|Sunday 12th August - Kenya - Nairobi (Day 3)
Today we went to Nairobi Baptist Church. The service started at 11am, so we arrived there at about 10.50. The church is huge with multiple floors housing meeting rooms, offices, Sunday School rooms plus the main church area. When we took our seats there were very few people in the congregation maybe less than 100 in a space set out for a couple of thousand. No need for disappointment however the start time is obviously just a general guideline rather than something to be taken too seriously. Worship started at about 11ish, but people trickled in for about an hour after that and by 12ish the place was almost full. The girls went along to Sunday School and enjoyed themselves - although, to be honest the thing they most remembered was the chocolate birthday cake that they got there (food for the body and food for the soul!). By our standards the service was long including worship, testimonies, announcements etc it lasted about 2.5 hours. We still enjoyed it though. It is a busy church with many ministries and missions going on. While we were at the main service there was a second youth service running concurrently and there had also been an early service at 8.30.
After church we went to a nearby service station for lunch. This sounds a bit rubbish, but in Kenya many of the petrol stations have a good variety of decent food outlets. Also, on Sundays these places often have bouncy castles and face-painters. The girls are mad-keen on Spiderman (and have been for the past couple of months) so they both got their faces painted Spiderman-style. Lunch followed by bouncy castle seems like a stomach-churning itinerary, but the girls were none-the-worse for it.
Kenya appears a lot richer than Ethiopia. Going out for lunch today we were surrounded by local, black families not by expats and tourists, as has been the case elsewhere. Our feeling is that there seems to be a hard-working and sizeable middle-class here. They also seem to value education very highly, weve certainly seen lots of schools and in church today there were special congratulations for those who had achieved academically over the previous week.
On the other hand, we have heard from many people (including a security consultant that we met at the giraffe centre) that Kenya is a crime-ridden place. Nairobi is referred to as Nairobbery. As you drive around the town it is noticeable that many homes have guards stationed at the gates and rolls of barbed-wire along the top of high walls.
Although there are obviously problems, we reckon that it would be easier to live in Nairobi than any of the other African capitals we have visited. Perhaps it is due to the historical British influence, but I think it would be easier to feel at home here than in Addis Ababa, Khartoum or Cairo.