Kenya, day #1

“Lord you have my heart and I will search for yours. Let me be to you a sacrifice.” Since I was first introduced to Delirious? In 1996 I’ve been a loyal fan of their music. And I had two of their worship songs albums on my ipod as I flew from London to Nairobi. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to play the songs in any order than the ipod chooses to play them, so I only had glimpses of their sound as I flew.


The day had started with a 6:30am wake up call from two sources, paranoid as I was that I might not get up in time. As it was, I was up for a couple of hours in the night anyway, so there was never much chance of missing the alarm.


Then, kisses and a long goodbye before the dash to the station and the first part of the journey, the overground train, the jubilee line and 19 stops on the picadilly line to Heathrow Terminal 5. Up into the terminal where I discovered that my bags weighed only 15kg and 18kg. I hope by the time that I have visited Kaimosi hospital to get down to around 20kg for one bag.


The flight was uneventful. I had an emergency exit seat, which I had paid extra for and had a chap either side and they both put their headphones on almost straight away. Only on the descent into Nairobi did I have a chat with one of them – a pleasant guy from the US who was flying in for work, then flying home on Thursday. His company had banned staff from travelling business class about 2 years ago so now he travels coach. At least it wasn’t megabus I suppose. He described a place that he’s going on vacation to next week, the second largest island off the east coast of the US – Hiltonhead. I don’t remember all the details but there’s some kind of swamp there and some kind of resin that means that the swamp water is black. And you can hang there for hours without seeing anyone else. It is tranquil. Oh and there are alligators. Not my scene, I don’t think.


No alligators here but lots of insects. And most of them seem to be my side of the mosquito nets. I remembered to take my malarone today so I’ve got nothing to fear. I’m staying at the Presbyterian guest house and I’ve got an en suite room. I think that is all I can really tell you about this place, since I arrived in the dark. I had a superb journey to here from the airport. I was met by Margaret, one half of my transport team in Nairobi. She was holding up a sign for me and I think that might have been the first time anyone did that for me (excepting family jokes). We met her colleague Peter and they drove me here and we talked about this and that and when I remembered I tried out my Kiswahili. They were so accommodating of my poor attempts to speak the language and tried teaching me more as we went along. They filled my heart with joy.


Anyway, back to the journey. I read volume one of the Hunger Games – what a beautiful story, while being grim all the time too. And then I began reading Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. I came across Richard Foster when I got my jabs done about 10 days ago. The nurse, on learning that I’m a Quaker, immediately told me about him and this book. She said that it had made a major impact on her life and I was embarrassed not to have heard of him or his book. So I bought a copy from the Quaker Centre at Friends House in London for this journey. I’ve got another of his, Prayer, with me but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is enough. There are plenty of Bible references to look up even just in chapter one and there are study questions at the end of the chapter. I thought they’d be a breeze but soon discovered that I hadn’t taken much in from the chapter as I tried to answer the questions.


I’m a little peeved that I can’t phone home, or phone anyone right now. I meant to buy a dongle and a sim at the airport but missed where I was meant to do it and found that I had come right through the airport without them. So for now I’m writing this instead of talking to L. And I’m telling myself that this is good practice because I don’t know when I’ll be able to call home or get online.


Something else that happened today was that I started reading the Salt and Light conference study materials. I’ve read through it all before but I hadn’t taken much in. Even when I was signed up to an online study group I didn’t get much out of it. But today in Heathrow airport I got the booklet out and read one contribution and the question. The piece was by David Tintaya of the National Evangelical Friends Church in Bolivia. Ugh, an insect just landed on my head. I wasn’t expecting that! Now every itch is a potential insect… After David’s entry is a question: Is Christ my teacher in the University of Life? If not, where do I draw my saltiness from?


Christ is one of my teachers but not from just one source. I learn from him through Scripture, from ministry and through my inner Christ and that within others, particularly some people very close to me and not all of whom are Christians. David writes about someone he knows called Pascual who is down-to-earth and simple, in a way that many of us who hanker after an alleged testimony to simplicity aren’t. I imagine that Pascual is someone who applies Richard Foster’s discipline to his practices but without turning it into law that sucks the spirit out of the methods.


Anyway, just as I’m starting to get somewhere, I feel that it is time to turn in for the night – have a quick wash, brush my teeth, prepare everything for tomorrow and get some sleep. Good night, soon there will only be seventeen sleeps left.


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