Welcome to Kenya, Keilah! (First Days in Kenya!!)

Disclaimer: I will post pictures later because I cannot post pictures with the internet here 🙂

It’s 7pm local time, but the breeze that blew on my face was warm, and it felt like I was just about to sweat inside my warm Canadian fall hoodie. I was freezing and shivering the last time I walked out of a plane, and now I don’t know how long I will last with this heat with the same sweater on.

Yep, I’m already in Kenya!!! It took a while before it sank in my head. I walked in the airport and saw a bunch of Kenyan staff before I really convinced myself. It was already dark, and it’s really hard to see what’s different around me, if it wasn’t for the hundreds of Kenyans outside the airport, holding signs with the names of the visitors they are expecting, and the heavy traffic with the drivers on the wrong side of the road.

If it wasn’t for the drivers on the wrong side of the road, Nairobi felt a lot like the less industrialized parts of Manila. The congestion, ‘bumper to bumper’ as they call it at home, skilled drivers (oh you don’t have any idea!) and even a lot of the infrastructure. I suddenly felt a little bit homesick, especially that I haven’t really been in an airport since I came to Canada from the Philippines.

We drove around, saw three zebras hanging out on the side of the highway… (yep, it’s pretty awesome), stopped by a convenience store and then went to our accommodation for the night. Mosquito nets, slow Wi-Fi, and concrete houses… yep, I’m really in Kenya! I thought I was tired enough to sleep, but no… especially after sleeping a lot in the plane. I slept at 12am, and then I was wide awake at 2am and could not sleep again.

5:30am and I finally felt sleepy. Before I was even dreaming, it was already 8:30am and it’s time for breakfast. Hard-boiled eggs, tiny donut-like bread, beans and fruits, this is very odd for me but it’s good!

A short drive after leaving the motel and we were at the giraffe centre. It’s pretty cool! We saw about four giraffes, and we were able to feed a few of them. Some even kissed them! Lol I didn’t try, but I got to have a selfie with one of them, and it’s pretty smart to put its tongue out for a wacky picture!!

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Then we visited an Elephant orphanage (that’s basically what it is). It was like a reserve that takes care of orphan elephants who were abandoned or left alone in the forests. I find it quite hilarious how big they are while knowing how young they were, some were even just a few months old!

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After some of those few adventures at Nairobi, we finally went on a drive to our next stop—Castle Forest lodge, an accommodation halfway from Nairobi to Mikinduri. I was sleeping a lot during the drive. We stopped for fresh fruits for lunch along the highway, which is again, very similar to what we have to the Philippines. The hills, the trees, and a lot of the roads were very similar to the more rural places in the Philippines we visit when we do outreaches—trust me, I’m not just being too homesick now! Kenya has very similar landscape and weather to the Philippines, minus the humidity. They have red sands though, very much like the PEI cliffs.

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When we arrived at castle lodge, it was almost dark. We went in our room, which was a very sweet cottage. There is beautiful scenery outside, just perfect for a night of relaxing and then chatting with the team. We had a special Kenyan supper, goat and chicken stew, some potato and corn, rice and some salads I’ve never seen before. But of course, I’m up for it.

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Time for bed, I slept beside a fireplace. It was nice and warm, and I finally was able to get a full night’s sleep. The next morning, I sat out in the deck, with my back facing the sun, just like how we do it in the Philippines. It was such a beautiful moment to do some devotion time.

After breakfast, we hit the road again. We stopped by a local shopping centre (Kenya’s version of Wal-mart) to get some supplies. We then went up to Charia (I have no clue how to spell it, that’s how you say it), to drop Dr. Flemming, a PEI doctor and his wife to a missionary hospital and orphanage in some remote community. The road was crazy, Paul, our highly skilled driver, called it “Kenyan massage” just by how much bumps the combi (the Kenyan van we’re taking) had to go through, rocky, bumpy, dirt roads… yep it was a wild ride. We went around the facility and met the Italian resident doctor, some newly grad Italian doctors, and a lot of Kenyan patients. Then we drove back out of that community again—still impressed of how skilled Kenyan drivers are.

After that, we finally reached Mikinduri! We went straight to the accommodation we were going to stay for the next two weeks we’re here. We met the Kenyans that work for the partner organization of Mikinduri Children of Hope here in Kenya. We have really cute rooms where our room has a tiny bathroom where the toilet and the shower are both in a tiny space, covered by a curtain, which is all that separates it from the rest of my bedroom. I think it’s kind of cute, I will definitely post a picture of it later on.

The people here are extremely adorable and nice. Everyone waves at you (or waves back when you wave at them), they are all very excited to get you to learn more about their culture, and are very willing to do you any help you need.

We had supper, then got to talk to the people here. We then had a quick team meeting in a room with all the supplies we brought with us… and guess what? In the middle of it, it rained hard and pouring, and the power went out! Welcome to Mikinduri, I guess. I heard it’s pretty common to have a power outage here. So we ran to our rooms and went straight to bed (Yep, no shower lol). One of the staff came with a candle, and we were able to do some things before sleeping.

I ended the day with a prayer and some devotion. I have been reading “The Shack” by William P. Young throughout the trip, and it has been changing me a lot. I am really thankful for the many hours of unplugging I am getting from this trip. I would have never had a time to read a novel if I had Wi-Fi throughout the trip. And in that case, I would not have read this book. It was definitely timely and uplifting. I am almost done and now, and afterwards I am moving forward to my CS Lewis collection! This trip is already changing my life even before the ‘real’ purpose of it begins.

So, just that first three days for now! I will be writing every day or two, but I don’t think I will be able to post it regularly, but I will do when I can. Internet is pretty expensive (and slow) here. I just really want to give you all an update of how great this trip has been going, and that I am safe. Food is great, people are awesome, weather is warm (but I don’t mind, sorry for all the snow there in Canada though), and I am just having a great time without the internet. Thanks for all your prayers and support! I will still need a lot of them in the next little while.

I also haven’t been able to officially thank and email everyone who sent me to this trip through their financial support. Please do know how much I really want to, but I do not have that capability right now. I will definitely do as soon as I get home.

For now, I’ll try to share with you as much as I can!

My heart is really full. Thank God for all His goodness.

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