There is a saying, “there is no hurry in Africa.” That saying pretty much sums up my experience yesterday.
Upon arriving in Eldoret yesterday, Juli and I learned that our ride had a broken down car in Turbo, which is about 10 minutes away from Kipkarren (our destination) and an hour away from Eldoret. The Kipkarren network was soon at work though, and another man, Ezekial, who happened to be in town that day, agreed to pick us up and take us into town so that we could wait there for our original ride. Having made it into town, Juli and I went to lunch and learned that our ride was still stuck in Turbo. We then walked around Eldoret for a while where I learned two very valuable lessons 1) Pedestrians never have the right-of-way, and 2) you have to have no fear in order to drive in Eldoret. There are no traffic lights, no real rules or regulations, and absolutely no parking strictures. The cars stop wherever they have the opportunity and the drivers make their way into the shops where they have business. Combine that with people setting up mobile stores along the street (they are mobile because they are illegal and they must quickly pick up their goods with the authorities come) and it definitely is an experience that most Western drivers are not used to. For sake of comparison, its similar to the poor areas of Mexico except even more chaotic.
In the midst of this chaos though, there are throngs of people; people who live in the moment and do not worry about keeping to a schedule or routine. After walking for a while, we learned that our original car still hadn’t been prepared, and so Ezekial kindly agreed to let us ride back with him to town. We spent some time in ELI’s office, ran “a few” errands with Ezekial (which probably took about an hour and a half) and finally made it to David’s house. I originally planned to be in Kipkarren around noon. We arrived around 6:00.
It was a good day though. I enjoyed the spontaneity of the moment although Juli would have preferred a quicker route home. The day ended with dinner at David’s house consisting of some other American visitors, and various members of his immediate and extended family. Before everyone left, we closed the evening with prayer, watched Allison open an early Christmas gift (she was so excited about the CD, Josh and Jodie) and so ended by first day in Kipkarren.
A few other things that I already appreciate about Kenya:
– There is always music. Whether we are hanging out, cooking dinner, or having some type of meeting, there is always music. Spontaneous outbreak of songs are totally acceptable.
– You greet everyone. Regardless of whether you know the person, or you are just walking by them on a path, you stop and shake hands with nearly everyone you pass by. On the rare occasion you don’t shake hands, you wave and say “hello.”
– People want you to feel a part of the community. When I meet someone, they often invite me to make this like home or they say “you are part of us now.” There is an amazing amount of inclusion.