Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Kenyan Darkness

Kenya is dark. Spiritually, yes, but physically. 

As we flew into Nairobi around 9pm I watched the city out my window. I saw a different view than I'm used to. I've always enjoyed flying into a new country or state and looking down at the city lights. This time however, I saw few city lights, I saw village fires. As you fly into to the capitol you see the small orange glow of fires that light the streets and rural villages of Kenya. I knew at that moment this was going to be a different overseas experience than I'm used to. 

Our compound is beautiful. Our property is emcaulate and the landscaping is riddled with bright hibiscuses and vibrant greens of the jungle. Our walkways are lined with gravel and the lawn is always mowed. (The gravel is literally made by hand. Large boulders hammered down into small rocks.)  While you're on our property it's easy to forget that you're living in a rural village in the middle of the "Developing World." But then you turn on your faucet, the water runs brown. You walk out the gate, you're on a dirt road surrounded by cows grazing and villagers sitting beside their shanty huts. You're sitting in your home checking facebook under the breeze of the fan, and the power goes out. The power goes out... a lot. At least 5 times a day. That's when you snap back to reality. With the surge of electricity you're no longer in your living room in America reading your friend's status about how she just had coffee with so-and-so 10 minutes ago. The lights go out, the computer shuts down, the fan squeaks to a hault, and everything is silent. It's such a strange silence. An eery silence. It's lonely. You hear the ribbit of a frog, the chirp of a gecko, and the stillness of the air. 

Only 18% of Kenyans have electricity in their homes. I only know how it feels to be without electricity for a few hours after an Oklahoma blizzard or tornado. I wonder how many of us could handle even one day of real life without electricity. Boiling the water to drink, cook, or bathe. Eating dinner by the fire or before the sunset, no cable television, no wifi, no lamp beside your bed to read at night, no nightlight in the bathroom. Just try something... turn off all the lights, lamps, the a/c, fans, alarm clocks, anything that produces light and just sit.. I guarantee there will still be the headlights from a passing car flash through your blinds or the glow of a street lamp or neighbor's porch light... That's America. There's always a light on. I've never felt utter isolation or stillness like I have in Africa. Yet, with the stillness there is a peace. There's no need to rush anywhere or get something done. You can just stop. Everything else has. You can be silent and listen to the birds. You can listen to the voice of the Lord. He speaks so softly and so sweetly. Goodnight from Kenya friends, --Carolyn (Carrie)

From my reading tonight..."And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; It shall exult in His salvation." Psalm 35:9


  1. I knew youd put those writing skills to use.
    Felt like I was there with you.

  2. Great post! I know that world but I only live it for a week or two here in Afghanistan and then I'm back to the FOB and electricity and lots of noise.