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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goodbye Mountains and Hello Coast!

"No Weather Beats Fashion"
an obvious reference to the heat
A month has passed and so much has changed.  We have said goodbye to many good friends in Iringa, and we have driven across international boundaries into Kenya, finding our long sought home of Mombasa. 

I am typing this now because I can’t sleep, it is 5:40 am and power has been out for a couple of hours, which means fans don’t work.  No fans = no sleep, at least for me.  The power outage brought all 3 boys to my bed and each of them seemed to be set on having some appendage on top of some part of my body.  I tried at 4:00 am to explain we all would feel cooler if our skin didn’t touch but no one seemed to believe this theory.  So I left them with Sarah and I have come downstairs to write our first Mombasa entry.

 NLD and Benny telling  James,
one of our Swahili teachers,
goodbye.
Our trip to Mombasa began well, and ended well, it was the part in the middle that was little hairy.  It was a two-day trip that we began on Wednesday the 19th.  The clutch in our truck went out about 2 hours before our stop for the first night.  So there we were, on the side of an African road, with a rooftop carrier full to the brim, a 1957 aluminum trailer so full we couldn’t close the top, and a truck full of 6 humans, a guinea pig (transport for a friend), a cat, and 5 chickens. Seriously.  

Thankfully, in true Dinkins style, I had strapped two plastic chairs, a pack and play, and a stroller to the top of the trailer we couldn’t close with strips of rubber from used inner tubes (that is the closest thing you can find to a bungee cord here).

So we unloaded our chairs and stroller and proceeded to have a nice picnic there on the shoulder of the road.  I am sure we were a sight for the many African buses that paraded by all afternoon.  We drew many honks, and a lot more stares.  Thankfully, we had a decent shoulder to push the truck onto off the road and we also had cell service, which is absolutely not a guarantee.  We were able to call friends who came from two different directions, each about 2 hours away.  They arrived within 5 minutes of each other after our long wait and we were able to take one of their cars on to our stopping point that night.  The friends used their other truck to tow our vehicle to a safe place for the night and reunited with us later that evening.  All in all it was worse for our friends that it was for us (except for Nehemiah who managed two bee stings during our 2+ hour “picnic”).
African "picnic" induced by our clutch burning up.

Nehemiah loving his chic during
our car trouble.






Thursday we were forced to rest while we worked out a vehicle situation.  This was actually a blessing because we would need the rest.  Friday we headed out on the road again and only had about 4 hours to finish our trip.  These were the most stressful however because they involved our first unassisted border crossing.  One, it’s an African border, second, they speak Swahili, third we had undocumented animals in the truck.  I really don’t know how drug runners do it.  The stress is almost unbearable.   If I had been unable to get these chickens across the border, I would have had to answer to Sarah (the chicken whisperer) on why I didn’t get to the vet for the appropriate paperwork.   Throw in the guinea pig  (an extra and unplanned for critter we picked up during our overnight stay to deliver to Mombasa friends) and I felt like I had 50 kilos of white powder under my seat.
At a friend's house - feel free to
caption this yourself!
I played it cool, left the kiddos in the car at the customs stop, answered all their questions truthfully and they never asked about animals or looked in the car.  When the last guard handed us our paperwork through our cracked window (we couldn’t unroll all the way lest he hear a cocka-doodle-doo or see the cat) we passed through the last gate and hit the accelerator.  We were free!  Our car erupted in cheers and the party was started.  Just a few hours later we were crossing on the ferry into Mombasa.

Our last meal with the young boys we had been
ministering to in Iringa.
It has been tough acclimating to the heat but we have been able to bear it.  Our new home is more than adequate, and we even purchased two single-room AC units to aid us in sleeping.  They aren’t quite working yet though as we’ve got some electrical problems we are sorting through.

It is a relief to finally be here.  3 years of planning, training, learning, and travelling to get here.  It is time for the rubber to finally meet the road.  Pray for us as we do adapt, as we begin our work next week with the NGO.  We will be looking for opportunities where we can serve folks through community and business development.  The needs are endless, so we seek wisdom from God to put our time, resources, and efforts where he would have them, that they would have a positive affect on people lives now, but that they would also allow opportunities to share the news for eternity.

Had an outing to a nature park for NLD's birthday
and were entertained by this jumping baboon and several pythons.
Finally here,


The Dinkins

**almost forgot, if you would like more information about our work, and ways you can be praying for us, please email me at stephen.dinkins@gmail.com and I will add you to our list for that as well. *

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Forward

Our long journey is nearing completion.  On February 20th, Lord willing, we will embark on a loooong drive to Mombasa Kenya where we will live and work for the foreseeable future.  It will be nice to have house to call home, to grow some roots in a community, and to care about the paint color in any particular room!  It has been well over a year since any of those were true and over 2.5 years since we pulled out of Sumter driving the UHAUL.

We are grateful for the support and prayers that have been lifted on our behalf since the inception of our adventure.  Our language is going well, we are gaining confidence and starting to hear the spoken language better.  We have realized, and conceded, that language is something that keeps growing.  Our idea of "fluent" is still a long way off and it will take several years of speaking the language and making mistakes to get to that point.

Rainey rocking it out for "Headlight" in our house on Friday nights
Rainey is doing well, though she has times, like me, when she misses "home" and our family and friends there.  She is, however, investing heavily in the students around her and has had roughly 15 students in our house every Friday night for the last 4 weeks to fellowship, play games, eat, and study the bible.  She plays her guitar and leads music every week and she even taught the lesson one week herself.  It is not easy to live as a teenager cross culturally but she is making the best of it and Sarah and I are proud of her efforts.

Asa is diligent with his schoolwork and his after school clubs.  A couple of days a week he stays after school for football club (soccer) and he is getting better and better.  He also stays one afternoon a week to learn new boardgames.  I am happy to see him having fun after school, when I was kid if I was at school after 2:00 it was because I was writing the Gettysburg address on the chalkboard 100 times.

Nehemiah and Benny continue to light this place up.  As Benny grows he is able to do more and more and he and NLD are growing closer.  It is a joy to watch them play and explore together.  Now the potential of damage from inadequate supervision has not doubled but rather grown exponentially.   One of their favorite activities is to go to town, where I sneak them a chocolate bar before Sarah can find out, and on our return they climb on top of our truck and sit on the the luggage rack on our dirt road and driveway.  You should see the looks on some of the nationals' faces.

Asa, Nehemiah, and Benny sorting out their candy from FBC!
The circle of life continues here too - Rainbow just hatched another chick and Sa (aka Dr. Doolittle) actually saw him come out of the shell.  Our turtles have escaped, we've had to return a cat (not Rainey's) and also had a brief episode with a goat - but those are all stories for another update.  Right now we are focusing on being lean for our 13 hour drive to Mombasa with a vehicle and trailer that would embarrass Granny Clampett.

Don't send anymore mail to our Iringa address, we will not get it before we leave - and if by chance you have sent anything, please email and let us know so we can search the post office for it before we leave.

Our good friend Mama Elizabeth and her two children
Emails will stay the same, but our phone numbers will change so we will update those when we cross the border.  We will also post a new address for Mombasa should you feel the need to drop a bag of sour patch kids in an envelope made out specifically to me....just saying.

Our next update will be complete with pictures of our new home, city, and community.  Keep praying for our family's health and safety, our journey to Mombasa, and our work ahead with the NGO doing business and community development - that we would find areas where we can help and make a positive difference in lives.  Until Mombasa.........


From Africa,

The Dinkins

"I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward" - David Livingstone


8 boys w/o families come over every Tuesday