Hannah in our backyard…
We were graciously invited into Pastor Charles and Jane’s home for lunch today. Pastor Charles is one of six brothers that have lived in this area since his birth. His eight year old grandson, Victor, presently lives with them, tending their two cows after school. Only a ten minute walk down toward the river, we were shown around their farm. They grow maize, and oat grass for the cows. Their two cows produce plenty of milk to sell, and the sheep provide them food. For the first time, we saw an avocado tree and fruiting banana tree, the bananas not on growth hormone, so much smaller.
Each of the children are accustomed now to shaking hands and sharing their names, even Zachawee. We removed our shoes before entering the home, separately washed our hands under Jane’s kettle, and were invited inside a cement and brick home recently built in the last eight months. “Karibu kwa Kenya”…welcome to Kenya! We were heartily served sheep soup, rice, cabbage, chapati (Indian influence strong in the local diet). The girls were delighted to be served chai tea with lots of sugar.
I curiously asked about Jane’s kitchen, somehow expecting to see a similiar westernized kitchen as in my own brick and mortar Kenyan home. Later in the conversation, she invited me to see her kitchen. I followed her down a hallway to the back door, crossed a tiny courtyard to a wooden shanty. Inside smoking heartily was the corner cement stove, a hollowed spot for a cast iron pot and underneath, slender willow-looking sticks ablaze. In another corner were bags of flour, beans, and other supplies.
Outside the shanty she showed me her wash station, for the dishes and laundry. She shared that her other time was spent gardening and looking after her animals. Interesting how her life, though requiring more time for certain activities, so closely resembles my own, caring for children, housekeeping, cooking, and gardening. Worlds apart, but worlds the same.
Earlier in the day, the kids and I read about water purification and water scarcity in Africa, so I was curious about their water cleaning process. They boil the water for half an hour; later, Agnes said the same. We are told here at the hospital compound to fill clear water bottles and leave them in full sun for eight hours. The radiation from the sun, being so close to the equator, as confirmed by a Canadian chemist in Uganda, kills all bacteria. I instinctively default to the boiling method myself, though initially we thought five minutes of boiling was enough: it isn’t!
We had our first swahili class with Agnes. She was amused at my interest I think. But who better to teach us Kaswahili than one who speaks the language. She was impressed with the Rough Guide Phrasebook to Swahili, and gave us a twenty minute introduction. Curious how similiar the months of the year are to Spanish. Interesting too that Edna, another househelper here will be teaching us to make chapati and tortillas! This is not where I thought I might learn to make tortillas!
I took my new language training to the mini-market outside the hospital gates after dinner, and asked Hii ni bei gani? (How much is this?) pointing to the tiny pears. The lady said, five shillings a piece. I was disappointed, not in the price, it’s a reasonable price, but she said it in English. She then asked my name and if my children were cold (the sun was setting, but I told her we were from Canada, where it snows, and +20 is still warm)!