Settling In

Wow, the calendar indicates that we have been on African soil for over a month, and already, we have encountered adventure and blessing during our weeks of orientation.

Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee (or chai!) and let’s catch up…

We arrived at Rift Valley Academy (RVA) on the first day of August.  Since then, we have been making strides to familiarize ourselves with the culture and develop relationships with many folks both on and off of campus.  This is quite easy to do on campus because as the new comers to RVA, we accepted eight invitations to dine with other families during our first two weeks!  Our hosts do not hold back and serve fantastic cuisine.  Mind you, we are easy to please because we consider toast and eggs to be fine dining (throw in a good cup of coffee and we will likely remember you forever).  While off of campus, we seek friendship as we try out Swahili words and baby step our way to learn cultural greetings and basic phrases.  

Since students are scheduled to arrive during the last weekend of August, our current routine is intended to get us settled and learn the ropes.  For now, this bids us to walk down the hill to the market for fruits and vegetables once or twice a week.  While there, we stop by the Duka (sounds like DOO-kah; a small store) for sugar, flour, rice, beans and other staples.  We also purchase eggs:  30 eggs for 360 Kenyan shillings (right about now, many of you are wondering about the conversion for Kenyan shillings.  It is approximately 100 shillings per 1 US dollar.)  We also pick up our milk can twice a week to receive pasteurized milk.

Mornings begin with an overcast cloudiness that often lasts until mid-afternoon.  The daytime temperature hovers around 20 degrees celsius while the nighttime temperature drops between 12 – 15 degrees celsius.  It tends to stay quite cool within our home.  This is considered the remnant of winter/rainy season (though we are told that it is unusually dry and conditions are drought-like).

We heat our home with a wood fireplace and keep slippers or shoes on our feet at most times.  The concrete walls seem to maintain chill rather than disperse heat, and, while the sun may feel warm, living at 7500 ft brings a coolness that overrides the warmth for the time being.   

So far our encounters with baboons and monkeys have been pleasant.  However, we have heard that if you leave your windows open, you may need to keep an eye on those bananas sitting on the counter, and, if you happen to walk beneath a tree full of monkeys, don’t look up (and pray that any moisture you may feel on your head is rain).

One of the most enjoyable treats here is the local fruit.  Truly, the bananas and pineapples seem sweeter and are readily available (which make it the perfect excuse to use them for breakfast, snack, lunch and supper!). 

A highlight has been interacting with the local culture.  One of my favourite things to do is watch Kenyan’s in action.  Already our kitchen counter is topped with a wooden bowl crafted by one of the local men in town, and, just today I happened upon one of the ladies beading jewelry.  She stopped mid-weave to show me the colours of Kenya making its way around a bracelet.  What creativity!  We can be creative because God is creative!

Derek has had a dream come true because he was asked to roast coffee beans with our neighbour (while sipping coffee, no less!), Mason has found that campus holds a gymnasium and several outdoor basketball courts, and, Alexa is thrilled to be able to bake and share with so many people.

God is so good and we are so blessed and humbled that he has allowed us to see stamps of his handiwork, to meet his people, to encounter his creation.

As we transition, we thank you for your prayers which have sustained us.  God has been so abundant and gracious, we worship and thank our Great Provider for his beauty among all of our diversity.  May you seek him in your “everyday”, find him while you “do life” and praise him as you “go through the motions”.  Jesus Christ – the common ground that spans all cultures. 

Bwana asifiwe (sounds like BWAH-nah ah-see-FEE-way)!  Praise the Lord!

Please enjoy the photos below.  These are some of the beautiful sights of Kenya, Africa.

Mason & Alexa at the Duka.

Welcome to RVA!

Delivering muffins to the maternity staff at the AIC Kijabe Hospital.  Just down the hill from the RVA campus.

First attempt at roasting coffee beans.

One of the many Colobus monkeys in a tree on campus.

Outdoor basketball court on campus.

Walking the “Guard’s Trail” on campus.  The trail is used for security guards to walk the perimeter of the campus.  Some parts of it can be quite steep.  One of the pleasures of living on a hill.