We were so excited to finally arrive to our destination after over a month of training and traveling. As we were flying we checked our passports and realized it is almost exactly 4 years after we had come here for the first time (3 years and 364 days to be exact). It was steamy, hot, and sunny as we waited for our luggage at the airport, just as we remembered it.
Last night was the first night of our 2 week home stay with a local family. We arrived around 7pm and had dinner of chapatis, stew, fish, and fruit (plus a few other things we could not pronounce and did not recognize). After dinner we were all exhausted and knew we needed to unpack a bit and get Annikah’s things set up as much as possible. We wrestled through our stuff to try to set up Annikah’s pack and play, misquote nets, and find something that would serve as PJ’s. In the process of trying to get her ready we just decided we should crash as well as it was about 9pm and we had all been up since 4:30am. Annikah refused to sleep in her pack and play (it is a lot easier to ignore a screaming toddler when you are happily 3 doors down a hallway watching an episode of 24 AND not in a house full of people you just met). Since we were about 4 inches from her irrationally loud protests we gave in to her requests to “night night here” with us. There we were, 3 of us desperately trying to fall asleep in a new place, a tight space, fighting with a misquote net that barely covered us. As you can probably tell all did not end well. We got maybe 1 hour of sleep and that is actually generous. In addition to the aforementioned barriers to us sleeping we were also incredibly hot in the small room. The worst by far was the kuku and jugo situation as I like to call it (chicken and rooster). The family we are staying with owns at least 30 of them and the wonder around the outside of the house at their leisure. Parents of the world please do one thing for me: no longer propagate the outright lie that roosters only crow in the morning. All children’s books must be in on this terrible deception of kids everywhere, especially us city folk who do not know better. They actually cluck and crow and cock-a-doodle-makes-you-want to-scream all the LIVE LONG NIGHT! It was horrible and at one point I looked over at Jason who was equally distressed about not getting any sleep to see him quietly (so not to wake up Miss A) lift his hands high above his head and make a ringing their lil’ necks motion which was enough to turn my near tears to giggles. As if the farm yard concert was not enough there was also sweeping outside our window starting at around 4am, it sounded as if they hooked up some sort of amplified sound system to the broom and apparently the plot of dirt right outside our window requires at least 30 minutes of sweeping back and forth. Then, just in case it was at all possible to sleep there was the blaringly loud and piercing call to prayer at just before 5am. Annikah awoke to the sound of a growing chorus of kukus and jugos. She sat straight up and yelled with glee “kukus mama, kukus.” Yeah, Annikah, I know. She insisted that we get up at that moment and rush out to see said kukus that were making all the ruckus.
Around 6:45 am at Annikah’s request (and it was time we faced facts that we were not going back to sleep) we got up, gathered some appropriate clothes, and tried to find our shoes that had been moved we braved the day to allow Miss A to see her beloved kukus.
Almost as soon as we were outside our room the M’zee (respected older man of the house) asked in Kswahili “how did you sleep?” We responded with an outright lie of “mzuri” (good), I mean what else could we say? We took Anni out to see the kukus and jugos that she so desperately wanted to gaze upon. As I looked at these chickens wondering around, well rested, and seemingly having no worries (ok maybe a few as they could be dinner any given night) I could not help but wish ill upon them for their blasted screaming throughout the entire night. Instead of thinking wonderful things like “what an amazing opportunity this is to see cultural differences” I kept thinking “if I brought a gun you all would be dinner.”