have most medicines and machines (CT scanner, etc.) available that she would have at home, so she is able to practice in a way that she normally would and provide excellent patient care.  She is exhausted, working very long days with jet-lag, but hopefully her body will adjust soon!
Madeline and Annabelle are happy as clams today (as they were most of the journey save for a few moments brought on by exhaustion).  They made friends with a family with three children ages 3 ½, 5, and 8, and it looks like they’ll be playing together most afternoons – they played at their house while I spent the afternoon figuring out how to get the internet working, and there are an abundance of places nearby to romp and play.  My big hope going into this month was to be able to spend lots of quality time with them, and lack of internet and car definitely contribute as we walk hand in hand wherever we go.  Their suitcase still hasn’t arrived (hopefully tomorrow), but they are okay with the several outfits they do have.
A couple of goals I have for the trip are to learn some Swahili and get to know Kenyans.  There is a fantastic community around the hospital of expat missionary families and we went to a dessert last night and met many of them.  They are fantastic people, and it would be easy to make friends and spend all our time with them, but I want to get a sense of what life and culture is like for normal people. . .so I spent the morning today cutting grass (unakata nyasi) in front of our house with a machete and my new friend William.  I have plenty of blisters, but William (most people have English names and Kenyan surnames) is a great guy and enjoyed teaching me, and hopefully I was a bit of help in attacking the acre around the house.  He swings the machete much better than I do (you want a firm grip and a loose wrist. . .my wrists are too tight and I have to switch hands every few swings) but is very patient and has a wonderful smile and sense of humor.

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