First Kiss


Yes, that really is a picture of what you think it is- me kissing a giraffe. It was actually pretty fun and one of those many cultural experiences I've had here. Others have included Nairobi rush hour traffic (don't plan on moving much), moving out of the path of a muddy warthog, trying to walk through the markets with ten personal shoppers surrounding me, experiencing white power and what that really means, and kissing a giraffe on a warm afternoon.

The safari was amazing. It is so moving to see animals living together in the wild- completely free, roaming and feeding in the way they were created. The drive there was tough, though, as we broke down three times on the way, each time having to get out on the side of the road, the first time having a huge crowd of people, mostly children, gathering to watch the muzungus try to put water in the car. It took me a little while to decide whether to mention the smoke coming from some holes in the car to our driver. Many of you would have mentioned it right away but on the other hand, you didn't see the van or feel it die several times before leaving the city. The third time, our driver had another company take us to the lunch spot in their empty seats and then we got a ride from there into the park while a new van was delivered that night. Peggy told me before I left that she would be interested in what surprised me the most. One of the biggest was the roads. Eden wondered what I thought they would be after she had warned me about the ride to Turkana. But I didn't think for one second that the road to one of the most famous parks in the world would be no more than a rutted dirt track through the bush for over an hour. Rutted were the good roads, going through creek beds or having to go through a wide area of mud and washed out gullies was also common.

We went on a game drive that first night and it felt like I had passed into another land. Made the day completely worth it and more. God must have spent some extra time creating this place. The Masai Mara is so green this time of year with wild flowers dotting the landscape. Giraffes walk through the plains among the zebra and herds of elephants roam the hills. Lions lounge in the sun, the hippos lounge in the river while the monkeys steal anyone's lunch who isn't looking. The whole scene is breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the highlights for me was the herd of 35 elephants we had been watching from a distance then drove around the side of the hill to watch them come down passing yards away from our van. We also were very fortunate to see a leopard lounging in a tree, cheetah sleep under a tree, lions mating, and watching all manner of birds fly overhead. Yes, I got some fantastic photos and am will be sharing them with you when I get back. One thing I tried to remember was to put the camera down and enjoy just being there with the animals, to know what it feels like to see the hippo rise out of the water, to watch the monkeys playing on the log, to see a leopard looking down at you from its perch, the look in the lion's eyes when it contemplates what to do about your presence.

The camp we stayed at was wonderful. I felt like a man from some books Adria once suggested I read, Thomas Covenant. At home, I am simply another person, but here I am served. It is very strange and a new experience that helps me understand the history of Africa. Half our group stayed at the lodge and three of us were at the camp so we had our cook all to ourselves. He was a good cook and we enjoyed him but I must say, it's nice to eat a meal without someone urging me to "Eat more! Eat more!" Our group talked about it over dinner tonight and Eden said white power is there but that some people enjoy it, think they deserve it and it goes to their heads. I don't like it. I can't go shopping in the markets without having several personal shoppers at my side all talking. I can't stand anywhere outside where we are staying without being examined and stared at. I have never felt what that is like before.

I am learning so quickly to adjust to things here even as I struggle to do so. Last night was my culture shock hitting the wall night. I'd had it. My patience was done, I was tired of being stuck in a car all day (I've been in a moving vehicle much of my time here), tired of waiting, tired from waking up so early (I am up between 5-6 without an alarm), and I missed having any kind of familiarity with much of anything. Unfortunately or fortunately, this happened to be the night I finished the safari and moved on to the delegation portion of the trip. I met Jim, Isaiah, and Jessy Grace and we went out to get something to eat. Having western Quakers to talk to (they live in Kenya) helped a great deal as well as seeing a familiar face in Emily Stewart. This morning I went to the airport with Eden and we got lattes. A familiar taste turned out to be much needed. Finally getting to meet Eden after talking with her so much on facebook has been really nice, she is a great host. It felt so comforting to be with her, a friendly face goes a long ways after a week of traveling. Finally getting onto here to post and traveling with a group has also been great today. After breakfast, we went to the Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center, had lunch with giraffe walking by, and then went to the Market. After wandering among the stalls, we got to go out to eat an Ethiopian dinner in an outdoor garden. The weather is wonderful by the way. It feels good to be warm.

Tomorrow we go to church and give greetings from our home meetings. Four of the other delegates are here, the rest are flying in over the next two days. It sounds like it is going to be an amazing time together. We are staying in a guest house at an abbey until Monday, it's nice to be settled here together.

I still look around me and am amazed at where I am and who I get to be with. I am learning a lot about diversity, seeing God in the unfamiliar, and the freedom inherent in getting to let all lesser labels go and simply be a child of God on an amazing adventure with love and joy as my guides.

365-09 #345

Labels: ,

Walking the Sea: First Kiss

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Kiss


Yes, that really is a picture of what you think it is- me kissing a giraffe. It was actually pretty fun and one of those many cultural experiences I've had here. Others have included Nairobi rush hour traffic (don't plan on moving much), moving out of the path of a muddy warthog, trying to walk through the markets with ten personal shoppers surrounding me, experiencing white power and what that really means, and kissing a giraffe on a warm afternoon.

The safari was amazing. It is so moving to see animals living together in the wild- completely free, roaming and feeding in the way they were created. The drive there was tough, though, as we broke down three times on the way, each time having to get out on the side of the road, the first time having a huge crowd of people, mostly children, gathering to watch the muzungus try to put water in the car. It took me a little while to decide whether to mention the smoke coming from some holes in the car to our driver. Many of you would have mentioned it right away but on the other hand, you didn't see the van or feel it die several times before leaving the city. The third time, our driver had another company take us to the lunch spot in their empty seats and then we got a ride from there into the park while a new van was delivered that night. Peggy told me before I left that she would be interested in what surprised me the most. One of the biggest was the roads. Eden wondered what I thought they would be after she had warned me about the ride to Turkana. But I didn't think for one second that the road to one of the most famous parks in the world would be no more than a rutted dirt track through the bush for over an hour. Rutted were the good roads, going through creek beds or having to go through a wide area of mud and washed out gullies was also common.

We went on a game drive that first night and it felt like I had passed into another land. Made the day completely worth it and more. God must have spent some extra time creating this place. The Masai Mara is so green this time of year with wild flowers dotting the landscape. Giraffes walk through the plains among the zebra and herds of elephants roam the hills. Lions lounge in the sun, the hippos lounge in the river while the monkeys steal anyone's lunch who isn't looking. The whole scene is breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the highlights for me was the herd of 35 elephants we had been watching from a distance then drove around the side of the hill to watch them come down passing yards away from our van. We also were very fortunate to see a leopard lounging in a tree, cheetah sleep under a tree, lions mating, and watching all manner of birds fly overhead. Yes, I got some fantastic photos and am will be sharing them with you when I get back. One thing I tried to remember was to put the camera down and enjoy just being there with the animals, to know what it feels like to see the hippo rise out of the water, to watch the monkeys playing on the log, to see a leopard looking down at you from its perch, the look in the lion's eyes when it contemplates what to do about your presence.

The camp we stayed at was wonderful. I felt like a man from some books Adria once suggested I read, Thomas Covenant. At home, I am simply another person, but here I am served. It is very strange and a new experience that helps me understand the history of Africa. Half our group stayed at the lodge and three of us were at the camp so we had our cook all to ourselves. He was a good cook and we enjoyed him but I must say, it's nice to eat a meal without someone urging me to "Eat more! Eat more!" Our group talked about it over dinner tonight and Eden said white power is there but that some people enjoy it, think they deserve it and it goes to their heads. I don't like it. I can't go shopping in the markets without having several personal shoppers at my side all talking. I can't stand anywhere outside where we are staying without being examined and stared at. I have never felt what that is like before.

I am learning so quickly to adjust to things here even as I struggle to do so. Last night was my culture shock hitting the wall night. I'd had it. My patience was done, I was tired of being stuck in a car all day (I've been in a moving vehicle much of my time here), tired of waiting, tired from waking up so early (I am up between 5-6 without an alarm), and I missed having any kind of familiarity with much of anything. Unfortunately or fortunately, this happened to be the night I finished the safari and moved on to the delegation portion of the trip. I met Jim, Isaiah, and Jessy Grace and we went out to get something to eat. Having western Quakers to talk to (they live in Kenya) helped a great deal as well as seeing a familiar face in Emily Stewart. This morning I went to the airport with Eden and we got lattes. A familiar taste turned out to be much needed. Finally getting to meet Eden after talking with her so much on facebook has been really nice, she is a great host. It felt so comforting to be with her, a friendly face goes a long ways after a week of traveling. Finally getting onto here to post and traveling with a group has also been great today. After breakfast, we went to the Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center, had lunch with giraffe walking by, and then went to the Market. After wandering among the stalls, we got to go out to eat an Ethiopian dinner in an outdoor garden. The weather is wonderful by the way. It feels good to be warm.

Tomorrow we go to church and give greetings from our home meetings. Four of the other delegates are here, the rest are flying in over the next two days. It sounds like it is going to be an amazing time together. We are staying in a guest house at an abbey until Monday, it's nice to be settled here together.

I still look around me and am amazed at where I am and who I get to be with. I am learning a lot about diversity, seeing God in the unfamiliar, and the freedom inherent in getting to let all lesser labels go and simply be a child of God on an amazing adventure with love and joy as my guides.

365-09 #345

Labels: ,

2 Comments:

At December 5, 2009 at 11:23 PM , Blogger Hinzi said...

Great report, great photo!

 
At December 18, 2009 at 2:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucky giraffe... I have read your blogs but this is my first reply. It seems you are having an wonderful adventure and that is what many of us hoped for, I know you will be great at your meeting. As for the size of the group, no problem! just think of our theater (times ten).. We miss you around here and look forward to your return.
Randy
PS I saw Cheryl, she has the item you left with me for her to give you....

 

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