Happy Easter to you!!!Pasaka was great here. Exhausting but awesome. It involved some epic all day cooking, about 60 coconut cupcakes given away, too many visits to count, sharing from God’s word about why we celebrate Easter, lots of conversations, the girls getting lots of “wamependezas” thanks to their matching dresses, and lots of sweating. And today we are off to a team celebration which will involved some kiddos hunting eggs 🙂 More later….
I had to record some thoughts about a trip we took this past week to visit friends at their new home. This is a dear friend of ours that got married while we were away. It was so sad that we missed the wedding by just a week since Jason would have been apart of the ceremony but we just had to make time to give them our “Hongera’s” (congrats) and see the home that he has been saving for and working on all year. This friend works construction on our school and we actually met him 6 years ago as he worked as a fundi on the Habitat Houses we built in the village way back when. So Jason and him have become very close and he is amazingly welcoming, caring, helpful, and fun (he ALWAYS answers all questions with a “Safi sana” literally meaning really clean…sorta like slang for awesome and Anni loves to mimic his typical response with gusto). He helped us adjust to life here and learn the language when we first arrived and for that we are forever grateful. So his new home is a bit further than where he lived with his Mom but we set out early in the morning hoping to be back by 2pm. Silly us, you would think that we have lived here long enough to know that planning 2 things back to back hardly ever works out since time is just not scheduled like that here. I think people are just accustomed to waiting and it does not grate at them like it does us Western types. In my observations it involves expectations because if your normal way of being is to believe that waiting is part of life, that patience in everything is required, and that you always value time spent with people over accomplishing tasks then you just flow with it. I must admit some days this is still really hard for me but I am learning to let go of my need to control situations. We picked up our friend and all squeezed into our car so he could direct us to his new place (which was a brilliant decision as we would never have found it through all the winding, muddy, gravel, shamba roads (i use that term loosely)…turn right at the banana plant just is not that helpful for us Wazungus). Once we arrived we greeted his new wife and they produced a mat for us to sit on in the middle courtyard area of their home. His wife also started gathering some food to clean and cook for us. The house will be a good size when it is finished but like many homes here it is “still under construction” meaning in this case there is only one tiny room (a bedroom) that has a roof and is somewhat done. They keep their bed and all their belongings in this small room. The house has no electricity and no running water. Every time we visit I cannot help but think how I would cope living like so many do here. But as I said before they do not have the problems and frustrations we do when the power goes out because they have learned to get along just fine with out it. They told us it was really no big deal when the power was out except that there were some water issues later in the outage. Again, if my life was less complicated maybe I would not get so easily frustrated.
The visit started great but soon the blazing sun beating down on us was taking its toll and Anni started complaining of stomach pains. She was whining and seemed to in general feel pretty bad so we thought maybe we would have to cut the visit short but we prayed for her as leaving early would just not be understood. It was seriously amazing because within 20 minutes Anni went from crying, whining, and laying on their bed to dancing, happy, and enjoying herself…..seriously God rules. He turned a difficult situation into one where we were able to enjoy the time with our friends. Even some rain did not not stop us. We simply all moved into their bedroom and continued talking and hanging out. It was like sitting in a microwave oven with the humidity but we all really enjoyed being with them and sharing time together. Evy was a rockstar as well as she took 2 naps and was a super happy baby despite her ear infection. Sometimes during visits Jason I cannot even look at each other to keep from laughing about some cultural norms we just think are hilarious. For example, when you go to visit many times someone will go out to get what is needed AFTER you arrive. In this case our friend went out on his bike no less than 7 times to get various things for the meal or us. He ran out to either the duka to buy something, his shamba to pick something, or his neighbors to borrow something. Sometimes on his bike and sometimes on foot. We just love this because it illustrates a vast cultural difference. If we were going to run out we would consolidate it into one trip…ie. “what is everything we need today?” and then make one trip out to get all of said needed items. Not so here. Need a hot pepper run out and pick one. Need a cold soda for your guests run out and buy one. Don’t have an opener for aforementioned sodas run to every neighbor until you find one (an hour later so sodas are now warm at best). It just made us laugh. We spent most of the day just sitting in the court yard area readjusting the mat when the sun changed positions to try to hover in what small shade was available, watching her cook (we were repeatedly told we were not allowed to help and just to relax), and chatting. We brought them gifts from our trip home and they were very excited to try out the used camera we gave them. We asked lots of questions about their lives, the past few months, and the culture. We compared stories and discussed school, children, marriage, God, celebrations, and all things of life that day. It was good. Finally the food was ready and we dug in. It was sooo good and worth the wait. Even Anni chowed down and we all especially loved the fresh squeezed juice. After eating, an ndugu (relative) arrived to wash the dishes and they brought out some pillows for us to take a rest on the cement floor. I was so tired it actually felt great and after about another hour of resting (that and waiting for our friend to go out to get coconuts and open each one and then go find a bag to pack them all up for us for a gift) we finally said our goodbyes and headed back home. Somedays the pace of life here drive me nuts but this day it seemed just about right.
Anni tries to rest in the only room with a roof that was similar to a microwave oven
our parting zawadi