Wednesday January 31st

It’s almost 4 am. Some birds are sweetly chirping and making me wish I knew what kind they are. A rooster crows and another responds a few neighborhoods away. A dog barks and another does the same. It’s a beautiful silence given that Nairobi is all chaos during the days with vendors selling their wares, vehicles hooting, and friends and neighbors chattering.

We landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi at 9:30pm last night. We were met by my sister Nelly, my two cousins, my cousin’s wife and their three boys. My cousin was invaluable in helping us secure a car that we will be using while in Kenya.

The kids did a great job on the flights from when we left the US on the 29th to our landing on the 30th. Everyone’s reaction to Kenya was excitement. Outside the airport was like a warm summer night. When we got into the car, my cousin’s three year old really wanted to be held by his dad. So my cousin drove while holding him in the front – just a normal day in Kenya. We also sat with Neema and Ronald in the back on our laps. We had a ton of bags and not enough room for bulky car seats.

As we went to bed past midnight, Neema started crying for her cozy bed when she realized she would be spending the night on the couch. We spent the night in my sister’s one bedroom apartment so we had to be ingenious to make the space work. We prayed together with Neema and asked God to help her experience Kenya with an open mind. We also sang the song “do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself.” Meaning that she would go back to her cozy bed in the future, but we should really just live for today first

Later we drove to my parents’ in Nakuru.

Thursday Feb 1st

Eary in the morning my dad went to a garden and brought back some corn and ‘chinsobobo’. I don’t know what this fruit is called in Swahili or English but Neema loved it. I am insisting they eat Kenyan food and fruit so I am not buying expensive imported apples or berries. Later, we took my mom along on a drive to go get a little house shopping. She called one of her sisters who lives nearby and we ended up dropping in. It was such a happy afternoon. My aunt thought my mom was playing a trick on her, she couldn’t believe it when we showed up at her door. We got to see one of my cousins, and drink some tea and bread. Neema picked more chinsobobo, mom picked pumpkin leaves, and my uncle gifted the two kids a little rooster. He insisted it to be slaughtered for them to eat. I loved this because it gives credit to my work in Yana Goes to Kenya. Generous grandparents, aunts and uncles are in the habit of giving chicken to visiting children.

Friday February 2nd

The Wall family continues to enjoy our visit to Kenya. Ronald is having so much fun being surrounded by animals at my parents’ house. There’s a dog – Bella, a cat, so many chickens and two sizes of chicks. He has enjoyed picking up the youngest chicks – to the mama hen’s chagrin. Neema loves the kitten and enjoys telling Bella to go outside. She is not allowed to come in the house. The kitten is also not allowed in the house for good reason. Yesterday I kept walking into our bedroom and smelling something foul. I kept digging through our dirty laundry to see what that smell was. I discovered the cat had used one corner of the room as a litter box. I’d had to kick the cat out in the middle of the night when I heard it moving about.

Later in the day we went for plant shopping. We bought some succulents, and decorative plants to add some foliage to my parents’ home. We got two fruit trees – loquat and mango- and a neem tree (an indigenous tree called mwarobaine – believed to cure over 40 diseases). We also got rosemary and lavender bushes. My dad already planted many of the plants outside the gate and will finish up tomorrow inside the compound. He decided the fruit trees will go in the compound.

We also went to pick up my sister and her two kids. We picked up cousin Mia from her school and all the school children came out to see how excited Neema and Mia were to see each other. Ronald too joined in the hugs. My children are noticeably tan so a lot of the stares from the kids were a curiosity as to who these “wazungu” (white) kids were. The cousins caused such a roar at my parents’ house and my parents were so glad. Dad slaughtered the chicken, and I helped my mom de-feather and cook it for the family. The cousins played late into the night and eventually all slept on the floor in my sister’s bedroom. The girls really wanted to sleep together but Ronald also wanted to sleep with them. So they all squeezed into that one room and made it work. They chatted away for a while before all falling asleep.

Saturday February 3rd

I woke up early to sing and pray with my mother. My parents live in a house with hills in the backyard. So I prayed with her using Psalms 121- I look to the hills and mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Please pray with me for my mom. Her name is Grace – please pray that she places her hope in Christ alone. She will be healed in Jesus’ name.

This was the first day the cousins spent the day together. We decided it would be a rest day. We went for a short walk, the girls played all day. In the afternoon my sister Naomi and I helped Mia and Neema to make some bracelets (thanks auntie Kelley and uncle Philip).

Sunday February 4th

We visited a local church for worship. The church was clearly a bible believing church which was encouraging. They were also welcoming to us and another family who were visiting for the first time. Some of the songs we sang were in the Kalenjin language which I do not understand. The sermon was in Swahili, Jared got very little but he was happy to be there.

Monday February 5th

Jared, his sister Katherine and my sister Nelly share a birthday. The siblings and grand babies went to KFC for a treat for Jared and Nelly. KFC is a relatively high end restaurant in Kenya and the food is much better than any KFC I’ve had in the US. Later in the day we went to see a piece of land my sister Nelly was considering buying and also made another impromptu visit to another one of my mom’s sisters who lives in the same city. The kids loved playing with my aunt and uncle’s bunny rabbits and we got a quick meal before rushing home since we are trying as much as possible to drive at night. The roads here are very busy.

Thanks for reading. I pray all is going well with you. I’ll write back a second week update next week.

Baki salama – stay well.