Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sunrise over Mt. Kenya
Sorry, everyone. My camera was stowed in the overhead bin... But take my word for it: 'twas a glorious sight when I glanced eastward this morning, out the window of Kenya Airways Flight 101, prior to landing in Nairobi. The view almost compensated for the angst I felt listening to Bing Crosby sing his old Christmas chestnuts for hours, over Logan Airport's PA system, prior to leaving Boston.
It's a long way to Tipperary, and it's an even longer way to Kenya via my twelve-hour layover in England. But the two-hour trip from Nairobi to Kisumu via Eldoret was a delight. I sat next to a beautiful six-month-old and her granny, all the while remembering my own six beautiful grandchildren at home. When we deplaned in Kisumu, Nan rushed up to enfold me in her welcoming arms, in spite of her busier-than-ever morning. The harrowing ride to Maseno (thank you, God, and thank you, Kenneth, for safe transport!) was downright nostalgic. After two months of "missionary leave" (not exactly R and R), it seemed to me that very little had changed here. Sunny skies were warming the land and people, tattered laundry was drying on bushes, kids were waving and chanting staccato "How are YEW's?" along the way. (Thank you, Regina, for the photo!)
Fields were fallow after the harvest, but perhaps a little greener following the season of the short rains. Children and livestock were grazing -- sugar cane and grass, respectively -- on the roadside, but they were perhaps a little thinner as a result of Kenya's escalating inflation. (Corn, our staple food, is three times the price it was two years ago.) The hills we climbed in "Private" were perhaps a little more decimated by deforestation, and the air was perhaps a little more polluted by the acrid smoke of burning trash and spilled diesel. But the mosquitoes were as tiny and voracious as ever. (Yes, I'm taking my malaria pills.) When we pulled into the hospital compound, it was equally obvious from the mutual smiles and hugs that "the company of all faithful people" had not changed one bit. "You came back! You said you would, and you did. Karibu and Bwana asifiwe!"
Bing sang, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." Dreams are powerful gifts, thank God... My mother died one year ago tonight, but she, too, lives on in my dreams. And so I send hugs and misses and sweet dreams to you all -- with heartfelt gratitude for your love and prayers as we begin another assignment at Maseno Mission Hospital together.
Posted by Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny at 11:00 PM