So. Here I am. In Kenya. All settled in. After 2 days, 2 flights, an overnight layover in Dubai, 20 hours of flying, packing, unpacking, repacking, innumerable Target runs, gallons of trail mix, tons of prayer, a night of food poisoning, tears, encouraging words... I am finally here. And I am stoked. And not to mention exhausted.
I already have friends here. Smiles are contagious from Kenyan to Kenyan, and Jambo! with a smile is just about the best greeting you will ever receive. And I have never so much enjoyed sitting in 4 hours of bumper to bumper traffic. (It seems one thing Nairobi shares in common with a US city is Friday night 6 o'clock traffic.) Pole pole ("Slowly, Slowly"), they say. I love it.
What I have seen in Nairobi is incomparable with anything I've ever seen before. Let me attempt to give you a quick snapshot...
There are 6 million people living in Nairobi. Not Kenya. Just Nairobi. 1.5 million of those people live in the Kibera slum, the largest slum in the world. As we drove around in what the interns lovingly call "The Elephant" (a giant, black, four-wheeling van), car horns were blasting. (Kenyans call it "hooting" instead of "honking.") Motorcycles were weaving in and out of cars. Bicyclists were weaving in and out of cars. People were weaving in and out of cars. Being white-skinned, you are often stared at. But don't be mistaken. The people of Kenya are very friendly. Some mothers who were carrying their babies in colorful slings on their backs smiled and waved, as did their child. Heaps of trash line the streets. Dirt serves as the sidewalk. There are police officers, but no traffic rules are enforced. There are no street lines, no "right of way"s. "Push and shove" seems to be the only way to get anywhere if you drive. Public transportation consists of a worn white van, where at least 20 people will cram in for a ride. Even our patient and brave driver William says they are crazy. "Shacks" (if you can call them that) line the street-sides and are made of sticks, cardboard, cloth, dirt, trash, anything you can stumble upon. You are constantly surrounded with the smell of gasoline and garbage, which is burning in the streets.
This is Nairobi. I know nothing of it. And I love it so far.
I cannot wait for God to show me Kenya through His eyes.