Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Snow in Kenya

I know I mention this often, but the weather here really is perfect. Don't get me wrong I like the seasons and am a little bit jealous that I missed the snow at home yesterday, but for it to be 80 degrees and always sunny in January is pretty nice.

It is hard to believe that my time here in Kenya is already half-way finished. At times it feels like I just got here and other times it feels like I've been here for a long time. It still feels that at times I am still struggling with some of the same things that I was when I first got here and that can be frustrating. One example would be in my work at the Center. My role there is essentially focusing on building relationships and there were a couple of people that I felt like I was beginning to do just that, but both are working now and no longer come to class, so now I'm back to square one. It can make you wonder if you are being effective at all when you only get to work with someone for a couple of months and then they are gone. I'm grateful for the ones who are still there that I'm still getting the opportunity to know better and for the new students that are coming. I really enjoyed the English classes this past week and had some good conversations about topics that are a little more important than when to use "was" or "were" correctly in a sentence.

It looks like I'm going to have more opportunities to travel around Kenya these last several months. That is one thing that I wanted to do when I got here, to be able to see a lot of the country and see what God is doing. One of the trips will be to an orphanage to play with the kids and do whatever else I can, others will be to visit Mennonite churches and communities. Another trip will be to the coast for an ultimate frisbee tournament over Easter weekend. Most of the trips will take place after I finish up coaching at Rossyln in mid-March. Speaking of Rosslyn, I've been working hard with the boys the last couple of weeks to get them ready for the upcoming season. We now practice three times a week and on the 31st we play our first game. I wasn't sure exactly how much I would like coaching an actual team as opposed to coaching kids for a week with UW, but I actually like it a lot. It is fun to see the boys improve and catch on to what you are trying to get across to them.

Random thoughts for the week:
- I really really wish I could watch the Giants game against San Fran tonight, but I don't have TV and it comes on at 2:30 in the morning here. This playoff run feels a lot like there run in the 2007-2008 playoffs when they went on to knock off the Pats in the Super Bowl, lets hope I'm right.
- I miss going to Bucknell basketball games, especially since they have another very good team this year.
- February is soon here which means that baseball spring training starts real soon!!
- I started working on filling out applications to return to Liberty this coming fall for grad school. I'm pretty excited about going back and working as a GA in the Athletics Communications Department, plus my little sister will be joining me as a freshman.
- On Friday I saw a thief try to steal a woman's necklace or bracelet and subsequently get grabbed by a couple of other guys and get his butt kicked. They started punching him and threw him to the ground and kicked him until he was able to get up and run away. This all happened right in the middle of downtown with hundreds of other people around.
- I realize that most of my random thoughts are about sports....I wonder why?

God Bless and if it worked two weeks ago I've got to say it again GO BIG BLUE!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Safari Trip with my Brother.

My brother Chad arrived last Monday and it has been a joy to have him around. He is doing an around the world trip and his first stop was here to see me. It has been fun just hanging out, chatting, throwing frisbee around, and doing some travelling around together. Last week we went to the Masai Mara National Park for a few days to camp and of course see the wildlife. During migration season the park boasts a wildebeest heard of over a million plus thousands of other animals that flock to the park in search of more food. This isn't migration season, so we didn't see nearly as many animals, but it was still very cool. The Mara is much different than Meru National Park which is where I was a couple of weeks ago. It is much more open with miles upon miles of open grasslands dotted here and there with Acacia trees.

The road leading to the park is bad to put it mildly. After leaving the last main town, Naruk, the road gradually gets worse, from black top to black top with potholes to potholes with a little black top and finally a rough dirt road. It took us a little over 5 hours to reach the park from Nairobi. Once we got into the park and had only travelled a few kilometers our car broke down. We had some local mechanics come and take a look at it and they told us that it would be best to tow the vehicle back to their "garage" and work on it there. Thankfully they were indeed able to fix the vehicle (for the time being) and after charging us the "tourist rate" for their services we were back on the road and into the park.

I've posted a video below that Chad put together of all the animals that we saw, so I won't got into detail about that. Once again it was so amazing to witness all of the animals in their natural habitats instead of behind bars at a zoo. There is something to be said about being within only a few yards of lions, cheetahs, water buffalo, and hyenas. The only animal that we didn't see that we were really hoping to was rhino despite the best efforts of our guide.

We left the park late morning on Thursday and after making it only a few kilometers outside of the gate our vehicle began to experience the same problems and shut off again. Thankfully this time around we were able to figure out what the issue was and were able to fix it and make it back to Nairobi without having to use the services of the mechanics again.

Chad brought with him a suitcase full of "tastes of home". Namely he brought 11 boxes of quality American cereal, including: Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruit Loops, and others (picture below). I really look forward to breakfast now and allowing my taste buds to once again experience the goodness of quality cereal. The suitcase also contained Nature Valley granola bars, Swedish fish, Jack Links beef sticks, Combos, and fruit snacks. So if anyone out there ever feels the need to send me some cereal or other quality American junk food I will not be upset.

Have a blessed week everyone and GO BIG BLUE!