On A Personal Note…

My year through the Psalms with Tim Keller’s The Songs of Jesus continues to be a powerful and precious journey. God’s Word is truly incredible in so many ways. One of the things I find amazing, and even surprising, even though it happens repeatedly (like here), is the capacity it has to speak into so many different circumstances and events, exhibiting relevance and personal connection, though often I feel like all I’m doing is picking up a devotional and reading the next scheduled passage.

The past couple of weeks have been full of contrasts for our family. There have been times of delight and joy as we continue to experience Kenyan culture and life in Nairobi, such as sweet fellowship with other believers and colleagues at church and at Bridgeworld College, as well as fun times with friends at home or visiting “touristy” places together.

There have also been times of deep sorrow and unexpected pain as we continue to mourn as a family for the loss of our son and brother. Findley was due in March 2017, and all of us were excited about this: talking about names, discussing new sleeping arrangements, and the fact that our van was already full so we’d need to replace it with something larger… None of us expected to have to say good-bye to him before we really even got to say hello, but that is what happened; we lost our tiny baby boy at 17 weeks of pregnancy on October 14th. We chose a middle name for him, Salim, which we read is a Swahili name denoting peace and safety. While we cling to that hope and comfort, that he is at peace and safe in Jesus’ arms, our own arms ache to hold him here. We are keenly aware that things here on earth are not the way they’re supposed to be.

So the Psalms. If you have read any of them, you know that grief, pain, loss, and heartache are not shied away from at all. You also know that words of praise and glory to God are everywhere, often side-by-side or intermingled with with the expressions of sorrow, even verse by verse. Such contrasting companions, are they not? And at first glance especially so. But the more I think about it, living in a time and space and country of contrasts myself, the more I believe there is no other way to mourn and to praise, especially while we live here in a world broken by sin and longing for the Saviour to return to make all things new and right again.

The Bible App has a “verse of the day” feature, which was one of the first things I read the morning we lost Findley. I don’t see it every day, and I don’t know exactly how these verses are chosen and sent to my tablet, but I know this: God planned this verse for our family long before we knew we would need it. Psalm 73:26 was October 14’s “verse of the day.” “My flesh and my heart may fail (and oh, how they have,) but God (are there any more powerful words in Scripture? ‘but God!’) is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” My Mom told me that a larger portion of Psalm 73, including this verse, was also part of my Grandma’s funeral texts last month.

And back to Keller: the reading for October 16 starts with Psalm 109:21-29, and studies the phrase “But you, Sovereign Lord.” “Our prayer may rightly begin with our own hurts, sins, enemies, surroundings, troubles. But it is only when you lay these things before God, see them in light of who he is, and say, ‘but You…’ – that release, relief, hope, and strength begin to come.” (Keller, p. 289). I can’t answer my heart’s cries as to why, how, and what now, but I know the One who made my heart does not ignore these cries. Even when I do not know how to pray, He knows; He sees; He even weeps with us. (John 11:35). “God does not stand aloof to the pains of our existence.” October 22nd’s reading is Psalm 114, and looks at how God overcame seemingly absolute barriers to Israel’s escape from Egypt in order to bring them to their promised land: “The Red Sea parted and the mountains shook.” Likewise “to get us to our true country to live with him, [God] will shake and destroy death itself.” (Keller, 295).

Yes, these can seem like far-away and intangible promises sometimes (like now), but they are promises nonetheless, and our God is a keeper of promises. How do I know this? By the Psalms, for one. They speak of faithfulness, of answered prayers, of promises kept even in the midst of grief and inability to understand. The reading for today October 25, has us begin Psalm 116:

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling…” (Psalm 116:1-8, NIV).

We will trust that just as God did these things for the Psalmist, He will for us. It is in knowing that we cannot answer the questions, or stop the tears, or handle things, that we will find the One who can. October 25 is sometimes a hard day for us, because it marks the due date of the first baby we lost too soon, several years ago at just 8 weeks of pregnancy. Still, October 25 reminds us that we have experienced God’s comfort and healing in the past, and so we rest in knowing He is present, and He is faithful, even (or maybe especially!) in the midst of storms.


A peaceful evening by all appearances – yet thunder was rolling overhead when this was taken. Contrasts are everywhere.

We pray this prayer, led by Tim Keller: “Lord, when I get into a tight place, my heart instinctively says ‘I can fix this. I can handle this.’ I think about people to call – but it is all futile. I can’t handle life, (or death!), and the sooner I admit this deep in myself, the sooner I’ll know the peace of always calling on You.” (Keller, p. 298).




These passages “coming along at just the right time” are not mere coincidences or random happenings; these are ways that the God who is infinitely greater than we can imagine does not fail to notice and care about the tiniest of babies and the families that love them and mourn for them. So we are encouraged: “Praise God because there is nothing too great for him … but also praise him because there is no one too small for God.” (Keller on Psalm 113:1-9). And further: “God’s greatness is seen in his regard for the ungreat. In Jesus he proved to be great enough to become small himself.” (Keller, p. 294). Sneak peek of tomorrow’s reading explains the full reason Jesus became small – “God saved the psalmist from death because his servants’ deaths are costly and painful to him … God does, of course, allow his people to die, but they are so precious to him,” that he has paid “the ultimate price on the cross.”

“Lord, you died that I (and that our precious Findley) might not die forever, and you rose so I might live forever. For this may I sing your praise!” (Keller, p. 299).


Chorus for Swahili version of “How Great Thou Art

Bridgeworld Retreat & Prayer Requests

Last Friday, Evan, Torin, Bronwyn, Gwennyth and I accompanied students and staff from Bridgeworld College to the Nairobi Arboretum for this semester’s student retreat and picnic. While many of the students in the social work program are familiar to me – I see them each week at chapel – I do not really know them as I do not teach any courses in that program. The retreat was a wonderful occasion to get to know them and to interact with students from the theology program in an informal, fun setting.

We travelled on a colorful Kenyan bus from the school to the arboretum, where we enjoyed the park-like grounds. Our day began with a time of worship and prayer. In keeping with the lyrics of one of the songs we sang – “We praise Him in the African way” – Anthony, one of the theology students, taught us a couple African dances. Rev. Philip, the dean of students, gave a short meditation, after which Joseph, chairman of the student council, led in a time of prayer.

For the remainder of the morning and the early part of the afternoon, we played played concentration games, jumped rope, had a tug-of-war, and ran some foot races. A lunch of chapati, buns, and bananas was enjoyed in the company of some furry little primates who were eager to join us. The afternoon ended with ice cream cones and bars bought from a vendor in the park.

Click on any picture below to open a slideshow.

It is hard to believe that the semester is nearly over. Regular classes end on October 21. I will be teaching a special week-long intensive preaching course for the theology students from October 24-28. The following week is a reading/study break, with exams the week of November 7-11.

As the semester ends, please pray for the students at Bridgeworld College:

  • That they will successful complete their remaining assignments and other course work.
  • That God will provide the funds to pay their remaining school fees. Students with school fees owing are not allowed to sit for their examinations.
  • That they will have good concentration and recall as they prepare for their examinations.

Staff at the college is busy preparing for the next semester that begins in January. Please pray for:

  • The recruitment of new students: In addition to the current theology, social work, and counseling psychology programs, the college hopes to have sufficient enrollment for its currently dormant business management program and a new program in information technology.
  • God’s provision of qualified lecturers, especially in the theology department: For the past four years, Rev. Sungho Lee, a Korean-American missionary, has been serving as Academic Dean and lecturer in the theology department. He is leaving Kenya in mid-December for a year-long sabbatical. This past semester Rev. Lee and I taught half of the courses offered by the theology department. Our mutual departures leave the school with a significant need for qualified lecturers, as well as someone to assume Rev. Lee’s responsibilities as Academic Dean.

Please also pray for Rev. Phillip, his wife Cecilia, and their family. Cecilia will be traveling to South Korea on October 24 to undergo surgery to remove a tumor near her eye. Give thanks to God for the way prepared for Cecilia to have this surgery and for the provision of all necessary expenses.


Asafaha and Ryan

And finally, please pray for my friend Asafaha. Asafaha graduated from Bridgeworld College in August with a diploma in theology. He currently lives in a room on campus next door to my office. A few months ago, Asafaha’s father died. Recently his mother also died in Eritrea, Asafaha’s home country. Because of Asafaha’s status as a refugee in Kenya, he was not able to travel to Eritrea for either of their funerals.

“Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph. 6:18-19)

Furahia Siku Ya Kuzaliwa, Graeme!


And, Happy Half-Birthday, Saeryn!

The kids were all excited to realize that everyone in our family except for Saeryn (born April 1st) would celebrate a birthday in Africa. They quickly decided that we would need to celebrate Saeryn’s half-birthday so she would not be left out of the fun. (As if you could leave a 2 year old out of anything anyway!)

Saturday, October 1st was Saeryn’s half-birthday, so celebrate we did, with a half-cake and a trip to the Nairobi Safari Walk at the Nairobi National Park. While we had seen many of these animals in the wild while out on driving safaris, it was great to get a much closer look. We also saw some rare animals, like the bongo, and some strange animals, like the pygmy hippo, which is about the size of pig – much, much smaller than the Nile hippos we saw on safari. (Click any photo to view larger slideshow)

We traveled to and from the safari walk by matatu (city bus, more or less, depending on which one you happen to be on), which was the kids’ first matatu ride in Kenya and rather an experience in itself!


The fact that this matatu is so full that the conductor/fare-taker (orange shirt) is hanging out of the doorway is not a problem! All aboard!

img_2051Sunday, October 2 was Graeme’s 11th birthday. (What on earth?! How is he 11?) The day’s festivities included a raspberry lemon cheesecake (which was a bit of a challenge – cream cheese here is different from what I am used to using, so I was relieved when the over-night refrigeration set the whole thing up very nicely, and doubly relieved when Graeme said it was “so so very yummy”), and of course, gifts.

On Monday (or “birthday boxing day”) we took a trip, again by matatu, to the Galleria, a nearby shopping center where there is a QuadBikes course. The boys enjoyed a half-hour riding the course, after which the girls enjoyed a nearby inflatable slide and trampoline. Frozen yogurt at Yogurt Planet, a great little shop in the same self-serve style as Mango Tree in Pella, topped off the afternoon.

(Open slideshow by clicking any picture)

Teaching & Preaching

Our family has been blessed by the natural and cultural richness we’ve been able to enjoy during our time in Kenya. But lest readers of this blog think that’s all we’ve done, let me update you on my work and ministry at Bridgeworld College.


I’m on campus most Mondays, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and some Fridays. This semester I’ve been teaching three courses: a survey of church history (a 75 minute-long class on Tuesday mornings), a course in systematic theology (a 2 1/2 hour-long class on Wednesday afternoons), and a course in New Testament studies (a 2 1/2 hour-long class on Thursday mornings). Each hour of class time requires approximately 2-3 hours of preparation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed preparing for and teaching all of these courses. The interaction with students in class and the discussions we’ve had have been very stimulating. And recent test results have encouraged me that the students have even learned a few things along the way!


The week of October 24-28, I’ll be teaching a one-week intensive course on “Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.” Providentially, the day before I travelled to Grand Rapids in early June for CRWM orientation, I received an email from Sidney Greidanus, a retired Calvin Seminary professor and friend, inviting me to help myself to books in his library as he downsizes in preparation for a move. When I visited Sid he gave me the last 20 copies of the lecture notes for students from his course “Preaching Christ from the Old Testament,” which will be a great resource for this course and the students who attend.


In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I was asked to preach three times during chapel services at Bridgeworld College, which I did in August. The college public relationship department has also arranged for me to preach at a few local Christian high schools’ prayer services for their senior students. And, to assist the college’s public relations and recruitment work, I’ve written a couple of articles for a Kenyan ministry newspaper.


Bishop WIlliam Eyika

One of the schools at which I preached was Elyon High School, where the energetic Daniel Otieno, a part-time lecturer at Bridgeworld College in the social work department, is the principal. At Elyon I met Bishop William Eyika, the school’s director, who came to Kenya in the 1980s as a Ugandan refugee. He told me that he walked to Kenya with a Bible in one hand and a guitar in the other. His wife also had a Bible in one hand; her other hand was leading their five children. That’s all they came to Kenya with – two Bibles, one guitar, five children, and the clothes on their back. When William learned that I am CRC, he was especially eager to meet me because of the positive impact of World Renew (then CRWRC) in his life at that time. He spoke very appreciatively of Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, the current director of World Renew-Canada, who was serving in East Africa at that time. Today William oversees multiple churches and directs a growing Christian high school.

This past Sunday I preached at a Sunday worship service for the first time since the last Sunday in June at Faith Church in Pella. Rev. Muchiri, chaplain and PR officer at Bridgeworld College, invited me to preach at Isinya KAG (Kenya Assemblies of God), where he is a pastor. Evan and Graeme came along with me and Patrick, a staff member from Bridgeworld who accompanied us. Isinya, about 58 kilometers south of Nairobi, is in rural Kenya. After the worship service, we joined Muchiri, John, an associate pastor at the church, and their bishop for lunch at a nearby restaurant, where the boys tried tilapia served as a whole fish. Afterwards we gave the bishop a ride home on our way back to Nairobi. When we dropped him off, he gave us a tour of his five-acre mixed vegetable, fruit, herb, dairy, and pig farm.

Click any picture below to open slide show from our trip to Isinya.

On Thursday, I will be preaching at another prayer service for seniors at a Christian high school in Nairobi, and on Sunday, our family will again visit the wa Kitavis. I have been asked to preach at the English and Kiswahili (with a translator) services at Deliverance Church, where Dr. wa Kitavi is an associate pastor.

Click here to read a great article on the need for theological education in Kenya. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. Please continue to pray for Bridgeworld College and similar institutions in Kenya and across Africa.

“The Lord has done great things for us!”


Since Ryan and I are both Canadian by birth, we have noted that Thanksgiving Day in Canada is coming up this Monday, October 10th.  In light of that, we would like to share a couple of things that we are particularly thankful for right now – indeed, God has done great things for us, and we are glad! (Psalm 126:3).


“Oh, it’s no big deal…” “Just routine paperwork…” “Stamp, stamp, good to go!”

Those comments sum up what we heard we could probably expect as we went to the Ministry of Immigration downtown in Nairobi to renew our visas.  When we entered Kenya, we were given the standard 90 day term on the business visa, and knew we would need to get that extended this week in order to complete our commitments here. Thankfully, staff at Bridgeworld College are familiar with this process (not to mention this country), and Pastor Philip, Dean of Students and Head of the PR Department at Bridgeworld offered to come along with us to the offices yesterday, October 5th.

First complication: traffic was terrible. That’s not really surprising, but we had left in good time, and taken a route away from a large agricultural trade show in the city, so we hoped it wouldn’t be too bad. It was slow going. Which means not going at all for significant chunks of time. Which means turning down all manner of items appearing for sale at your window, from oranges and grapes to dish towels and steering wheel covers. Nothing to do but wait!  Unless you want to buy some candy or a necktie.

Second complication: one of the girls (we had just taken 2; the kids didn’t need to be present as they don’t have their own entry visa) was carsick.  Baby wipes are amazing things, and I now need to restock my bag.  Whew.

Third complication: there appeared to be some kind of official government function going on in the area, and the parking lot we’d planned to use was closed. Parking is … difficult in the city center. It’s difficult in most city centers, I know, but the thing we find extra-tricky here is the lack of signage or information and the very real risk of paying the wrong person and returning to find a parking boot on your car.  After a bit of driving in circles and waiting behind buses, we did find a lot not too far from the building we needed to visit, and were glad Philip could help with communication there.

Fourth complication! Now it’s getting fun! or something … The “no, not really,” answer to Ryan’s question “Do we need any additional documents or anything?” when he called Immigration earlier this week was not quite accurate.  We made our way into the building, through the security checkpoints with the (heavily) armed guards, took a number, had our number called … and got handed twice as many forms as we’d expected. Plus a request for photocopies of said forms, and of our passports, and for 2 new passport photos each.  You see, now we were applying for Registration of Foreign Nationals in addition to a visa extension. Okay …  “No problem,” said Philip, and almost before we knew it, we were standing at a bus stop across the street having our photos taken in front of a piece of white(ish) fabric the photographer’s helper was holding up, and then re-taken when the prints were shown to us and had a decidedly blue background instead of the required plain white.

Surprisingly (and thankfully!), all the forms, copies, and photos actually didn’t take too long, and we were soon back in the Immigration building getting fingerprinted for “Alien Cards” and chatting with several other people in the midst of similar processes.  Suddenly we were done, picked up our 8 newly stamped passports, and 2 cards of “Proof of Application for Alien Registration,” so that we can come back in 8 weeks to pick up our new Alien Cards. We have no idea what these cards are for, and furthermore, won’t actually BE here in 8 weeks … Although, if you look at our visa extension stamp, you’ll see it says “Extended to 07-01-2017” which is of course January 7th, 2017 … so …😉  Give thanks with us that we had a very helpful friend with us in Pastor Philip, and that in spite of complications (Kenyan speed bumps, you might say), our visas were extended, and we could complete everything in one trip!

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Sidenote: maybe it helps if you bring two cute daughters with you everywhere: Kenyans love children and even the military guards were talking to the girls and joking with them! Every official we encountered through the process was friendly and kind; in fact most everyone we’ve met here in Kenya has been so, and quick to offer to help us. Definitely something we appreciate and are thankful for!



We are also giving thanks for the church home God has provided for us at St. Matthew’s (Anglican Church of Kenya). It has been very refreshing for Ryan to participate in the life of a church without any leadership or pastoral responsibilities. Interestingly, worship at St. Matthew’s feels both more relaxed and more formal than what we have become accustomed to at home. The services are lead by a (usually robed) liturgist and follow the Book of Common Prayer. They include at least three Scripture readings (an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, and a New Testament or Gospel reading). The songs, a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary Kenyan choruses (often sung in both Kiswahili and English), are usually accompanied by drums and, sometimes, a keyboard. Communion is celebrated monthly with the congregation going forward to receive the elements while kneeling at the altar. The congregation also goes forward to give their offerings, which often include first fruits (literally – fruits or vegetables, though last week there was also a live chicken!) which are then auctioned off to the rest of the congregation. The kids have been warmly welcomed to Sunday school and quickly involved by the church’s children in their after worship activities and football (aka soccer) games.

While the worship services are longer than the services we are accustomed to at home (usually lasting 2 hours, though the St. Matthew’s Day service lasted 3), they do not feel long, perhaps because they are filled with so many different elements. For example, this past Sunday the worship service included: an infant baptism, a thanksgiving for a mother on her fortieth birthday (her entire extended family went forward to give thanks to God in prayers led by the vicar), the commissioning of the Mother’s Union as they begin a special week of service in the parish, three Scripture readings, a sermon, the readmission of a person to the Lord’s Supper, communion, and the auctioning of the first fruits offerings.

September 21 was St. Matthew’s Day, which our church celebrated on Sunday, September 25 with a combined all-parish worship service (there are three congregations in our parish) at St. Matthew’s. A choir from Church of the Good Samaritan and a few smaller groups of vocalists led the songs. That week the singing was all in Kiswahili so we could not sing along very well, but it was a delight to be in the midst of enthusiastic worship. The highlight in the service was when the families of each congregation were invited forward to be blessed and prayed for by the vicar. Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch together on the church lawn.

This past Sunday, October 2, was World Communion Sunday. This has become a significant celebration for us as we remember the unity we have with brothers and sisters around the world. What a joy it was this year to actually share the Lord’s Supper on World Communion Sunday, on another continent. with Christians from another tribe and language and race (we are the only mzungu -white people- in the church), knowing that our church family at Faith in Pella was also gathering at the Lord’s Table that morning.

Isaiah 12:4 seems very fitting right now:

“And [we] will say in [this] day: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.'”

Walk on the Wild Side

Just over a week ago, Sept. 23rd, we headed out for a walk on the wild side!  In fact, just getting to Naivasha, a two-hour drive north of Nairobi in the Great Rift Valley, turned out to be a bit of wild ride. I’d reserved a minivan rental earlier in the week, and it was scheduled to be delivered to me at a nearby shopping center at 7:30 Friday morning. The driver who was supposed to drop it off called on Thursday evening to confirm. But, when he didn’t show up by 7:45 on Friday, I texted him: Would he be there soon? Yes, he replied, at 8:30. Okay …

8:30 came and went with Bronwyn and I waiting outside of the shopping center. While waiting, we met Robert, a taxi-driver with a minivan who lives next door to our church. At 8:45, I again texted the person who was supposed to deliver our rental. This time he called to tell me that he’d actually been in an accident en route to drop off the van, but, he assured me, the rental company was arranging another vehicle for us. So I called the company to confirm. Yes, they said, the van will be there shortly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

In the meantime, Robert offered to give us a ride to Naivasha. Waiting at the car park while we took our walking and boat safaris wouldn’t be a problem for him. Furthermore, he was willing to do it for the same price I’d committed to pay for the minivan rental (which was about half of what most drivers would normally charge for the trip!) – God is good! By 9:30, we’d stopped by the house to pick up Jody and the rest of the family and were finally on our way to Naivasha.


Overlooking the Rift Valley

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We enjoyed the beautiful drive, as well as some roasted corn from vendors along the roadside – thanks for recommending it, Robert!  Our main destination was Crescent Island, a privately-owned game preserve on Lake Naivasha. Unlike the National Parks where we’d taken our previous safaris, which do not allow you to exit your vehicle (probably a good idea given that those parks have lions and other predators), there are no cars on Crescent Island. Nor are there lions, thankfully.

We arrived in time for a picnic lunch in the company of a curious, but shy-when-approached baby giraffe!  Then we spent several hours walking around Crescent Island with the giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, wildebeests, duikers, monkeys, and gazelles. It was a lot of fun to see how close we could get to the animals, especially the curious and adorable baby giraffe, whose mother always kept a careful eye on us. For the most part, the animals calmly watched us approach, but then were quick to trot off if (when) we got too close.

(Click any image to open slideshow)

In additional to the walking safari, we were also able to take a boat tour of Lake Naivasha. We saw an incredible assortment of birds as well as several hippo families. A highlight was definitely the baby hippo riding on its mother’s back.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at the owner’s house. She has several animal skulls on her porch, including the skull of a hippo that died in her yard. Hippos come out of the water at night to graze. During the dry season, when most of the other grass has died, hippos will come up to the house, where the lawn and garden is watered. The park owner said that she sometimes she would hear them just outside her bedroom window and that they’ve even crashed into the side of her house. Maybe that’s why many African houses are built out of concrete…


After a full day outside in the sun, it was great to stop for milkshakes in Naivasha town before heading home. It was a bit of a slow trip back due to heavy truck traffic on the narrow road, but Robert was an excellent driver.  We were thankful he had been available, because if we were driving ourselves in the rental van, our timeline would not have been so flexible, and we may not have been as comfortable arriving back in Nairobi well after dark, around 9pm. We were thankful God had him there just when we needed him, and we enjoyed getting to know a new friend – icing on the cake of a very splendid day out as a family!

Roadtrip – Kenyan-style!


Patrick & Ryan, ready to roll!


Last Thursday, I made an overnight trip to Kisumu in western Kenya on the shore of Lake Victoria with Patrick, a Bridgeworld College staff member. We went to pick up the certificates and transcripts of recent Bridgeworld College graduates, whose degrees had been conferred by Great Lakes University in Kisumu as part of a partnership agreement with Bridgeworld College.






Matatus, matatus, matatus…

We traveled on Thursday afternoon via matatu, a common form of public transportation in Kenya. While some matatus are larger buses, most are small vans designed to seat 12 adults. Since our first matatu was a direct trip to Nakuru, the conductor only sold tickets to 11 passengers. That was not true on our second matatu from Nakuru to Kericho, where we stayed overnight. At times there were four people squeezed in each row. I think the record, though, was set by the matatu we took on Friday morning from Kericho to Kisumu, which had 21 people on board at one point.

Kenya has incredible natural beauty. There were breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley on the ride from Nairobi to Nakuru. The sunset over Lake Elementeita was stunning. It was dark when we arrived in Kericho, but in the morning and on the return trip to Nairobi Friday afternoon, I saw the large tea plantations and employee estates that surround the city. (Click on either picture to enlarge image.)

Friday morning, after a delicious breakfast of chai – I was told that one simply has to try to local tea in Kericho – and mandazi (a Kenyan doughnut),  we headed west from Kericho and descended out of the Great Rift Valley. As we did, the climate and geography became more like one would expect to find in a tropical region. There were countless sugar plantations.

When we arrived in Kericho, we took a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to the shore of Lake Victoria, where we took a short boat ride and saw some hippos up close and personal.

(Click on any picture below to open slideshow)

Afterwards, we traveled via matatu and boda boda to Great Lakes University. Unfortunately, the academic dean who needed to sign the transcripts had had car trouble that morning and was late in arriving at the school. (Click on images to enlarge.)

When it became apparent that the documents would not be ready until late afternoon and knowing that I needed to be in Nairobi on Saturday, Patrick suggested that I head back to Nairobi on my own. Before finding a direct matatu to Nairobi on Friday afternoon, Patrick and I had lunch together – ugali (a Kenyan staple) and fresh tilapia from Lake Victoria. One of my students, Stephen, is from Kisumu. When he heard that I would be traveling there, he told me to try the fish. He assured me that I would not be disappointed, and I wasn’t!

I was grateful to arrive safely in Nairobi late Friday night, and to find a taxi to take me from the matatu stop in the central business district back to our home.