As we took our first steps out of Nairobi’s airport, my eyes scanned in every direction. There were people everywhere, cars racing down the street & an armed guard. The air smelled like exhaust and began to burn your nostrils after a while. We had just met our CMFI leader, Alicia and were on our way to our MOHI bus when Alicia warned not to let men help us load our bags, for they were just trying to get money. Not even 3 minutes later a man approached me and wanted to help with my bags. After trying to politely but sternly tell him no, we loaded the bus and were off. We were surely in a different world.
The first thing I learned about Africa and Kenya directly was that there are no rules when it comes to driving. Peter, our driver, zoomed in and out of traffic. Nobody stops, nobody looks, nobody signals, & the only time anyone slows is for a speed bump. It’s quite terrifying & exhilarating at the same time, really.
As soon as we exited the airport area, we got out onto a highway and headed for our guest house. Not even 3 minutes into the drive, I spotted a zebra on the side of the road. Woah! I really am in Africa right now! We drove through the city of Nairobi to reach our guest house. The streets here are very broken, full of potholes and lined with people. There are no rules for pedestrians either. As we drove the busy city streets, people walked out in front of us, causing my heart to skip a beat. They were literally inches in front of our moving vehicle, I kid you not! People lined the streets, walking in every direction. Some people sold fruits and veggies on the side of the road, some we’re planting gardens. It was nothing like I had ever seen before.
We arrived shortly after to our guest house. Let me tell ya, the place is wonderful. We were instantly ushered to breakfast where I ate delicious bacon and thin & airy pancakes. We had a little under an hour left until we had to be back on the bus, so Robin & I raced to our room to take our first shower in days & to finally change into clean clothes. The shower was cold & I accidentally forgot to close the shower curtain so the bathroom was soaking wet (woops) but it was heavenly and refreshing.
We quickly changed and boarded our bus to Pangani. Pangani was the first MOHI school & is located in area 1 of the Mathare Valley slums. I got sick & it sucked so I didn’t get to fully enjoy the tour of Pangani and I didn’t taste the delicious looking food, but I feel great now and that’s all that matters. After eating and the tour we got to head into the slums.
All I can say is wow.
You see pictures of the slums and you hear stories but those are nothing like actually experiencing it. It smells. That’s just the reality of it. It’s dirty. There is trash all over and other things you don’t want to think about walking on, but when you get past the initial shock, it’s truly beautiful. We got to experience the slums on a Saturday, so all the kids & adults were home. It was kind of like a party. There was music playing, food being cooked and kids playing all over. As we walked through, little kids would come running as fast as possible, yelling “how are you???” in their sweet little voices, grabbing your hands and asking you to “take picha?” The kids love having their picture taken. You mention the word and 20 more come running. Then after, you have to show them all, so your being trampled by 20 kids who are giggling and staring in awe. It’s the sweetest thing.
Although the people in the slums have nothing, beautiful smiles stretched across their faces and families surrounded one another in love. It was inspiring to see.
We walked through area 1, meeting people and saying hello to kids until finally it was time to head back to the guest house. We were all exhausted and decided to turn in early. I, feeling sick, slept through dinner and went to bed at 6pm, hence why I’m awake at 1am.
The food is delicious, the people are beautiful & great things are happening in Nairobi, Kenya.
Today we head to MOHI’s boarding school, Joska. We will have church and spend the day with high schoolers 🙂 pray for safety & boldness as we continue to serve the people of a Kenya!