Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Life is an adventure...this time in Kenya

Monday, May 11, 2015 midnight

I have to give a nice shout out to our son Matt who bit the bullet and took us to the airport early Mother’s Day morning, hopefully getting back in time to give his wife breakfast in bed.  (Hope you all had a Happy Mother’s Day!)

Did you ever think you ought to just scrap a trip and start all over again another time?  Ever since we first checked with the humanitarian couple about the best time to travel with them in Kenya, everything has gone wrong.  The trip has changed 3 times during the last few weeks; but to top it all off, our luggage didn’t show up.  It is still in London.  We were supposed to leave tomorrow for Dar es Salaam, but now will wait for our luggage, picking it up at the airport after 9 PM tomorrow, and then move all other arrangements back a day, causing a few cost penalties with it.

Our friend Sarah picked us up at the airport where we exchanged money, got a sim card for a phone, and purchased some Internet time on a modem we had purchased several years ago for Sierra Leone that also has service in Kenya.  We are glad we did since we’ve heard how poorly the Internet works in most places we’ll be travelling on this trip.  It came in handy right away because we were able to use it to contact Church travel to make yet another change, and the people in Tanzania to tell them of the delay and to inform the hotel we won’t be there tomorrow night.
Right now we are in the apartment complex where we used to live, bringing back some happy memories.  E/S Christensen are the office couple and had to stay awake till we showed up to give us the keys.  They also provided us with a light bulb, soap, shampoo, a blow dryer and some brushes.  Shakespeare’s had already put some food in the apartment for us to eat.  We are staying where E/S Banks and E/S Herr stayed years ago as missionary couples.  The apartment looks mostly the same as it did when Sister Herr decorated it.  They have added more security since last year the guards allowed someone to break into the couples’ apartments (3 of them) and the people that own the apartment complex did nothing—they didn’t even fire the guards involved in the thefts (it’s always an inside job).

When we last visited Kenya we noticed that Bonnie Lamb’s painted deco board in her apartment had been painted over.  She had hand painted jungle print all along the board and it looked amazing.  We were more upset than Bonnie was to hear about it.  So, we were pleased to be in Banks’/Herr’s apartment to see that Mary Herr’s painted rooms edged with wallpaper boarder were still there.  The entry way, hallway and dining room walls were still red with the wallpaper boarder.  

This is a picture of the newly extended wrought iron above where it used to be, covering a space that was used in the last theft of 3 couples’ apartments.  They also added the razor wire.  They figure the robbers put up a ladder, coming in that way to avoid the iron gates on the other side; then they were able to break the locks on the doors and get in.  We were disappointed to hear that the security guard agency was not fired, no guards were fired—nothing happened.  So instead the Church figured out more ways to try to keep robbers out.  They pay guards painfully little so it is no wonder that they would be involved.  

We washed our underwear by hand and used their slow dryer.  I was anxious to get out of these clothes, but they will be with us all day tomorrow.  The best thing about our trip was how much sleep I got on the last flight.  After dinner I slept through till breakfast—maybe 5 hours of fitful sleep--pretty good on a plane.  We flew from LA to Chicago on a 1-hour late flight, onto London where our luggage has found a new home, and then to Nairobi.  Poor Sarah spent 3 hours getting to the airport (huge rains, flooded roads like rivers in some places) and then another 2 hours waiting for us to show up after we decided our luggage was not going to make it. Two accidents on the way to the apartments made traveling slow—welcome to Nairobi.  We got to bed about 2:30 AM and still couldn’t sleep.

Tuesday morning Sarah picked us up so that we could run errands and go to the office, Jim armed with a little sleep, me with none.  Because of E/S Christensen, I was able to fix my hair.  We had travel toothbrushes and toothpaste.  Nevertheless, I went to the office with nice hair, 3-day old eye makeup, lip gloss and without deodorant (go native!); hope our old friends didn’t notice.  Afterwards we went to our old haunt, the YaYa center—a mall with a grocery store and everything else you can think of.  One thing we have noticed: the church has new security measures to keep people out of the building that do not belong.  The YaYa also had added security measures not seen before for obvious reasons.  We also noticed that even though the city is cleaned up and there are more traffic lights and street signs with better roads, the traffic is awful ALL of the time now, not just at peak hours.  It is torture to drive anywhere at all.
Sarah is like a daughter to us.  Her father has never been in the picture, and her mother was killed in a home robbery  few years ago.  She named her son after you-know-who.  She drove us to the office and then to the YaYa Center.  We bought a few things to eat at the grocery store since we'll be here several time.  We ate lunch there also.  She is driving us around until the Shakespeare's return or we need Victor to take us around to projects.
While in the office we ran into so many good friends.  Victor was there visiting Dorothy.  Victor said he is feeling better after a home invasion last year.  He said his memory is improving and even though his leg was also badly injured he is doing okay.  Dorothy used to be in distribution (Church books, etc.) but is now in translation.  Victor will probably accompany us or even take us to see some water projects later in our trip.  We also saw Jadmire and kidded him about how I used to pay him in cookies after doing me a favor--when I would suggest that he could share, he'd hide them in is desk!  We love these people!

Love, mom and dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

PS: E/S Hale who are now serving in Johannesburg at the family history center, told us that the couples there pray all the time for the Saints in Kenya.  Hale’s were in Kenya years ago when we were—they did vision training.  They serve one mission after another; I’ve lost track of how many.  Actually, so do Herr’s.

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