Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trip to Kenya with Daraja

The following is an overview of my trip to Kenya. I want to thank all those who have supported me in prayer and financially throughout this process!

The Daraja team, which consists of 26 members (4 tour leaders, one trip leader and 21 interns) left from the Atlanta airport on May 15th and headed to Kenya. After a full day layover in Amsterdam, we flew eight more hours to Nairobi airport in Kenya. We arrived there in the morning and proceeded to get on a bus and drive six hours to our first stop in El Doret. When we got to El Doret we went to visit a school called The Emmanuel School. They have about 900 students at this school ranging from 8 to 18 years old. The purpose of our visit was to see what a typical day in the classroom looks like for children in Kenya. This school had six main subjects taught at every level. They consisted of English, Swahili, Math, Science, Geography and Bible. It was cool to see that the majority of the students enjoyed studying Bible and English.
After spending about an hour in the classroom, we then took seven kids who participated in Daraja's choir last year to an overlook as seen below:

This picture doesn't do the view justice

It was such a beautiful view and so incredible to see God's creation stretch as far as my eyes could see!

After getting much needed sleep in a hotel in El Doret that night, we woke up early and headed to Kwambekenya where we visited three schools that all had former Daraja Choir kids. I got to spend a good amount of time with Mahinda and Emma (see below), who were both in the Daraja choir last year. They both spoke very good English and from what I had heard, they both have emerged as leaders in their classrooms since coming back from the Daraja tour six months ago. As you can see in this picture, Mahinda and Emma have such a peace and joy about them, which is such a testament to the Lord's work in their life!

After our visit to Kwambekenya, we headed to Ngaamba which was where we would spend the next five days of our trip. Our mission in Ngaamba was to visit all the homes of the 48 new members of Daraja's 2011 choir. Each day we split up into teams of five accompanied by Kenyan Daraja staff who helped us talk to the families and thank them for letting their kids come to America with us. Here is a picture from left to right of Cornelius, Paul and Lucky. These three kids will be on Daraja tour in 2011 for the Summer and Fall. My team visited their homes during our first full day in Ngaamba.

The purpose of these home visits was to develop a relationship with the Daraja children's families, as well as to get pictures for each kid to show their host families when they are in the United States on tour. This was definitely the most enjoyable part of my trip to Kenya. In every home we visited, we were served above and beyond what I would have imagined. One family made us chapati bread and slaughtered a goat, both of which are considered luxury dishes and are only eaten once a year. It was incredible to see the kids faces light up when we got to their homes. They could not wait to show us around their house and for us to see all their chores that they get to do. Here are some pictures of their  homes:

Paul at his house

Paul collecting firewood

Paul's bathroom

The five days in Ngaamba were incredible to say the least. I felt the Lord taught me so much about simplicity and service during my time in Kenya and gave me such a new perspective on life. After going to Kenya and experiencing the lifestyle of these special kids, I feel much better equipped to go on tour in the Fall and Spring.

As you might already know, this was a very fast process for me and it was truly the Lord's calling to get me on this trip and involved with the Daraja Children's Choir. Again, I am so thankful for your prayers and financial support, because I truly would not have been able to go without you. The great part about all of this is this is just the beginning! Tour will start for me in the Fall and continue through the Spring so I would ask that you keep me in your prayers. I created this blog so that we can stay in touch throughout my experience. Starting in the Fall, I will be providing updates along with pictures of everything going on during tour. I will be in the Midwest for the Fall and California for the Spring. If you have time please read the next posting about what is currently going on with the Daraja Choir and how we could use your help and prayers. 

-Dan Young 

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