As the daylight fades

Kenya_2015b Posted by Kenya META 2015 on Sun, 26 Jul 2015 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

The four o’clock chai serves as a bridge between the day’s labours and the evening’s rest. If there are no extra activities, such as tracking lions or creating video diaries, we usually enjoy a daylight shower with hot water provided by a wood burning stove. There is then a wonderful hour of reading, journaling or just shooting the breeze. This is actually a very important part of the day as it helps us process the ‘culture shock’ of living in such a remote but stunningly beautiful place.

The sun sets quickly, it’s a little like watching the sun fall gracefully in time lapse. There is a darkening dusk with the most amazing cacophony of sounds as the herds are being brought home for the evening, clanging cowbells, braying donkeys and swooshing bats. By seven o’clock, an impenetrable darkness envelopes you, if there is a clear sky the stars and ever-changing moon offer both beauty and light for your path, if it is cloudy then head torches do the trick.

The food here is fantastic, usually rice or pasta or ‘Irish potatoes’; this is usually accompanied by meat stew and cabbage or peas, and the wonderful ‘chapatis’, a flat flour-based pancake that is a firm favourite among the team. This is planned and prepared by Maggie, Paul, Eunice and Naomi in the most remarkable ‘kitchen’ you have ever seen.

There are three very important rituals associated with every meal or even tea-break; the washing of the hands with soap and warm water poured slowly over your hands as your remove the ever-clinging dust; the saying of prayers, this is a far cry from our oft-forgotten ten second grace said at home, it is a heartfelt prayer of thanks, supplication and praise that can take several minutes but is really worth the effort, the physical and the spiritual are always closely interwoven here; and finally there is the honouring of the guest which some of us struggle with, it is much more than the standing back to allow others in front, it is the ensuring that all the needs of the guest are met before you even consider your own needs, it is so deeply rooted in Maasai culture that it is unthinkable to change it.

After the meal we sit in companiable circle to study the bible and answer the often searching and challenging questions set in our team handbooks by the CMSI staff, based on long years of experience of team dynamics and living in very different worlds.

9pm is considered ‘missionary midnight’ and we are usually back in our rooms by then, thankful of the long night in front of us to sleep and to dream. With solar power and head torches there is plenty of light to live and move and have our being, although a late visit to the ‘long drop’ is quite an experience, especially for those of us with vivid imaginations, but once the lights are off the darkness consumes you again, it is so complete. One trick we have quickly learned is to always remember the location of your torch, mid-night visits to the long drop are very different without them.

By 6am a new day is breaking through your window, a heartfelt prayer of thanks is offered and the day begins again.


Rev Baden Stanley is part of a CMSI Mission Experience Team Abroad, who have been visiting Kenya in July 2015. You can read their other blogs here


Jane Corbett said Fri, 07 Aug 2015 08:45AM
Just want to say how much I have appreciated and enjoyed all the blogs. Baden takes me there by his wonderful use of words! Thank you Baden very much. In a cold and wet Ireland this summer, it has been so encouraging to join you on your trip! May God Bless you.

Add your own comment