Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Africa - Day One Wednesday

I guess some excitement was inevitable even before we boarded the plane.  Jonny’s huge rucksack of power tools, saws and goodness knows what else, had to be treated as exceptional luggage.  Heathrow check-in wanted to see the Church credit card used for the original booking.  Mercifully, Pete had stayed around after dropping off the guys, and the card in his name was the right one. Then we four nipped into the multi-faith prayer room and shared bread and wine as an impromptu Agape.

Getting some sleep on the plane defeated most of us, too.  Wakey (how apt!) only had two hours sleep the night before, but still couldn’t drop off.  Jonny spent the time sketching various postures that had proved a failure.  The 6.30 bright sunlight found everyone fully awake, if not alert.  

Four of the local leaders’ team had formed a two-car reception party.  Anyone who’s experienced the drive from Jomo Kenyatta into west Nairobi’s suburbs will guess what followed.  Jason, with professional truck-driver’s eye was first to comment on the five lanes of traffic squeezed into three carriageways, matatus and all.  Of course, we spiced up the journey with a friendly chase.  

Over a cup of tea, Bishop Joseph whispered, “My area of oversight has grown by two more districts.  I now cover 450 churches, 100 more than last year.  But I haven’t finished what I want to do.”  He’d been in Kigali the day before, with other FourSquare national superintendents.  We took a couple of snapshots before they left, and we finished a late (second!) breakfast that Faith and the Musmark house team supplied.  Thereupon Wakey and Jonny crashed out.  Meanwhile, Jason unpacked his case bulging with TBS freebies and found a litre canister of PVA wood glue had split, coating everything else.  It took a couple of hours to mop up.

Gregory and Joseph Took us to the conference hall we've booked when they reappeared later in the afternoon.  It's a glorious corrugated roofed structure on the main western dual carriage way out of town.  There's one 13amp plug socket by the stage that serves the whole auditorium.  An extension cable reel was a wise choice of packing!  The two new gents toilet cubicles outside are equipped with an eight inch by eight inch hole in the concrete floor, and piece of wire to wrap round a nail to secure the door.

At the building that houses Gregory's church and ICT training project, he's set up Multiply office facilities.  Wakey bagged the executive chair behind a large desk, but the main office accommodated us all comfortably.  We wrapped up the afternoon at Gregory's home and stayed for evening meal, which we hadn't thought about!  The guys got their first experience of having their hands washed before eating.

Threading our way back on the darkened smokey roads, we were all about reaching sensory overload.  Then Joseph realised we needed some petrol.  The next garage was near closing time.  Mini-coaches, trucks, cars and motor bikes were jostling to get to the pumps.  It was sheer chaos.  Later, Jason, my room-mate said, "I think that summed up for me what we've found here.  Man, I still can't get over being served."

Gratefully back at Musmark, we found the whole place in darkness.  Faith apologised that we were in the middle of a power cut.  She promised to put on the generator in 15 minutes.  I squinted at my watch, and announced, "Nine o'clock. I can be in bed by then."  So it came to pass.  We all crashed out by 9.30pm, unbelievably just 15 hours since we stepped off the plane.

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