So…I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with an idea for a blog post. Maybe there is just too much to share. Or maybe I am hesitant to overwhelm you with my emotional roller-coaster of a first week (don’t worry, I’m solid as rock – there’s just A LOT to process…especially when my current community mainly consists of me, myself, and I). For the sake of wanting to share something with you, I invite you to read the following: an inside peek into the surface of my mind my first few days here, a brief summary of the projects I have already had the privilege of having a hand in, some fun (and not-so-fun) facts about Nairobi, and a list of songs I have heard while moving all over this beautifully chaotic city…
Today I ran.
Day in the Life…
… at least as of this point.
Moments of reflection with Martin Luther King Jr. If you have the time to listen to this sermon, you will not regret it.
A much-needed Moment of Thanksgiving.
THANK YOU for all of your words, prayers, emails, Skype messages, and thoughts of support. I am continually reminded that I am not in this alone, and my family is large and undeniably beautiful. Know how much you mean to me.
Now I must have a moment of thanks for a few ‘less significant’ items (but seriously, I have never felt so thankful for such things).
– a BED (had one made on the side of Ngong Road and finally picked it up a couple of days ago!)
– My fan (that I walked 25 minutes home with, craddling it like a precious child). I was so happy to have it, I drew this in my journal:
– A phone. This is a story of it’s own.
– Enough Vitamin D to make up for my 6 years of living in Seattle (shout-out to my Seattle people… praying for your winter months!).
World Concern works with a variety of local and international NGOs and aid organizations in to have more impacting projects and assist a grander scope of people. One such partnership is with Integral Alliance. During my first week at the office, I was invited to sit in on a meeting where Communications Officers from World Relief Kenya and Tearfund are working implement various mediums of communication in order to promote a peaceful election process (if you think of it, please pray for Kenya’s elections in March). Though it was more of a learning process for me (I’m playing catch-up on Kenyan politics and want to be careful about imposing any of my outside opinions), I feel honored to be a participant in such an incredible movement. As we push out the communication pieces, I will keep you posted on their outcomes!
Yesterday I was invited to observe a grant proposal committee meeting. This was the first gathering regarding this specific grant- thus I was able to see how a grant proposal is organized from square one. My goodness, little did I know how much investigation, research, and writing is involved in this process. I am hoping to be an active member in more proposal writing while I am here- they are absolutely crucial to funding World Concern’s projects.
2012, A Year in Review
For the past week, I’ve been working on a 32-slide PowerPoint that our Area Director will potentially present next week at the Headquarter Annual Meetings (Seattle, WA). The presentation is titled, “World Concern Africa, 2012 in Review” (pretty creative, right?). In order to create this report I’ve had to do extensive reading, research , and interviews. Though it’s been a bit tedious, I am so thankful for this assignment; I now know a great amount about WC’s projects all over Africa. I couldn’t have picked a better way to orient myself with our projects. Now it’s time for field visits!
Last but not least, please take time to indulge in this highlight list of songs I’ve heard while traveling in, and walking by, matatus.
Imagine the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. Add in an occasional rave light show, BLARING upbeat music, a diversity of folks, lots of yelling (most of which I have yet to understand… working on that piece!), and sharing a one-person seat with 2+ bums. This is the adventure called, riding in a matatu.
Generally, matatus are “15” passenger public transport vans. They are everywhere. When walking on the street, you are guaranteed to see one within 3 minutes of leaving your home. There is no shortage of public transportation in Nairobi. Matatus are known for abiding by their own rules- ie drivers tend to drive on the wrong side of the road past long lines of traffic, ride up and over sidewalks, blow out gross amounts of black exhaust, and stop (slow down) just in time for you to jump out and land (hopefully) standing on the ground. Matatus may not be the most restful, safe way to travel, but they are definitely the most affordable
One of my favorite things about matatus are their names (“Jesus4Eva”; “PreachDaGospel”; “Glory2God”) and the variety of music they produce (I would be willing to bet that 90% of the music is from the 90’s and early 2000’s). Whether catching a ride or strolling past, a matatu’s music is enjoyed by all. Here’s an idea of the type of music you, too, could enjoy if you ever pay a visit:
If you made it through the randomness of this blog, I appreciate your patience. THANK YOU for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers as I transition into this new role, a new culture, and my new life in Kenya. Missing you all sorely, but excited to continue to bring you along for the journey (and thank you Jesus for technology).