Coffee and Carrots

Early morning mist at Brackenhurst

Early morning mist at Brackenhurst

The first snack I was ever served in Kenya were carrot sticks. It was the summer of 1996, and the mister and I had arrived to spend 3 weeks volunteering at a conference for 1st term missionaries. We arrived in Nairobi after 2 days of flying, with a long layover in London, exhausted and hungry. They were the best carrots I ever tasted.

Our welcome to Kenya dinner that evening was BBQ (Texas style) and it was then I learned about the great cooking and generous hospitality that runs rampant in missionary circles.

The next morning we left to go on safari for a couple of days before heading to our conference.

Located in the breathtaking highlands of Kenya’s tea fields, Brackenhurst Conference Center sits like a jewel of remembrance in the colonial crown. It’s lush landscape is a perfect picture of ever green.

The mornings were cold and shrouded in fog. The afternoons were a time for playing in the sun, followed by evenings with dinner by a roaring fire, if you were quick enough to get to that table in the huge dining hall first. Nighttime was just plain cold in those old concrete block dormitories.

Tea time was a twice daily occurrence and while chai is the main drink, I was encouraged to try the coffee. “I don’t drink coffee,” I said. “Ah, but you have never tried ours. It is the best in the world,” he explained. Kenyans are some of the most insistently hospitable people in the world, so I tried ‘his’ coffee. He was right.

And thus began a dual romance that my heart carries on till today: coffee, and Kenya. Thank you, Dunston, for giving me both.



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