Monthly Archives: December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Click the picture for a larger view.

 

Andrew and I had a relaxing morning with french toast and homeade syrup.

We opened the presents my parents sent with us; Andrew got a new shirt and I a new necklace.  (And we are both wearing them today!)

We are now headed to the Madory’s, a missionary family based in Nairobi.  They were so kind to have us over today for a Christmas lunch, and I made an asparagus casserole to take with us.

Well, we just wanted to wish a very merry Christmas to all of our friends and family back at home! We love you all very much!

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A new way of life.

As Andrew mentioned in his recent blog, we have moved into our new home in Nanyuki.  It is a nice house with 3 bedrooms, electricity and running water.

Here are some of our experiences that we are facing in our new home:

To take a shower we flip a switch to turn on the hot water heater, and it is gravity fed.  You then turn on the knob for the shower, and the lower the pressure the hotter the water.  The water gets VERY hot, almost too hot (which I was not expecting).  But then you are freezing when you turn the water off because it is still cold in the house.

Laundry is very different too. I am thankful that we do have a machine (vs. hand washing).  Again, to fill the washer with water, it is gravity fed.  The longest part of washing is the filling of the machine.  But it only takes one hour to wash a load.  Then we hang our clothes to dry.  We have a very nice clothes line in our backyard that we share with our neighbor.  With the low humidity it only takes about an hour and a half to dry all the clothes.

My new kitchen is very interesting.  I now use a gas stove and oven, which has been fun so far.  The first few days we used a match to start the stove, but then we learned that there was a starter button to do the same thing!  (Although I kind of liked using the match)  I use a big bowl to wash dishes.  There is no hot water in my kitchen so I fill up the bowl using hot water from the shower.

We do not have a car right now so we do a lot of walking.  To walk into town is a 25 minute walk, and we have walked it almost every day this week.  I really enjoy this!  It is back roads, and it is basically like walking through a neighborhood.  There are kids all along the way who stare at us and yell out, “Hello, how are you?” over and over again.  I am not even sure they know what they are saying, they are just excited they know some English.  They get even more excited when we say to them in Swahili, “Habari ako?” Meaning, “how are you?”  Even when we do get a car I want to keep walking into town.

The language in Kenya is Swahili, but most people speak English as well.  I was afraid that it would be hard to study Swahili if everyone spoke English, but it is the opposite!   I have a hard time understanding their English because it tends to be very broken, so it challenges me to learn Swahili.  I have also learned that in town at the markets and other stores many will charge me more because of my white skin.  Many people yell out things including the word “Mzungu!!” when we walk by.  Mzungu is the word for white person.  I am excited for the day that I can speak back to them in Swahili.

The cars drive on the left side of the road here.  And the driver sits on the right side of the car.  This took me a few days to get used to.  And the roads are a little chaotic.  There doesn’t seem to be rules on the road like in the US.  Yet at the same time it is kind of like organized chaos, because it works.  As of now, I prefer walking 🙂

The money currency here is shillings.  It is not really that difficult to understand, but it is still a lot of calculating when we are out shopping for
many items at a time.  The way I have learned it is:

8000 shillings=100 dollars.             800 shillings=10 dollars.          And so on…..

Well, those are just a few of the many new experiences I have had so far.  As I wrote about this new way of life, I hope I came across the way I wanted.  Some of these things are not ideal to our (American’s) way of life.  They are new and inconvenient to what we are used to.  But it has all been a joy.  The Lord has called us to this place, and these people, and this new way of life.  I would not want anything different.

Here are a few pictures, for more check out our facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-and-Abby-in-Africa/):

My first grocery shopping trip at the market

The school compound where we live.

Our newly inherited pets 🙂

My first load of laundry drying.

Nakumatt-Our equivalent to any US grocery store-very nice!

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Welcome to Nanyuki

Shops at the equator entering Nanyuki

We arrived in Nanyuki Saturday evening. The trip from Nairobi took about half an hour longer than the usual 3 hours due to holiday traffic, but I was kept satisfied by my bacon quiche and cheese and onion flatbread made by a pleasant French lady.

Nanyuki was founded in 1907 by British settlers, and the region still shows much of its colonial influence. The urban population was estimated at 31,577 in 1999 (that was the most recent stat I found), but the missionaries estimate that today there are around 100,000 people in the town and surrounding farms. It is one of the fastest growing areas in Kenya. There is a Kenyan air force base in Nanyuki and the British also have a military base (The British use to use the base only part-time for training, but the past couple years they have kept people there all year).

Nanyuki  is situated just .01 degrees North of the equator (basically on the equator). It sits to the Northwest of snowcapped Mount Kenya on the Laikipia plateau. The elevation of the plateau keeps the weather comfortable year round, ranging from an average 80°F in the summer to 76°F in the winter from what we’re told. At night the temperature drops to the upper 40’s lower 50’s (Needless to say, as a Florida boy, I needed a warmer blanket…). For those of you who are worried, the elevation and cooler temperatures keeps the mosquito population down, lowering the risk of malaria and other diseases 🙂

Our home is on the property of Mt. Kenya Baptist School a 25 minute walk from the center of town. The school has a nursery and grades 1 through 8 (known as primary school in Kenya). Across the street are dorms for the boarding students and the church. Jerry and Sherry Daniels, the missionaries we are here to work with, live on the back side of the school across the street and another missionary Tracey Williams lives just down the road.

Nanyuki is a beautiful place and for now it is home. Karibu (Welcome to) Nanyuki!

Our New Home!

Driving down the main street of Nanyuki

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We made it…..

Our flight was great.  It left at 5:10pm on Monday.  We got to the airport at 2pm, and made it through security with almost no hassle at all. 

Andrew told me that in order to do best with jet-lag, we should sleep on the first plane (Miami to London), and stay awake on the second plane (London to Nairobi).  No matter how much I knew that was true, my body did not agree with it.  I did the complete opposite.  🙂

We arrived in Nairobi about 9:45pm Tuesday night.  It took about an hour to purchase our visas and find our luggage.  Since we had 8 bags, I was slightly questioning whether we would receive them all at once. But we did…praise God!  The Daniel’s met us at the airport to pick us up.  We got back to their apartment around 11pm.

Andrew and I both slept through the night.  I woke up at about 8:30am wide awake, but I had to wake Andrew up at 11:15 so we could go into town.  We went and had lunch at a mall food court, and I did some grocery shopping with Mrs. Daniels at the local Nakumat.  That is their equivalent to the US Wal-Mart.  You can buy just about anything there!

After lunch the Daniel’s dropped us off at the Yaya Center shopping area, which is similar to another mall.  We were able to walk around and explore the city.  We walked back to the apartment from Yaya, which is about a 3 mile hike.  It was nice for us to get out and be in the sun. 

Pastor Daniels took us to the roof of their apartment, where they have a great view of downtown Nairobi.  It is absolutely beautiful.  I love this place already. 

Our first day in Kenya was nice and relaxing.  The Daniel’s wanted us to take it easy because they understand the importance of getting over jet-lag quickly.  We had plenty of time to take it easy…hence me writing a blog on the first day 🙂

-Abby

View of downtown Nairobi from the roof

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