The first day in Stellah, we rose and prepared to travel to the Kisii (kiss-ee) region to meet with several congregations for service.
We traveled in a taxi for the hour long journey. Bro. Peter's wife and Sis. Rosemary of the congregation kindly climbed in the back to leave us the seats.
We still road more snugly than you would ever consider at home. Here we say, we only have enough seats for 5 people. In Kenya, when 9 people are needing a way, you just make room. Notice Bro. Peter sitting in the driver's seat? He actually sat with the driver in his bucket seat. Matthew couldn't come because he had a cement project on the kitchen floor.
We bumped along over such rough, washed out roads. Erosion left large gullies, potholes and exposed boulders. At times you simply zigzag along. The poor drivers always had plenty of comments and exclamations from those of us who weren't used to such transportation. Sometimes I had to cover my eyes.
There is no air conditioning so you ride with the windows down. It feels good to have the air stirring until a large truck or van sweeps by bringing a cloud of dust in its wake and everyone races to roll up their windows. When you arrive at your destination the first order of business is to wipe off the visible layers of dust. This is one reason we ladies took to wearing scarves in our hair. It protected from some of the dirt and wind and kept us feeling a little more presentable.
When we approached the chapel, Michael told us we would have to hike up the hill to the chapel because there was no road, just a trail. We were surprised when the driver turned and started climbing the steep road in the car. I was holding my breath part of the time. When he turned off this trail to the footpath that led to the church I leaned into the turn, certain we were going to roll right back down that hill. These drivers are fearless. We were very glad to have arrived.
The pastor lives at a distance and he walks for hours every week rain and shine to come minister here. Several in the congregation will walk for 5 hours to come to the weekend services we have planned for the children and ministers Friday through Sunday.
Many times we were greeted with crying from young children who were not used to our pale faces. I had to chuckle one time walking down a road when a little child ran screaming in terror from me.
Looking down the mountain and across the valley it is easy to see why they call this region Caanan.
Nicole, Ranelle and LouCinda taught the children how to play Duck, Duck, Goose while we waited for lunch to be prepared. Even some of the adults wanted to join in. The others stood around the perimiter laughing and encouraging the runners.
We were served a meal of beans, rice, cooked Kale, boiled eggs, fresh Pineapple, and Ugali. (center: Staple food for Kenya. It is a very bland, thickly cooked ground maize that you pinch off in your hands and daub into whatever broth or greens you have.)
When it was time for us to leave, the women brought us gifts of pineapples and bananas to take with us.
When we arrived back at the orphanage, classes had dismissed for the day. We began the mammoth task of sorting through all the crates of supplies we had brought with us along with others that Matthew and LouCinda had purchased for us in Nairobi. In the evenings as we had time we began decorating classrooms with posters and border that we had brought with us.
Nicole and Ranelle spent time teaching some new games to the orphans and getting acquainted. LouCinda prepared a wonderful Minestrone soup for our supper with a mix we had brought and to which she added fresh tomatoes and other vegetables. It tasted so familiar and comforting as we sat around in the living room and scarfed it down with Sis. Roda's delicious Chipati bread.
We were all so tired, we were ready for a night of sleep.