The past few days have been an absolute whirlwind, but now I am settled in with a cup of black current tea, a stomach full of Ethiopian food, and the nagging effects of jet lag. Happily, I am very much in the honeymoon stage of everything (except the traffic). I cannot speak highly enough of the people I have met here in Nairobi. They rival my southern roots with their exceptional warmth and hospitality. At the Amani center all the women greet you with a hug and a kind hello. I can’t wait to put up some pictures of the beautiful grounds of this secluded paradise. Of course I have had many moments of feeling like a dumb mzungu (white person), but everyone has been extraordinarily patient when, for instance, I go into the export office saying I am there to work in the distribution center. Or when someone does point me in the right direction, I find myself frozen in uncertainty in mounds of colorful fabric and bustling women.

I also learned that sleeping pills shouldn’t be taken at five in the morning.

With that being said, I have witnessed the beauty that comes from living in such a diverse city, and I have had the pleasure of worshipping in Swahili, Hindi, and English.

When I think what six months actually means, I have to take a step back and just appreciate each day for what it is. Day by day, step by step. By doing this, so far, each day has been filled with mostly positive and happy moments, a honeymoon if you will, even amidst the craziness of being uprooted half way around the world.

Mild Taste of Nairobi Traffic

Mild Taste of Nairobi Traffic

Honeymoon

Diving Board Jitters

A major theme other HNGR students have been discussing is walking in faith or “getting out of the boat” like Peter. With that in mind, all I could think about when I arrived at the airport was the feeling I had when I jumped off the diving board for the first time at the community pool. The last day of swim lessons all the parents would come watch us swim probably a quarter of a lap and then the grand finale- jumping into the deep end. I remember inching closer and closer to the end and then forcing myself to jump off. At a birthday party a few years later, friends of mine convinced me I could learn to dive from that very diving board. I am far from graceful, but I attempted it and to my great dismay landed flat on the water. The life guard gave me a standing ovation, and told me it was the greatest belly flop he had ever seen.

As my plane was taking off I felt like I had the first time I got on the diving board, slowly inching myself towards the edge, and I was most afraid of doing another great big belly flop. God has been good, and by probably the third hour of my travels I was feeling better. I arrived in Kenya around midnight (I think), and have been welcomed with open arms. The Amani center is BEAUTIFUL. It’s tucked into a nook of the city, a small piece of paradise amidst the business. The ladies of Amani are extremely friendly, and I am excited to be here for  a little while.

Peace be with you.

Wide Open Spaces

When I was five years old, the Easter bunny gave me two tickets to see this country singer, who I thought was the greatest musician ever. Probably no one knows him anymore, but his name was Clay Walker. And I was obsessed. However, the highlight of that night was not that crooning cowboy. Instead it was a group of three blondes called the Dixie Chicks. They rocked my five year old world. I still remember the pants lead singer, Natalie Maines wore. I had never seen anything like them. Every color imaginable was represented in a myriad of bright shiny fabric, impossible to miss, and a little to reminiscent of Dolly Parton. Clay Walker was quickly replaced with my new female heros. The Spice Girls? Britney Spears? No way. I was a Southern child through and through and my inspiration was the Dixie Chicks.

One of their most famous songs, Wide Open Spaces, continues to be one of my all time favorite anthems. Just in case some of you have never heard this song (although I can’t possibly imagine why) here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dom7VlltBUc

The nineties hair and cheesy hair aside, this song is still one of my favorites. It was this song that first triggered and articulated the free spirit that I have buried down somewhere. But never have I indulged it to the extent I am about to. For those of you who don’ t know I am headed out on this little journey to Nairobi, Kenya and Yekepa, Liberia for six months. My emotions are as varied as the colors I saw on Natalie Maines’ pants. At once feeling terrified at the extent to which I will most likely discover my incompetence, I am oh so excited to find the light that God places in all circumstances and in all places. He has truly orchestrated the past few months, genuinely giving me a sense of awe at how BIG He is and how small I am. 

Finding the Light, is my attempt to record the joy that comes in the morning.

I am so excited to share my journey through Wide Open Spaces with you.