Saturday, April 21, 2012


One thing that I really wanted to do when I came to Kenya was to be able to explore the country and possibly even some other countries in East Africa. I've been able to see some different parts of the country and get a little bit of a feel of what it is like outside of Nairobi and this past week I had my first opportunity to explore outside the country. On Monday I went to visit some friends, Simeon and Janelle and their son Malachi, in Arusha, Tanzania.

The journey to Arusha isn't a bad one at all. It is only about five hours, if your bus doesn't have any problems, oh wait, our's did. It wasn't anything too major and we were only stranded along side the road for about thirty minutes. Crossing the border was pretty straight forward and easy and expensive. To get a visa into the country costs $100 US, but it is a one year, multi-entry visa. The multi-entry part is great if you actually plan to go back to Tanzania within the next year which for me isn't the case, but oh well. I realized just how nice it is crossing a border when it is just me and not me and my bike. The majority of the times I have crossed borders in the past was on our motorcycle trip and those borders took a long time, but I digress. The northern part of Tanzania just across the Kenyan border is gorgeous with rolling green hills and wide open spaces and is very sparcely populated.

Arusha is one of the larger cities in Tanzania and is a major tourist destination because of its close proximity to many major parks. The city is nestled at the base of Mount Meru, the fifth tallest mountain in Africa with an elevation of over 15,000 ft. It is a stunning backdrop to a city to say the least. I arrived in the afternoon and spent most of the rest of the day relaxing at Simeon and Janelle's place and hanging out with them. On Tuesday I went with Simeon to the NGO that he is working with through MCC called Global Service Corp. The NGO does a lot of agricultural and health development work in the local villages. I went with Simeon and one of his co-workers to deliver bikes to different people who had been helping out with a chicken vaccination initiative that GSC had started. It was cool to see some of the villages and be able to see the joy on the faces of the recipients of the bikes. On Wednesday I travelled with a group of people I didn't know to visit a couple of the sand dams that MCC had helped put in up near the Kenyan border. I had heard a lot about sand dams because MCC has done a large number of them here in Kenya but I had never had the opportunity to visit one before. To be honest they aren't really much to look at but it was cool to hear the process of how they work and the impact they can have on a community.

I had the opportunity to see Mt. Kilimanjaro on our trip to see the sand dams. Grant it, I only saw the base because the top was covered in clouds but I can still say that I have seen the tallest mountain in Africa. Unfortunately my Tanzania trip ended with me getting a case of diarrhea on Wednesday night. I'll spare you the details of all that went down but let's just say that it wasn't pretty. I ended up taking some pills on Thursday morning before I left to come back to Nairobi and thankfully they did the trick as I didn't have any problems on the bus ride back or since then.

I really enjoyed my time in Tanzania and the opportunity to spend time with Simeon and Janelle and Malachi. On Monday I will be leaving for Uganda and a small town near the capital city of Kampala. After I return from Uganda I'll only have about one week left until I return to the States. It is really hard to believe that my time here is almost over and I'm going to do my very best to make these last two weeks great.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This past weekend I kicked off my last month here in Kenya, that's right I'm down to less than a month here, by travelling to Tiwi Beach for FEAST. FEAST stands for "Frisbee East Africa Sand Tournament". This was the fourth year for FEAST and this year was the biggest one yet. There were twelve different teams representing six different countries across East Africa.  Our frisbee group from here in Nairobi took three different teams to the tournament. The Nairobi group are the organizers of the tournament and I think they do a great job of putting together what has now become a huge event.

I made the eight and a half hour journey from Nairobi to Tiwi, which is just south of the second largest city in Kenya, Mombasa, with a few friends here from Nairobi. The drive down across the southeastern part of the country has some really beautiful stretches and other stretches where the scenery really isn't too great. We arrived Friday afternoon and spent the evening getting our camp set up, going for a little swim, and getting some practice time in with our teams.

The twelve teams were split up into three pools of four teams each. Saturday was a round robin day where each team played the other teams in their pool to help decide the seedings for the final tournament on Sunday. My team's first game had us going up against a team from Arusha, Tanzania. We started off slow but ended up pulling out the win in the end by and 8-6 final score. In our second game we played much better and rolled to an easy 9-2 win over Mwanza, Tanzania. The final game of the day pitted us against a strong Ethiowanda team. This team had people from Ethiopia and Rwanda hence the name "Ethiowanda". We rode a very strong start to a 8-5 win. Our 3-0 record coupled with our point differential earned us the number two seed for Sunday.

Before I fill you in on what happened on Sunday let me explain what it is like to play on the beach as opposed to our normal conditions here in Nairobi. There are three main differences, with the first being the most obvious, between here and playing on the coast and they are: sand, wind, and heat. Obviously playing on sand is very different than playing on grass and in my book is not nearly as fun. It is very difficult to run, you get tired so much quicker, and it gets very hot during the afternoon which causes a problem when you are running around in bare feet. The one great thing about playing on sand is that it doesn't hurt to dive on which can make for some great catches. The second difference, the wind, is a significant one. While we have some wind here in Nairobi it isn't like the constant wind on the coast. Any throws that weren't low and hard would catch the wind and blow way off its intended target. The last difference, the heat, was a big one. Here it can get hot but there it was very humid plus ten degrees hotter. Thankfully there were plenty of trees so when you weren't playing you were able to get in the shade. Now it might sound like I'm complaining about having to play there and in reality I don't like playing on sand as much as grass but overall playing there was a great deal of fun.

Thanks to our two seed we earned a first round bye on Sunday morning and had a quarter-final game against a different Mwanza team. The game was an extremely hard fought game with tensions rising throughout the game. It came down to the final play of the game and unfortunately it was Mwanza who scored to pull out the one point victory. It was disappointing to lose when we had high hopes for the day. We then played a consolation game against Ethiowanda again but this time they pulled out the win thus ending our weekend of frisbee. The team from Uganda ended up beating a team from Juba, South Sudan to take home the championship.

I really enjoyed my weekend and the opportunity to see another part of Kenya. The coast truly was beautiful and it would stand up against many of the other beaches I have been to in that regard. We returned yesterday evening and again it was nice to return home. I will spend the rest of this week going to the Center and then on Monday I will be taking the bus down to Arusha to visit some friends there who are working with MCC. The following week I will be heading to Kampala, Uganda. I will be recapping these two trips in the weeks to come. I would ask for your prayers as I make these trips that God would watch over and protect me and that i would have a blessed time connecting with others who are serving in these countries. Also if you could be praying that over these last few weeks that God would continue to use me and that I would continue to focus on finishing out my time here with great passion and enthusiasm.