Tuesday, December 8, 2009

African Update # 15 2009

                         Hot Springs Adventure

After 5 weeks of some pretty intense situations and ground breaking efforts in church planting we decided to take a break. So we put together some lunch materials and headed out for the two hour drive to Lake Bogoria Park. This lake is famous for its geysers and hot springs. Viewing the Kenyan countryside is always a treat.

Along the way we noticed large fields of something akin to Yucca plants and wondered what they were for. A few minutes later we notice a small factory with large lines of some material drying out in the sun. We pulled off the road to get some pictures. George began to explain that these were “Sisal” plants, whose fiber was being harvested to make various products. Just then a factory supervisor came over and asked if we wanted to tour the plant. He then directed us to the entrance of the factory and took us for a delightful look into the processing of Sisal leaves.

The above pictures show the process from extracting the fiber from the plants, to shipping it out to various destinations around the world.

The first little excitement we encountered, after our Sisal tour, was a male ostrich running right in front of our van. We stopped and gave chase, managing to get a few pictures before he left us in the dust. We actually would not have purposely gotten that close anyway, as a male ostrich is about the same size and makeup of a prehistoric, Velociraptor. His 4 inch, front toe claws can disembowel a man very quickly.
When we finally reached the lake it was absolutely breathtaking. The roads are rough and the lake is narrow and very long. We drove beside it for at least an hour, stopping ever so often to get out of the van and photograph the amazing display of God’s creation. There were flamingos, wart hogs, water bucks, gazelle, great brown eagles and other animals, playing out their life and death struggle, around this beautiful lake. The temperature in the park, because of its low elevation and semi arid climate, was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This was very different, from Nakuru with its cooler temperatures, due to the higher elevation.

The brochure for the park had stated there were cheetahs and spiting "Black Mambas" cobras within the park, but we didn’t see any. Which, considering how much we walked around the lake, was probably a good thing.

After chasing the flamingos and finding some neat bones we arrived at the hot springs. This is a favorite place for many Kenyans, because of their love of the steam coming off the boiling springs. A few vans arrived the same time we did and it was fun watching them “soak up the steam”. Joel joined a few Catholic priests getting the “treatment”(you can see some nuns in the background). Although the heat was formidable, we had a great time.

 Despite the “Kamikaze” Kenyan flies, we ate the lunch Amma had prepared, finished our Stonys (ginger soda) and began preparing for the trip home. Not only was it really hot in the park, it was also very, very dry. It seemed like the air itself sucked all the moisture from your body, so we finished off our water, thinking we could get some more in about an hour; … Bad decision.

Driving out of the park we stopped at a honey stand and where we were literally “swarmed” by honey merchants. Honey bottles of every size and shape were stuck in our faces amid of cries of “buy mine, buy mine!” George finally negotiated a fair price and we drove off with some very good honey. By now, we were starting to get real thirsty, but were confident that water was only 40 minutes away, so we were ok, ... or so we thought. Suddenly the car began to sputter, and finally came to a very jerky stop. George looked at me and went, Uh Oh. He looked rather pale, as he told me he had forgotten his tools.

Now that is not what you want to hear, out in the middle of nowhere, with the temperature close to 100 degrees and no water. It is rather amazing how many bad scenarios can fill your head in those first moments or how quickly you remember that the area you are in, has animals that have high regard for your "good taste", if you know what I mean. So George says; "I’ll try to go and find some tools", which is a great idea, considering that, completely taking the carburetor apart with a butter knife, didn’t work. He then proceeds to hail down one of, the not so frequent cars, passing through the area. As he got in the car to go, to who knows where, for God knows only how long, we cried out with fat dry tongues, “Don’t forget to bring back some water.”

You can read Amma’s or Joel’s blog and see it from their perspective but from my perspective, it was a little frightening. Especially since night fall is only now three or so hours away. Add to that scenario, that bandits frequent that road, the mosquitoes are formidable and carry Malaria, we have no water, and there are Black Mambas (spiting cobras) present in the area, not to mention the high speed, oversized, kitty cats in the area, that think highly of your “good taste”. After some very sincere soul searching, fervent prayer, humming some heart- felt hymns, and walking around the van in the 100 degree heat, trying to look tough with my cane; George pulled up with two very beautiful looking mechanics. No water, mind you, but two wonderful mechanics.

One had on, what was left of some smaller person's green overalls, completely covered with grease (that was a good sign) and the other had on dress pants with almost, a tee shirt. They worked for 30 minutes, completely taking the carburetor apart and removing the offending piece of grime. Which was no bigger than a grain of salt, (see Joel’s blog for a picture) but had caused us so much trouble. They went on their way a whopping thirteen dollars richer and possessing forever the knowledge that they had, that very day, saved the lives of 3 stranded Mozungus.

We started home 120 minutes before nightfall, very, very grateful to have such a wonderful God who always watches over His servants. The trip home was delightful, although the first forty minutes before we purchased water, were the longest forty minutes we have spent in a long time. When we arrived in the first town, we purchased 4 big bottles (one and a half literseach) of water and just sat in the car consuming that wonderful cold, liquid, H2O. That was some of the best tasting water ever!

While we set there, this very old lady came up to beg some money. I told her I would give her 50 shillings if I could take her picture. She gratefully said yes, I took the picture and she proceeded on her way. As I looked at her picture today, I wondered … How do we reach such people? The answer, I believe, is not in us reaching them at all, but the Kenyans being raised up to reach their own. That is what we are doing here in Nakuru.

Please continue to pray that God would bring His family together, here in Nakuru, and burden their hearts for the lost. Much Grace… your sent ones.

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