We have enjoyed that last few days as we've finished up the holiday portion of our trip. Tomorrow morning we head to a local conference center for a week of work before heading home. We are very excited that we will get to spend the week with folks that trained with us last summer in Virginia. As you can imagine, we grew pretty close to those folks and our kids to their kids, so it will be a bit of a reunion in the morning.
Here's a bit about how we've spent the last few days...
On Thursday we were invited to join a bunch of other families who serve in other parts of Sub Saharan Africa with our agency. Out of the 15 or so families that were represented, we'd only met two of them before. And yet, we felt very comfortable and had a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day. Days like those are days that we really have to choose joy. There is always a strong temptation to lament and think about what we're missing with our family back in the States. But, it's counter productive and we try to avoid it if we can (sometimes we do better than others!) Thankfully, this was one day when we succeeded in embracing where we were, not where we wanted to be.
Abby and Lily playing corn hole with a friend. Lily looks like she's about to lob it, maybe she needs a little lesson in technique?
Isaac pushing "Uncle P" on the tree swing. Normally it was P doing the pushing. He's their favorite trampoline buddy when we're back in our home country, maybe we need to add a tree swing too!
On Friday we went to a huge mall on the other side of Nairobi. This one is located near all of the embassies and definitely had an expat flare to it. We got to go to the Massai Market while we were there (again!) It amazes me how beautiful the handicrafts are here. There is so much available and if you're willing to bargain hard, you can get pretty good prices. We generally paid about 1/2 of their starting quote. There were several times I just looked at people who were quoting me a ridiculous price and explained that I live in Nigeria, where I bargain every time I shop. Then they usually got more reasonable pretty quickly. I think they're used to diplomats, not budget minded missionaries!
The kids favorite part about the mall was that it had a waterpark that looked like this...
For less than $20 USD, our whole family got to play. Lest we forget that we're in Africa, we were reminded by the lack of safety patrols as evidenced by the following picture...
Why yes, that is 4 children piled up at the bottom of the slide. And no, no one blew a whistle or gave them a red light.
Here's Lizzy getting her speed on!
One of our goals for our time here was to get some new clothes for everyone. However, we have really been disappointed with the prices on the clothing here. Most items in the malls are 2 to 3 times the full price in the US. So, we had bought a few clearance rack items, but not much. Even our kids understand that we can't pay $80 for their jeans and $30 for their T-shirts. We were all wondering if we were going to be out of luck. So, on Saturday we spent 3 hours at a second hand clothing market where they buy clothes from the Western Europe and North America donation bales and re-sell them for Goodwill and better than Goodwill prices. We honestly didn't even scratch the surface of what they had in our time there. When we got home and did the math, we discovered that we had bought 10 pairs of pants, 18 shirts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 4 pairs of shorts, and 1 very gently used pair of Converse tennis shoes for about $210 USD. Ryan bought a nice Ralph Lauren button down that looked brand new for $5. The kids were thrilled with the new things and so were we. The items we purchased were mostly like new and it was fun. Again, we had to bargain hard, but we were thrilled with our haul. We've all agreed that it is a re-do next time that we are in Kenya!
Other than that, we've enjoyed eating out once each day, visiting the local malls, enjoying desserts and abundant dairy products, and taking our time around town. It's been a great time of R&R. We are so thankful that we are here and we look forward to learning lots in the week ahead!