As you all know, we are home…
I am still at a loss of words about all of this, and I think I will be for awhile.
It’s weird to come back to life, and the “norm”. My heart is still in Africa. I lived years in those 12 days – what I experienced was holy. God made it very clear that He wasn’t messing around, this was a trip of a lifetime. Even if I go back, to experience this for the first time is something I can’t quite describe. It’s almost as if God took me on a tour of His home, that probably sounds whack, but it really was very clear that He was allowing me to experience something not to be taken lightly. Teaching me about a culture He loves so dearly, introducing me His beautiful children, and giving me glimpses of their lives. showing me His land as it was meant to be, and just reminding me how incredibly microscopic I am in comparison to all of it.
I mean, I – EMILY HODGES – just went to Africa for 12 days and experienced more than my mind can comprehend.
Why God allowed me the privilege to experience this is something I can’t wrap my mind around. . Why I got to see and live something completely different than anything I have ever known, or understood is beyond me. Why I got to stand up and teach to these beautiful people, earn their trust, and get a glimpse of their lives is beyond me. For me to go to Africa to teach an abstinence course shows that God can use ANYONE. It has nothing to do with me, only Him. Anything accomplished wasn’t by my own words, or hands, it was only by God’s work through me.
A year ago I would have never dreamed I would be sitting at a barnes and noble trying to collect my thoughts after experiencing this trip. I am hoping over time I will be able to articulate all of this in a way that accurately shows what we saw, who we met, and what we experienced because of God’s grace and your support. This was in no way our trip –we were just the legs. The work done, and time spent would not have happened if it weren’t for your support. I mean, think about it – all of us [except Meg & Doug] are in our 20’s, working non-profit jobs, and trying to figure out which way is up. Africa wouldn’t have been possible without you, and you were on our hearts and minds the entire time. The Sunday we left, we were commissioned and prayed over by the members of St Johns – the support shown by those who prayed for us was baffling. I realize I am repeating myself, but really -we are all so grateful. Thank you thank you thank you.
If anyone is actually reading this, you are probably thinking this is a totally lame recap of Africa, but I promise there will be more. There are countless stories to be told, there are people to introduce you to, experiences to share, and pictures to show. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and tell you all of this in person, or you can keep checking back and reading our updates.
For now, I leave you with some random observations I took away from this experience.
– African’s love Obama – I told many that I would say “Jambo” to him on their behalf.
– African’s don’t smile with their teeth when taking pictures because they feel it’s not as professional looking.
– One should not ask if they name each of their chickens, hens, roosters, etc.
– African crickets are the size of my cell phone.
– It’s not every day you watch someone take a call on his or her cell phone in the middle of slaughtering a goat.
– It’s also not every day you watch someone slaughter a goat.
– David Russel is famous at the Oleiolei school
– African women with children are often called “ Mama [name of first born child]” Mama Naseiko, Mama Moses, Mama Eunice, are a few of the special women I met.
– You will often hear children running behind your car yelling “my muzungo” [ I am probably misspelling this, but it means “my white person”]
– Karen Blixen really did have a farm in Africa, at the edge of the Ngong Hills.
– There is nothing more beautiful than the sky in Africa. It’s almost as if you could touch the clouds.
– Coke light is not diet coke, it’s coke zero.
– I am almost certain that elephant mating season takes place in early May.
– The where’s waldo books I had as a kid must have come from Zebras in Africa. There is always a random one mixed in a group of animals.
– Don’t be surprised if your asked to sing Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Neo or Celine Dion while sitting under a tree in Kimanah.
– Malarone is important in fighting Malaria. Don’t forget to take your medication.
– NEVER make eye contact with a lion
– cape buffalo always have white birds around them.
– Always make sure Doug Richnow is with you when purchasing souvenirs from Kenyan’s.
– We all loved Dawa
– While giving my contact information to the small group girls I worked with in Kimanah, I was asked what my e-mail address was and as I was carefully spelling it out, they were able to finish my sentence with the gmail.com part & then proceeded to give me their e-mails. Where they check their e-mails, or how they even get the internet there is beyond me.
– If your 4GB camera card says it will only take 400 pictures, it’s a lie. Mine took 2459.
– Fender benders in Africa are just the norm. People don’t really follow the traffic rules.
– We may have seen Paula Dean driving a land cruiser in Nairobi.
– Coffee grows on trees
– One should not eat African food without first checking with Mama Meg. She also carries bug spray, energy bars, hand sanitizer, pepto and aprin anywhere she goes. [which I definitely appreciated]
– If your driving the road from Nairobi to Kimanah and see Chinese men with straw hats sitting on the side of the road, it’s not a mirage.
– If someone in Africa likes what you’re wearing they will tell you it’s smart, or your smart.
– One should not spray 100% deet directly on their skin.
– Agoi, our driver is now on my list of all time favorite people ever. He taught me 5 swahili words a day.
– There can be up to 120 primary school students in 1 class.
– Not all children get to go to secondary school.
– In October, form 4 students [form 4 = seniors] take an exam that basically determines whether they will be able to attend university or not. Even if they do well, they are ranked with all of Kenya and it’s incredibly competitive.
– Giraffe tongues are antiseptic.
– I may be meant to work for the Giraffe rehabilitation center in Nairobi.
– Giraffe’s make me cry tears of joy. We saw a group of 30 [with a few Zebra’s thrown in] on the way back from Kimanah.
– It’s disturbing to come across a Miley Cirus interview on African television.
– Masai can jump upto 3 feet high.
To be continued..