20 March 2012

To Not Know

There are some awesome things happening in Kenya and, more specifically, Nairobi.  There are art displays, music festivals, concerts, musicals, plays, movie premiers and showings, poetry readings, and many other cool artistic events that happen every week here.  [Here's a link if you want to look specifically at what some of the events are:  http://nairobinow.wordpress.com/]  And there are incredible people working for the good of people through the arts in Nairobi.

My musical life began when I was in a preschool choir at Grace United Methodist Church in Rochester, Indiana.  Then when I began school in Rochester I had a music class during the school day - general music, choral, and/or instrumental - from the year I began school until I graduated.  In addition to that, I had the opportunity throughout all of my secondary school life to be a part of a music ensemble outside of the school day with students from all around Indiana.  I have been blessed to have music education in my life from the time I could pretty much hold my body upright until today (when I still sometimes struggle to hold my body upright).

So herein lies my problem:  Nairobi is a city of around 3 million people, and the majority of those people are very unexposed to the arts.  Young people have an especially difficult time being a part of quality music ensembles.  From what I understand, very few schools in Nairobi have music classes in their curriculum.  Many have after-school choirs that meet once or twice per week, but it is very difficult for some students to be a part of those ensembles...either due to transportation or fees or home lives or safety risks.

I want to offer kids a chance to do music...together...with quality.  And to be quite honest with you, I have no idea how to do that.  I've been praying a lot about it, trying to see what God wants me to do with this passion, but I still don't know.  I don't know where to start advertising...I don't know where rehearsals would be...I don't know how transportation for the kids would work...I don't know how concerts would work...I don't know where financial support would come from...I don't know a lot of things to do with this.  I think maybe God has other things He wants me to learn first, but I also don't want to waste my life away on myself.  The best I can do right now is pray and ask Him to teach me and lead me where He wants me to go...and then to follow Him and do what He asks.  But I guess To Not Know is a place to learn and serve in still.  So here we go.

26 February 2012

Back at it

Well...hello there again.  Welcome back.  (I'm saying that as much to myself as I am to you.)  I'm here to share with you what's been happening in my life the last few months.  So, here we go!

Audrey came in January and spent the entire month here.  It was great, and we were so blessed to have so many people support us financially to make that happen.  She was able to see my life here, meet a lot of my fellow teachers and friends, see the beauty of Kenya, and get excited about where we'll start our life together in July.

Just a taste of the beautiful colors on the coast.
The first week she was here was spent recovering from jet lag (for both of us - I had to pick her up from the airport at 2 am!) and visiting the Kenyan coast.  We spent 3 days in Malindi with my roommate and a few other friends, and it was incredibly beautiful.  We swam, ate lots of delicious seafood, walked on the beach, took engagement pictures, read, and enjoyed being back together finally.  Our favorite things we saw were the baobabs.  If you weren't at the Rochester Vacation Bible School in the summer of 2010 titled "Baobab Blast", and don't know what baobabs are, they are huge, old, awesome trees that are found mostly in East Africa.  They look like giant, grey elephants, and are the epitome of everything Audrey and I love in nature.

When we got back from the coast, Audrey was able to come in and help out at school almost every day.  She accompanied the choirs on piano most days, gave a speech in my 7th grade speech class, and helped run rehearsals for the middle school play.  I was spoiled having her here to help me.

Hi, Mr. Giraffe.
Before she left, I took her to Crescent Island, a part of Lake Naivasha that you can actually walk around on the island with the animals.  We hung out with some eland, buffalo, giraffes, dik diks, gazelles, and zebras.  It was a beautiful, sunny, hot January day, and we enjoyed walking around the island and taking pictures and spending time outside together.  Coolest part of the day was when we were in our car on the way out of the park and a giraffe stood right beside our car with his head literally right above mine.  Giraffes are huge.

Shortly after that day, Audrey left to go back to the States.  Terrible night.  I drove her to the airport at 3 am, we cried a lot, and I watched her go up the escalator past the ticket desk out of my sight.  That's one of the worst feelings...having to watch someone that you love so much leave, knowing you can't do anything more to help, and you can't be there to comfort them.  We're both glad that we'll never have to experience that again.

Well, then I was back to normal life without Audrey.  Choir class, speech class, ultimate frisbee every Sunday, Nairobi Music Society (just singing as a part of the choir this semester), and the middle school play.  The play performances were last weekend - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - and the name of the play was 30 Reasons NOT to be in a Play.  It was a great show, the students performed really well, and the audiences really enjoyed it.  :)  And now I have a lot more time on my hands.

Well...there's a quick recap of the last few months.  Be on the lookout for more posts in the next few weeks.  Exciting things on the way.