Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Other Side of Africa

We arrived to the welcome embrace of my college friend, Ann Mugofwa. If she is indicative of African hospitality, we have a lot to learn. We feel like royalty. While we were really looking forward to sleeping in the same bed for a few nights for a change, Ann informed us that we needed to be up at 6 am in order to catch a flight to Mombasa. We had no idea what a treat we were in for…

Ann, her husband, Dave, and their two children, Amani (5 1/2) and Wema (8) traveled with us to Mombasa and then a three hour drive through the Kenyan savannah, finally reaching the Sarova Salt Lick Game Reserve. We had a two night stay at this Game Reserve that is out of this world. Unfortunately, probably one of the worst things that I could have done on a trip like this happened – I left my camera’s battery charger plugged into my wall at home. And guess what – no one in Kenya seems to use Canon cameras! I asked everyone at the lodge and we had also gone to a store and no one carried a Canon. Ann’s camera had also run out of batteries and since we were really out in the bush, it was not easy to obtain a new set. So…we had to rely on Lian’s kid camera for our first game drive, which is really unfortunate because we saw a male lion, which was incredible. Fortunately, Ann got her camera fixed so we have a few from the second day. Again, the internet reception is so bad where we are right now that it takes 10 minutes just to open one email, so I will post my pictures upon our return.

I’ll try to give you a quick glimpse – if you can imagine opening your bedroom window and seeing a troop of elephants walking royally towards the water hole that is underneath the windows of the dining hall. Once the elephants leave, the water buffalo arrive…and I’m not talking one or two…I’m talking of dozens of elephants, hundreds of water buffalo, then scores of zebras, a few wart hogs running through, and then when all is quiet out come the baboons (or as Anna says – the “baba boons”) carrying their children on their chests. It is absolutely surreal.

The juxtaposition of this portion of our trip in comparison to where we were just a few short days ago is almost shocking to the system. We drive for three hours past mud huts and tin roofed-houses, passing people carrying water jugs on their head, only to end up 30 minutes from any humans at a game reserve that feels like it is out of a storybook – and it has plenty of running water. There is something wrong with this picture. Don’t get me wrong – we definitely enjoyed our time, it was truly unreal and we are relaxing after an intense week – but the stark contrast just reminds me that there are solutions that are already out there. We can get water to people who are thirsty; we can feed those who are hungry; we can care for the orphan and the widow; it just takes a lot of resolve and the right people to make things happen.

That’s what has been so refreshing about being with Ann and Dave. They are people who are making things happen. They are successful young professionals and parents who care deeply about their country - and not just for this generation. They care about what will be for their children’s children. It is so uplifting to hear what they are learning about putting kingdom principles into action. They see changes happening in their government that are honoring human dignity. They realize it takes time, but they are not waiting around for the government to make things happen. They are doing it themselves. It has been so wonderful to be with them and to have our children playing together non-stop.

Following the game reserve, Ann and Dave surprised us again by treating our two families to a three night stay at a resort in Mombasa, right on the Indian Ocean. It is absolutely beautiful and feels so good to rest and be refreshed. I do believe that in the midst of seeing much pain, you still have to take time to enjoy God’s goodness and refresh your soul.


Brandi said...

What a great week so far!!! We can't wait for pictures. . .how amazing. Brayden will be so excited for someone to have actually seen animals in Africa!

I'm so glad you were able to rest and relax as well. Post more when you can. We're praying for you this week.


onefairlady said...

So glad to get a glimpse into the range of defining moments for all of you. Can hardly wait to hear more about Rwanda. It is so telling that Lian turns to a journal and Anna in her own perception gives physical affection. I love both images. Let me know if you need an airport run. I can't remember when you get back. Love, Jen

Sandra said...

Jen, got a chance to read up on your trip. It is very intense to see it through your eyes! Thinking of you all, and praying for safe rest of the trip.