Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scouts, Friends, and Speaking Fake Swahili

Hello my dearies,

I hope this little bloggy finds you well. I am doing very well and am in the sunny weather of Kakamega. However, the rainy season has come early this year which is both good and bad. Early rains mean early crops, but it also means flooded rivers and tons of mud. The rain has been a nice change, though, from the scorching weather of December. My nose skin was actually peeling, honestly. I don’t know if that has ever happened to me. People thought I had a skin disease.

The last month has been one that has been a little bit relaxed with work, but filled with socializing and friends. I have spent a lot of time recently with my friends and neighbors just taking in as much as I can. My Swahili is really coming along too. I can hear quite a bit which has posed a new temptation of eavesdropping. However, when I speak it is a big problem. I speak broken Kiswahenglish really well though. Also, there is a youth language here (kind of like Ebonics but more prominent and formalized) called Sheng and it has really confused me a lot. I have just started to realize that a lot of the words I speak are actually Sheng and not Swahili, yikes.

During the month of February, many wonderful things happened. First, we had a meeting for a group of 20 young people who will be going to Sweden in July for a Salvation Army youth conference. A lot of our time has been spent preparing these young people to go, and we are now happy to say that passports have been gotten for all of them, that tickets are bought, and that Visa appointments are booked. It has been a long process, but God has been good through it all.
During Valentine’s Day weekend I went on a trip to the Shigomere Division to take the PSS program to a new area. The PSS program, which I have talked about sooooo much, is a program that works with Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). This is a beautiful program which is almost like the heart and soul of the youth department. I went with a small team to start some PSS ministries in a new area (called the Ebushibungo Center – I dare you to pronounce it correctly and quickly). There we taught lessons, played games, encouraged leaders, and left small incentives for the corps (churches) in that area to begin the program which will help the youth and the community as a whole.
The following weekend I was able to take place in one of the best weekends of my life. It incorporated almost everything I love in life: African wilderness, mountains, children, singing, campfires, games, traveling, camping, the bible, grown men in scout uniforms, and so on. Needless to say, I went to a Nationwide Scout Camp. It was wonderful. We took 33 people across the country to a place called Nyeri to camp and to learn more about scouting. Nyeri is the place where the founder of scouts (Lord Baron Robert Baden-Powell) resided and was buried. So every year scouts travel there to pay tribute and to have a celebration. This year marked the 100th year of scouts in Kenya. (Look below to see just how awesome LBRBP is).
It was a great weekend where I was able to spend a lot of time with some children that I really love and to get to know some other Salvationists. Also, I am now officially a Kenyan Boy Scout. Yea, that’s right. Be jealous. Traveling across the country with 20 children and 3 leaders is really tough and stressful, but it was definitely worth it to see how happy all of the children were to be able to go to Nyeri (all for the first time) and Nairobi (many for the first time). It was great.
It is hard to believe that I have been here for one year already. I came to Kenya last March and its March already. Life has gone so fast. But its great to look back and see the wonderful things that God has done and taught me and shown me. I am different in a lot of ways and have really grown a lot. I am excited to share with everyone what I have seen, heard, and learned. Which brings me to my plans for returning to the States…….I will arrive in the US on March 31st and will be flying directly into Omaha. However, I will be going to Chicago shortly after. Once there, I will spend time with my family and friends and explore what God has in store for me next. I am not quite sure what I will be doing, but I am praying and keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open to what God has.

Please pray for me that I will be open and obedient to God.

Prayers Requests:
-The Kenya West Youth Section
-The Scout Movement
-For me to finish my time well and productively
-For my family
-For my Corps (Kakamega Central and Mayfair Community)
-For me to be prayerful and obedient

Much love y’all,
Justin

3 comments:

Exit World said...

Great seeing you, Justin!! You look better than ever. Hope you bring some of that Kenya air here.

Mike said...

you still in africa? i dont know because you havent updated saying you went home, keep me updated. i will not be ignored

Mike said...

I need more. are you STILL in africa? there have been very little updates so i assume you were eaten by your pet elephant Marmaduke. i only wish you would have to trained him to hate the taste of human blood.