Team B SMs had the crazy awesome idea to go to Mombasa for a weekend. I have really wanted to go to Mombasa again and Esther wanted me to stay at her brother-in-laws resort over Christmas, but I never got the chance. I was able join Team B for the weekend and take the bus down to Mombasa. We took a 8 hour night bus to Mombasa and arrived there at 7 in the morning. The resort we stayed at was Bahari Beach Resort and it was very nice. It reminded me of Voyager or Sun & Sand where I stayed as a kid. It was an all inclusive resort, which meant I drank all the Fanta Orange I wanted all day. Bahari had nice rooms, a great pool, multiple restaurants to eat at, and a sand beach in the cliffs. There was also an Italian restaurant in the cliffs that served great pizza. I bought some souvenirs from the locals on the beach and even traded my shoes for few carvings. It was an amazing couple days relaxing in the sun, enjoying the beach, and drinking from coconuts.
On town day, the SMs decided to go to the Nairobi National Park instead of shopping. Eric finally got his work permit so we decided to on a safari. It was a tuesday so hardly anyone was in the park, which was kind of nice. We were able to mess with some Zebras by trying to slap them on the butt as we drove by. We also had some fun with an ostrich that was in the middle of the road. Later in the day, we found several black rhinos and even saw a baby rhino in the distance. The highlight of the trip was towards the end of the day when we spotted four lions. The lions were laying down so I opened the car door and got out to grab a rock (stupid move, but a fond childhood memory). The lions suddenly jumped up and I jumped back into the car. We watched the lions for awhile and they wandered over to a dead eland that was in the middle of the road. It was toward the end of the day and we had to leave the park, but before leaving we drove up to the lions in the road. It was an amazing experience to only feet away from the lions. It was also gross because they were eating the guts of the eland. This trip was definitely the closest I’ve been to lions all year.
Last month, I was able to go to camping at Lake Nakuru with the SMs. We drove about 3 hours to the park and arrived at night. Our campsite was at Makalia Falls and luckily a previous camper had left a pile of dry firewood for us to use. That night we had marshmallows and frichik, but I forgot to bring a can opener so had to force the can open with a tire iron. We set up our camp and went to bed. During the early hours of the morning, I woke up to the sound of grass being uprooted and some animal going to the bathroom. Turns out there was a cape buffalo eating grass right beside our tent!
The next morning, we woke up early and drove to see some animals. On the way to the lake, we encountered an aggressive rhino in the road. This black rhino was quite startled and wasn’t happy that we drove up on him. We visited some of the sites over looking the Lake Nakuru. The Out of Africa overlook was a great spot and that’s where we filmed some of the interviews for Part 3 of the documentary. The highlight of the trip was seeing a ton of rhinos. We saw 21 different rhinos in the park in a single day! That is like three times more rhinos than I’ve seen the entire year. A group of 5 rhinos crossed the road right in front of us which made for some great photos. Lake Nakuru is a rhino sanctuary so seeing all those rhinos made sense. The trip was lot of fun and I really enjoyed getting to see all the rare white rhinos.
Recently, I when to Lake Naivasha with Karl, Eric, and Jeanna. We decided to drive up to the lake and stay at Fish Eagle Inn. Once we got settled and had some lunch, we then drove to Crater Lake Game Sanctuary. Crater Lake is a neat little lake inside a small crater. The sanctuary has many walking trails so we decided to walk up the ridge of crater to view the lake. While on the ridge of the crater, we threw some rocks down below and scared some cape buffalo. On the way out of the sanctuary, we decided take one last drive around to see if we could see anything. We weren’t really paying attention and didn’t plan on seeing anything, when Eric spotted a leopard! The leopard was about 20ft from the car and we were shocked to see it. We scared it off with the sound of the car before we could grab a picture.
The next day, we drove out to Cresecent Island. Upon arriving we got to meet Linda, the woman who runs the island. We walked around the island for a while and saw many different animals. There were a few dead wildebeests we found on our walk though. I was also able to walk right up to a giraffe on the island and it didn’t seem to mind. It was a great weekend overall, especially seeing the leopard at Crater Lake.
I brought a good amount of gear with me to Kenya for the purpose of filming a travel documentary while I was serving as a student missionary. I really wanted to follow the stories of the various missionaries I would be working with and luckily that dream has come true this year. So for all those thinking about being a student missionary I recommend bringing a camera and plan to document your year with pictures and video.
For those interested, here is a list of the gear I brought along:
- Canon 7D
- 12-24mm f/4 (great for landscape)
- 18-50mm f/2.8-4 IS
- 50mm f/1.8
This is part 3 of the student missionary documentary here in Kenya. This one is excited because it includes a lot of the things we did over Christmas break. Christmas break is about 5 weeks long here so we were able to travel and visit many of the National Parks here in Kenya. The nature and wildlife here is probably my personal favorite on the planet and a slice of that beauty is captured in part 3. Also, the video includes the SMs riding an ostrich and eating an ostrich omelet. I would like to thank all the wonderful visitors who came during Christmas break for making it an unforgettable Christmas!
Maxwell just had week of prayer in which we brought in guest speaker Pastor Keith Gray from Southwestern. Students attended morning and evening worship where Pastor Gray shared great messages with the students. On Friday, the school loaded up the students and we went to the Brackenhurst Retreat Center. For week of prayer, we had communion on Friday night and also round robin activities on Sabbath afternoon. Pastor Gray shared some amazing messages that weekend and I consider his talks the greatest part of the weekend.
Brackenhurst is one of the highlights of my childhood here in Kenya. I used to love rollerblading around the place finding chameleons and playing on the playground. I ended up bringing two chameleons back to Maxwell from Brackenhurst and letting them go on campus. This is also the place where I first attended summer camp. This Baptist summer camp was a blast as a kid and probably the root of my love for summer camp. The camp has improved a lot since I was kid and now they we a really cool cafe and eating area with internet and a TV room. The gift shop, though overpriced, was and still is very neat. Saturday night, the school played the movie Ghost and the Darkness for the students. It was hilarious because some of the faculty would scare the students during the lion scenes and make a whole row of students jump out of their seats. The weekend was a lot of fun and I was so glad to finally return to Brackenhurst.
I climbed Mt. Kenya again, but this time with the school. A group from Maxwell climbs the mountain every year and this year turned out to be an interesting trip. First off, I wanted to climb the mountain again because I wanted to experience it with the students and SMs. I was definitely more prepared this time with all the prep hikes the school required and I also knew what I needed to pack this time around.
We arrived Friday night and did a short hike on Sabbath to picnic rocks. A the rocks, the SMs put together a worship thought and skit for church. It was pretty awesome to have church on Mt. Kenya. On Sunday, we began hiking with our backpacks to MacKinders. It was a 5 hour hike this time instead of 7 hours. I was helping the students in the front of the group with one of the faculty. When we arrived at MacKinders, it was snowing! Some of the students picked up the snow and were eating it.
It was a cold night at MacKinders and we had to wake up at 1:30am to begin hiking up the summit. This time up the mountain it was a lot more cold and windy. On the ridge, it was too cold to stop and take a break from hiking. Everyone made it to the top of Point Lenana! That’s pretty amazing for a group of 28 students and 7 faculty.
Our luck soon changed though. From summit, the group had to return the base camp the same day. One of the students, Erica, headed down the mountain and separated from her group (we required the students to hike in groups). Erica missed an important trail on the way down and ended up hiking for hours down the wrong path. By the time people realized she was missing it was already evening. The park organized a search party and some of the students helped search for her as well. With no luck, they returned for the night. We had a group pray for Erica and everyone became very emotional when they realized that Erica would spend the night lost on the mountain. The next morning the search party set out again around sunrise and they found her later that morning! When she arrived everyone was so excited and ran to hug her. She then told her story and how she had left her backpack in order to keep hiking. She had no sleeping bag, warm clothes, or food and she had to drink water from the creek where she slept for the night. Erica also encountered buffalos and other animals, which she clapped she hands to let the animals know she was there.
Everyone was so glad to have Erica back safe and sound. I think the students on the trip really bonded together on Mt. Kenya. I personally got to know some of the students better and grow closer to the SMs. It was a lot of fun with the SMs and made a difficult trip easy and memorable. Will I climb Mt. Kenya again? I probably will, but not for a long while. Twice is enough for one year. Maybe I’ll climb it with my children someday.
A few weeks ago, Karl and I had the weekend off and we decided to go to the Nairobi National Park. We haven’t been to the Nairobi Park at all this year so we wanted to go check it out. The nice things about the Nairobi Park is that it is located about 15 minutes from Maxwell. Karl had forgotten his camera batteries and we were able to drive back and get them with no problem.
A liked this park as a kid and my family would often go because it was so close to the school. The safari Karl and I had did not disappoint. We saw tons of zebras, giraffe, and hartebeest with the Nairobi skyline in the background. We also saw a mother lion and her three cubs eating a kill. The highlight of the day was definitely the rhinos we saw. We found three black rhinos quite close to the car. After waiting for about an hour, two of the rhinos came right up the car. It was kind of a dangerous situation and we thought they might not like the car being there, but the rhinos ended up walking around the car and crossing the road. It was an amazing experience to have two massive beasts only feet away.
Karl and I drove around the whole park that day, visiting everything from the hippo pools to the baboon cliffs overlook. It was a great safari!
Maxwell had another Sabbath afternoon activity at Kibera slums. It was a great opportunity to share songs, Bible verses, and give some food to the single mothers of the community. The SMs enjoyed playing with the children and taking photos. The young children love seeing themselves on the back of the camera. Above are some of the photos of us with the children. Hopefully, we brought as much joy to the children that afternoon as they brought to us.