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Sunday, July 5, 2009

God Bless the USA...all the way from Kenya!

I hope that you all had an AMAZING Fourth of July! Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love the buzz in the air, the smell of bbqs, and the fireworks that wrap up the evening. Things are a tad bit different in Kenya when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July…..obviously!

If you were to ask any of my friends here if I were excited about the Fourth of July arriving, they would for sure say that I wouldn’t stop talking about it! I counted down the days till I got to celebrate the 4th. Knowing that things would be different, my friends and I were determined to make the most of it! There are five of us that hang out (Sammi, Joelle, Luke, Phil, and me)….perfect amount to pack into my car and find some trouble….er,I mean fun! (Joelle is from Canada so we had pitty on her and let her be an American for the day. )

We started our celebration bright and early…. 8am. Sammi was up in Machakos volunteering to help watch kids for those at the Africa Based Orientation (ABO) for AIM so our first stop was Machakos! Before Machakos, however Joelle invited us all over for a breakfast. In the invitation she said: “Dress up in western outfits and bring country music!” I thought she was going to try to make fun of us Americans somehow since we like to tease her about being from Canada but instead she shared a Canadian tradition with us! It was called a “Stampede Breakfast” which apparently is a tradition in her town. For ten days the whole city shuts down to celebrate the stampede. All over the city people host amazing breakfasts. It begins on the first Thursday in July and continues for ten days. Sooo, although it was the 4th of July (an American holiday) we got to celebrate a Canadian tradition too! And it was Yummy! I got to make the pancakes and added an American twist….Mickey Mouse! :)

(Our "Stampede Breakfast"... Phil, Luke, Me, Joelle (the Canadian :) )

After our “Stampede Breakfast” we hit the road for Machakos. It was a fun ride with friends. We got to drive through many different towns and see so many beautiful mountains! The last time I traveled this road was in January and back then the roads were ROUGH! They made a new road but……..I didn’t get that memo. After a little “detour” (riding down a ravine and through a construction site) we made it to Machakos. It was exactly how I’d seen it 5 months ago! We got to meet a lot of new missionaries who just arrived and it was amazing for me to see them and to realize that I’m not “new” anymore!

Shortly after we picked up Sammi, the five of us headed to Mt. Lukenya where my pastor owns a camp. He invited all the Americans he knew for a bbq. It was BEAUTIFUL out there! So great to get out of the chaos of Nairobi and enjoy the fresh air! After a good old American bbq, we headed to the volley court for some “Big Ball Volleyball!” Ok….50 something Americans (plus one Canadian) on a volleyball court with a 3 foot ball is insane! Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the event, which is sooo sad cause it was a site to see. I laughed more than I hit the ball….for sure! Our team lost (wah wah) but it didn’t matter…the fun we had was priceless! The camp is on 100 acres. On one side of the camp is a mountain and the other side is a safari park…pretty much incredible to say the least! My pastor’s son, Paul, (who is the camp director) handed me his keys to his four-wheeler after the game. I’ve found a new passion of mine…four-wheeling around the African Bush…tooo fun! It was like Jet-skiing but without the water! I hope to get back out to that camp soon and ride some more! Before we left the camp, Paul invited us to his house that he just built. Yes, you read that right, he BUILT his very own house! It was AMAZING! I felt like it should be on one of those “Home” TV channels. The moment I walked in my jaw dropped. It was this incredible ranch in the middle of a Safari park. Paul says that a lot of times he eats dinner on his back porch as the sunsets, watching giraffe walk by. As we left the camp my mind was occupied with how I can get OFM to move out to some place like this camp! Haha….like that would ever happen!

(The Camp bbq... Joelle, Luke, Sammi, Renee, Me, Phil)

Our drive home was a little less eventful since I was able to find the newly paved road…and it was quite nicer than driving through the ravine! We made a stop at the grocery store and picked up some food for our own dinner that evening. It turned out amazing! We had marinated chicken, rosemary potato wedges and steamed green beans. (Don’t worry….we explained to the Canadian that this isn’t a traditional 4th of July dinner such as hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and corn on the cob.) It was one of the best dinners I’ve had in a while….soo tasty! The company, of course made the night. Laughter filled the air constantly as we recalled memories from the day and the past few months. We wrapped up the evening with quite a few rounds of the game “Apples to Apples” then 3 episodes of “The Office.” Have I mentioned before that we laughed a lot on the 4th? ☺

So, recap: Despite the fact that we were the minority who actually celebrate the 4th of July in Kenya we were able to make the most of it and make lasting memories. There were no fireworks, but there were constant explosions of laughter.

God Bless the USA!

P.s. I still have yet to update on my time spent with two of my best friends who visited me for two weeks! It was an incredible time! Once I get pictures then I will for sure fill you all in on the adventures we had! ☺


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