31 July, 2010
The crisp cool air of a Kenyan winter greeted me last night as I was finally able to put my feet down on Nairobi soil. It was 1:30 a.m. local time and after a 26 hour odessy that included an unexpected detour to deliver tires to a stranded airplane in Rwanda, I found myself smiling ear to ear as my friend and colleague Chris Macoloo, World Neighbors associate vice president for Africa, greeted my arrival.
After a short night’s sleep at the hotel, I was awakened today by the beautiful songs of what seemed like a hundred birds outside my room. Whatever frustrations of the previous day's travels that were still left in me quickly washed away as I opened the curtains and saw the stunning lime trees and lush landscape that awaited me.
After a quick bite, I was off to explore Nairobi's downtown and city market. Kenyan tradition is to get paid for their labor once at the end of each month, so with the 31st falling on a Saturday, the markets were crowded with what had to have been half a million people.
The sights, sounds and aromas of the city center with designer clothing being sold on one corner and whole cows hung on the other is something I will never forget, but what was most striking about my walk was the friendliness of everyone I interacted with. Quick and warm conversations were had at every stop I made and although these conversations predominantly centered on my life back home, talk amongst locals has been dominated by the August 4th vote on a new constitution. Everywhere you look there are advertisements and stories related to this important vote. (As I write this I can hear music and inspired leaders in the distance at a rally in favor of the changes).
I have enjoyed educating myself on the various issues surrounding it and invite you to do the same as some of the changes could very well impact those living in World Neighbors program areas.
It has been quite a first day in Kenya. I am sure that tomorrow will bring another set of adventures as we welcome the rest of our Journey's travelers but the truly enriching and enlightening portion of our trip will begin on Monday as we make the days trek to Kisumu City- our gateway to see the life changes being made in World Neighbors programs around Lake Victoria.
I look forward to offering you these snapshots of our remarkable journey over the next two weeks (internet access willing) and hope that I can summon the words to do this experience justice.
Kwaheri (Goodbye) for now!
- Patrick Evans, World Neighbors Annual Giving Coordinator