Today, we started our first day in Kenya! The group awoke at 7am to get ready, to load our bags onto the bus, and to eat our delicious breakfast made by the staff at Hartfield Gardens in Karen, the hotel we stayed in last night. Our breakfast consisted of samosas (meat and green onion stuffed pastries), mendasi (fried dough balls), hard-boiled eggs, sausages, watermelon, and delicious Kenyan tea and coffee. Before embarking on our trip for the day, we sang in full chorus two of the Swahili songs, ones which we have worked on since the beginning of the spring semester, for the staff.
After riding in the Rosa buses (named after Rosa Parks) for about two hours, we stopped at one of the seven natural wonders of the world – the Rift Valley, created long ago from a fault line that runs through much of Africa. This valley was beautifully lush and expansive – we even had a chance to observe monkeys and baboons! Many pictures were taken and souvenirs were purchased.
Lunch consisted of two turkey sandwiches, an apple, a hard-boiled egg, and fresh mango juice, all prepared for us by the generous Zippy Sindiyo, our host in Kenya. Our next stop at the grocery store gave us the chance to purchase tea, snacks, and African clothing. Finally, around 3pm, we arrived at Paul and Donna Tocco’s Word Ablaze Ministries. We are staying in beautifully kept dorms and eating deliciously made food such as spaghetti, meatballs, and more mendasi. The group had a chance to explore the gorgeous scenery around the Tocco house, play frisbee and UNO, and browse paintings by Kenyan painter Peter Mwangi who paints images of African people and animals. We are all prepared to sleep off the jet lag tonight and wake up refreshed at 6:30am tomorrow morning for our trip to the equator!