Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Kenyan Thanksgiving.

For the second year in a row I was able to experience Thanksgiving in another country. Last year we were on our motorcycle trip and spent Thanksgiving day touring the Mayan ruins at Tikal in Guatemala. It is obviously very different being in a country where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, but at the same time knowing that all of your friends and family are celebrating one of the truly greatest holidays ever established. My Thanksgiving day wasn't really any different than any other day. I went to the Center as usual, although I did come home a little bit earlier just for the sake of having somewhat of a day to celebrate. While at the Center I led a discussion on Thanksgiving with one of the groups of students. I told them all about the holiday and why we celebrate it and then I had each of them share what it is they are thankful for. It was really neat to hear what each of them had to share. That evening I was able to skype with my family, grandparents, and some of my cousins who were all at my parent's place to celebrate. It was really good to see all of their faces and hear there voices again. Unfortunately there was no big meal, for lunch I had to settle for grilled cheese....haha. On Monday night I did get to have a nice big Thanksgiving meal with my neighbors and some other friends. I really enjoyed the time to be together and share with each other what we are thankful for and how God has blessed us over the past year.

On Wednesday I started coaching at Rosslyn. I thought overall the first day went pretty well, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done. I'm coaching with another girl who is a little younger than me and her mom. We have about 35 boys that we are working with, which can be a challenge in itself let alone trying to help them improve their game. I'm looking forward to the challenge though and being able to get to know each of them. I know this blog is lacking in pictures so I'll try to get some taken at practice this week, so you can see what I'm doing there.

Random thoughts:
 - I bought Kellog's "Frosties" yesterday, which are the U.K.'s version of Frosted Flakes. They were super expensive, but I didn't care, I just wanted to eat some Kellog's cereal. I had some this morning and the first bite brought me instant happiness and I thought to myself, "this is how cereal is supposed to taste".
 - My shout out to Liberty last week obviously didn't help and once again our season ended in disappointment. Oh well, we'll try again next year.
 - I'm learning to not take for granted electricity. It usually goes out a handful of times a week and last weekend it went out for a good 24 hours. It seems that every time it rains hard, it knocks out the power and lately it has been raining a lot.
 - Speaking of rain, when it starts to pour here the roads have water rushing all over them within minutes. The whole drainage system here isn't exactly what it needs to be.
 - I'm starting to play a lot of sudoku again. There is just something really addicting about that game
 - Last Sunday there was a fundraiser lunch at the Thai embassy for the flood victims in Thailand. I've never eaten much Thai food, but after eating a considerable amount of food there I'm now in love with Thai food. I now want to go to Thailand if nothing else just to eat the food.

That's enough for random thoughts. I hope everyone had a a blessed Thanksgiving and has a great week.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I've got to start off by voicing my support for my Flames as they go up against Stony Brook for the Big South Championship tomorrow night. I plan on staying up for the 11:30 pm kickoff and will be praying for a good internet stream so I can watch the game. Now for my video post for the week:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Crazy Baboons!

On Monday, I travelled to an animal orphanage with some of the students from the center. The orphanage is located at the entrance to Nairobi National Park, and is a place of safety for, you guessed it, orphaned animals. The orphanage doesn't boast a large number of animals like zoos that I have been to in the past but what they had was good. I have found that when you visit a zoo in the states it almost always seems that the animals that you most want to see (lions, tigers, bears, etc.) are always hidden. Here they had cheetahs, lions, hyenas, and a leopard, all of which were in clear view. One of the more interesting aspects of the orphanage was the baboons that freely scampered around the grounds. Now if you've ever seen a baboon or know anything about them you know that they can be aggressive and somewhat dangerous. One look at their teeth and you can tell that if they got a hold of you they could dice you up pretty good.  Because of this, I did my best to steer clear of any them that began to approach me. There was a group of young school children there as well and at one point the baboons began to get a little feisty towards them. Naturally, this had a fairly traumatic affect on some of the youngsters. Cries of fear and terror could be heard as the kids scrambled away from the unfriendly beasts. Thankfully no one was hurt. The best part of the whole day was the opportunity to interact with the students outside of class. They are a great group, who really like to joke around and have a good time. After getting our fill of the animals we had a picnic lunch and then headed home.

The rest of the week was normal as far as my daily routine was concerned. I found out that I will not be getting "my" bike until the end of the month, which is later than I had hoped but I guess I can be patient. I accepted the middle school boys basketball coaching job at Rosslyn Academy and will begin there the week after next.

Switching gears, this week was probably my most difficult since arriving here. This doesn't mean that I have been super depressed or desperately wishing that I wasn't here. I just seemed to find myself missing my family more and realizing that I won't be able to see them for another six months. I realize that this isn't an extremely long amount of time, but at times it feels that way. I miss wrestling, playing ball, and just spending time with my nieces and nephews. I miss hearing little Kaci Dawn exclaim, "Uncle D" with a great big smile every time she sees me. It is during these times that I am reminded of how great a family I have and I thank God every day for them. It is really nice to have a family that I can indeed miss spending time with. I've also found myself missing my home area in general and the openness and freedoms that are available there. The open spaces and the freedom to simply go out whenever and wherever I want is something not as readily available here. The tragic events that have transpired at Penn State over the last week have also been extremely hard to swallow even though I am thousands of miles away from there. It has been hard not to think about what is happening there and how dramatically it is affecting so many peoples lives. It is stunning to think that this has happened at an institution and to a coach that I have always held in such high regard.

Despite having somewhat of a down week, I will not allow the emotions that I'm feeling to overshadow what I know to be true. And what is true is that God is good and faithful beyond comprehension. I am very thankful that I am here and for what God is teaching me. I know that God still has many things that He wants to teach me and do through me and for that all I can simply do is praise His name.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Motorcycling in Kenya!

Big news this week, at least for me it is....I've gained access to a motorcycle! I haven't exactly ridden or even seen the bike yet, but it seems pretty certain that I'll be cruising the Nairobi streets on two wheels very soon. I've certainly missed riding my bike, and while this bike won't be like mine, it will serve my need to ride just fine.

Now that I've filled you in on the big news, let me recap what else has happened recently. Thankfully things have remained calm here since the two grenade attacks last week. However, I don't think this means that the danger of a major terrorist attack has passed. On Wednesday, I met with the athletic director at Rosslyn Academy, which is an international school here, to discuss the possibility of coaching one of their middle school basketball teams. They are very much in need of coaches, so it looks like I'll get my first opportunity to do some coaching. I will start later this month and go there two days a week to start and beginning in January I'll be going three days a week. I'm excited for the opportunity to get connected at the school and be able to connect with the boys and hopefully be able to have an impact on their lives. I will still be going to Eastleigh, but on the days I go to Rosslyn I will have to leave a little bit early from the center.

As what usually happens when you spend more and more time with people, my relationships at the center continue to get better. I think this was my favorite week of working with the English students. Yesterday one of the girls brought me some Somali anjera and some stew. Anjera, at least Somali anjera, looks like a thin, porous pancake. I had told her that I wanted to try some so I could compare it to Ethiopian anjera, and to my delight she obliged. Both are good, but I think I like the Somali version a little bit more. On Monday, one of the English groups is going to an animal orphanage for a little field trip. I'm excited to go along with them and be able to interact in a setting that is different than the classroom. I'll be sure to take pictures and post them next week.

Now for those of you in cold weather locations and have already been hit with snow, let me offer my condolences. I've been having to deal with temperatures that occasionally dip into the upper 50s at night and if it gets really hot will reach 83 or 84 during the day. It has been raining more lately, so it isn't quite perfect all the time. So while most of you are putting on more layers, I'm putting on more sunblock to avoid getting burnt.