So after another day (yesterday) of feeling like one step forward, 3 steps back I felt like locking myself in my room and just surviving. Just a brief list of the issues: curtain rods falling off the wall, lights burning out everywhere and a trip all around to try to find bulbs to no avail, Anni falling off her bed and bruising her collarbone (we took her to see a friend who is a nurse and she will be fine but it was sad), washing machine busted (yeah, it gave us a glimmer of hope by washing 2 loads and then stopped), skirt ripping all the way up the side to show way more white leg than most around here have ever seen, and in general more of the same, stuff not working and everything taking forever. None of things by themselves is actually worth any fretting (ok, just Anni) but combined with the adjustment and pressure we feel to just “be settled” it was a bit much. Just as I was wishing I had a tub of Edy’s (could we have a moment of silence in honor of Edy’s ice cream? especially the low fat kind that does not taste low fat at all! ……ok, I miss a few foods but that is a place I cannot go now). So, as I was wishing I had a giant tub I could drown my “feel sorry for myself” emotions in there were little knocks at our door. I think I have become known as Mzungu woman who plays with kids around our neighborhood as each day more and more seem to be showing up. They jump the fence and call Anni’s name and mine “mama Anni, Anneeeca?” Although I felt like locking the door and in general hiding under a bush (er banana tree) I decided to check my attitude and try to muster some “I want to be here” energy. Turns out it was one of the funnest afternoons yet. First, I brought out some stackable cups (thanks MOM!) in different colors and a giant bowl filled with water. I think it is a universal truth that kids everywhere LOVE making messes with water. I sat out on our front porch with the kids and watched Anni and the girls laugh and play together. One of the older girls also taught me the Kiswahili words for blue, green, red, yellow, and most of the PG rated body parts. I was eager to write them down and practice and the kids thought this was hilarious, especially when I made up some dances to go along with them. This then led to Anni and I teaching about 6 kids the Hokey Pokey which was so fun. Annikah has had some rough days here but she loves the kids, she rushes to the door when she hears them and wants to pass out candy to “anni rafikis”. After some initial “this is mine” grumblings she has also gotten better about sharing her toys. I cannot help but think how blessed she is seeing everything around her and I am a proud Mama (most days) about how she is handling everything. After most of the kids had to go home around 5pm Anni and I were still waiting for Jason to come home so we invited the Mmlizi’s daughter in for some art projects. I cannot tell you how excited she was when I showed her how the glue worked, how markers colored on the paper, and how to stick stickers.
She was elated and Anni could not stop laughing. The two of them touched my heart as they sat at the table gluing and coloring like mad. It was a precious reminder of a few things. I love to teach and be with kids and I like to watch kids being joyful. Language barriers aside there is so much beauty in smiles and so much medicine in laughter. Another reminder; I need to get over myself; in general, most days. Small annoyances are not what is eternal, not what memories are made of, not worthy of my time and energy. So, here is to choosing coloring over overeating……(of course it was an easy choice given the no Edy’s situation)