Sunday, July 11, 2010

summary of week one

Most of the e-mail I sent to my family. Thought you would enjoy it as well!

Nick has actually been able to work on airplanes! Naturally, he only
brought nice clothes since they told us otherwise. OH well. He loves
the guys at the hangar and even when the work is tedious (Thursday he
got to change the ID numbers on the side of a plane) he comes back
feeling like he did something helpful. He hasn't gotten to fly anywhere yet, but
there was money in our budget for him to buy a flight if we can't find
a free one. (It would be free if a pilot was already going and he had
room for him.)

We spent Saturday through Tuesday getting transportation lessons,
meeting missionaries, going to meetings to help us adjust to local
culture, and meeting some of the higher ups of AIM here. So Wednesday
was when we actually started serving. Public transportation is
interesting. We can choose between a bus or a matatu (Ma-ta-too). A
Matatu is an old style van that holds about 13 people. It has a driver and a tout. The tout
collects money and deals with passengers. They share routes with the
buses and then some. Nick takes one with the guys to the hangar every
morning and home in the evening. We have been told to be very aware
while riding public transit and to never ride it at night. Thus far,
there haven't been incidents. The drivers here are just as crazy (if
not more so) than the ones in Romania. Their theory is: if there is an
empty space I can use it. It doesn't matter if it's the other lane or
not. They run red lights if there is room. There are no stop signs –
they wouldn't understand the wasted road space. I have seen my life
flash before my eyes every day. I'm getting used to it now. It's
really funny to see the missionaries drive like crazy Kenyans. They
tell us how hard it was to get used to at first but now they have a
hard time driving in the States when they have home leave.

We are staying at Mayfield. So many people come and go. We met a
Canadian team doing VBS in the slums. There are 3 slums in Nairobi.
Between them they house more than half of the 3 million people in the
city. Because of the slums the city doesn't take all that long to
drive through. Anyways, us wives went with them on Wednesday because
they were doing a craft with paints and expected 400 kids and could
use the extra hands. While they did the non-craft stuff, we helped out
in classrooms. They use the British educational system here and rote
memorization. The majority of Kenyans are never taught critical
thinking skills. The slums stink because they throw their sewage on
the dirt paths they walk on. The paths are covered with trash (esp old
shoes). It's quite an experience. I gagged a few times walking through
it.

Thursday we declared reflection day for the wives. We felt so
overwhelmed by our slum experiences that we needed a day to rest. So I
journaled, prayed, and read my Bible. In the afternoon we walked the 1/2
mile or so to the local market and bought that huge avocado. On Friday
we went to the weekly prayer meeting of the missionary wives and then
some of them took us to the toi (pronounced "toy")market. The toi market is thousands of
vendors selling second hand items from the States that look brand
new. You can also bargain down the prices but they usually never give
it to us for the same price as a national. We call it the skin tax.

Saturday we went to an elephant orphanage and watched them
feed the baby elephants. SUPER CUTE! We then went to a giraffe park
and feed giraffes up close. Some people put the food in their mouths
so the giraffes will kiss them. I didn't have the guts to do that. But
I did pet the head and neck. They feel very coarse. There were also
some warthogs wandering around getting the food the giraffes dropped. And
a little area of tortoises. We didn't look at those for very long for
obvious reasons. Nick and I joked that my parents have a zoo. (They own a tortoise.) We had lunch at the Karen museum. (you know the
lady from “Out of Africa”). We walked around her plantation and house
too. It's super pretty. They even named that whole area of town
“Karen” after here. It's where the really rich Kenyans live.

I wish I could send pictures but the internet is so slow. I'm going to
try Facebook later and see if I can get a couple up there. If not, WE
will have to wait till we visit you or go back to TX. The computers in
NY are super old they don't have USB drives.

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