How do you say Part II in Swahili?
So I got eight hours of zzzzz’s the first night in Africa (sleep meds were my friend), and it was a new day on the continent. I woke up on Sunday and fell in love. Hard. With. Segera. And. Its. People.
We stayed in a hotel in Nanyuki, a 45-minute bus ride from the community we served. We drove in and out every day in open-air buses and just feasted on the raw, unmanipulated beauty of Creation: zebras, camels, cattle, goats, impalas, gazelles, monkeys, and the daily lion sighting (which was usually not a lion at all – though we did see about five over the course of the whole trip) set in the never-ending bush with massive Mount Kenya monopolizing the horizon.
I am not outdoors girl, by any stretch, but I have peeked through the blinds a couple of mornings this week to check out His brushstrokes at dawn. And I’ve been hungry just to be outside, not wanting to miss His presence in what I would usually deem “ordinary.” He is crazy creative and imaginative.
We attended church services (at Faith Chapel and an open-air service in a small village).
During the open air event in the village of San Maria, I amassed a group of little people. They were quiet and respectful during the service, but as we made eye contact they would make their way over to stand with me, to hold my hand or arm. I so vividly remember the feel of having my arms around the five of them, their little bodies warm against my legs, as a cool wind blew and songs of praise were belted out. One of many fave memories.
After the service, I was swept into the mix of many of the tribal ladies of the village who did not speak English. They wanted their pictures taken (they all loved seeing themselves in the display screens of our digital cameras) and then they wanted me in the pictures. After a few photos, one of the ladies grabbed my hand and began to lead me away from the group – away from our group as well. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive, but I followed.
She led me into her hut, and that was the most afraid I was during the whole trip. Because it was pitch black dark inside. I had to lean over to enter, and I could not see anything. I was alone and we could not understand each other. There were other people inside – which made me more uncomfortable but I quickly determined they were children. The smell was the thick, heavy smell of a fire, and I wondered if I might step in it. My hostess was so gracious and sweet and realized my fumbling. She rattled off something in her native tongue and a small child scampered to pull what looked like a feed sack out of a hole in the wall to allow sunshine to pour in. She wanted me to be her guest; she wanted to show me her home.
In their culture, the women construct the homes out of sticks, mud, and animal waste. They walk great distances to collect wood, and it takes about a month to build. A hut may last about a year and a half before it will begin to collapse in on itself. As you can imagine, when it rains outside; it also rains inside.
After some time with Jennifer (it tripped me out that many of them have such common English names – but Kenya was a British colony which is why most Kenyans speak English in addition to Swahili), another guy from our team and a local guy entered the hut. The local fella began to translate for us, and Jennifer wanted us to ask questions about her home, to take pictures of her home, and to show us different items in her home. Communication was quite awkward, but she was so proud to have us. In fact, she had us taking picture after picture with various household objects as we began to hear the team calling all back to the bus. Pictures with the milk gourd. Pictures with the beaded stick. Me with the milk gourd. Mike with the milk gourd. Jennifer and Mike with the milk gourd. You get the idea. It was way cute and funny and strange in the end.
A day of worship on the far side of the world. Definitely something to write home about… Thank you for indulging me, and Tuoanane kesho (See ya tomorrow in Swahili)…