The Mighty Craftsman

May 7, 2010 § 3 Comments

Hello all,

I am writing late today, but stickin’ to my Friday delivery!  This week has been fantastic, though definitely a ‘changing of the guard.’  Hannah, Peter, and Tamia have all left, and a new volunteer Bethany from New York has just arrived.  To Hannah, Tamia, and Peter, now back at home, thank you for bringing me such joy, Hannah for teaching me this place, and to all of you for being there for me when I needed you most.  You will certainly be missed!

A swell of staff from Newport coming for Day of the African Child, a variety of summer volunteers, and a crew for the Kili trek are soon to come, so it won’t be quiet around here for long.  I’m excited to meet the many inspiring characters!  It’s going to be an unforgettable summer.

My week was highlighted by a trip to the Karioko Market in Nairobi, a wholesale market where craftsman from all tribes convene, create, and sell their art to the other tourist markets in town.  Our dear friend Jane served as escort for Hannah and I.  She runs a support group for single women, orphans, and disabled individuals, who I work with on a number of projects.  She is extraordinarily patient and fights for us Flying Kites folks like family.  A wonderful woman!  Karioko is well off the beaten path and not accustomed to mzungu visitors.  Artists, male and female, sit among piles of gourds, buckets of beads, mounds of thread, and sheets of leather, weaving bags, hammering sandals, braiding necklaces, stretching drums, carving wood, and painting shields.  It is an awesome, colorful process to observe!  It has echos of the slum, with rickety palates built over gutters of sewage and trash, plus an occasional rat, but the excitement of this place well outweighs the grit.

I was never one to enjoy bartering, in fact I was quite uncomfortable when I arrived, but now I love it!  It’s like a short, animated game of chess.  I got as excited to fire back and forth about price as I did to find something worth tussling about!  We made out with a number of awesome treasures and treated our host to some bracelets, shawls, and lunch.  I sat in the front seat of the matatu, beside the driver, listening to The Tallest Man on Earth, reading The Little Prince, realizing how far I have come since I arrived.

The children are back to school, order has returned to our little kingdom, and tucking them in at night has become my new favorite event.  I’ve never been a parent, obviously, but through them I can see what incredible joy that chapter must hold.  After some work with our movie pirate in Nairobi, they are soon to see Planet Earth, and I am beyond exited to see their reaction to the many animals and places in world they have never seen before.  Can you imagine?!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!  I am planning a visit home in August, so I am ecstatic just thinking about the incredible people and comforts that compose HOME!  For those of you at Priest Lake, get your game face on.

I love you all!



§ 3 Responses to The Mighty Craftsman

  • Becci Prahl says:

    I always look forward to Friday, it being the day we flee north to THE lake during the warmer months, but now I have even more to look forward to: your weekly Blog! Thanks for giving us all a window into what can only be described as a different world. So different from our comfortable lives here. I miss you and can’t wait to see your face in person and to hear more adventures. Priest Lake isn’t the same without you. Take care of yourself and remember that I love you bunches. Becci

  • Roberta says:

    Hi Brian, We sure enjoy your experiences in Africa and feel all your joys along with you. You may consider writing as a job in the future–you are really good! We feel so lucky to be born in America and your stories make us realize it all the more. Take care and know you are there with all our best wishes and good thoughts.
    Love, Roberta & Terry

  • Hey Brian, Thanks for the post – great to be able to keep up! We had a long but uneventful trip home – VERY strange in some ways -like traveling smooth roads and drinking cold beer, to be home.
    I miss hangin’ with you – AND I lost your email address – please advise! Take good care. – Peter K.
    p.s. really liked the Rumi poem! -and the photos of you! Best to the Matrons (tell Joyce to look for an email!),Wombogo and the men, the kids, Bethany and Sara -and JOSE!

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