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Week 35: Climbing Mount Kenya

As previously mentioned, I met two guys at a coffee shop in early March from Oklahoma and Texas, Nick and Mark.  Well, we have gotten together a few times since then and two weeks ago Mark invited me to go climb Mount Kenya with him and his girlfriend.  First thought, “welp, you only live once.”  My boss okayed the trip and as the day approached for us to leave I slowly learned more about what we were doing.  I’m an outdoor kind of guy and love to go camping, but have never been on a serious climb/hike.  Mark’s major in college was Outdoor Ministry, so he is THE outdoor man and gets to say things like, “I know how to do an Eskimo Roll out of kayak, do you?”  So, I started asking Mark what to bring and he told me that I needed clothes for ten degrees and I said, “Celcius, right?”  Nope.  Fahrenheit.  Poop.  Furthermore, I thought we were going with just a guide at first.  No, we had three porters, a cook, and a guide.  We ate like royalty.  Besides the climbing it was the most posh outdoor trip I’ve been on.

The Contestants: Robert, Mark, and Karen (who is strangely the first cousin of a person I went to college and Dwight Mission with)
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Monday – We woke up at 5 AM and were on the road to Mount Kenya getting to Chogoria at around 9 AM.  Then we took an old-school Land Rover from Chogoria to the Park Gate which was 20 miles.  We only got stuck once and it was thoroughly entertaining with the nine of us in there.  We reached the park gate and had lunch and then began our relatively easy 7 km (4.35 miles) first day.  Our camp site was in a cave by two water falls and was absolutely beautiful.

Mark and I at the Edge of the Waterfall:
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It was -5 degrees Celcius (23 F) that night, but we were all warm.

Crazy Cool Flower:
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Tuesday – We had a leasurely day on Tuesday only going 10 km (6.21 miles).

Us Hiking on Day Two:
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Beautiful Waterfall and View on Day Two:
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I got a migraine at some point during our way up and right after lunch my stomach started feeling queezy.  We were now at 14,075 ft. and so I believe me and the altitude weren’t agreeing on life.

Minto’s Hut (where we stayed Tuesday night)
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My migraine got worse so I went to bed at 7 PM which was good because…

Wednesday – we got up at 1:30 AM so we could be ready to climb to Point Lenana.  Point Lenana is the third highest peak of the Mount Kenya peaks at 16,355 ft.  The first two have to be scaled with equipment, so those were not options.  So, by 2:45 AM we were climbing the last 7 km (4.35 miles) to point Lenana.  It was dark (obviously) and about half way I saw the first snow I’ve seen in Kenya which was exciting.  Then the snow and ice became a nuisance.  My altitude sickness got a bit worse as we increased altitude (who’d a figured), but we arrived at Point Lenana just as the sun was rising.  It was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit and windy, but we had plenty of layers on so it was not bad.  We stuck around at the top for about fifteen minutes and then headed back down.

At the top of Point Lenana of Mount Kenya at sunrise:

Mountain Peak Circle Rainbow (note the ice on the bottom left side):
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The down was more annoying than the up because of the ice and rock combination so I took it really slow.  I’m definitely a 25 year old tortoise rather than a hare.  Slow and steady wins the race… or doesn’t get hurt.  We got back to where we had spent the night Tuesday and met our porters and had breakfast.  I was feeling pretty sick, but after lying down for an hour I felt much better.  Then we walked the entire distance we had walked the previous two days back.  Therefore, we walked a total of 18ish miles Wednesday… I slept well.  I was really proud of my body and especially my legs because one has a titanium rod in it and the other has shin splints, not so great.  So, I was proud of my 18ish miles in one day and my legs, good job guys!  We got back to Chogoria later than expected so we had to stay the night there and catch the 5 AM matatu back to Nairobi.

Me in the back of the matatu for the ride home. I hope you’re entertained because I sure wasn’t during this experience, but now looking at the picture I am definitely entertained…
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It’s cool to say that I climbed Point Lenana of Mount Kenya and was at 16,355 ft.  So, I said it, I feel cool now.

Rock Star debut: Eyes of True Believers (John Williams’ cover)

So, I recorded a video of me singing a song that my good friend John Williams wrote and was going to post it on this blog on his birthday (March 6), but Kenya internet said no.  Welp, finally I was able to get it on YouTube this past weekend during a freak fast internet moment.  So, happy belated birthday John…

RTQ – Eyes of True Believers (John Williams cover)

When I entered college I couldn’t do a very good bar chord on guitar and left college a much better guitarist.  It’s me therapy and has been a big help in Kenya.  When I play guitar I feel like my fingers are dancing and my fingers like to dance.

This song was written by John at Dwight Mission (one of the nearest and dearest places in my heart) and the last verse is about Dwight and a boy named Nighthawk McLemore who is buried in the cemetery there.  The lyrics are some of my favorite to sing and think about so enjoy and let me know what you think.

Lyrics:

Furthermore, I don’t believe you when you say you’re doing well
The way is sometimes lit by fire other times it’s hard to tell
Sometimes God is in the details.  Sometimes God is in the yard
Sometimes flying seems so easy; then just getting up is hard

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

Out beyond the most familiar where the highway meets the sky
Somewhere in between the desert and the world behind your eyes
There are questions in the answers.  There is light between the stars.
There are stories long remembered; brand new songs on old guitars

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

In the hills of Oklahoma; on the banks of Salty Creek
A bunch of Christians built a mission and a school for Cherokee
In the graveyard by the mission; among the soldiers from the war
There lies the body of a young boy whose name was Nighthawk McLemore

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

Week 32-33 Continued: Revival and Beach Video

Here is a very short video from the revival in Mombasa to give you a feel of what it was like:

Here is a very short video of the beach in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean:

Week 34: The Fall… of Robert literally

There’s a fence that I climb usually at least once a week to get out of AEE.  There is one entrance that is always open and another entrance that is always closed.  If you go through the open entrance rather than the closed entrance when you are heading a certain direction you have to walk an extra mile or so.  Therefore, I climb the fence when I am heading that certain direction.  Well, today as I was climbing the fence for probably the 50th-ish time I lost my balance and came down with my face catching my fall.

I was STANDING here (where I’m pointing on top of this 6’6 stone doo daddy)
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and started losing my balance thought I had regained it and then came tumbling down.  I know what it takes to break something and I definitely should have broken something this go around.  I briefly dislocated my left knee and wrist, my jaw is bothering me, and my face is cut up a bit.  This is another instance where if I had a tail I would have been fine, but nope.  So, my face, jaw, wrist, and knee hurt, but I am still able to get around and spent the next hour after the fall saying, “Thank you Jesus” out loud which is not a usual occurence for me.  Here, I have been really good about thinking before I do things that might injure me, but would do in the States without thinking twice about it.  I’m adding this to the list.

Here’s the thing.  I was on my way to meet up with people at Carnivore, which is this BBQ place with all you can eat crazy meat.  Furthermore, the people who invited me had offered to pay.  So, I fell and thought I should probably go lie down for a while because I’m in a lot of pain… which is what I would have done on any other day, but the Carnivore was all I had on my mind still.  So, I limped back to my room, washed the mud off my face, put Neosporin on my cuts, and limped off to the matatu stop because I wanted some free Carnivore.  It was delicious, but everybody on the matatu and at the restaurant thought I had just been beaten up because my face looked like I had been.

Thank you Jesus I am not in the hospital! and that I shaved this morning because I’m not going to be able to for a week or two.

My face:
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Week 34: Day in Dandora

Saturday, the YAVs traveled across town to a part of Nairobi called Dandora for our cross-cultural experience with all seven YAVs.  We went to a Saturday program that is run at a church for the children in Dandora.  Dandora is home to Nairobi’s enormous trash dump which is where some of the children live.  We had reading time, porridge time, movie time (Moses part II), lunchtime, and game time.  The day began with reading time where the seven of us split up and helped kiddos read.  My friend, George, could read better than I could in first grade, but didn’t know what some of the words meant so we mainly worked on definitions.  It was during reading time that I met my friend for the day, Nevada.  Nevada is one and a half-ish years old and walked up to me while I was helping George and started playing with my watch and arm hair.  Then the rest of the day wherever I went Nevada was right beside me.  He was the coolest kid ever.  It was amazing to watch him during porridge time and lunch being self-sufficient at his age.  He got in line carried his porridge over to where they sit and sat down and drank it all.  Then he got up and brought his empty cup over to the sink to be washed.  Later in the day, when we had lunch he once again impressed me by getting his food walking over and sitting down and then this was really cool.  This one and a half year old-ish kid saw my empty plate sitting next to me and picked it up and took it with him to the sink to be washed.

Nevada and I:
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I named him Nevada because when I asked him his name in Swahili he wouldn’t answer me and he was wearing a sweater that said Nevada across the front.  So, we never spoke a word the entire day except for me telling him I didn’t understand him and him not understanding that, but still we hung out for four hours and I missed him when we left.  We all piled back in the van and headed back to the other side of town to create more trash for the trash dump sadly.

Porridge Time:
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