How do you know you’re home?
We returned back home to Kenya last week. Our journey began in Banbridge at 3.30am and ended in Isinya at 12 midnight the same day. When we arrived, we greatly appreciated the bed which was already made up and food in the cupboard, so ours was just to have some tea and toast and fall into bed, which we managed without delay!
In the compound where we live, we are immediately immersed in the rural sounds of the nocturnal bushbabies shrieking in the trees, the early morning cock crowing and the bleats of sheep on our veranda. The familiar smells of a charcoal fire burning; the dust constantly swirling in the wind and the freshness of cutting into a ripe mango… and so, life goes on – everything is different and nothing has changed!
Even though we have gone through this transition many times between Ireland and Kenya, it still takes time to process the changes. Yet on arrival at either destination, one thing is always constant and that is the warmth of welcome that awaits us, which helps us to feel at home very quickly.
Our challenge is to match the pace of life where we find ourselves and travel at the same speed as everyone else, so we are living life together and making the most of it. This is possible because of the depth of the friendships that we have with the people amongst whom we live and work. It’s not the fact that we have made the transition many times before that makes it easier, but rather it’s relationships that make it easier. Developing deep relationships over the long term is what makes Mission Partner service such a privilege.
Yet ours is a life of two very different halves and we are indeed privileged to have two countries where we feel so much at home and able to live within two cultures. It has taken some adjustment this time to come from N Ireland where it has been so wet and green and people are asking where the summer went to. Whereas here in Kenya there has been no rain for many months, there is not a blade of grass to be seen, so all the animals are very thin and people are really struggling for food.
The Development Dept where we work is responsible for sourcing and distributing emergency food aid within the diocese. So that is the first challenge we will tackle as there is no time to lose. Please pray for us all as we try to prioritize the most needy areas and carry out this heart breaking work amongst people who are very vulnerable. More importantly, please pray for rain…and loads of it!