Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A true trip highlight

One of my favorite moments of our trip to Kenya was the time Shannon, Angela and I were reunited with Lena, a friend we’d made all those years ago on our first trip to Kenya. 
Lena, showing us where her family got water.

Lena was a sweet student at the school near our building project.  Several of the girls on the team became friends with her, and she hung out with us during our downtime.  Keeping in touch was difficult because she didn’t have a permanent address, so it didn’t take long to lose track of her when we returned home. 

One of the first things Angela did when we got to Kiserian was show the pastor a picture of Lena.  He instantly recognized her.  And then he took us to her house.

Me and Lena, in the tent I called home for the summer.
(Comments about my glasses are not necessary.)
It was a surreal, walking up to her house.  She was outside, visiting with a neighbor.  Angela showed her the picture, and while I’m pretty sure she didn’t remember us specifically, she did remember the summer we were there building the dormitory.

I’ve thought about Lena often; to be able to meet her again and find out what she’d been doing for the past 23 years was beyond wonderful.  She’d gotten married to a man who was now the principal of a nearby school.  She’d gone to college in Nairobi and come back to her village to be a teacher at the same school she attended.  She had several children.  It was a thrill to see her home; she told us they would have electricity in the house soon.  It was a far cry from the mud hut she grew up in.

Lena, outside her home.
Going back to Kiserian was a dream come true for me.  Reconnecting with Lena made it even more spectacular.


Shannon, Angela, Lena and me.