Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Only Story I Have

6/23/13

“Tell us a story,” he said. My mind went blank. I thought back to the time when I loved nothing better than sitting in the back of a pick up truck surrounded by my brothers and sisters making up story after story as the truck bounced along the red Congo roads.

A story… now all those make believe tales seemed flat, and the only story I wanted to tell was theirs.

We took a walk today the whole tribe of us minus two. Ruthann took the lead looking her usual confident and beautiful self with two kids clinging to each hand and the rest floating around her.

I brought up the back. A newcomer to the Sunday walk, but loving the feeling of two little hands in mine as we walked along the dirt road jumping mud puddles and enjoying the view. I almost lost a flip flop at one point when I miss judged the depth of a puddle. I managed not to lose it completely, and we went on our way past the kid’s school and down towards town. Ruthann left the kids piled up by the bank of the road while she and I ducked into a shop to buy some batteries. The Duka’s (shops) are barely big enough for five people to fit in and the owner sells his goods through a barred window.

The first shop did not have batteries, but the store keeper directed us two stores down. This time we were successful AA’s for 60 shillings (about 70 cents). Now the boys would be able to finish their haircuts. The razor’s battery had given out halfway through leaving two of the boys with partially shaved heads (a sight I’m sure our guests had wondered about earlier in the day when they dropped in unexpectedly). No one had said anything, but I’m sure they were wondering if some new hair style was going around.

After purchasing batteries, we rejoined the kids and headed back down the road. Once again, Ruthann looked like the pide-piper just without the pipe. We of course got looks from people as we walked along—two girls in their twenties and 15 kids parading down the road. We passed the 2 in 1 butchery, and I had to wonder what the second half of the business entailed.

“Make a hole,” Ruthann would yell back, and the kids would part to make room for a bicycle, piki (motorcycle), or a donkey cart. At this point in the walk the two kids holding my hands had switched to two different kids. We took the scenic route back, and by the time the Children’s home was in sight my group of four of the smaller ones was singing and playing with sticks they had picked up on the side of the road.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell any other stories for awhile Diki, Kevin, Zippi, Jane, Zach, Nicholas, Veronica, Ruth, Samuel, John, George, Little Kevin, Charity, Virginia, Michelle, Esther, and James have completely captured my heart.

The only story I have

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Keep Calm… and Wait

Ireland’s 40 shades of green left me speechless at times. The peaceful hills peppered with sheep, castles that appeared to have popped out of a fairytale book, sandy beaches, impeccable gardens, and spongy grass that made me want to curl up on the side of a hill with a favorite book and never go back to the real word. As my friend Treena fittingly said, “it’s a photographer’s dream.”

Northern Ireland coast IMG_7916 IMG_8124 IMG_8184 IMG_8187 IMG_8212

We spent five days in Northern Ireland exploring the coast with friends, eating fish and chips, and walking around Belfast’s city center. People were incredibly friendly, and since my friends had a car we were able to see everything from the Newcastle coast in the south to the Giant’s Causeway in the North.

As beautiful as the land was, my favorite part was getting to spend time with friends from college my friend Lindsey and her husband Cris who live in Northern Ireland and my friend Mandy who is living in Russia but was visiting during the same time Treena and I were there.

It was amazing catching up, making new memories, and experiencing the beauty of Northern Ireland together. Before heading to London to catch a plane to Nairobi we crossed the boarder into Ireland and spent the night in Dublin. At night Dublin is alive with music floating through the air and groups of colorful people packing the streets. Before we caught our plane in the morning we saw the sleepy side of the city with most of the shops closed and relatively deserted streets.

Our flight to London went smoothly with only a small delay. We spent the night at my friend Steph’s flat, and it was great talking travel and journalism with her and her flat mates. In the morning Treena and I got up early to catch the tube headed to the airport. Things seemed to be going smoothly. We made it through security, found our gate, and waited to board the plane. Boarding went well. We were able to get seats together (thank you British Airways) even though we had originally been placed in different rows. We found our seats, stored our luggage, and waited for the plane to take off. Tired from the previous day’s travel and from getting up early I dozed on and off and woke up to an announcement that the plane’s fuel levels were high so the crew had to do additional checks before take off. About an hour later another announcement was made asking everyone to leave the plane, take all of their luggage, and re-board at a later time. They gave us vouchers for lunch and asked us to stay in the terminal and wait for further instructions. Finally at 4pm we boarded the plane again (we were originally supposed to depart at 10:45am).

We got on the plane and waited and then waited some more before the pilot informed us that because one of the passengers had failed to show up (and the passenger’s bags were still on the plane) the plane would not be able to take off unless the crew was able to get the bags off the plane in the next 20 minutes. Twenty minutes later we were still on the plane but then told to get off the plane while they switched us to a different plane. Off we went again, another food voucher, more waiting, a little more waiting, and then back at 8pm to board the plane for the third time. We got to our gate in plenty of time to board just to hear that the plane’s crew had not yet arrived so it would be another hour. By 9pm we were finally on the plane and when the plane finally started to move down the runway we all clapped. Even though we ended up leaving close to the time we should have been landing it just felt good to get to Kenya. Customs and Visas went well. All of our luggage arrived, and friends were waiting to pick us up at the airport.

Kenya has been incredibly amazing, but I’ll have to save that for another post. All I can say is that I’m in love with Africa and especially with the 17 kids who live at the children’s home. The experience has been so rich already to the point where I don’t even know how I will begin to start describing it. God has been so good, and I know He is going to teach me so much during this next year.

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