It can hit you hard sometimes, especially on a bike. I have only been on my bike a few times since I returned to Kenya from our Christmas in the US. Each time I go home I gain a few pounds (maybe a lot of pounds). I cannot resist Mexican food and hamburgers. But usually when I get back I drop 10 pounds just because of the setting. I had accomplished the weight gain in the last trip, but for some reason the weight loss was not following our arrival to Kijabe. I did not want to ride my bike because it is so much harder to pull this weight up the long hills. If I could just lose a few, then the bike ride would be more fun. And so I kept delaying. But last weekend a friend sent out a text saying they were going to ride Awesome Sauce, probably my favorite ride in Kijabe. I could not resist the invitation. I joined them at the local dukas, and we headed up the first steep hill by the waterfall. I began in the front, but ended the climb at the rear. I quickly came to the front in the next two downhills, but then came the next very steep climb. My heart began to beat out of my chest, the sweat of my head turned icy, and the world became smaller and less stable. I couldn’t do it. I hopped off my bike to push up the hill as I soberly realized I was not going to be able to make the ride. I called ahead to my friend who was already out of sight and said I was turning back. David graciously accompanied me on a return trip with some great downhills, but with none of the excitement of Awesome Sauce. Getting older can be great in some ways, but physically it can hit hard. There is a lesson in here somewhere. It probably is that you should exercise regularly and watch your weight.
It’s 2:08 on Easter Sunday and the beautiful African choruses of the church across the way are wafting in through our open windows. It’s like having our own Paul Simon Graceland concert. Only really African.
We had a nice bit of cloud coverage for our Easter school picnic, the first clouds it seems like we’ve seen for weeks. I read the other day that Kenya is experiencing its worst drought in 38 years. Here on the mountainside and near the valley it is not as bad, but many in northern and western Kenya are struggling to survive. Last year it was the longest rainy season in a several years and now this drought. Here in Kenya, they have the “short rains” in November and December and the “long rains” from April through June. The whole time the temperature is an average of 68 degrees or so. It is a wonderful place to live, if you’re looking for a place to minister. Or if you want to come visit, read here.
Last night something funny happened that I thought was worth blogging about. We have a hospital station Whatsapp group that reports happenings around here. Recently, a couple of people have reported a clan of hyenas wandering around the outskirts of our complex. (Our compound is not fenced off and so we have all sorts of things drifting through—ne’er do wells, baboons, wild dogs, and now, hyenas). Our dog Chardonnay was barking a different and more insistent bark than usual in the middle of the night. Usually we can tie her leash to the back gate and she will be quiet, but last night, no such luck. I went out to check on her and from inside the house I could hear this high-pitched dog yapping or laughing sound. It sounded like cats? No. Monkeys? No. Puppies? Maybe, but different. I opened the door and Chardy was pulling hard on her leash, barking her most vehement bark. Crazily, I considered, “Is the hyena pack barking back?” All the neighborhood dogs were going crazy. I pulled our guard dog into the house and told Will that I may have heard hyenas. He laughed and opened the window to listen. He was convinced that it was just a dog or two. Even if it was, isn’t it surreal that hyena laughing was even on the table? Just in case we forgot that we live in Africa!
It is always good to get out for a walk. I have no idea why this ladder we found was where it was or to where it was heading.
It was a bit of a rough day in regards to mood in our house yesterday. I have been reading a little bit about exercise and mood enhancement, and the correlation is pretty strong that exercise is good for mental health. This is especially true in anxiety and depression. I would say those are the most common struggles of many of us, and especially those of us living in a different culture. I tend to be more optimistic if I find time to exercise, and I envy those who find it easy to do. I do not always want to exercise, much less do I find the time to do it. And this is despite knowing the positive effects. So with everyone a bit down yesterday, I decided we were going on a walk. We would go to the caves and then up to the railroad tracks. A few short steep uphill sections followed by a meandering downhill walk. We noted some clouds in the sky, but it seemed like there was more sun than clouds. The old Boy Scout in me recommended we take some jackets. It was good that we did, because just as we reached the cave, the rain came. We decided we would cross-country home, bush-wacking, avoiding steep drop-offs, spraining wrists, and ruining clothing. But we made it. And you can decide for yourself from the picture whether it had a positive affect.