11/24/2008

Africa Trip Journal: Part Eight

9-22-2008

Traffic is crazy in both Kenya & Uganda. Kenya has no stop signs and only 2-lane roads for the most part with cars, buses, mutatos, bota botas (motorcycle & bike taxis), cyclists and pedestrians all competing for space. There are stop signs in Uganda, but they're merely decorative. Otherwise, it's much the same. Many vehicles are diesel, too, so a ride be a fragrant combo of diesel fumes, dust, dirt, garbage pile odors and cooking being done with all sorts of fuel.

Ugandan traffic cops stand by the roadside. If they want you to stop, they simply flag you down. If you don't stop, they call in your plates to their friends down the road. In Kenya, there are regular police check points where the road narrows to a single lane bordered by tire-cutter strips.

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Security in both Nairobi and Kampala is very high. Even the unlikeliest places have walls--many topped with barbed or electric wire--and gates manned by guards. This was the case at each guest house where we stayed and even the building where City Harvest is housed.

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Just had fresh-roasted peanuts made by Hilda, the Tweheyos' niece. She is very sweet. She works as a servant of sorts here, but she seems to have a good attitude. It's awesome to hear her singing worship songs as she mops the floors & works around the house. She recently graduated from a secretarial course and will soon be looking for a job. It's kind of weird having a "servant" in such a modest place, but I try to treat her with respect and as one of the kids.

The younger Anne (not Milton's wife) is very sweet, too. She is quite shy but seems to enjoy school. She has trouble understanding my accent, so Milton often has to translate for me. I asked her what her favorite school subject was. "Maths," she said. Least favorite? "English," she said with a shy smile. The Tweheyos adopted her in the past couple years. She is their niece and was orphaned when her parents died from AIDS. So sad. it was nice that she joined us for our fun outings yesterday. She's had a difficult life.

The Pokot have no written language. Most speak Pokot, some speak Kiswahili and a number of the children also speak English. In the past, many of the kids were kept out of school to herd goats, but we've encouraged the parents to send all their children to school. The men are surprisingly open to this and some of the older ones expressed embarrassment @ having to be translated from Pokot to Kiswahili to English. They seem to have realized that their way of life has left them hungry and in danger from other tribes like the Karamajong in Uganda. Though we ultimately want to them to come to Christ, we are trying to fuel development there as well. They have so many resources, and now that they have ready access to water and a school for their children, with a church likely to come soon, they men need to get off their butts (sounds harsh but it's true) & be productive farming and being good fathers and husbands (albeit of several wives). We expressed as much in a breakout session with the men. They seemed open. It came from Apakamoi Renson, one of their own who came to Christ and has adopted more Western ways.

It's tricky. We tried deliberately as a team to allow the Africans to take the lead and want to allow the Pokot to retain as much of their culture as possible. Westernization isn't the goal, but some of that may be inevitable.

Brian S. preached to the Pokot in a church service under a few trees. He taught from Daniel about Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Talked about how earthly kingdoms--America, Kenya, even the Pokot--will pass away, but God's Kingdom will last forever.

The women's breakout session was largely about hygiene. They washed some of the young ones, supplied some baby clothes and instructed the women on how to keep their families clean & healthy.

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I believe our team may have had the biggest impact through the easy way that we love and served one another. We interacted with the children, too, something which men did not normally do. I helped fill water jugs @ the well and Diane & I chatted and both did "woman's work" (prepping vegetables for dinner) in full sight of the men of the tribe. Raised some eyebrows.

We also interacted w/ and submitted to our African partners--Mercy, Cynthia, Nick, Alex, Peter, Humphrey, Renson. It important for us to demonstrate Christ's love crossing ethnic & gender barriers. I believe God was pleased with this.

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The Pokot gave City Harvest a plot of land on which to build a ministry center/church. Pretty amazing. The vision @ this point seems to be to have a few people go & live with the Pokot. They'd help with construction, discipleship, development and agricultural education/demonstration. At the moment, things are largely peaceful, but I don't believe they'll have lasting peace until they live out the Gospel and become good stewards of what they've been given. Of course, faith doesn't ensure a peaceful life, only a peaceful heart. God is definitely @ work there, though, and I can't wait to see how far they'll have grown this time next year.

2 comments:

Mo said...

Wow, I didn't know they have no written language. I can't imagine a life without written words.

And it's one of the wonders of life, how many people can be fit onto the back of a motorbike. I adore motorcycles, but that's too wild even for me.

Nate C. said...

Yeah, it's not a great picture, but there are THREE kids on the back of that bike. They were headed to school. Crazy, eh?