Thursday, July 14, 2016

First Week in Kenya

By Sara:

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya, where we safely arrived late Saturday night, with only ourselves and our carry-on luggage!  All of our checked luggage got left in the US after delays in Detroit almost caused us to miss our flight to London.  But, thankfully, it all arrived on Monday night and although the suitcases are a little worse for the wear, nothing is missing.

Despite not having our luggage at first, we slept really well the first night and were awake enough the next morning to go to an Anglican church right down the road from the guest house.  Here's the building the service was in:

We really enjoyed the service.  We sang a mixture of hymns and contemporary songs, both in English and Swahili and the praise team was truly excellent.  They had very good liturgy, read lots of Scripture and the Nicene Creed, and we even took Communion (only the third time ever in Africa, after living in Uganda for three years).  The sermon was challenging and interesting too.  We also met someone we already knew there at church!

After that, we were able to catch up on reading emails and some work in the courtyard of our guest house:

One initial challenge was how cool it is in Nairobi (like 70 during the day and 63 in our room at night - I know this sounds wimpy, but it was 90 when we left Michigan).  With all of our belongings packed away in the suitcases we didn't have, we were rather limited in our warm clothes.  But now that we have our suitcases, we are able to dig through them to find sweaters and jackets if we need them.

Here are two new words we learned which we enjoy: bitings (snacks) and grabiosis (something like being greedy and trying to grab all you can).

Since Monday, we've been spending time with our colleagues in World Renew, shopping for a car, and trying to figure out what we need to do in our work permit application process.  Everyone here has been very helpful and is taking good care of us!  We appreciate them a lot and are enjoying getting to know better some of the staff we already knew, and others we hadn't met before.

Nairobi has all sorts of really tall buildings.  World Renew is on the 5th floor of the building below.  This was our first experience being on an elevator in Africa!

Here are the offices:

Nairobi also has really awful traffic.  We're glad we're not going to be living here :)

In our quest to get the work permit application process started, we went to the offices of the Anglican Church since they're applying on our behalf.  While we were there, we met the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Kenya!  Although he's a really important person, he was very unassuming and humble.  We pray that God will use him to do good things through the church here.

We also had the interesting experience of going car shopping, for the first time in our lives, which was especially interesting since it was in Kenya.  It basically involved going to a bunch of places that import used cars from Japan and looking through the packed lots of vehicles.  Then, if we found something we were interested in, we had to try to bargain with the salesman to get the price down.  We were really thankful to have staff from World Renew - Kenya come along with us to help since they knew where to go, how much the vehicles should cost, and what to look for in a good car.

We actually found three good choices and had chosen the one we liked, but when we called the salesman back, they had already sold it in the 30 minutes we had been gone from that place!  But that made our decision easy: we picked our second choice and settled on it before it could get sold too.

We're getting a Toyota Surf, which we thought at first was a Toyota Saf because that is how Kenyans pronounce "surf"!  It's a good vehicle and the cost was within our budget, which is especially nice.  The funny thing is that it has a screen in it for the radio system and so forth, but since it was imported from Japan, the screen is all in Japanese!  We'll have to figure out how to use it without understanding the language.

Otherwise, we're waiting for everything to be finalized with the vehicle and to hear if we need to do anything else for the work permit application and then we will be able to head to Nakuru.  So, we'll have to be flexible and just go when we can instead of planning a specific day to travel.  Anthony has been using his spare time to call our friends in Uganda to tell them we're in the region.


  1. Great to hear you arrived safely, have your luggage, and were able to purchase affordable transportation.

    Is there a reason that communion is not a regular practice in Africa?

  2. You're back safe and sound! PTL! Glad you already found a car too. That will surely be useful- even if the screen is in Japanese! Seems there has to be a way to change the language preference on it. My car offers a number of languages. I'm sure it won't be straightforward for you though as I doubt there are too many Japanese there. Enjoy the cooler temps and getting into your new surroundings. God bless!