Welcome to Kenya…

The fun part of my job (for the most part) is hosting teams when they come to visit Kenya.  If you were to visit here’s how things would probably might happen (no guarantees).

Greetings! Welcome to Nairobi, you’ve just arrived after too many hours in planes, waiting during airport layovers, standing in line for your tourist visa (which just doubled in price to $50 pp), watching the baggage carousel praying all of your luggage arrived with you, and then dodging the customs officials looking for contraband.  Its about 10pm, but your body is too confused to care.  All you want is some normalcy, and a hot shower.  Sorry, we might be able to help you with a shower, but normal is just a setting on your dryer and we don’t have one here.

We’ve arrived at Eshel Gardens, chai and a snack are waiting for you.  If you want to stay up an chat a bit, I’m more than happy to do so, but feel free to inspect your room and bed for the night if that’s your preference.  I totally understand.  Just remember, jet lag will can hit about 3am, so make sure you’re really tired before you hit the hay.  If you forgot your toothbrush or toothpaste, just ask.  I keep a few on hand, just in case.  Anything else, and it’ll have to wait for Nakumatt.

Day 1 of your trip – at some point today we’ll probably get to Nakumatt so we can pick up any incidentals that you may have forgotten that we don’t keep on hand (anything other than that toothbrush I gave you last night).  You may also want to buy some extra water, though our filtered well water on the table is safe to drink and the tap well water is fine for brushing your teeth & showering.  Other than that, today is your day to acclimate to the altitude and time in Nairobi.  If you brought along a lot of stuff, today is a great opportunity to sort it out.

Days 2 – ?  Hurry up and wait.  Remember, time in Kenya is a totally different concept than in the USA. If someone says 9am, give at least 30 minute grace period.  Life goes at a slower pace here, enjoy the trip and remember the “be-attitude” for any mission team ~ “Blessed are the flexible.”  Use the wait times to listen to God speaking to you, or look around and observe; don’t forget to write your impressions and observations in your journal (you did remember a journal didn’t you?).  Traffic is the bane of every person living in Nairobi.  You can use the downtime in the car to rest or watch out the window and see how others live.

At some point, we’ll go to Masai Market & shop for some trinkets and more ‘african’ stuff.  You can buy carvings, batiks, jewelry, small knives & clubs, traditional type shirts & dresses, woven bags… and A LOT more.  Don’t forget your haggling skills though, because they never give you the best price first and as tourists you’re a target!  We’ll also try and visit one of the National parks, because you can’t leave Kenya without seeing our beautiful wildlife; lions and buffalo and zebra, oh my!

You’ll have lots of questions, and I’ll answer as many as possible.  I am not a native Kenyan, and thus I will not have all of the answers.  If I don’t know it, I’ll try and find out for you.  However, to prepare you:

1. If we lose power, I don’t know when it will come back on.  I also don’t know if we will lose it again.
2. I cannot guarantee sightings of the big 5 – lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and hippos.
3. Food here is different, please prepare your taste buds for a new experience.  We’ll do our best to accommodate specialty diets and allergies, but please be willing to have an adventure and try new things.
4. It can get chilly in Kenya – please be prepared and bring a jacket, hoodie, or sweater.  I don’t have enough to outfit a whole team. Layers are key!

Its your last day. Time for packing up your clothes, your souvenirs, and saying goodbye.  We’ve enjoyed having you and showing you our lovely country and people.  Please come again!

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