Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trip to Kenya...

Wow. We have learned that it doesn't matter how much you prepare for travelling in Africa, you will never be prepared! We went into this trip with very low expectations, but believe it or not, they were not low enough. It was one of the toughest trips we have ever done. It started at the border of Mozambique and Tanzania. The border post was a little house with a man in it and that is it. We were there for 2 1/2 hours and we were the only ones there. The man wanted a copy of our car papers and Tim's passport, but of course they have no electricity and definitely not a copy machine. Thinking we were prepared we brought copies of the car papers and normally we carry copies of passports, but we couldn't find one. So they wanted to keep all of our original car papers. Well that could not happen because we had another border to cross and a lot of travelling to do. We miraculously found a copy of Tim's passport in the car. After 2 1/2 hours of sitting in the 90 degree heat, we were off. The first city we spent the night in was Songea. The hotel was decent and the food reasonable. We were fairly encouraged. The next day we made our way to Iringa. It was a long drive, and we were so ready to be at our next destination and rest. Well the place we stopped at was actually pretty nice, but they never had recieved our reservations, so we ended up having to stay in 2 separate rooms and we had out door toilets and showers and no electricity. So it was really more like camping. Jurnee was up the entire night, so we really didn't get any sleep. The next day, we had the shortest amount of kilometers to drive, so we thought well we would get into our hotel early and be able to rest and relax. That was not how it went. It took us 8 hours to drive 250 kilometers. The roads were absolutely terrible and it was 95 degrees and the senery was about as dull as possible. When we arrived at our hotel about 4pm that evening, the hotel didn't have electricity, it was so hot, and our room was so dark, we couldn't see anything. We were starving and ordered dinner right away, which wasn't ready until 7:30pm and it was dried up chicken that was terrible. The hotel also didn't have mosquito nets and we all got completely bitten up. The one bright point is that the man who owned the hotel told us the route we were going the next day, was not the way to go. He gave us directions to go around a different way on paved roads and the trip was so much better. We arrived in Moshi that afternoon. Although, the place we stayed, once again did not have electricity and no mosquito nets, we did get to see Mount Kilimanjaro, which was amazing. The next day, we also got to swim in some hot springs that were beautiful and a nice treat after the long journey! We left for Nairobi at about noon that day for the anticipated 4 hour trip. At the border we had another little set back. We got our visas and we were all set to cross, but when we registered the car, we found out that we needed a carnet, which is some paper having to do with the taxes on your car. If you don't have the carnet, you need to leave a deposit worth the value of your car. Of course, we didn't have 20 grand sitting around, so we sat there for 2 1/2 hours trying to convince them we wouldn't sell our car in Kenya. Finally after the kids were all crying and hungry and Jurnee looked so terrible covered in bug bites, they felt so bad for us and finally let us go. We praise God, that we were able to finally enter Kenya. The drive from there to Nairobi, was a piece of cake, with paved roads and well marked roads. Kenya on the bright side is great! It is by far the most "western" city we have been to in Africa. We are loving shopping and we can even buy tortilla chips! Tim has already attended a orality meeting with Bramuel and he has been to the doctor and been cleared that the problems he was having are NOT related to the heart. We are thankful for that. We also went on a safari, which was incredible. I posted pictures on facebook. Friday, we visit Rift Valley Academy and then Saturday we leave for Mombasa. We will attend a conference there with Bramuel and also Tim will be observing an oral Bible school. We are thankful for all the prayers that got us here safely! Here are some pictures.
Mount Kilimanjaro

The hot springs.

Jurnee's first swim.
I am not sure if you can see the many red spots all over Jurnee, but she is completely covered in bites.

This is the lovely senery we looked at for 8 hours from Iringa to Dodoma Tanzania in the the 95 degree heat.

This is the road at one point. We had to just stop for about 1/2 hour while a bulldozer plowed us a path to continue. It was really unbelievable.

The road once he plowed us through.


Jeff and Joyellen Hazard said...

Wow - what a trip! Glad you can enjoy Kenya and some fun treats in Nairobi! :) Say hi to our friends at RVA! Wish we could be there to greet you!

Sarah said...

oh my word - i will NEVER complain about a long road trip again. :) you are a HERO in my book.

i hope your time in kenya is profitable for all you're trying to learn... and that somewhere in there you can rest. (??)

guess what?! i have a new friend in bible study and in my homeschooling group. she is home for one year on furlough from kenya... at the rift valley academy!! smal world, huh? i'm not sure of her husband's name, but she is faith unruh and they have four kids. i'm sure you may have heard their name since you've been there. they are also with SIM.

LOVE the pics of your safari and just the regular life in africa. i know it's hard to find time to post updates and pictures, but i for one, tune my family out to sit down and carefully read all that you post. :)

love and prayers, sarah

Tim Cowley said...

Well thanks for trying it out first so the rest of us know to fly. :) We had thought of this trip once or twice, but now...