March 2nd, 2011 by INMED
Posted in Uncategorized|
I’m back in the US! It only took about 45 hours to travel between Kapsowar and Memphis, but I made it!! The morning of the 28th began bright and early, as we left Kapsowar for Eldoret about 5 am. I had about 12 hours in Nairobi from the time I flew in that morning from Eldoret and the time I flew out that night to Amsterdam. To keep myself occupied (and safe), I hired a driver for the day. This gave me the opportunity to have a little tour of the city, go to a mall/market for last minute souvenirs, and see the National Park. Nairobi National Park was awesome. I’m told it’s nowhere near as nice as some of the other parks in Kenya, but for an afternoon safari it was perfect. We entered the park just before 3, and we left right after closing around 6. During that brief time I had the opportunity to see so many of the different animals for which Kenya is famous. The first ones we found were giraffes—about 10 of them—just hanging out along the road, as though they were waiting for me. Then we saw even more giraffes, with zebras mixed in, just around the corner. I ultimately saw about 3 herds of zebras (very large groups, not just a couple), and lots of giraffes. In addition, the park has several herds of water buffalo (some with babies!), and several rhino. I wasn’t able to get very close to the rhino, but I was close enough to get good pictures of everything else.
We also saw some ostrich (with babies), impalas (antelope looking things), other antelope that I couldn’t understand the name of, and several different types of birds. The final excitement came when we spotted a lioness sleeping in the grass. She never really woke up and moved around, but I was able to see at least the one lion, and she would occasionally lift her head. The only thing that we missed was an elephant, and apparently the park doesn’t have very many of them. It was so cool to see all these different animals so close to the city; while the park does have a fence around most of it, it’s open on one side for migration paths of the animals. I was amazed at how close we could get in many cases before the animals got spooked and ran. I had a great time seeing all the different animals; it was a wonderful way to end the trip!
This whole experience has been amazing. The month flew by—I have no idea where the time went, and next time I’ll have to go for longer. I learned a lot medically about how to function in a hospital without what we would consider the most basic tests and supplies (most of the time we couldn’t check electrolytes or blood cultures, for example). In Kapsowar, I was able to see a variety of medical conditions we don’t have in the US, from malaria or typhoid to rheumatic heart disease to arrows perforating the bowel. I also had the opportunity to grow in my faith and see a different—more enthusiastic—side of Christianity than I’m used to here.
The Christians in Kapsowar are so excited about God and their faith; I think in many ways we often take it for granted. When we’ve never been oppressed, or in the minority, it’s easy for faith to just become a part of us—not something we talk about as much, or something new or amazing or that could become a problem for us in the community (the Pokot Christians, for example, are ostracized from their families and the community). The Christians I met were much more vocal about putting their trust in God and believing that God is good, all the time. I’m not saying we aren’t, I’m just saying that they were more apt to talk about it than I think we are in this day and age. I don’t really talk about my faith all that much back home (especially with strangers); in Kapsowar, as a visitor to a church, you were expected to stand up and introduce yourself, including a statement of belief or a statement that you’re saved. It’s a bit different from how we worship in the Presbyterian church! In less exciting ways, I’ve gotten great at improvising for meals and cooking with the same few ingredients over and over. I’m definitely going to miss Kapsowar, but it is nice to be home.