April 10, 2010 § 7 Comments
I am happy and healthy, with a clean shave, battery operated speakers, a Kenyan beer, and a recent edition of the New York Times. I feel momentarily reconnected! A few pictures are up now, so check em’ out!
I last wrote before Easter, and I can now tell you that attending any sort of church service in Africa on a holiday is an experience to be had! The men sit on one side of the church, women and children on the other, the choir is a come-one-come-all kind of deal (if your inspired to walk up on stage and start wailin’, you do) and if you’re not dancing during the endless, fifteen minute gospel songs you’re totally uncool and your probably not going to heaven either. The songs at this particular church were really pretty bad, mostly because of the blaring electric keyboard and screeching microphones being passed around, but the energy is great! Tamia, Hannah, and I were the only three Mzungus in attendance, which is the case with really anything we do, and for us they had a translator repeating everything in English, and as I had been warned it wasn’t long before we were asked to come on stage and say something to the mass. Because I was expecting it, it was actually pretty awesome, standing there with everyone smiling back, giggling. I kept it pretty simple, said “I was from the United States, and that I was thankful and blessed to be in Africa, in Njabini, and share this wonderful day with such amazing people.” It filled the void of brunch with plenty to spare. We boiled 71 eggs, dyed them various colors with the kids, covered one with plastic rhinestones, hid them all, and awarded the winner of the ‘golden egg’ with an Obama T-shirt and a chocolate bar. It was a very special day!
The majority of my week to follow was brightened by our two new volunteers, Tamia and Peter. They have a great sense of humor, help us a ton with the kids, listen to great music, and only add to the feeling of family around here. We’ve already gotten very close and I will certainly miss them when they go!
I have also developed a close and certainly hilarious relationship with our matrons, Phoebe, Joyce, and Rebecca. They have been teaching me Swahili, sharing their tea, and letting me in on a fair number of inside jokes. In return, I am teaching Joyce and Rebecca how to use a computer and they have made me promise that I will find them each an internet boyfriend before I leave. It is so funny to try and explain something like the internet to someone who has never turned on a computer. Try it! I was laughing pretty hard at my first attempt. “The internet is like a super huge … village… or city… and each website is like a house… with an address… and very different people live in each house.”
This week I was also tasked with explaining to the kids what a time-capsule is and why its fun and not totally boring and weird. Their questions were classic, like “wait, we have to find things we care about and bury them underground for ten years?” So far our time-capsule consists of a broken telephone, a Snoopy frisbee, and an empty cream cheese can filled with coat buttons. It’s a work in progress.
I also had my first meeting today with the committee I have assembled for the International Day of the African Child event. This gathering will explain “African time,” as it is often joked about, perfectly. Three weeks ago we scheduled this meeting at 10 o’clock a.m. All members were called, confirmed attendance, so I arranged the room, had my agenda prepared, the visitors book open and ready, and with the help of Rebecca had tea, toast and jam prepared. And then I sat. Of the 8 committee members, the first arrived at 10:55, the second at 11:30, and the third at Noon, at which time we decided to go ahead and start the meeting. The fourth member arrived at 1:10 and the others called around 1 to say they wouldn’t be making it. Our meeting lasted about an hour and was actually extremely productive – the saving grace. So my 10 o’clock meeting was done at about 2 p.m. Talk about a test of patience! I tapped a few internal reserve tanks and thankfully hung with it, but I thought for all of you at home this would be especially entertaining!
This coming week I head to Bungoma to meet up with Dave Betts, his sister, and a couple working for the One Acre Fund to go rafting and camping in Uganda, and I am beyond excited to see Dave and to explore! My next post will be a few days delayed, but it will certainly be an exciting one! I hope all is well on the home front. Wake with gratitude and know that you are loved!