Fran’s Kenya Diary – Sunday 15th January 2017
This is our last middle of the night start to get to airport. Online check in has failed again, so we get there a bit earlier to be safe. The check in at machine in terminal doesn’t work either, mild anxiety at this point. I realise we don’t actually have anything resembling what you might call a ticket, only the boarding passes from the outward journey that have the booking code on them. We go up to the desk and there is no problem, so don’t know what all that was about, very mysterious. We have quite a while in the airport, sitting in a nice café which only gives change in dollars, which is quite weird.
The flight is in the day time this time, though we are not next to the window, so can’t see that well. There is turbulence again over Lake Nasser. Half way home is just before Cairo, so more or less half the trip is Africa and half is Europe and the Mediterranean. We have been reading about freezing conditions and heavy snow in Europe all week, so I am a bit concerned we will freeze to death on the way home, I only brought one thick hoody with me and no coat, just for surviving this bit of the journey. We find the bus and get home, seems to take forever after sitting on a plane all day, get a taxi at the bus station and we’re home. Everyone has survived, even Alfonz the chameleon.
So how do I reflect now on my hopes before we left? Has my flame been relit?
I am amazed at how all the contacts with people relating to using Ruby Cups came together. That was certainly not due to my organisational skills as I left it all until the last minute due to my screwiness and it was beyond fortunate that everyone was available to fit into the packed schedule we already had. I think we found out everything we needed to know from the different people and it all fell into place perfectly. This is what we have learned to recognise over the years as the hand of God. Have I actually managed to be useful? I really hope so. It remains to be seen what will transpire with the rather more complex situation we unearthed in Kibera than we had been expecting. If God is building the house, and He certainly seems to be, the the building will be strong and lasting.
Revisiting the stark choices of daily life for so many in Kenya has left a deep impression after this visit. We have been before and seen these things, so it is not factually new to us, but maybe we are in a different place ourselves to respond to the lives that have touched ours this time. I feel humbled to see the determination so many people here have to make good choices for their lives and discipline themselves to persist through unimaginable difficulties. That was Peter’s message to the young offenders, that they need to make good choices. Think of Joachim getting his maths degree, Sharon’s sister holding a huge family together or all the staff of the medical centre serving that community despite the uncertainty as to when they will get paid. For people here, their choices often are literally about life and death, whether from HIV, violence, starvation or spiritual death from hopelessness, maybe dulled with drugs, or 1001 other things. That irritating phrase that older generations trot out, “You don’t know you’re born” seems disturbingly apt. I think that is my big lesson from this trip – learn to make good choices when things are difficult. I don’t do that now, I think I wimp out rather easily on many things as soon as it stops being easy. I can work hard when I am inspired and fulfilled, but what do I do that’s genuinely hard? I take the easy route, the extra biscuit at the drop of a hat. Trainspotting 2 is out as we get back. The original film had a signature song “Choose Life” that I once used as a sermon introduction. That’s what I need to learn now, choose the narrow path when it is difficult and not be so easily deflected.