Saturday, September 30, 2006

Frustrations and Blessings

Power Issues

Yesterday, I was set for a long, productive day of writing newsletters. But the morning had barely started when the power went out. Called good ol' Kenya Power.

"It will be back in 3 hours," the clerk assured me.

So I packed everything and headed to town to work there. But as I got to the Internet cafe in town, I noticed the mall (wow, that sounds like such a fancy place, should rather say the little center) was dark.

"Do you have power?" I asked a clerk.

"No, we have no power," he replied, seemingly not fazed by the inconvenience.

I called Kenya Power again. "In town, power will be back at 1."

So I proceeded to run all the errands I needed to run, somewhat frustrated by the fact the power would be back earlier in the village, but I now had a plethora of people depending on me for rides, so I had to hang around for a while.

Sometime in the afternoon, power did indeed come back on and I was able to get some work done. It was around 5 when I finally headed home, eager to get comfy at my desk and keep working.

But alas, power was not yet back at Ilula.

Call Kenya Power again.

"It will be back at 6, maybe 6:30."

By 7:00, I made another call.

"We need about another 2 hours," they assured me.

By 9:30, I headed to bed. Still no power. I was starting to get concerned about the food in my freezer since I have a team coming this week and had stocked up groceries, having to cook for them myself.

Sometime later, the power came back with a bang. My printer started churning. The kettle started boiling. All my lights were on. And I was thankful, though by that time, I was too tired to turn on my computer and work.

What blows my mind is how my Kenyan friends don't seem to be frustrated by the power outages. It's just a part of life. Maybe someday I'll take them in stride, too. It's just not convenient when you have at least 9 hours of computer work planned and end up getting only 2 hours' work done!

Mobile Ministry

One good thing that did happen yesterday was that I had an opportunity to give my little neighbor Fortune a ride home. Fortune and his brother Maxwell live down the road from our base. They usually run to the road and wave when I drive by, but when I stop to greet them, they run away. They never come to VBS, and I've never seen them go to church on Sundays. I've been praying for an opportunity to get to know their family.

As I headed home yesterday, Fortune was walking home from school, a 2-mile walk from one of the local elementary schools. I stopped and invited him to hop in. He was grinning from ear to ear, yet sitting very properly and very politely, looking like a little dwarf in the huge back seat of the Land Rover.

When I stopped by their home, bare-butted little Maxwell ran around shouting that the mzungu brought his brother home! At least, now they know my name. And Fortune knows I don't bite. He might actually stop and visit next time I drive by...

Car Issues

A colleague dropped me off at the airport this morning. I had to fly to Nairobi to meet an optometry team from Iowa. Soon after arriving in the city, I got a call.

"Adele, there's a problem. On the way back from the airport..." Seriously, I thought the guy was going to say he had an accident. But then he explained about black smoke coming from the engine, and that there had been a short in the starter, and that it burned out, that you cannot find it in Eldoret...

All these thoughts went through my head:

  • This is nothing he did/didn't do that caused it. It could've happened to me.
  • I'm glad it wasn't an accident. It's something replaceable.
  • I wonder how much this will cost.
  • I'm glad it didn't happen on the way TO the airport, else I could've missed my plane.
  • Where on earth do you buy a new starter?
  • I'm glad I'm in Nairobi where you can actually find Land Rover parts!
  • I'm glad I have a ministry account that has money in it for events like these.

Within 30 minutes (and $350 later) I had a brand new starter plus heater plugs for my engine, which is probably part of the reason for the short, since the plugs were shot, causing a hard start. So hopefully this can be fixed on Monday so I can drive the team to Kipkaren on Wednesday to do some eye exams there.

So now? I'm at Mayfield in Nairobi, ready to get working on the stuff I was supposed to do yesterday. And then pick up the visitors at the airport this evening.

Which means I'd better get working...

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