I’ve been in Kenya for about a week now, at a Christian Women’s Retreat in Kakamega Forest. It was a good, peaceful time, rejuvenating spiritually and was just what I needed to start me off on this next adventure. I met some great ladies and saw some monkeys. I feel like
I’ve been shown some clarity about my “mission” and my path (enough clarity anyways!!!). I’ve just come to accept and appreciate that if I can only see 2 feet of my path in front of me, that’s fine and great and what wonderful adventures may lie before me. Maybe I’ll find something wonderful in Kenya I want to get attached to, maybe I’ll go back to my Uganda, (yes, I said MY Uganda), maybe I’ll go on another tour of African countries like South Africa and Namibia or Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, or maybe I’ll enjoy my family in Nebraska for awhile. WHO KNOWS, and I’m OK with THAT!!!
My last month in Uganda was much like the others: great. I was so sad to leave my students and my Mbale friends. But I’m WAS also excited to see Kenya, learn Swahili, go to the Indian Ocean, see some giraffes and zebras. Now, I don’t consider the retreat “being in Kenya” because we were SO isolated, in the middle of the rain forest! Which was awesome, but there’s not much Kenyan about it. You only see the other women at the retreat and the handsome man-servants. The most handsome one talked to me a couple times and I just thought “Ok, I don’t feel comfortable, you’re just too handsome, go away please.” However, the retreat, at Rondo Retreat Center was REALLY good. We had a mother and two daughter team as the speakers, women who have dedicated their lives to be encouragers to missionaries. How cool is that?! And they were so nice and so good. The 4th girl was a very sweet young lady who was the worship leader, she played the keyboard and sang with a BEAUTIFUL voice. She has an EP coming out soon, and I will definitely buy it!!! And you should too!!
On a more important note (other than handsome man-servants): sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize my strength and my bravery. I don’t always feel brave or strong, in fact, I often don’t. But the fact remains, I’m traveling around Africa, by myself. I’ve met people scared to leave the house by themselves. I thank God that I am free from those types of limitations. For real. I’ve met people, (whites in Africa) who don’t feel comfortable talking to Africans. GOOD LORD and GOOD LUCK. I sat with a man for awhile on the matatu from Kakamega to Kisumu and he was going on and on about somethings, but they were all things that were good philosophies and stuff I totally agreed with. Such as: “In Kenya, a lot of people translate “courage” as “no fear”, but that’s really not accurate.” I’m like “Yes, I agree!” Yeah, I’m afraid, and sometimes when I’m afraid words come out of my mouth that are SO inappropriate!!!! But that’s another story…. BUT I just move forward. Often I find I’m scared to do something, then when once I’m in it, it’s like “Oh, this isn’t bad at all!”
Right now I’m at a bar, eating lunch. It’s quite local and I think that the boda driver did a WONDERFUL job with taking me to this place. I’m in Kisimu and I’ve been here for a little under 24 hours. I am not fully satisfied with my hotel, Hotel Palmers. It seems to have a good location, it was given in my Lonely Planet book as a decent place and I could see it from where the matatu dropped me off, so that helped a lot. I did not fully investigate this place before I got here. It does have wonderful wifi though and a very nice big, buffet for breakfast that is included. The rooms for ~25 USD, literally were like closets and had no windows. I NEED A WINDOW!!! So, I get one for ~30 USD that has a giant bay window. Ok. There’s a TV with about 5 channels, the bathroom is not great and due to the poor lighting in the bathroom I have leave the door open, but that’s ok, since it’s just me. Ok, here’s the kicker, when I got settled, I looked it up on Trip Advisor. They have several thefts mentioned in the complaints. Theft, especially at a place that I’m paying quite a bit of money to stay at, is not JUST a fear of mine. The theft is one fear, but how I will respond is my other fear!! Those who know me well know that sometimes I get MAD and I can get MEAN, (I don’t like this about myself! I’m working on it!) I don’t have the energy to jump up and go to another hotel that might be just as bad. So I have some bag locks, always locking up anything valuable. The hotel’s policy is to leave the key with them when I leave, which I am finding is common in Africa. But no thanks, I just have been walking swiftly out the door. If they confront me and ask for it, I’m going to hold my ground, hopefully without saying anything too mean!
Alright, what is next for Laurie Scharp? I have a bus ticket for Monday morning, (at 12:45 am!!!) to the coast of Kenya, Mombasa, to be a tourist for a couple days! I’m excited, Mombasa just sounds awesome, they have a lot of Arab and Indian influence over many centuries, cool ruins, probably good food and tea too. After a couple days in Mombasa, I’m going to go lay on a beach for over a week in Kilifi. Around April 27th I’ll go to my next volunteering assignment, teaching at an all girls high school on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria, Kenya. June 3rd I head back to Nebraska.
Wish me luck and pray for me because even though it’s a fun, exciting adventure, there are moments that are HARD!!!