The Days to Come

We live by what we get but make life from what we give.
-Prophet T.B. Joshua

Our group woke this morning to brisk air and a beautiful sunrise passing over the trees that line the back of the Mission House. After breakfast we began our true service orientation. We set group goals and agreed upon expectations of our group dynamic. We decided to help Mama Tony with the cleaning after meals in shifts of two people daily starting tomorrow. With these logistics out of the way, we followed Edward down the hard red-clay path to the secondary school. The teachers were all waiting outside of the teacher’s lounge to greet us. After dozens of handshakes and “Jambo’s” we gathered together inside for breakfast (again) and announcements/introductions.

Our group dispersed among the staff to meet some of the teachers and partake in some tea and doughnuts. The staff introduced themselves first and the overwhelming number of unfamiliar names was amazing. It soon became clear that much interpersonal time will be needed to simply remember some of the staff by name. Afterwards, our volunteer group introduced ourselves giving our names, nationality and interests/skills. The staff meeting wrapped and we mingled with some old friends (for Mimi and Eric) and some new acquaintances that have similar interests. We then went to headmaster Shadrack’s office to talk about the school and answer any questions we may have before our tour of the campus.

The secondary school was fascinating. We saw the classrooms, boys and girls’ dormitories, and the kitchen with its enormous pots of beans and cabbage and naan bread cooking over large wood and charcoal fires. Our group passed by small wooden corn sifting houses and through the woodworking shop as well as the primary school on our way to Edward’s house. While passing the cheering throngs of children gathered around the soccer/futbol field we watched on in amazement as a man cut down a very large tree with a chainsaw that fell right next to the primary school as children screamed in surprise and scurried to get out of the way.

We arrived to Edward’s home to be greeted warmly by his wife and a smattering of chickens. We met his daughter and ducks and ventured inside for a Coca Cola and a brief rest. After leaving Edward’s home we passed his milk cow on the path back to the Mission house and were greeted with a hearty Moooo!

Our team had a great but quick lunch of fried eggs and chips, took a short break and then met Mohammed for our tour of more of the village. We saw the pub, a couple of stores, lumber shop, some other local churches as well as the clinic. We met many people along the way who were very friendly and happy to greet us. We frolicked with some adorable and energetic little children yelling “picture picture” and continued our progress along our tour route. In the clinic we took a full tour with Dr. Elton of the services provided, including the dentist office, men and women’s infirmaries, maternity ward and more. Many of our group seemed eager to help, especially with the healthy baby program.

Around 4pm we concluded our tour back at the Mission House and proceeded directly to the dining room to begin our crash-course in Swahili language basics with Mohammed. We learned greetings, numbers to 10,000 and beyond, as well as the names of many animals. We were told that we would be introducing ourselves Sunday morning in church to the locals and will have to be prepared to do so in Swahili. It has been a very busy and extremely informative day. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, shower, dinner and sleep became more appealing by the minute. As the sun faded beyond the trees staining the grass with red hues that mimicked the tint of the clay roads and footpaths, the shadows lengthened to become the dark of night. We felt a bit more acclimated to our new home and went to our beds weary, yet excited for the days still to come. The sounds of the night seemed a bit more familiar and comforting today.

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