I spent three weeks in Kenya, followed by one week recovering from the jet lag, and two more attempting to tackle the mountain of homework I received from my teachers as a welcome home gift. But now I’m baaaaaccckkk! And I have an extra special mountain of pictures and stories for all y’all.
The trip was amazing and exciting and beautiful and scary and crazy and wonderful and challenging all at the same time. Kenya threw us a new challenge every day, and it was so overwhelming all the time.
It was the best three weeks of my life.
Our team of ten from my church went to work in a slum in Nairobi called Dandora for two weeks. The organization we were working with had recently acquired a building to use as a school, after renting for five years. Our job? To renovate the school. When we got there, the front wall was crumbled and half missing, and the kids were trying to learn while crammed into three bedroom sized classrooms. Over the course of the two weeks, we knocked down walls between rooms, built up walls to create three larger classrooms, as well as adding a storage shed and a functioning toilet.
Keep in mind that when I say we did all this, I mean that we did it with a lot of help. The Kenyan workers were the ones in charge. They knew how to lay stone walls with no tools except a trowel and a plumb bob. We were just free labour. We carried stones from one place to another, we shoveled cement and sand and dirt, and we painted stuff. I personally also did a lot of cooking and washing dishes and playing with kids.
The place where we actually lived during the trip was a nicer house in the suburbs of Nairobi with five university students that the organization sponsors. We had some amazing times with those students, and they became my good friends. One of the biggest highlights of the trip was undoubtedly the times I spent with them.
We also stayed for a third week, but that was to do a vacation type thing unrelated to the project. We went on a safari in the Ma’asai Mara game reserve and also to the beach in Mombasa.
So those are the general facts. At some point I do want to write about how I felt about it all, but not yet. In a lot of ways I’m still processing everything that I saw and everything that happened. It’s really hard to come to terms with the kind of poverty I saw and the stories people told me about their lives. It is definitely going to be a process, and I want to include you all in it. Over the next few months I will probably write about the harder stuff and what I’ve been feeling, but right now I’ll start with pictures.