Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back Safely!

I just got back into Nairobi tonight (Wed). I feel tired and extremely DIRTY! The Sudan is like nothing I have ever experienced in Africa! Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw and experienced over the past 6 days. It is wild beyond anything I imagined. There is a vibrant community of NGOs and other aid workers (mostly American) operating from Nairobi, Loki, and into southern Sudan. I have met so many other Americans and some Europeans who are working here. The UN World Food Programme has a warehouse in lower Boma. We transported tons of US AID up the 3500 ft climb to our compound in upper Boma. I don't know how we got that truck up that mountain, because it is dishonest to call that rocky trail a road. Owww! Right at the end of the muddy airstrip we saw the burned out remains of a UN plane that crashed a few weeks ago. That's what you want to see when you are coming in to land! I spent 6 long days up on that mountain. What did we do? We had meetings (negotiations) with the area chiefs, we made bricks, helped with construction of the second set of classrooms, conducted a pastor training workshop, trekked to several villages with a 60-pound generator to show "The Jesus movie," and maybe most important - we spent the afternoons sitting under the mango trees drinking tea. And then there's the truck getting stuck in the mud halfway up the mountain. We had to go dig it out. But we won't talk about that right now :( On Saturday the Murle tribe had a strange chest-thumping partnering dance - kind of like an ancient mating ritual. Seeking adventure, I joined in. When someone told me that I may have to take a Sudanese woman home, I ran back to the compound and hid away! We were in an area of the Sudan controlled by SPLA rebels. I managed to befriend their commander, "Chief Lino." It would have been awesome to pop off a few rounds of his AK47. I asked, but he said no. He did offer, however, that any of his soldiers would come to my aid any time. Nice! On Sunday we went for a walk to check out the old airstrip on the far side of the plateau. A few hours later we ran into a de-mining team from the UN who informed us that we had been walking through an area with landmines!! That's too much danger. Good thing we are off that mountain and back in the relative safety of Nairobi, Kenya.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hello Nairobi

It's just past 9am on Thursday March 12. Yesterday's travel wasn't too rough, though transferring from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 at Heathrow was a sticky mess!! I have never seen so many people packed shoulder to shoulder in my life. I did run into the South African baseball team though. What are the odds? We arrived at Jomo Kinyata Airport in Nairobi at about 10pm last night. When you step off a plane in Africa there are very distinctive sounds and smells that are really familiar to me, and always bring back a flood of memories - both good and bad. Your senses are immediately assaulted with a feeling like "It's still 1975 around here." And then the slowness begins! NO ONE is in a hurry here - ever! But, TIA. (This is Africa) That's part of the charm I suppose.

I have just enjoyed one of those leisurely African breakfasts at a missionary compound called "The Mayfield House." African slowness means you get to sit around and drink lots of coffee and talk. I just met an American woman over breakfast who returned from the Sudan yesterday. Her MAF charter flight had to detour to pick up 5 people who had gunshot wounds from a raid on a tribal village close to where we are going. So, I am scared and excited - but mostly excited!

We'll spend today in Nairobi, and then we leave at 6am on Friday morning for the Sudan. Please keep us in your prayers. The adventure begins :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Goodnight, and Good Luck

I'm about to leave for the airport. I'll be flying from Dallas to London to Nairobi to Loki to Boma. Whewww! I'll stay in touch as best I can while I am away. Please keep me and the mission in your thoughts and prayers as the Sudan is not a safe place to be right now. I return to Dallas on March 26. Goodnight, and Good Luck!