Arrived yesterday in Nairobi after an uneventful eight hour flight from Heathrow. I'm with a group of six others from our church, along with +Stephen, Bishop of Chelmsford, Canon Dr Roger Matthews (Bishop's adviser for mission and ministry) and Rob Fox (Diocesan Director of Education). A group of curates from Chelmsford Diocese also flew out with us as part of their CMD programme. News on arrival was not very good. I was already aware of an explosion in Nairobi before our departure and our driver in Nairobi informed us there had since been a second explosion. I've been wondering how much attention this has received on the news back home.
We spent the night at the ACK Guesthouse in Nairobi and then earlier today transferred to Embu where much of our visit will be based. Lunch and early afternoon has been taken up meeting the Provost of St Thomas' Cathedral Kerugoya, Winifred Munene, who has been planning our itinerary for some time. We have a packed and very interesting programme of visits line up. Part of the purpose of the visit is to explore how we develop our links at St Mary's with the church in this part of Kenya and with St Thomas' in particular. Our young people have been out to Kenya to work on various schools based projects in the last couple of years and I'm looking forward to seeing at first hand the work they have been involved with.
A few brief initial thoughts and reflections:
1. Driving through Nairobi in the morning rush hour is not an experience I wish to repeat in a hurry!
2. Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is every bit as bad as Mayo & Kermode warned me it would be.
3. I was surprised at the large number of churches, chapels and other places of worship on the side of the road on our route from Nairobi to Embu.
4. I have discovered my camera isn't working which put me in a bad mood. Then I thought about the poverty I'd glimpsed during our journey north and felt rather pathetic. I'm grateful to my friend Roger who has lent me his camera for the duration.
A good start to the trip with no hitches or problems so far. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing about the work of the church in this part of God's world and am also open to the unexpected ways he might encourage and challenge us during our time in Kenya.
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