So after spending some more time here in Kapsowar, we’ve met a lot of really great people and have been exposed to life in rural Kenya. This had definitely been a perspective changing experience that Ashley and I have thoroughly enjoyed. Once we started getting use to the water & electricity not always working, we have been able to escape the societal norms from back home. No electricity, therefore no hot water = no problem, just fill up a few 10 liter plastic bottles and leave them out in the sun all day to warm up that water for a nice bucket shower. No lights, no problem, just use the candles around the house, or go to bed early.
But there is certainly a lot more to talk about than just sporadic water & electricity. The people here are so friendly and welcoming. They love greeting you and shaking your hand. The standard greeting is, “Habari” (Hello/Hi/How are you), to which you respond Nzuri (Good/Fine). “Karibu” is the word for Welcome. We’ve also picked up a few other Swahili words/phrases, but we are still a long way from being able to really communicate well in Swahili. Most younger people speak English, and often you will find people switching from Swahili to English mid-sentence. Despite not being able to speak in Swahili, we’ve found that if you speak slow and enunciate clearly, most people can understand you.
Community Health Program
We’ve had the privilege to speak to hundreds of primary and secondary school kids at a Community Health Program every week. Typically about 5 people go to speak with the kids. The program was started in 2012 as outreach tool to address the rampant number of teenage pregnancies in and around the community. During the program we talk about Sex, STIs (STDS), Abortion, Alcohol, Hygiene, Safety & Nutrition, and how the decisions you make today can affect your future. If a teenage girl is found to be pregnant, she is often kicked out of the school, and abandoned by the baby’s father. The overall theme is teaching Abstinence, and why it is important to wait until you are married.
One afternoon, Ashley and I decided to go to “center” – the Main Street in town with all the shops. While we were walking we saw Moses, the man who we took to get a CT Scan on our first day in Eldoret. Being the only two white people on the street, he quickly recognized us and came up to say hello. One important thing about Moses is that he was born with a defect which caused his face to not fully develop. He will need several reconstructive surgeries to fix the issues. Despite his circumstances he seemed so excited to be alive. There was such joy in his heart. I complemented him on his t-shirt which said something like “Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven.” Within a split second he offered to give me the shirt off his back just because I told him I liked it. He was so genuine with his offer, but I wouldn’t let him give it to me… I do not need any more shirts. Yet, he with so little, offered to give me the shirt off his back was the one of the greatest examples of loving your neighbor I have witnessed firsthand.
Ashley had a great experience working at the hospital. She was able to take care of NICU (new-born intensive care unit) – something she wouldn’t be allowed to do back in the states as a family practice physician. She also was heavily involved in the maternity ward, and delivered some babies as well. Ashley was able to observe multiple surgeries while at the hospital. The main surgeon has been there for 17 years and is trained in general and plastic surgery.
20 Mile Hike
On one of our last days in Kapsowar, Ashley and I, along with 2 others hiked up Mt. Kipkinurr. It just happened to be the tallest mountain in Kapsowar, and also 30 kilometers roundtrip. We left at 8AM and returned around 4PM. It was probably the most physically exhausting thing Ashley and I have ever done. But the view at the top was amazing. We could see Kapsowar and all of the valley in the distance. Plus, on the way down we saw a lot of colobus monkeys. I’m not sure we were cut out for that, but it was definitely worth it (at least the first time).
Overall we had a great time in Kapsowar. It was definitely very eye-opening and perspective changing. After seeing how local people there are so kind, friendly & don’t complain about trivial things – it was very refreshing. Also, seeing how content people are with what they have – and comparing that to the American attitude of always “wanting more” led me to re-examine all the “stuff” I have & how much I could do without.
Thank you everyone for all your prayers and support while we were in Kenya. We really appreciate each and every one of you. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible.