Leaving Nairobi, we pass countless flea markets, but perhaps they're called mosquito markets here.
We all start to get to know each other. We talk about faith and ministry and church. Some of us are cultural addicts to deodorant; others are not. In a few days we'll all be brothers of the sweat fraternity and such petty distinctions will be meaningless.
We pass fruit stand after stand: vegetables and fruits galore. This is lush Central Kenya, the verdant bread basket of the country. Vendors from Nairobi come up here for their produce.
We arrive at the equator. At least, that's what the sign tells us. It's a bit of an anti-climax. All my life I've pictured it as this magical belt of shimmering hotness, perhaps a mile or so wide, encircling the whole earth. But other than the sign, a few excited Japanese tourists and a Kenyan watching over two little buckets, it's all rather nondescript.
The buckets straddle the equator underneath the sign, and on either side of a white line painted on the concrete. For a couple of hundred Kenya Shillings ($2), we can watch the water swirl clockwise on one side, and anti-clockwise on the other. But ever since I singed my eyebrows with a Bunsen burner in a high school science experiment, I have been wary of such undertakings. We move on. In just millimeters we have gone from winter to summer. I look behind me, but snow is not falling. I must ponder this some more.
In Nanyuki town, we meet the rest of our team. The team is, of course, seven, the perfect number. Benson and Joshua, both part-time pastors, are our guides. Patrick is the cook, assisted by his son Anthony and Joshua's nephew, David. Meschack, not to be confused with Shadrach or Abednego, is a very sharp, and funny, part-time theology student at a Pentecostal school of which there are hundreds in this devoutly religious country. He, like Samuel (who is related somehow to someone, but I can't remember who), will be a porter. Probably it will take all seven of them to carry me off the mountain. They are a kind of modern day equivalent of James and John, Peter and Andrew with their fishing business. Only I am not Jesus, and I will be following them.
We have lunch at a restaurant (of sorts), do a final equipment check (leaving dead clients on the mountain is never good for business), load the just-purchased supplies, and head toward the base of the mountain on a rutted dirt road.