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A letter from Marta Bennett in Kenya

November 28, 2009

Photo of a small pickup truck loaded with furniture. Two men are hanging on to the load, which is piled very high.

Transitions.

Greetings to you all from Nairobi! After four months in the States, the kids and I have been settling back into Kenyan life, reconnecting with neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates and friends. After months of drought, we came back to a green Nairobi, after just a few weeks of heavy rain. Unfortunately, rain does not seem to be getting to the parts of the country where it is far more desperately needed. Imani, 10, just came back from a school field trip down near the Tanzanian border, and when I asked which animals she saw, she described the number of carcasses they encountered — elephants, zebras, etc. She saw far more dead animals than surviving ones.

Observations from America

  • Wonderful reunions with good friends.
  • Amazing new friends and acquaintances.
  • Seemingly long distances to get anywhere.
  • So much scheduling!
  • Everything is done on the Internet.
  • So much advertising, so many choices!
  • Much emphasis on health and healthy living, eating, exercising.
  • Beautiful warm sunny weather (my kids still don’t quite believe it actually rains in Seattle, and we were there till the end of October!)
  • A niece’s wedding on the Washington coast, with good family new and re-connections.
  • An incredible few days at Disneyland (with musings about how it would translate into our Kenyan world. Conclusion? It doesn’t and can’t, so just enjoy it.)
  • Wonderful hospitality, stimulating conversations.
  • Living out of suitcases and feeling at home but never quite settled.
  • Missing friends and experiences in Kenya.

Impressions of Kenya upon return

  • Run-down and crowded.
  • Traffic jams and rude drivers.
  • Exquisite purple Jacaranda blossoms covering the trees and carpeting the roads.
  • More bui-buis everywhere (Muslim burquas — the long black veils and coverings worn by many Muslim women), more than I remember seeing in the past.
  • Calmly observing the lizards as they scurry across the walkway in front of my toes as I walk, but being startled when a baby lizard leapt for safety when I opened the file drawer in my office.
  • Sighing when the power went off our first Sunday evening back, just as I had started preparing dinner and later learning that the entire country had had a black-out until late into the night.
  • Many visitors — and much visiting — happy reunions with dear friends.
  • Politics, politics, politics.
  • On the news, all the headlines, ongoing discussions. Politics, debates, jockeying, defensiveness and politics.
  • Clusters of skinny cows coerced along by their red shuka-attired Maasai herders, in random roads through-out the city, waiting for them to pass so I can enter our driveway.
  • Piles of dirt along every road as ditches are being dug by myriads of workers (without clear reason of purpose); resulting traffic tangles, impasses and creative driving.
  • People everywhere, children in uniforms carrying school bags, navigating the dirt piles and ditches on their trek to school and back.
  • Sleeping in our own beds again, with a familiar place to put everything.
  • Missing friends and experiences in America.

Please pray

  • For the rains in strategic parts of the country (but not too much).
  • Re-entry into school here for my children (it was tough for them coming back and re-entering their school one month before term exams).
  • For so many of my NIST students who were not able to come up with the needed fees to continue this year and for almost half of our accepted applicants who failed to find the needed funds to start.
  • For teaching faculty — to find qualified, committed, gifted professors who are able to come teach and invest in our students.
  • For the ongoing development of the school, especially as we continue to move toward receiving accreditation from the Kenyan government to become a full-fledged university.

Thanks for your partnership in prayers, encouragement, support and interest!

Marta Bennett

The 2009 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 37

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