In 10 days I am going to get on a flight that is going to take me to Africa. It's hard to believe it's this soon, let alone that it's actually happening. I have realized that most of what I've told people is:
a) "I'm moving to Africa to go to school"
b) "No, I'm not living in a hut, and I am not a missionary, and I did not have to raise support."
Then I proceed to get mad about the assumptions people have about Africa and it's current educational system and don't end up explaining what I'm actually going to be doing in Kenya.
So here is a little debrief on what I'm going to be doing in Kenya.*
I will be attending university at Daystar University and living in their dorms. Daystar is Africa's top Christian university and has three campuses in Nairobi, Athi River, and Mombasa. Daystar is an internationally recognized school with students from 50 countries attending. I will be at the Athi River campus, which is about a 30 minute drive to Nairobi. Between the campus and the capitol is a game reserve. A strange juxtaposition of city life and wildlife at first sight, but necessary because of the location of the city. Before the park existed people would have to carry guns at night in case they had a run in with a lion in the middle of a city street. The game park creates a way for the wildlife and the city coexist. The Athi River campus is a 300 acre campus with dorms, a library, a chapel, and multiple administrative buildings, but I am most excited about the high ropes course and 150 foot rock face it hosts. They had to put up fences around the campus property because giraffes, the clumsy devils, would walk around campus and knock out windows with their gangly legs. I will be living in a dorm room with not one, but three other students from Africa with community style bathrooms. And no, we don't have a laundry room; everyone does their wash by hand in buckets outside and hanging their garments on a line. It's going to be the experience of a lifetime.
And yes, on top of washing my laundry by hand and trying to become best friends with a giraffe, I will be taking classes. My courses include: Intro to Kenya, Media and Culture, History and Conflict in Africa, and Fiction Film making. I will also have a six-credit internship for my photography that I'm still unsure of what exactly is happening with it (as the Kenyans say, "It will all get sorted out"). But my end product will be a 15 photo exhibit that documents an organization or village I am paired with.
On top that, my program director has also planned some amazing weekend trips for us including the following:
- a safari in the Masai Mara
- visiting an ostrich farm
- volunteering in the Kibera slums outside of Nairobi
- a rock climbing/camping weekend
- spring break in Zanzibar, Tanzania
- a trip to his wife's village in northern Kenya
- and CLIMBING MOUNT KENYA (the continent's second highest peak)
Needless to say, this is going to be the experience of a lifetime and I can't really wrap my brain around it. I am excited and nervous and full of anticipation. I can't wait to discover a new culture and new people and seeing a different way of doing life. I'm excited to discover God in a way that I haven't in the past and learning how the gospel transcends culture. I want to let this trip challenge me to change my thinking and let my spirit be opened up to the spirit of the land I'm travelling too.
*note this is mostly what I have been told by fellow travelers my program director, and my interpretation of what may or may not happen.