Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Coming Home

As promised in my last post I am writing about culture shock and coming home. My last week was a week of goodbyes at Tenwek, a goodbye party with all the missionaries at Tenwek, goodbye to the church, goodbye to Sunday school class and youth group on Sunday, goodbye to the hospital staff on Wednesday. A walk Wednesday afternoon to say a last goodbye to the missionaries.  A goodbye supper Wednesday night followed by the last fire on the porch. Thursday was the last goodbye to friends before hopping in the van and heading off to the airport. 
Great friends
Sunday School Class

My ICU nurse friends

I was able to car pool with a few other people flying out so we hired a van and off we went. Travel in Kenya is always interesting between the matatus full of people and the donkey carts. We had no trouble until we reached the town of Narok, where nothing was moving. We wove our way to the front of the congestion and discovered that people had blocked off the bridge. Our driver went off to see what was up I don’t know if i got the whole story but the jist of it was that the businessman were protesting (by blocking off the road) due to the flooding that occurred yesterday – they wanted money.  Soon after we learned what was going on, the riot police showed up and for our safety the driver took us back about a mile. Here we sat. There was no way around the blockage with the exception of driving through the river, which some people were driving through. However, we were not in a large vehicle and the driver did not think we could make it through the river that just flooded. Our option was sit there or head back to Tenwek and to Nairobi over Kericho than Nakuru – a 6 hour detour. Nairobi is only ~2 hours from Narok so we sat.
As we sat, I realized how much I have changed in the last few months, the old me would have been worried for my safety, and very stressed about making it to my flight on time. Instead I found my flight itinerary to make sure I had the travel agent`s number (I did) and then layed down to take a nap (I had only slept five hours the night before).  I dozed for  a bit, listened to my iPod and we waited. I figured as long as we made it out of Narok by 4:30 we should be ok to get our flights. God was good, after sitting for two hours we started to move half an hour before my requested time of 4:30. Being that we were in Kenya, traffic doesn't all start to move in a nice orderly fashion, all goes at once in the lane, the ditch and the lane where the oncoming traffic would be coming in just a few minutes. But hey, oncoming traffic is taking up all the lanes as well. Like all the kids cramming around the door after recess and no one actually moving. Somehow, everyone eventually got sorted out, we drove out of the ditch that we thought would be quicker (we being the driver) and proceeded on our way.
From then on the trip was uneventful. I got on my flight and proceeded home without any trouble. I slept the first flight, and I was entertained on the 2nd flight with the movies – Voyage of the Dawn Treader (I have the book almost memorized so I was disappointed by the movie), Gulliver's Travels as well as the new (as in most recent) Indiana Jones.
Mom and Dad met me at the airport with the words: glad your flight was on time, we have to go there is a snow storm coming in. I had hoped this was an April Fools joke – but nope the world is still white here. We managed to make it home before the storm but the weekend has been white and the temperature hovering around freezing – I should have stayed longer at Tenwek.

The view from my parents front door - winter.
 I have had a few days at Mom and Dad’s and am enjoying the luxuries of being back in Canada. One of the first things I did when I got home was poured myself a glass of nice cold milk – my first in `six months. Wonderful. Mom sent me to do groceries and I managed to drive on the right side of the road and other than a strange impulse to buy chocolate chips, pens and Ziploc bags the reverse culture shock has not hit me too bad. I am sure it will hit me harder when I return to work on Thursday.


  1. Thanks for showing us how you have changed! I like that you experienced just a little bit of the snow, seems only fair. Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday :)

  2. Great post from Alberta. And kudos to your mom for getting you out the door so soon after you arrived home. I hope the next few weeks go okay, but I am sure there will be many moments when you will relive your Tenwek memories. spot