We’re in Maun, Botswana, spending time with the Witts at Love Botswana. We were here a few years ago, and it’s nice to be back and see some familiar faces. Exciting things are happening here, and it’s a blessing to be able to see first-hand all God is doing.
As always, we set out with great intentions of posting more often over the last 9 weeks, but African internet got the best of us. It was easiest just to check email periodically on the phone, rather than sit down for full posts at internet cafes. But, we do have internet today, so here’s a quick synopsis of the last few, event-packed, weeks!
Kilometers Traveled: 17418 (10823 Miles)
Active Volcanos Hiked: 1, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Road Kill: 1 (Marc’s a little sensitive about this one…)
Flat Tires: 0
Ministries Visited: 10+
In Nairobi we stayed with a friend of mine, Marilyn and her husband, Dan. Years ago, we worked together at Big Brothers Big Sisters. We were also able to visit with Julius Murgor, the Director of Pokot Outreach Mission in Kenya. Julius is also a member of Kenyan Parliment, so with a busy schedule, we were thankful he took the time to spend with us.
We also spent time at New Life Home Trust in Nairobi. Caring for orphans, they provide a home for abandoned children. In addition, they feed and care for kids all over Kenya and have planted churches all over the country.
We were also able to meet a pastor and his wife from the DRC, which sparked a idea that we’d be able to visit the country later in the trip (which we did!).
Later in Uganda, we stopped in the office of Invisible Children and unsuccessfully worked on our DRC visas. We headed to Rwanda hoping that we’d have better luck going to the DRC border directly for visas.
Before getting to the border, we stopped to see some friends we’d met in Cape Town. Jess and Mel are traveling the world this year and they were spending 6 weeks in Rwanda working with Team Rwanda–Rwanda’s national cycling team. It was great seeing familiar faces! (Check out these articles on Team Rwanda: this one in Sports Illustrated, and this one on Cycling News)
Going to the border wasn’t such a great idea, it would have cost us $285 per person for the visas, but we connected with another pastor and his family. We spent the week with them, we were shocked when he took us to see the 1700 orphans that his ministry cares for in rural Rwanda. It was overwhelming to say the least, we’re definitely still processing this part of the trip. His kids definitely stole our hearts, too. Despite some language barriers, we were entertained for days!
But, through chance meetings we were able to get our DRC visas through the National Park Office. The only catch was that we needed to hike an active volcano to get the visas (a cheaper visa option is available if you visit a national park in the DRC). A couple we met in Rwanda decided to join us, which was great. The situation in the DRC isn’t the most stable, so we were thankful for the company.
Our visit to the DRC proved to be impactful in ways we could have never imagined. We’re still processing what that means for us, but we’re still a little speechless. But, having it fall on Thanksgiving week wasn’t a coincidence, we were reminded over and over again all we have to be thankful for.
Moving South into Tanzania, we were able to stop and spend a couple of days in the Serengeti. It was an unforgettable experience (partially because we managed to get stuck in a river and thought we’d end up there overnight). Today we’re getting our 4WD worked on because of the water.
After a brief stop in Zambia to see Victoria Falls we arrived in Botswana late Sunday night.
We’re overwhelmingly thankful for the opportunity to see so much of Africa the last few weeks. And, amazingly, we’ve only touched the surface of the 50+ countries that make up this incredible continent. We’ve been constantly amazed by the tenacity of the people we’ve met and the strength of spirits.
Hoping to be back in Cape Town for Christmas, we’ll be hitting the road tomorrow, driving through Namibia before getting back home.