Finally at Ndoto

We finally made it to kisumu yesterday after a long five hour bumpy ride! We finally have a spot to keep our bags in one spot, for once. I should say until we leave for the retreats on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday.

On Thursday we took our night safari tour and it was a ton of fun! We got to see zebra, giraffe, rhinos- both white and black, female lions, wart hogs, water buffalo, gazelle, and antelope. We also got to see the amazing sunset from high on a mountain. Africa is absolutely beautiful! All three of us had expectations of it being flat and dusty. Just how you see on movies how you’d imagine a safari in the desert. But it’s nothing like that. Our little shack we stayed in Thursday was the coolest place we stayed so far…so if you’re looking for a honeymoon location, just kidding, but really!

But on our safari we finally found lions! Two female lions were curled up together sleeping in a bunch of tall grass. Z decided he needed a picture and climbed up on top of the vehicle which meant he was out… Juma: “um, Z that’s illegal, you could get arrested for that”. Z: “When I get arrested for taking this awesome picture then you’ll thank me”. Juma loved us! THEN… Seth dropped the camera lens out of the vehicle so Juma had to get out of the safari van right in front of the lions and they perked their heads up and he quickly got in the car. It was a pretty hilarious time!

We also got to watch a native African dance on Thursday night. Z got asked up on stage to dance with a girl and both Seth and I failed at taking video or pictures and will be reminded for eternity. Let me tell you the Africans can dance!

Friday morning we woke up and started a morning safari at 6:30. The sun had already started rising so the animals were all still up. We were hoping to see a male lion or even see the female lions again when they weren’t sleeping, we didn’t, but it’s okay. Then we headed to kisumu.

We made it here around 2:00pm on Friday. We finally got to meet Ashley the communications director for Ndoto. We’ve only had tons of phone calls, emails and texts so it was finally awesome to meet here even though it felt like we already knew her. We also met Allison the executive director of Ndoto, she has lived here eleven years. And then a board member named Emily. They are all from Texas. Emily and Ashley don’t live here and only come at certain times of the year.

We took the Tuk Tuk into town and grabbed dinner at a place that had American-ish food. Then we picked up some water and snacks at the market that resembled Walmart a bit. It was a grocery, appliance, and furniture store all in one. It made you feel a little more at home. It also reminded me of a place my friend Brittany took me in Kansas on the base where it’s literally a store full of everything! We then took the Tuk Tuk to hippo point on Lake Victoria and watched the sunset. We also met one of the Ndoto staff members named Joshua who was the Tuk Tuk driver. We got to hear his awesome testimony and hear all about how he was the first Tuk Tuk driver in Kisumu. Remember how I told you how crazy the driving is here and how bumpy the roads are…well just imagine it being crammed into a tiny little car with tiny little wheels! Never take for granted that smooth ride you will probably drive today!

Friday night we hung out in our small dorm looking hotel. We have two rooms, and have had two rooms the whole time. But every time is different, the first night Z had one big bed and we had two twins. The second we had two queen beds and Z had one big bed, third night we had one king sizes bed and Z had two twins. And at our hotel now we have one big bed and Z has two beds kind of between a full and twin. But we decided to have a slumber party last night…so Seth and I slept in this tiny bed and I think we are all so tired we didn’t even move. And I finally slept through the night! Finally getting that jet lag to be gone. Also we were thankful for some fans. I haven’t complained about the heat since we had such a horrible winter but when we literally got into Kisumu the temp went up and so did the humidity!

Today is Saturday morning here and our plan is to tour the area and also Abuja, the slum of Kisumu. That’s where Ndoto is located. We also will be going to the orphanage to love on some kiddos. Then this evening we are going to an Ndoto students mom’s house to have a traditional meal. We were told we can just take small bites because it will be different!

Also, everyone here has three names we learned. Some go by their “sir name” which is their last name. Some go by their middle name which is a Swahili word for the time of day you were born. So since I was born at 6am I would have a middle name for whatever the Swahili word for “early morning”. Then their last names go by their dads middle name – the time of day they were born. So for example if we did it in America with just out normal names my name would be Jillian (time of day born) (dads time of day born) – now you know how last names work here!

Then along with that every woman with children is called “mama….” The (….) is the name of the first child. So everyone would call my mom Mama Jillian.

So hopefully you’ve learned something new! We learned a lot lately and it’s just trying to remember everything at this point! It’s been an absolute blast here with the Ndoto staff so far!

Enjoy your Saturday! I saw its supposed to be warm and sunny on Saturday for you!

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