The question we have gotten asked the most in the past 7 weeks is, “What is different about your life in Nairobi from your life in Ohio?” It is not only asked by Americans but also by Kenyans. We have found it overwhelming to answer with any accuracy. Therefore, this is the second of three letters devoted to attempting to address this pressing and intriguing question.
Part Two: Comparison List
To give another perspective from the first letter this is a list of 10 differences that come to mind when comparing living in Ohio to living in Nairobi. Please keep in mind this list is far from being all inclusive.
1. In Ohio the grocery store does not have attendants stand at the end of the aisles to assist shoppers.
2. In Ohio we drive in the right lane and not the left lane.
3. In Ohio random conversations with strangers rarely include how many children I have.
4. In Ohio the police do not expect to be paid a bribe when doing their job.
5. In Ohio I do not go through a 5lb bag of flour every other week.
6. In Ohio we do not have “winter” during the months of June-August. And when it is winter in Ohio the low temp for the day can go well below 50 degrees.
7. In Ohio it doesn’t take an hour and 20 minutes to drive a mile because of the zany traffic. This happens to us about once a week. Interestingly, we have been told they are adding 7,500 cars to the roads every month through imports.
8. In Ohio when we sing praise songs during worship at church they don’t rotate between Kiswahili, Hindi and English.
9. In Ohio I do not see monkeys walk the electrical lines. I also don’t worry about them stealing a piece of fruit off the kitchen table. This can happen because many doors and windows do not have screens which allow the monkeys to pop into a home and help themselves to food. However, the monkeys typically are only in the neighborhood on trash day. Monkeys are smart.
10. In Ohio I can not buy a dozen roses for 150 shillings or about $1.50.
Some of the differences on this list are starting to feel normal as we integrate them into our everyday life. Yet, other differences still seem foreign as our journey unfolds. Regardless they each give us an opportunity to be flexible, to learn and to have a new experience. For this I am thankful. And, I am to be thankful in all situations, whether in Nairobi or Ohio.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
So, you see, our time here is different yet the same.
More about this in the next letter,