Wednesday, July 15, 2009

crescent island, masai mara and home

hey all! the last week has been nothing less than epic. recap. thursday--a few of us on the team went to crescent island in navaisha, kenya. unreal. we packed lunches and took a boat to the island. from the island...we hiked around for 4 hrs, chased wildabeests, walked and had lunch with giraffes, ect. im telling you-i felt like i was in national geographic. the great part of the island is-there are NO predators other than hippos. you have to watch out for those. they kill more people in africa than any other animal. very territorial and quite violent. anywho-ill post my pics on facebook soon. Friday--masai mara. everyone should go there. hands down. it is just another way of seeing--God showing off. this place is FULL of animals. if you have heard of the african serengeti...well that is in Tanzania (a neighbor to kenya)...and the serengeti becomes the masai mara once you cross into kenya. the greatest part of this time of year: the wildabeest migration. Millions of wildabeest and zebras begin their annual migration in july which lasts until sept. i was able to see the 1st groups come into kenya. so surreal. highlights of the trip--FINALLY SEEING ELEPHANTS IN THE WILD!!!!! im telling you--im obsessed. i can not get enough of them. the 1st herd i spotted--i yelped and said STOPPPP. they were off in the distance...little did i know i would see hundreds and they would walk infront of my car. magical. we also saw lions (quite a few--even caught 2 different couples mating--really felt like natl geographic), cheetahs (wait for those pics!), monkeys, tons of birds, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, tons of deer like things, hippos and crocs. nothing makes you feel pulling up to a few lions basking in the sun.

so now...i write to you from good ole katy texas. got home yesterday afternoon after 24 hrs of travel. praise the Lord we were upgraded to business class from kenya to london...makes such a difference on an overnight flight. yesterday was NOT my day of traveling though. i was "randomly" searched 3 times yesterday. yes, 3. then...they took my carry on and checked it because i had 2 wooden letter openers. whoops. so yeah, i was worn out and ready to be home. 1st stop off the plane--DIET DR PEPPER. hmm hmm good. i am home for 5 days--then off to new zealand and australia for vacation. no work. all play. amen. hope to see many of you in the next few days.

many more adventures to come,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

baboons and broken internet...

both so common in africa :) i was taking breakfast yesterday morning on the back porch which overlooks the rift valley...when a good sized baboon decided to perch 10 ft from me. after i caught my breath, i slowly made my way indoors. they are known for attacking humans....and if you want to remain disease keep clear of them. an experience nonetheless.

to recap--our flights were great from london to tanzania to kenya. didnt get much sleep on the flight which i feel like i am still trying to catch up with time zones and night flights..but im feeling pretty good. the greatest part of my flights--passing over the french alps at sunset. unreal. then...drumroll....MT KILIMANJARO. oh my goodness, no words can express how awesome it is to fly directly over her. she must be climbed....someday.

kenya has been awesome. it feels like i was here just yesterday..though it was a year ago. i was warmly greeted by the hospital workers...who are all the same as last year. kenyans are the warmest and most genuine welcoming committee you could ever want. i love it. i taught yesterday and was given great reviews. apparently, i am a gifted speaker--who knew??? i can barely remember what i said through the profuse sweating and constant thought i making any sense here?? good thing, the Lord takes over and makes all things work. wheeew, thank you Lord.

work is done for just play. tomorrow will entail of a volcano hike and then Friday---4 of us are off to the masai mara for the safari of a lifetime. im not kidding when i say this--i have never been so excited to go see BIG STINKIN animals. elephants and lions here i come...well, in a car and well protected, of course. oh and check this out--our tents are smack in the middle of a moat--so animals can not eat us in the middle of the night. um....AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

the technology transfer workshop for the LEGS knee went really well. its so interesting to see how different cultures embrace technology. we were told that the minister of health in senegal was so impressed that he wants to invite all the neighboring west african countries next year. unbelievable that a small, christian engineering school in east texas--can develop a knee and take it to the other side of the world. purely, the Lords favor.

thats it for me--i will try to post after the safari. i am unable to get online with my computer so no pics until i get home on the 14th. sorry for that.

please pray for safety as we are traveling 4 hrs from nairobi for the safari...the roads and driving here are an adventure in itself. asante (thank you in swahili).


Saturday, July 4, 2009

I can be bought....

for 700 USD. yes sirry, we were bumped off our kenya flight only to be financially reimbursed. initially, we were going to fly to Johannesburg, south africa (11 hrs) then to kenya (7+ hrs) BUT....they re-routed us through Tanzania (a neighboring country to Kenya) it turns out to be only an additional 3 hrs in the air....but another night flight. im not sure if you have slept overnight on a plane...but you might as well pull an all nighter. its pretty uncomfortable...but like i said....for 780 USD...ill miss a night of sleep. that takes me to sitting in the BA business lounge on FREE internet eating FREE yummy food on comfy couches for another 7 hrs until the flight. suffering for Jesus :) josh (a LEGS engineering student) and i are trying to act casual up here....but we keep giggling. life is good. and mom--i now arrive to Kenya July 5th at 11 am.

now to recap the week in senegal. lets go back to sunday where i wore my traditional african clothing and we went to church. it was such a neat experience...although we could barely understand the service. the church is primarily made up of west african many different countries represented. it always amazes a person can be redeemed. just one. then i look at the globe....and i am speechless. the Lord is moving--He is coming to people in dreams, markets, churches, you name it. A great reminder---that He does not need me. I need Him. I want to be a part of this rushing river of salvation.

after church, we went to Ile de Gorree--where the "point of no return" is-- which is the last stop before the slaves were shipped to the americas and europe. unreal. i stood in the doorway and watched the waves crash in...and could carely breath. i can not imagine being torn away from my family and shipped to an unknown land to be a slave to an unknown man. such a dark spot in history.

monday-thursday was spent working at the handicap center. by work, i mean...the LEGS workshop. the engineers went with the prosthetists...and taught them how to make the knee. its so neat to see how hungry the senagalese are for independence and for technology. the Nevius's (host family) shared with us that because Senegal was colonized by the French--and while it is free now---many of the large corporations are owned by French who will not relinquish control and knowledge. thus--by us coming to senegal to TEACH them technology so they are no longer dependent on others--gives them dignity. what is better than diginity? they were so thankful and joyful to learn. i worked with 2 local PTs who were european trained--thus--were extremely savvy. the teaching aspect quickly turned to discussion. i love an exchange of knowledge and experience. i found myself really wishing i could speak french but very thankful for my translators who were both believers. the week ended with a closing ceremony that was on national TV and attended by the head administrator to all Senegalese hospitals. this is huge as we want to find favor with the government. God is strategic...

as for me, i am doing well. i have been sick the last 3 days with the oh so fun "intestinal travelers tummy". im pretty sick of just eating bread and water....but there are worse things. i tell you dont complain about food in africa. starvation and poverty is so tangible. thankfulness abounds. senegal was incredible--i connected with so many people and some--i will stay in contact for life. His favor was evident...and i think i realized one of my gifts. I am not so hot at all out evangelism....but I am gifted at encouraging those on the ground that are evangelizing. i come alive when given the chance to pour into others.

the schedule in senegal was exhausting b/c we had to be together 100% of the time due to traveling across the capital town to the hospitals. we left the house daily at 7:30 am and didnt return until 6 pm. long days in heat without AC. im not complaining though--there is something great about working hard, sweating, and being exhausted at the end of the day.

so yeah, all is well. we will arrive in kenya tom and i will update you all. off to enjoy the business lounge taking a nap :)