“If you leave here having learned only how deep your ignorance is you’ve probably had a good trip”
This was a comment that I (Tyler) heard in our group today, and after only 2 and a half days here I have to say that I agree. I’m not sure what American assumptions have been hiding in my mind, but I am sure that most if not all of them been defied in our short time here.
We have already met such a diversity of people in this mysterious place. On Monday we got to meet David, who lead us in worship at Beacon of Hope’s morning devotions. They used no instruments but certainly did not lack one bit of enthusiasm for it. Many of us were struck by the authenticity and energy in their worship. David is a teacher of weaving at Beacon, and in addition to having a heck of a voice, he works with an impressively fast rhythm on the loom. He was incredibly kind and hospitable to us.
Yesterday (Tuesday) we ran our first medical camp in Oliotoktok, which is a bumpy (but beautiful, we saw a few giraffe and zebras) four hour ride from Beacon’s main center just outside of Nairobi. Todd worked as a provider and has posted some about the camp, though he was a little limited writing from his phone. I worked odds and ends from being a gopher, to check in, to helping patients find their way around. In the process we saw an impressively wide assortment of people. There were many Masai people dressed in their traditional tribal attire, and Masai translators were in high demand. Many locals came out to volunteer, and I got to sit down with one of our volunteer translators from the local church. His name is Solonka and he is a Masai, though he does not look it. He was dressed in common attire and he runs a small business. He owns a tractor and for a price he will have someone plow your field with it.
While running the camp we also got to meet the local pastor Joseph, his family, and others from the church. I got to talk to pastor Joseph as we walked out to a spot in the morning where you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro (which was pretty amazing too). He told me about how their church is growing, how they do door to door evangelism, and “revival nights” which I think entails a very late night of VERY loud worship music (they have a small speaker system, a bass guitar, and a keyboard, and they are not afraid to turn it up). It is very strange, because churches seem to be respected here by even non-Christians. Joseph told me that even if someone will not give their life to Jesus they will let you come into their home and talk about him, and they will respect you for it. He also told me he had heard some concerning things about the U.S., mainly that they won’t let you preach in schools. This seemed very bad to him, because in his town all you have to do is go tell the school you want to give a lecture about God, and they will give you however much time you ask for to speak to the students.
Finally today we spent much time with the children in Beacon’s school. They are EXTREMELY well behaved for their age. We were all quite impressed. They liked playing with us, and a few always wanted to hold my hands or feel the hair on my arms. Funny the ways you realize you are different in a foreign country. At the end of the day they had a birthday celebration for all the students who had June birthdays, and they made an individual customized cake for every kid. All the birthday students dressed up, and the little girls put their hands on their hips and strode across the room in their birthday dresses when their names were called. We even made Cali do too 🙂 her birthday was on monday.
So I don’t know what I expected when coming here, but I certainly didn’t see all of this coming. There is so much going on here and so very many different people. There is much to learn, and I’m sure we will continue to do so in the coming days.