I’m going to buy a few mangos, I told Jim on our walk to the market. Don’t we have enough for the weekend? Jim asked. Ha, you’re funny, starting to blend into the culture. Most folks I know shop for the month, thanks to Costco. At home I go weekly, because we only have a fridge freezer–why fill a large freezer when we’re not staying in the same location often.
When I’ve wanted to give a larger grocery gift here, like a typical week’s grocery purchase, I have realized that it isn’t wanted. Where to put it? Most don’t have freezers and certainly no fridges. People’s pantries are likely not as stocked as ours would be. Folks here plan for what they need today. So my concept of sharing en masse isn’t nearly as clever as I’d hoped.
Despite the food for today mentality, everyone shares abundantly here. The takeaway message I get from coming to Kenya is to share, as excessively as I am able. Share my time, share my money, and share my food. It’s easy to anonymously share money. Not so easy to anonymously share food, but still simple enough to do. Definitely less easy to share my time.
Yes, the romantic notions of Africa are now officially tanked for me. But the awareness that the sharing of my time in a place that is considered developing certainly makes a lot of sense. We wouldn’t have to come. No one is compelling us. Certainly more people wonder why we would do it. Why give up your comforts when there is also need in Canada? Yup, true. But not anywhere near the kind of need here. No, I don’t believe it’s our sole responsibility to share our time, money and food–it’s everyone’s, those with much, and those with less.
Edna and I spent a couple hours sharing recipes back and forth. I got her light and crusty bread loaf recipe. I gave her ideas for sugar coated peanuts, and recently taught her to make cabbage rolls (which I’ve never made before, but incorporates common Kenyan ingredients). I sure wish you could stay longer, then you could teach me to cook, she says. That’s ironic, and hilariously funny to me, as she’s taught me how to make tortillas, use dried beans and lentils, and white chicken chilli.
We all have different things to share. If I never come back to Kenya, I’m going home with a new intention of sharing. To quote Jack Johnson, it’s always more fun to share with everyone!