Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Naitobi Trip and The New Vehicle

April 28-May 6   
Nairobi Trip  and The New Vehicle
    The Straders headed out on Sunday night and Monday morning we were up and out the door at 4am headed for Nairobi. We also took Mama Cedrik and baby Sarah with us so they could continue on to Western to visit family. When it comes to going to Nairobi I am not a fan. I could never go to Nairobi and be very happy. It is a big city and you are constantly looking over your shoulder because crime is so bad. There are constant carjackings and hold ups so I think it is legitimate to not look forward to a place like that. One visit we made we were hit three times in one day while in the city and no one ever stopped to even check on the damage or to even acknowledge that it happened.
    During our drive in we had a small accident that involved us and a huge bus. Thankfully the accident was not too bad but it had the potential to be much worse. We were forced to go off the highway to pass trucks that were waiting to pass through a weigh station so that means it is everyone for himself. We were driving along getting ready to get back up on the highway when a bus decided to try and cut us off. Well he did not cut us off he cut into us! It was on the passengers side of the van midways back right where Sadie was napping. The bus hit us and Sadie got a 3D view of it! Thank the Lord the impact did not break the glass where Sadie’s head was! It did leave a nice scuff that you can see in the pictures.

    I had to get out and deal with the bus driver who was clearly in the wrong. The only problem was that we were both off the main road so in my mind we would both be considered out of line when and or if the police ever came. We went back and forth for a few minutes all in Swahili so it showed the driver that I was not a tourist. Finally the driver asked how much to fix the vehicle then shoved a thousand shillings in my pocket. I mean literally a pushed a one thousand shilling note ($12) in my pocket…as if that was going to really cover the damage. However I did not want to sit on the side of the road for half the day nor did I want to deal with the police messing with us so I accepted the admission of guilt and token of defeat and we continued on our journey with a little more character in the side of our van.
Picture from inside the vehicle note the paint smear from the bus on the window and the thousand Shillings int he dudes hand that went in my pocket

    The little excitement gave us something to talk and laugh about. You had to laugh and wag your heard at the interaction and the end result. The rest of the trip was thankfully uneventful except for waiting on the side of the road for Mama Cedrik’s sister. Mama Cedrik does not know Nairobi at all and being by herself with her baby was a bit frightening for her. We missed the place to drop her at her sisters on our way in and we could not just leave her although I must admit I wanted to…not because I was trying to be mean or insensitive. We had 1.5million shillings or $17,000 dollars cash with us and five children and we were sitting on the side of the road completely exposed to thieves, thugs, and car jackers. So I was a bit nervous to say the least. We did stay with Mama Cedrik until her sister arrived like an hour and a half later. I am glad we waited with her and it was a the right thing to do but it was eating me up on the inside. Yes I know…me of little faith…but I am not used to 17 grande in my possession!
    The reasons we were going to Nairobi was to renew Lydia’s passport that was about to expire, visit the Hoppers before they left for furlough, and to look for a van to replace our beat up van(thus the reason for the 17G’s). While we were in town we also wanted to show Sadie a few of the sites as her time with us is coming to a close.
    We were able to get the passport renewal taken care of on Tuesday morning and we met up with the Hoppers in the evening to visit. Granny (Cissy Hopper) had been planning a special evening for the kids for the past few months. There was a new place put in a mall near the Hoppers that is basically like Chuck E Cheese and Granny wanted to take the kids there. Our kids have been saving up their allowance and Granny gave them Easter money so they had quite a bit to play games and ride rides. It is so amazing all the development in Nairobi like the Chuck E Cheese place! Our kids had a awesome time! Granny and Babu had a good time watching the kids bask in pure joy of playing. After all the fun ran out and we turned in our tickets for some ultra cheap toys we had dinner together.

    On Wednesday I spent the day looking at vehicles at several dealerships and online. I was able to locate two vehicles that I wanted Kenya to come and take a look at so she could help make the final decision. We test drove one van that was petrol and the other was diesel and as soon as Kenya hit the throttle pedal on the diesel and felt the power her decision was made. We went with a 2006 Nissan Caravan. I worked with the the salesman on some things we wanted done and about getting seats put in then we agreed on the price.
    We met the Hoppers for supper again at one of our favorite Indian places called Little India. We also wanted Sadie to experience the waiters attacking us with menus and wanting you to order from them. It is funny to see the response of folks who we take there. We also wanted Sadie to have Pan (pronounces PAWN). It is a bunch of seeds, spices, and syrup all rolled up in a leaf that you eat. There are Pan that are not good that cause you to “see things” but we stay clear of those and go with the sweet pan. After we ate Sadie and I both ate a pan. I actually like the sweet pan but usually others do not…Sadie got it in her mouth and chewed a little until it grew in her mouth and she could not swallow it and she spit it out. Oh good times! I love the pictures. Some may think of this as torture or laughing at others expense we just call it “giving people a cultural experience” BWAHAAAHHH!

    We did not put this in our plan but May 1 was a national holiday so it threw a kink in our plans to get our new van all finished up and ready to roll out by the weekend. With everything closed for holiday we decided to take the day to take Sadie to a couple of the the sites in Nairobi. First we went outside of town to the Elephant orphanage to see baby elephants and pet them. It is a pretty cool place to see elephants up close and learn about them. After the elephant orphanage we had some Kentucky Fried Chicken… oh yes there are now several KFC restaurants around Nairobi. It is not exactly the same but pretty close. That is one big benefit about Nairobi you can get Western type things…at a price of course.

    After the amazing KFC we made our way out to the Rift Valley which is a must to see if you ever get a chance. We passed through Karen and by the Ngong Hills which is a nice drive. The Rift was beautiful as always and we got some pretty sweet pictures.

    Friday I went in and put 1million shillings down on the van and got the ball rolling on everything with it. Kenya and Sadie spent the day with Cissy in Limuru at a tea farm. They went to the first tea farm in Kenya and learned all about tea and took a tour of the farm. They had a great time with Cissy having a girls day out. The kids and I hung out at our room then took a 45 minute walk to the mall for lunch and a movie. We had some KFC again and watched Rio 2.

    Saturday we really just kind of took it easy around the room. I ran to town and got two of our tires fixed and had the van washed. The rest of day I worked on some finances and things, then we had an early supper with Ernie and Cissy. We got word from the embassy and from some missionaries on the coast of two explosions one on a bus and the other near a mall in Mombasa. This is becoming very common here in Kenya. It seems every month there is another IED (Improvised Explosive Device) going off somewhere. Usually it is in Nairobi or Mombasa because they are the two largest cities and of the most influence. The attacks are continually traced to Al-Shabab a terrorist group with links to Al-Qaeda that Kenya has been at war with in Samalia.
    We went to the Kibera slums for services at Silanaga LBC. Julius Ayugu is the pastor of the church and a good friend. He was with us in March on the coast teaching class for the ABA media project. We try to visit with Julius and his family when we come to Nairobi. We were very close to Julius when we worked in Western Kenya. He even named his twins James and Kenya after us so his family has a special place in our heart, not to mention he is a very Godly man. We met up with Julius at the entrance of the slum and left our van at one of our other churches Makina LBC then walked 30minutes through the slums to the church. The walk itself was a cultural experience as we stepped over raw sewage and trash everywhere.

    We had a great service and even had one lady saved. Julius asked me to teach and preach. We really had a great time worshiping with the church and Julius is doing a great job. The Silanga church has gone through a lot and God has used Julius to bring stability and strength to the congregation. We had a good time visiting with Julius and his family walking in and out of the slum.
    We had an early dinner/ late lunch with the Hoppers. When we got where we were staying we heard of two more IED going off this time in Nairobi. One was near the mall we had gone to with the Hoppers our first night in town. We called Ernie and Cissy because they were heading in the direction of where one of the explosions took place. They were fine but stuck in bad traffic. It took them a while but they finally made it home. They said that another missionary they knew had gotten robbed at gun point while stuck in the same traffic they were stuck in. Again one of the reasons I do not like Nairobi, traffic and gun point robberies, but anyhow.
    Monday was a big day for us. We got to pick up our new Van and it is nice. Kenya, Sadie, and the kids went back to our room while I finished up the details on getting the vehicle to load up all our stuff into “the old van”. Cissy had given us like eight boxes full of magazines, spices, syrups, chocolate chips, and all sorts of goodies. She cleaned out her pantry and gave us the things that she thought we would like. The Hoppers are leaving for furlough for a year and they had to pack up their entire house and move so that is why we only met up with them for meals because they were working on packing and storing things. We got to have one last meal with Granny and Babu and show them our new van. We said our goodbyes then headed to our rooms so we could get some rest before our long drive back to the coast.

    Kenya, Sadie, and all the kids except Josiah rode in the new van while Josiah and I drove the old van. The drive was long and rainy. We had to stop twice because the windshield wipers on the old van quit working. I had to disconnect the rear wiper because it was shorting out the front wipers. I kept thinking, “just get this van to Malindi and you can sell.”  We saw several terrible accidents along the way and even a dead body laying out along the side of the road. We say this, and it is true, the most dangerous thing we do is drive the highways in this country. I do not worry about the IED explosions as much as getting hit head on by a van, bus, or Semi. The worst would be by a semi tanker loaded with petrol…I can not tell you the number of times we have been head to head with one of those,but anyways…
    The Nairobi trip was a complete success and we did not get robbed or killed! Bonus! Seriously we are grateful the Lord protected us and gave us time with Ernie and Cissy. It was also nice to have a break from the heat. Our new van did great all the way home. We are confident it will be a blessing for several years, I have even promised Kenya not to take it deep into the bush so that should help.

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