Africa Part 3- More Kenya- Mombasa!!

After our time at the orphanage, we flew to Mombasa. We took a little holiday after 3 weeks of exhausting traveling. We got to Mombasa, and checked into our cottage. It was the least expensive place we could find.. $35 a night.. we had a salt water shower, which made for an interesting and sticky 5 days. We were a 3 minute walk to the beach. It was beautiful!! The water was turquoise, the sand was white, and the weather was HOT!  We spent a lot of time walking the beach..which was really nice, but, the one downfall was that we couldn't go out of the cottage without getting bombarded with people trying to sell us things. And, men are pretty forward in Mombasa. I think we got hit on every time we left the cottage.

We did a 1 day safari, which was awesome! We saw elephants, lions, zebra, giraffes, buffalo, baboons, and tons of deer. We got to ride in this open top van that we could stand in. It was pretty sweet!

The van!


 Safari Hats!

After the safari, we spent a day relaxing, then we went on a dolphin tour! We took a boat out in between the mainland and an island, and right away we saw dolphins! Our boat was able to follow them, and we boated with them for about 45 minutes. We went to the island for lunch, and then got to spend time snorkeling! I wish that I had an underwater camera, because I saw some beautiful fishies!!

A Masai Warrior.. he invited me to his village for fish (I didn't go.. who knows, it could have been a marriage proposal!) , and was really intrigued by my braids!

Mombasa is a very westernized town. A lot of Europeans go there for holiday, and there are a lot of resorts, bars, and shopping. Among all the shopping, there was still a lot of poverty. As great as Mombasa is, it just doesn't sit right with me, that so many people can turn off their senses to the poverty around them. I definitely felt guilty being there. Another thing.. Mombasa is predominately Muslim. We counted 5 mosques, to every church.  It was vastly different to Central Kenya, which was mostly Christian.

I think that Mombasa is a town that really needs people to bring the Lord there. There is a lot of human trafficking, prostitution, and drugs. We were sitting at a restaurant, and at the table next to us, there was an older, Caucasian man sitting with 3 young black women. He was probably in his 50's, and the girls were still in their teens. The man was giving them beer, buying them what ever they wanted to eat. I didn't want to judge, but the whole situation seemed wrong. The idea of what may have been going on, made me sick. I pray that God's hand was on that situation.

As beautiful as the scenery was, I don't think that that I would go back to Mombasa (unless God told me to go..). It was really hot and humid, and I don't do heat that well. It was too much of a party town, and watching tourists ignoring whats happening around them would make me angry.

After Mombasa, we flew back to Nairobi, and spent 11 hours waiting at the airport, until our next flight to London. It was a long day, and we were sad to be leaving Africa. God willing, I can go back one day.

Stay tuned for a blog post of our time in London!


Africa Part 2- Kenya!!!

Out of all the places that we went, I had the best time in Kenya, at the Hope Community Center orphanage.
I have fallen in love with Hope.
We spent a total of 11 days there, and even after such a short visit, it was so hard to leave.

We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, off a 13 hour bus ride, and as soon as I'm off the bus steps, there is a short, black woman hugging me. I had no clue who it was, but she knew who I was.. It turns out that its Lucy, the founder of HCC. Chris-Ann and I were exhausted, but so ready to be off the bus. We took a 3 hour ride to the orphanage, and got there around 11pm. As we were driving through the gates, the kids were singing to us, a welcome song, as we came in. It was so dark, but we were introduced to the kids, and then shown where we were sleeping. We unpacked, and went straight to bed.

Our room
The next morning, we slept in a little, did laundry, and looked around. We went for a meeting with Lucy for lunch, and then we got to go play with the kids once they were out of school for the day.
 Laundry drying

Our "kitchen"

 A primary classroom

                                                                   The kitchen

                                     The, under construction, high school. Its almost finished!

                                                                    The preschool

The dining hall, and kitchen

Our job at HCC was to be hosts for a group coming from the organization Visiting Orphans. There was 22 women coming to see HCC and do VBS ( Vacation Bible School) with the kids. We spent 4 days cleaning, washing sheets and getting beds ready, food shopping, and organizing things, before they arrived. During our many breaks, we got to spend a lot of time talking, and playing with the kids. There are 173 kids.. including 6 babies, 19 toddlers, and kids from primary to high school.

Its amazing how fast some of the kids will begin to trust, and bond with a stranger. From day 1, everytime I left the guest quarters, there was a child there, who would hold my hand. Chris-Ann and I did our best not to have favorite kids, but it is so hard. There was one girl who I bonded with really fast. Her name is Nelas. She was sweet, beautiful, and loving, and wanted to be told that she was my favorite.. but of course I can't say it. The one thing that the kids want to be told, is that they are your favorite. They crave individual attention and want to hear that they are loved, and it is so, so hard, because you can't single anyone out. If I had the means, I would spend a year in Kenya, and adopt Nelas. She is truly one person that I will never forget. She made such an impression on my heart, and I really do love her.

Nelas and I

Me, and the group of girls that I was with most of the time

 The toddlers

                                           The toddlers in their toques

 New uniforms!

 Handing out new uniforms!
These kids have been through a lot. They are either orphaned by AIDS, lived on the streets, or orphaned by war. Lucy has done an amazing job creating a place where the children can feel safe, loved and hopeful. She has put in a lot of effort into teaching the children that they can hope for a better future, and that their hope does come from the Lord. Their theme Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

 They have a pastor, a child who had lived on the streets, came to Hope, graduated and went to Bible school, only to come back to Hope, so that he could teach all of his brothers and sisters about the Lord. They have devotions before every meal, every day of the week. During worship the kids sing and dance, and it's beautiful to watch.  These children know more about the Bible, then I know, and probably will ever know, and they are very eager to know more! They are so inspirational, and I learned a lot from them during our short stay.

 Denis and I

The high school boys

Saying goodbye

Little Denis and I

Saying goodbye was really hard. As much as I would love to go back, I know that there is a chance that I wont be able to. There is an opportunity for me to possibly go back and host for a year. I am praying about it, and really trying to hear from the Lord about it.. If it happens, that would be AMAZING!!

More to come on the rest of our time in Kenya!


Africa Part 1- Uganda!!

I'm so excited to do this post!
I have been back from Africa for almost a week, and I am already yearning to be back there.

I'm going to be splitting my trip into a bunch of different blog posts. I have a lot to say and tons of pictures!! Right now, I'm just going to write about what we did in Uganda. We spent 8 days there, and were busy the whole time.
We landed in Uganda at the Entebbe airport, after 36 hours of traveling with about 2.5 hours of sleep. We were exhausted, hot, and so ready to be off the plane. As soon as we stepped on the place, it was hot and humid. We got our visa's, bags, and the cab that was waiting for us.  Half an hour later, we arrive at our guest house, shower and nap. Afterwards, we had dinner, and went straight to bed.

On our first, full day, in Uganda, we got up and left the house at 5am and drove for 3 hours to Jinja, where Chris-Ann's sponsor child lives. We got to spend the entire day with Irene, and her family, and touring the Compassion project. They fed us two huge meals, that we made ourselves eat, even though we were full. It was an amazing day. Chris-Ann and Irene had a really good visit. It was Chris-Ann's second visit meeting her, and this time Irene could speak English better and they could actually have a conversation!!
From the right- Chris-Ann, Me, Irene, Irene's parents, and brother.

The next day we got up and left at 5am again and drove 6 hours south to get to a village, outside of Kabale. We were going to meet my sponsor child, Davis. It was a beautiful drive and the terrain of Uganda changed so much. It went from flat and fairly green to mountains, trees, and lots of farms. I really like that part of Uganda. It reminded me of my home. We arrive in the village and pick up the Compassion worker who is taking us to the project. She brings us up the mountain to a cinder block building that has a church on the property, and a beautiful view of the valley. We get out of the car and out of the building comes Davis. He looks just like he did in the pictures I had received. He saw Chris-Ann and I and look terrified and shocked. He was 5 years old, and there had not been a white person in the village for 7 years!! He had never seen a mzungu (white person)! After he got over his shock, he came and hugged my knees and whispered my name. It was so adorable, and made me tear up a little. We got invited for a tour, and lunch. After lunch, I got to look through his file. I was really impressed because Compassion let me see all the receipts of what he bought with the money, his health reports, reports for his family, and school reports. After that, we walked to his house and met his family. His family was so grateful and honoured that we were there.
                                                                    Me and Davis' family

 We had a good visit, and got to talk to his parents through a translator, because they don't speak English. We went back to the school, and they fed us another huge meal, which we forced ourselves to eat, and I gave Davis the gift I brought for him. After 4 hours of being there, he still had not cracked a smile. We spent a long time trying to get him to smile. I think that he was still pretty shocked to see us white folk. But, we started to play toss with a ball and he, finally, was smiling, and playing life a normal 5 year old.

Davis and I!

Finally! A smile!

I was so happy that he was happy. When I left, he said that he wanted to come with me. That made me sad. I would have loved to spend more time with him, but we had to go. It was a really special visit, and I will treasure it always. It is great to know who my money is going to every month. I know that I really am making a difference in their life, and that they are so grateful for the support, and now that I know who I am giving to, that makes giving much more sweeter.

After the visit, Chris-Ann and I spent the night at a hotel, and headed back to our guesthouse. The next morning we headed to the Watoto orphanage. Watoto was an amazing experience. We got there, had a tour, and then were told go to cuddle the babies that were sitting on the patio. We met some other volunteers, and just stayed there for a few hours. We also got to feed them. In the time that the nannies fed 7-8 babies, we fed 2-3.. clearly we need some practice feeding babies..

After the visit to Watoto we were covered in baby food, and slobber, but we had an awesome time! The babies are so blessed to be there. It is a fantastic facility, and it is run by staff that really care about the kids.
On Sunday, we went to Watoto Church.. which was AMAZING. It is a huge church. There are 2500 people a service, and 5 service's a week! At church, we met up with Denis, who gave us the tour from the orphanage. We got to sit right in the front row, and got to meet all the pastors. The service was awesome and the people were so friendly.

The next day we went to go see the Invisible Children office. Chris-Ann and I were both so excited to see it. It is an organization that both of us have loved for a few years. They are doing great work in Sudan, with the war that is going on. We get to the office, and meet the man who was giving us the tour, and it turns out that Robert is one of the Ugandans that came on the IC tour, and he came to our university, and Chris-Ann and I had met him before!! How random is that! So, he gave us the tour and then told us about everything that IC is doing, and upcoming projects. It was so great to know that they are working very hard to help end the war.
Me, Robert, Chris-Ann - Invisible Children

The next day we just stayed at the guesthouse, and relaxed. We got to visit with Rita, the woman who did all the cooking for us. We stayed at the Adonai Guesthouse, and it was a awesome stay. One thing that I absolutely loved about Uganda, was the food! There was a lot of curry in it, and half the time I didn't know what kind of meat I was eating, but it was all fresh, and delicious. The fruit was to die for. I had the freshest pineapple, watermelon, banana, and mango that I have ever had in my life. The next day we left Uganda, on a bus, headed to Kenya!!

Us with Rita!

My first impressions of Kampala were that it was very crowded, smelled like diesel, traffic was INSANE, and that there was a lot of poverty. There was a lot of street children, and homeless people. The city was exhausting enough, but seeing so much poverty, and many broken people was emotionally exhausting. It is hard looking at a child sitting in a cardboard box, in the middle of the sidewalk, begging, and knowing that life probably won't get any better for it. We were parked at a light, and had 4 children at our windows. They were dirty, dusty, wearing ripped clothing, and begging for money. We didn't have any money, but we talked to them and made them laugh. It was heartbreaking to know that these kids were going to sleep in some back alley, that they didn't know where their next meal was coming from and that they didn't have parents to care for them. As we were talking to them, I was asking God " Why are they here all alone? Where is someone to care for them? God, send someone to love these children, to fight for them".  The light changed and they darted through traffic to another car. 

One day, I want to go back to Uganda, and see the parts that I didn't get to see. God willing, I can go back soon..
 All in all, I absolutly loved Uganda. The people are so friendly, and welcoming and they really love the Lord. I think that everyone we met, was a Christian.. taxi drivers, waitresses, shop owners, other random strangers.. and they are all so open about their faith. It was a breath of fresh air.

I'm sorry, if this post is ridiculously long.. We did a lot in Uganda, and I wanted to write it all together.