I’ve finished up in Nairobi and now am almost to the village. I’m a bit nervous about it. On Monday we left Nairobi and went as far as Nakuru (about halfway to Kisumu). The road’s not bad, so it took about 3 hours. We stopped there at Lucy’s sister-in-law’s house, where we had lunch and the kids played with the frisbee I brought. In the evening I went to some friends’ house (the same ones that I saw on our safari in Tanzania) for dinner. It was really nice to see them and to talk together. They were able to help me think through some things and I ended up just spending the night there because it was getting late. So we ended up talking together until almost midnight and were able to pray together which was so sweet and very encouraging. I haven’t done that for a while and it reminded me how important it will be to make sure I have someone I can talk freely to and pray with. We had ice cream after dinner (which I had just been thinking sounded really good) and I took a warm shower before going to bed (which felt so nice!) This morning they dropped me back off and we left to travel the rest of the way to Western Kenya.
I was reminded as we were driving what a beautiful place Kenya is. Coming out of Nairobi, we saw stunning vistas of the Great Rift Valley. As we left Nakuru, we climbed out of the Rift Valley and passed through many hilly areas. We even saw a couple bicycles hanging on to the back of lorries (trucks) getting a ride. A bit dangerous, but demonstrating typical African ingenuity. As we got closer to Kisumu, we definitely left the cool weather of the highlands behind. I’d forgotten how warm it can be there.
Tonight we’re saying at Lucy’s husbands family home in Luanda and my host Dad from Emalindi will meet us here tomorrow to take me back to the village (which is very close). On the way to Luanda, we crossed the equator and since we were traveling in our own car instead of a bus, I asked if we could stop and take a picture. I crossed the equator lots of times on my way back and forth between the village and Kisumu when I lived in Kenya before, but had never had a chance to take a picture before today.
As I’m getting closer to the village, I’m getting more nervous and wondering if I actually made the right decision to come back for my research. There are some ways that it will be good. I won’t be totally starting over from scratch with relationships and knowing my way around, and I will be able to follow up with and help the two girls we’ve been sponsoring for high school. But I’m not really sure if I want to be there, and especially for a long time, and I don’t know exactly why I feel this way. I think part of is it that I’m remembering how difficult it was when I was there before and I’m afraid that it will be that hard again. I’m a little less excited about living without electricity and water this time around. I’m also missing home a lot – being in a place that is my own and being with my own family. I don’t know if it’s something about being in the village that evokes that, if it’s being not so busy and being the only American, or if it’s just that stage in being away for a long time (2 months out of 8). It’s probably a bit of each, although I don’t know if it makes a difference where it’s coming from. It’s probably more important to figure out how to make the most of my time here and to do my research well. That’s another thing that makes me nervous. I’m afraid that my research won’t be well enough organized and that I won’t actually have anything good to show for it at the end. I haven’t done much with my research plans since I left the U.S., so partly it feels disorganized because I’m removed from it now. I’m hoping that as I get back into it, I’ll be able to see that I do have something that makes sense.
With all this anxiety that is hanging over me, I have to remember what we were discussing at church before I left - that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. So please pray for me that God would take away this spirit of discouragement and fear and replace it with confidence and joy in his strength and provision. Before I left for Kenya before, I was really under a lot of attack and I am definitely feeling that again. I was so excited to be in Tanzania and was hoping that the same excitement would carry over to my research in Kenya, but it hasn’t. Part of me wonders if perhaps Kenya isn’t the place for me, but I also know that I’m bringing baggage with me here that I need to sort out, deal with and hopefully leave behind. At the same time, I know that wherever Dave and I end up (Tanzania, Kenya or Detroit), we’ll be living in a cross-cultural situation and there will be certain difficult times. I also know that it will be very different to have my own home and to be with my husband. If nothing else, I’m starting to learn more about what I need to be able to live and work without burning out.