After our tour of the VCT, Jane who runs it showed us the new youth center which was in the same building. She then asked to talk to Jen and Dave for just a minute. They told our team to just visit with the kids in the center and they would be right back. We all looked at each other, but it was only a second before Nate jumped right in and asked the boys what they were doing.
The Youth Center was in a room perhaps 30 by 20 foot, with a cement floor and sheets lining the ceiling and most of the walls. In the center of the room was an area which could be set up as a boxing ring. Posts fitted neatly into holes in the floors and ropes held them square. There was also a pool table, a dart board, a manchala game next to the window and a small room with a TV/VCR and movies. A boom box was playing Christian rock music. There were 10-12 youth there and most were teen-age boys who were playing cards at plastic tables with plastic chairs (the kind you might have on your deck).
It didn’t take them long to teach the teen-agers from America how to play their card game. They called it Kenyan poker, even though there was no gambling involved. It was very similar to Uno, where certain cards were wild or meant skip or reverse. Our kids played it every chance they got for the rest of the trip.
As a side note, we always played cards when I was a kid, and so I naturally raised my own kids on playing cards. So Val knows how to shuffle a deck. I had to look this up on line and I am sorry if I offend some of you non-card playing folks, but there actually are websites that teach you how to shuffle cards. How can anyone not know how to do that? Anyway, so I looked it up and Val, as well as one of the other girls Sarah, were shuffling the deck using the Riffle technique, as opposed to the easier and more common Overhand. In Kenya they must only know how to shuffle by Overhand, because the boys at the youth center were fascinated by the way Val and Sarah shuffled cards. It was pretty normal to me, but once again, we were on another continent.
And thus ended our first full day in Kenya, Africa. I had to ask myself, had the mission part of our trip started yet? Well, if teaching boys to shuffle cards counted, then I guess so.