For the past few days, I have been hanging out in Nairobi theoretically making final preparations for life in the village. However, it turned into a few vacation days for me sleeping on the couch on our Nairobi based team members. There is a good photo gallery if you click the link to flickr on the right hand side of the page. I went on a safari with some of the team members, wrapped up the remaining supply shopping, and generally caught up on my rest and relaxation (as much as I ever can). Going on a safari in Africa is one thing that has been on my bucket list since I knew what a bucket list was. Sidney and I stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge on our honeymoon to Disney World partly to simulate this experience. As it turns out, there is a great safari spot just outside Nairobi at Nairobi National Park. We had a guide, Francis, and a van with a pop up roof. We started fairly early in the morning, but we got to see some magnificent things. We encountered an entire pride of lions, and one of them got within less than 3ft of our van. I could have reached out and touched him. I didn’t, but I could have. Afterwards, even Francis was a little shaken by what had happened, but it was a strange mixture of thrilling and terrifying. We also went to a baby elephant and giraffe sanctuary, saw giraffes, secretary birds, water buffalo, and guinea fowl in the wild and had lunch a tourist trap.
However, today, I got back down to business. Rachel, Anna, Dr. Blevins, and I drove out to Nyumbani village leaving at around 7am this morning. Last night, we had the privilege of staying at a hotel owned by the President of Kenya because the landlord of the apartment figured out that way more than 6 people were currently staying there. The drive out to Nyumbani took about 3hrs, and we drove through countryside made up of green highlands dotted with larger hills. My first impression of the village is that it is much larger in terms of size and scope. It is home to close to 1,000 residents (900 children and 100 grandparents, who care for the children). It sits on 1,000 acres has its own primary school, high school, technical school, organic farm, lumber operation, green houses, and bee hives. They make their own clothes, all their own bricks, and most things made of metal. We met with the executive director, took an extensive tour, and settled in. While the work begins in earnest tomorrow, I am still up in the air as to what exactly I will be doing here. Hopefuly, these details will get sorted out in the morning.
As I write this, I am sitting under my mosquito net in my room. I had to take a break from writing after discovering a bat in my bathroom. The food really does mostly consist of rice, beans, and corn. My bathroom really is a concrete hole in the floor, and my shower is a bucket and a teacup. Despite all of that, I am fairly comfortable. In terms of future posts, now that I am in the village, expect something from me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the duration. Thanks so much for your comments, thoughts and prayers.