Sunday, November 6, 2011


We've safely arrived! After a solid 52 hours of traveling, we arrived at my parents house where we'll stay until we find our own place. Our travels went incredibly smoothly, all things considering, and our children were wonderful. I'll post some pics & a recap a bit later but right now I wanted to invite you all into some of the processing I've been doing since we arrived in Nairobi almost exactly 3 days ago.

To say the least, this entire process has been overwhelming. And by far, the most overwhelming part has been arriving; I had thought it would be leaving. The reality of the plunge we have just taken is sinking in, and the magnitude of the challenges we'll face is now more apparent than when we were looking at them from 10,000 miles away. My 'adult' eyes see Kenya in a completely different way than my 'kid' eyes did growing up. I am acutely aware of how many things I do not know - how much milk costs, how one gets a driver's license, where the nearest hospital is, what medicines are available, who do I tip & where & how much, what's normal with almost absolutely everything?

There's a sense of being simultaneously re-born & forced (for lack of a better phrase) to become an adult overnight. The magnitude of the journey we have begun as a family is most striking when I look at my children and recognize the depth of responsibility I have in protecting them and providing for them - from everything to how their systems respond to a new diet to how they respond emotionally to all of the immense changes around the. Chris and I have taken on a massive task.

And in the middle of feeling more overwhelmed by my inadequacies than I ever have in my life, and more challenged by the immensity of the task in front of me I have been struck by three things: the newness of each moment, the generosity of others, and the strength of a human spirit reliant on Christ.

The newness of each moment has become exceptionally clear through Kai - his ability to forgive my shortcomings immediately, wanting me to comfort him when I am the one who upset him by raising my voice, his ability to see newness in the simplest things, and his ability to quickly trust the people he meets. Mika is the epitomy of newness - learning to smile, starting to make noises other than crying & other non-ladylike bodily noises, and responding to new sounds and sights every day.

Kenya itself is bursting with newness - something is constantly happening, people are always busy moving (or standing still), and even the roads of Nairobi change so frequently the locals routinely exchange information on the best way to get from point A to point B.

I am in the midst of my own 'newness' - learning what it means to be a wife & a mother in this city, obtaining critical information at every turn on daily life, realizing how much I need to grow in my trust in Christ, recognizing I have been given a very 'new' slate and wondering what are the best things to fill it.

As I've been in the middle of all this newness, the generosity of those around me has been striking - even on our way here, many strangers stopped to help us with our luggage, our babies, or retrieve dropped items that were impossibly difficult for us to pick up in our laden state. Since we've arrived, multiple people (both closely & remotely associated with my parents) have offered us meals, transportation, childcare, company, and even in one case, a driver to take us around town since we're still getting acclimated to the layout of the city & style of driving. The generosity of those around us has been overwhelming especially in the immense love everyone has shown to Kai & Mika - people's gentleness, compassion, and patience with our children has made the beginning of their transition flawless and has offered comfort to my heart in a way I am sure they do not recognize.

And while I have been overwhelmed with the details, and at times scared by the rawness of life in a place where tragedy & triumph walk so closely to eachother they are almost the same being, I have been struck by the resilience of the human spirit.

I met a woman on Saturday, her name is Scola & she works at my parents house. In my entire life, I have never met a more joyful and loving person. As we talked, exchanging details about each other's children & lives, it became very clear that Scola's joy and peace did not come from having an easy life. In short, she is in her late 20's, has two children of her own, and is also a mother to her 4 nieces & nephews since her sister passed away 6 years ago, she works two jobs, and is going to an adult school to finish the Kenyan equivalent of her highschool education since she was, as she said "interrupted by some things".

And despite having the cares of 6 children on her shoulders, and her own future to pursue, Scola was so exceptionally excited to be where she was - washing dishes in my parents kitchen & talking to me, a stranger. And when Kai wanted to go outside and I was 'busy', Scola stopped what she was doing to take him outside and show him the newness of his new home - pouring so much love & sweetness on him, you'd think he was her own son. 

The immense strength of the human spirit is never more evident than in the gentleness & joy formed in those who have faced & overcome many obstacles - ultimately arriving at the realization their triumph is to no credit of their own.

I can only pray that at the end of the obstacles currently in my path - I arrive at that realization & with that result.

I know without a doubt, Christ will sustain us through whatever may be ahead. And I know, without a doubt, He will be with us - regardless if we are experiencing a triumph or a tragedy, big or small. But that, at this point, is about all I know - where we'll live, what we'll drive, who our friends will be, how our children will really adjust, how our finances will finalize once the monthly expenses solidify, where we'll go to church, and dozens more basics remain complete mysteries.

I'll write more again soon - and post pictures of our trip & first few days here. I hope you enjoyed this 'glimpse' into my current processing - I'm sure there will be more to come.


  1. You'll have our prayers... and although I have some images of where you are they are still through those child eyes from many years ago.

  2. Welcome to Kenya and your new life adventures!! I know whatever happens will be the perfect thing for you, Chris and the kids. Life is an amazing ride and it's great to see you and Chris living life in the very front car, arms held high above your head, smiling and having fun!! Love you. Julia

  3. Sarah, you brought me to tears reading this. I can picture you and your family at Village Market, etc. and was so touched by your facing the reality of living in Nairobi as an adult now! You inspire me! Love you! Carlye

  4. I miss Kenya, and Nairobi! Reading this I am very jealous you got to go back. Have a Java coffee for me!!! What a great adventure for you guys! Plus you got Jesus as your adventurer guide! Score!


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