the long road
The last time I wrote about Kenya, my husband said to me, you’re taking too long writing about this. You haven’t even made it to the mission yet.
Well. I showed him. After that I didn’t write about it at all for almost a month.
So here we are, still on the road to Migori. I just can’t skip this part though. Part of the whole mind blowing experience is that you fly for a day and a half and then you still have an 8 hour drive ahead of you. To my largely untraveled self, it just doesn’t seem like any part of the world could take that long to just get to. But it does – and I was so glad, because you just see so much along the way.
This is the gate to an Italian chapel built by prisoners of war. It’s appearance on the side of the road driving away from the Rift Valley overlook, is even more surprising when you consider what most of the rest of the architecture in the area looks like.
I’ve seen pictures like this my whole life. What I didn’t understand until I got to Kenya is that (at least in this part of the country) – it pretty much all looks this way. I think I always thought that the camera was just catching the one shack in the area. The bad part of town. But this was far more the normal state of things – buildings constructed out of whatever was available at the time.
Oh, and also? When a herd of cows meets cars on the road – nobody stops. Makes for some interesting driving.
The more populated areas look like this – stretches of strip mall type buildings offering boarding, cell service, and of course, cold Cokes.
We stopped for lunch and had a few of those ourselves.
The one thing these pictures don’t capture about that day is the sheer number of people we encountered. There were people walking or sitting selling produce in the country, and every town we passed through had crowds of people in it, right on the road, right up against your window – you can’t believe they aren’t getting run down by the car you are in. I would have only had to stick my arm out of the window to touch person after person.
So why aren’t they in the pictures? Well, partly we were warned by the drivers – apparently it’s common practice for Kenyans to demand money if they see you snap a picture. Partly though, it was that I didn’t want to be one more person doing that to them – one more oh my goodness can you believe people live this way white person snapping pictures out of the van. There was no sneaking it, after all – they were way too close to the car. And, it was really my first day. I got more bold about it later in the week after seeing how much the children enjoyed it, and after understanding that most of the people I encountered just wanted to be asked first.
This has to be one of my favorite signs of the day. You will SURELY get your miracle. Wish we would’ve had time to check that out.
Y’all, it is just so beautiful there. It was springtime, everything so green and lush. People growing things everywhere you looked.
And just before we got to the orphanage, we made one last stop in Kisii – a city about half an hour from Migori. Here’s where I’m not putting in a photo of that stop, because I care about you, dear reader. But I also feel you must know, because I had NO IDEA. Our stop was a restroom stop, and it was here that I first learned about toilets in developing countries. Did you know there’s an entirely different kind of potty, that half the world uses? I didn’t. If you want to be educated, you can see one here, because the picture on wikipedia is of a squat toilet that has apparently never been used. Which was not the case with the one in Kisii.
There you go. Traveling lesson for the day. You’re welcome.
After that, it was all we are almost there and then we pull into the compound at Kenya Relief and it’s simple but well-built and clean and cared for – and after all you’ve seen that day, you can’t believe how beautiful it is.
Plus, who doesn’t love anything that starts with a dance party when you arrive?
And after dancing? Hugs. Homemade signs that say welcome home. Because somehow, halfway across the world, it is.
Want to read more about this Kenya Relief trip? Find all the posts here.
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