Saturday, February 19, 2011

Culture Shock

I have arrived in Kenya safe and sound. I had two smooth, long flights with a large layover and even managed to get my bags all in tact. I was so grateful just to have my feet on the ground once we landed in Kenya. 

However, today has been a really rough day for me. My culture shock kicked in within an hour or so of arriving. I really don't know what triggered it. There is such a flurry of emotions and thoughts and feelings running through my head. I know that there were things that definitely contributed to it like the terrible service I got on my Kenya Airways flight. They were the worst flight attendants I have ever encountered in my life. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't get coffee spilt all over their lap. 

Then the person who was suppose to come pick me up was late due to circumstances that couldn't be avoided. I then was told that my accommodation plans had fallen through so I needed to find another  place to stay for a couple days before I head to Mombasa. I was brought to a cousin's house who offered for me to stay there but once I got in, I knew I wouldn't be comfortable there. At this point, I was exhausted from all the travelling, desperately needed to brush my teeth and shower, and would have loved some good quiet time with just me. I was not going to find any of this at the cousin's house. So I decided that I would like to stay in a cheap but decent hotel that I know of downtown. Well, we were so far out of the city that we needed to get a matatu to get to a taxi that would come and pick up all my luggage and then drive all the way to town. The friend I was with needed to go to a bank before it closed at 2pm and we found out that the only one that wouldn't have huge line ups just happened to be in the largest slum in Africa. So we took a cruise through the slum and waiting outside while my friend did some banking. This slum is so overwhelming with all the poverty, smells, sewage, laziness, dirt, garbage, etc. I have toured it before but today was probably not the best day to do it again. 

Finally we arrived at a hotel and booked in. I had a good cry because I was so overwhelmed and just wanted my parents. I was almost ready to get on the plane and head back to Canada. I then slept for 5 hours which was a combination of exhaustion and jet lag. I woke up in tears again but after some prayers and a good talk and walk around the block, I am feeling a bit better. 

This whole day just reminded me of the first time I came to Kenya in 2005. I was miserable for the first 2 weeks of my trip. Just like today, I felt so out of place, was so tired, trying to adjust to the culture, and just questioning my life in general. Today was a flashback to those horrible two weeks. However, looking back at it, I learned so much from that experience that totally helped me get through this day. So that was a blessing in itself. 

So please pray for me. Pray for wisdom, direction, discernment, peace, joy, etc. I know I love Kenya. I know I do. This trip is just a little different as I really don't have much of a game plan. Tonight I pondered what my days would actually look like and I honestly couldn't think of much. I pondered some of my decisions and relationships in my life. I pondered about how nice it would be to be at home with my family right now. 

But I  did manage to open my bible today and the first verse I read was Proverbs 20:24 (the Message) 
"The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we are going?"

Thank you God for guiding my steps even when I don't fully understand where I am going...

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