Africa is big. I mean really really really big. Then again, so is Canada. British Columbia (my home province) is almost twice as large as all of Kenya. But something about Kenya makes it feel bigger… perhaps its the variety of climates and geographical features or the fact that it takes you a long time to get anywhere. For whatever reason, I felt and continue to feel determined to see as much of Kenya as I can over my year here. Thus when I heard about an event happening in the northern deserts I finagled my way in…
AIM divides the entire continent into regions (I’m working in Eastern Region, Kenya and Tanzania) and then each region further down into units. Through some of my own ingenious planning I managed to get myself on a chartered Cessna 206 (the world’s tiniest plane) to Kurungu, in the Kenyan desert for Kenya North Unit’s prayer days. This is basically a time where all the missionaries in the area come together and share and support each other. This particular meeting had around 30 people attend driving from 3 to 10 hours away. This included a TIMO team serving with the Samburu tribe which was half made up of Canadians and even a couple from Langley! Yay Canada!
It was a weekend full of praises and prayer and just good fun. It was inspiring and humbling to meet people who’d been serving everywhere from 3 months to 25+ years in various capacities. Some in healthcare, infrastructure, children’s ministries, education etc. We hada couple of movie nights (Inception, which we lost power 10 min to the end and The Hobbit 2) and a bonfire (in the desert?) and just really enjoyed good company, good food and good conversations.
I even made a special friend in the form of a little girl whose parents hosted the event. She’s got 3 brothers and one more sibling on the way (which she informed me if it was another B-O-Y she’d scream) so I think we had a great time being girls together; playing Sorry!, learning to braid, having a sleepover and eating LOTS of cake.
One of my favourite parts of the whole trip was getting to “copilot” the plane though! Basically that meant watching a lot of dials and gauges. When we were buckled in Chris, the pilot, pointed to one knob and said “That’s your headset volume. It’s the only thing you are allowed to touch unless I pass out. In which case you hit
this button and ask for help.” Even so, there is a sense of legitimacy (and b.a.ness) that comes with the headset though and it was a cool to hear all the radio traffic. I’ve always had a particular affinity for planes. When I was in my last year of high school I even considered becoming an aeronautical engineer after being recruited by a university in Texas.
As a surprise bonus, I got to visit Korr (pictured below), home of the Rendille people. This is a town/village that has seen its fair share of short term volunteers. In fact, it was because we had 2 new STers going there that I even had the chance to go on this whole adventure. Steve (seen left looking slightly terrified) has been teaching there since last August. Click here to check out his blog.
Last but not least I cannot skip over the scenery. The landscape was spectacular. I mean flying over all of Kenya you cannot help but be awed at the mountains and stretches of bush and tiny bomas of tribes still untouched by “civilization”. You start over Nairobi National Park then Kibera (which is so big and dense), then up over Lake Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley and past Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains. Then you get to the desert… oh the desert. The rock formations and valleys and flow of sand where rivers used to flow. It is breathtaking and my neck hurt from craning to see everything.
So, that was my weekend adventure in the North. I was about to say hope that’s the beginning of many more adventures* but then I realized that it’s not the first and I’ve had a bunch already!
*a wise man once said they’re never adventures until you look back, at the time they’re usually crises. lol.