Wednesday, September 29, 2010

some singing with sisters

anni singing to evy videos 001.jpgedit
I have been a slacker in posting videos mostly because I have been a slacker in taking videos! Every little thing Anni did I swear I had the camera at the ready. Pole for Evy she is definitely a second born but I did recently make 2 videos...both involving singing...

Almost every time Evy hears music she claps and every night before bedtime Anni chooses a song from repertoire and sings to Evy who responds with the utmost excitement and glee by vigorous feet kicking and hand clapping. It pretty much melts my heart. every time. Here it is ....And that is Miss A burping at the end. So my child.

The second video was made after Miss Annikah announced "Mama we sing a song about my butt at school!" After spitting out a little of my iced coffee I inquired further and realized it was yet again a botched Tanzania version of an English song. This time Skip to My Lou....

*In other unrelated news.....Jason posted some reflections on his time in the shamba and some other exciting happenings here on our family blog. If you need the info for it (or lost it) just email me or J. I also linked to an interesting article today.

Ok...back to the chaos around here..happy chaos to be sure....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

unplanned but fabulous find

On Sunday afternoon we were at the point were NEEDED to get out. You know those days where the kids are beyond antsy and/or crabby (me too!) and you are totally out of creative ideas. Or just too tired to think at all. We decided to break out. The problem is that there only a limited number of things we can do with kids here. And the tide times made our constant fall back: the beach, an impossibility. So we headed out to run a few errands and promised Anni we would also get some "chipis" (fries) on the way back if she was a good girl. Hey, I said it was a bit desperate.

We hit the market to search for a wooden pole we needed to construct a curtain-ish door to keep light from flooding into a certain 9 month old's room and thus hopefully keep her in bed 20 minutes longer in the mornings (I really need those 20 minutes). As we were leaving Jason spotted a kid's play area across from the market. This has been here a while and I had taken Anni once when Jason was in Asia but it looked MUCH better. Like it got a "Pimp my Playground" makeover. Looked like a shipment from China of blow up bouncy things, swings, and even a big airplane with slides (maybe leftovers from Eid- whatever we'll take it! ). We quick made a U-Turn and headed over. 500 shillings (about 30 cents) got Miss Anni in and she was ecstatic! She got her bracket ticket on, frolicked in, and yelled "Thank you God for here!" Anni was wearing her play clothes that were completely covered in dust and dirt from a day of playing outside with Lusi. She totally stood out (not only cuz she was the only Mzungu) but because all the other kids were dressed in their best. Dirty Mzungu kid but hey that is how we roll most days and could not pass up a playground!! We also had a pretty broke down and bootleg but use able stroller we brought off a family leaving the island for 5 bucks. Evy loved being pushed around and watching all the chaos around her. Anni ran from place to place (they even had a little eletric train! We had a blast and we were so thankful for an unplanned but absolutely fabulous family find!!
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 014.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 025.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 032.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 021.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 026.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 043.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 052.jpgedit
zbar life, jamhuri gardens 057.jpgedit
We will be back for sure! Yeah for fun watoto stuff!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

zawadi kwa Annikah

This weekend we had guests come on Saturday. The Mama is the mother in law of Jason's really good friend and they had promised they would come to "give us blessing" by visiting a few weeks back. I made some rice and curry and we all talked and shared and ate together. They also brought a zawadi (gift) for Annikah; a dress sewn out of the fabric we had given them a while back. They insisted we could not pay for it even though we tried and instead said it was a "zawadi kwa Annikah." It was her Eid dress that while did not quite make it in time for Eid was much appreciated by one little girl who has worn it at least part of everyday for the past 3 days.
It is swooshy, blingy, and oh-so-girly and if you ask me: pretty much adorable!
evy taking off diaper, hanging upside down, and anni new dress 005.jpgedit
evy taking off diaper, hanging upside down, and anni new dress 008

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.

I think there are lots of reasons Jesus tells us the importance of doing these things. People in these situations often are marginalized, forgotten, hurting, lonely. They may be in need of reminders they are loved by their Creator. They may have forgotten. I forget too.
Sometimes people are hard to love. We need this command to shake us out of apathy. He knows that we are self obsessed. That we often forgot, overlook, or worse chose to dismiss other's needs. He wanted His followers to know the importance of being servants. Of Loving. He knows that to do these things it means moving from a place of apathy to a place of empathy. He knows that it makes us uncomfortable. That it is often scary, sometimes dangerous, and always stretching. Always requiring more than we have to give. Always needing to draw on His spirit.

But also He wants us to be changed by being obedient. Yesterday I was changed.

A couple days ago a good friend, neighbor, and Mama of 4 of the watoto at shule told me about a relative of hers that was in the local government hospital. Her name is Fatma and she has been sick with serious stomach issues for over 6 months. And about a month ago she stopped being able to eat or use the bathroom on her own because she is so weak. That is really all I knew about her. I said that the next time my friend went to visit (as she does often) I could come along to greet Fatma. Visiting people here is so important and people make it a priority and although I do not know Fatma personally my friend was very happy for me to come along and also to pray. The next morning my friend came back and asked me if I could go during visiting hours that day. After a little kid shuffling and rearranging with Jason who had interviews at our vocational school that afternoon I agreed and we planned to leave at around 4pm. Right as we were leaving another little girl in the neighborhood was attacked by a dog and had a pretty nasty wound on her leg so she joined us to get treatment at the hospital since we were going there anyway and they were about to get on a dala dala.

We arrived, parked the car, and started searching through the hospital to find Fatma. After climbing 4 or 5 flights of stairs and searching through 3 different rooms lined with small iron framed beds full of patients we finally found her. I was not prepared for this. At all.
Fatma lay in a small little ball under a kanga and some sheets. She was asleep even though the room was bustling with noise, visitors, family members, and patients. She is only 35 years old but looked closer to 60 because of the obvious toll her sickness had taken on her body. She probably weighed about 65 pounds, her cheeks and eyes were sunken, her skin was dry, and she was so weak she was unable to even sit up. I met some friends and family members also there to visit and they quickly shoved her medical records they retrieved from under the thin mattress into my arms and asked me to look through it and tell them what was wrong with her.

To say I was overwhelmed does not come close. My first thought was ukimwi (AIDS) but looking through her records there seemed to be no reports of that. Not that that indicates anything as the records were in a folder stuffed with scraps of paper, files, some ultrasound pictures dated months ago, some hand written blood test results I could not decipher, a medical history that included four miscarriage with massive loss of blood, and day after day of entries that read "malaise, stomach pain" with no treatment described. She was on fluids but they explained that often the doctors do not come back until the next day to change the bag. She also had a catheter and a bag for urine that hung off her bed and sat in a local bag woven from banana leaves. They said that was placed about 2 weeks ago but has never been changed since then and there was only about an once of urine collected. Her son arrived to visit and he told us they have been pouring some chai made from cinnamon leaves and some other local plants in her mouth everyday to try to get her to drink. They were doing all they could think to do. The room was lined with about 30 beds each holding a woman receiving treatment. The woman in the bed next to us was groaning and writhing in pain and they explained she had surgery the day before but was obviously in need of pain meds. They also explained that the doctors had told them Fatma needed surgery but since they were unable to pay a bribe that she has not been treated (or at least that is what they think is the reason). I just wanted to call in a medi-vac flight and get her out of there. Take her away and find out how to "fix everything." But the problem was there was rooms and rooms full of people that would all need help. The sheer volume of the problem was too much for my small brain, my experience, my worldview to take in. And I could not do enough. I could not begin to touch the need in and of myself. The hum of noise and activity made it difficult for me to understand or hear everything as did the growing sense in me that this was hopeless.
It was intense.
I had to constantly take breaks from our discussion to look up at the cracked and peeling ceiling to avoid completely breaking down and sobbing. I have been to the hospital before but mostly to take someone who needed a minor treatment, to visit a friend who had a baby, or to pick up or drop off people. This was a new experience for me. All at once I was filled with this profound sadness that people around me were suffering, this vivid anger that people are cast aside like this, and at the same time this immense gratefulness that I was well and that I was there and able to visit and try in my broken Kiswahili express my sympathy and the hope I have in Jesus. We stayed and talked for about an hour. Just visiting. Laughing (mostly at my Mzungu self) between moments of silence and sadness. Before visiting hours were over I asked for permission to pray for Fatma. I explained I have no authority but that in the name of Isa (Jesus) there is tremendous power and hope. And that He made Fatma. He loves her. He knows her pain. They agreed right away and quickly ushered me next to her. I knelt down beside her bed and put my hand on her small bony hand. She did not respond or move and probably did not know I was there but I prayed. I asked God to be there with her, to help her, to reveal His power. I was so emotionally a wreck that I know my Kiswahili was terrible and my heart was beating out of my chest but I still sensed a bizarre peace. Even amidst this difficult situation. I prayed silently that God would multiply this tiny effort like he did with loaves and fish. And I confessed that I have faith but desperately needed help with my unbelief.

We promised to come back and visit next week and a female friend of hers hugged me before I left and thanked me for coming. We started back down some the stairs and tears flooded in my eyes. I felt dizzy and sick and close to losing it. I just wanted to run away to were it was "safe," to where I could find refuge from all I saw. But we still had to check on the neighbor girl that was bitten by a dog so we headed over to the in patient area. The waiting room was packed full and there seemed to be no line or order to who was being seen in what order (at least to me). A man holding a small baby who was sweating and listless stood across from me, a women was escorted in and had bamboo poles she was using as crutches, and about 30 other people were sitting and waiting. We finally got into what I would call the "triage" area but before seeing the doctor we had to pay him (even though this is supposed to be a free government hospital). I was unsure of exactly what was happening but I slipped a small amount to my friend to help cover the cost of the injection the girl needed. At least I could do something small. When we entered the triage room there was a woman of maybe 20 who was wrapped in kangas covered in blood from her stomach to her knees. She was in obvious agony and after asking what had happened to her (no patient confidentiality here) my friend explained that she had a baby 4 days ago but has not stopped bleeding. I was dumbfounded. Silent. And for me that is something. Quiet prayers in my head was all I could muster.

I had a real sense that this is reality. This is the stuff of our humanity. Our broken world. Human suffering and pain. I have been removed from suffering like this. On this scale. And thus I had no way of understanding what was happening around me. No place to file these experiences. No way to make sense of everything.

We got the needed meds and headed home as it was nearing dark. As we pulled into our house we were greeted by Annikah and 5 of the watoto from shule. The kids were carrying Anni around on their backs and taking turns riding her scooter in the driveway. It was vibrant, joyful, laughing: Life. Such an amazing contrast to the sickness and death we had just left. We said our goodbyes and I told my friend I would go again if she wanted me to join her next time she visits Fatma. Even as I said this I knew although I really did not ever "want" to go there I needed to. That it was important. My friend collected her kids and headed home.

I headed inside and sat down and cried. Hard. All the emotions that I had managed to somewhat keep inside over the last few hours came spilling out. Even though Jason had already put Evy down for bed I went into our room and picked her up and squeezed chubby little body and felt her warmth and thanked God for her life. For my family. For our health. For our hope and for His Goodness even when I struggle to see it. I know a little more of why Jesus commanded us to visit the sick. It is not just for them. It is to change us too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

conversations with God

zbar life, jamhuri gardens 069.jpgedit
Annikah feels God's presence. She always asks us to pray when she gets hurt or is scared. She prays for her little friends when they get hurt or have a problem. She gives Him credit often and remembers to give thanks. I want to be like Annikah more. To have Faith that He heals, protects, guards, listens, acts, provides, and is Real. I know all this in my head but somedays the transfer to my heart is where I get stuck.
In Dar she saw a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross and she said "oh, so sorry Jesus for the nails." She had no idea I was standing there in the room.
It was like her own little conversation with God. And it made my heart smile.

And last week she said...
"Papa, I made this picture for God because He made the whole the world!"
pic for God.jpegedit
We told Anni we thought He would be smiling too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

catching up

This week has been *a little* NUTZ! We are back from a short trip to Dar and by short I mean we were on the ground just over 24 hours trying to solve a passport/visa issue that has cropped up. Not a big deal but here anything can turn into a "situation" worthy of many pole sanas so we acted fast so I could have it before I begin teaching English in a couple weeks. I needed pages added to my passport because the officials here granted me my visa to teach but said they did not think there were enough pages to stamp my passport (even though there were 2 pages left and we did not want to pay to add more since it will expire next year anyway). Even after Jason tried to ensure them by showing them there were indeed enough they could not be convinced so off we went to Dar to add the needed pages so we can follow the rules kabisa and get Evy's last immunization before she turns one year. The miracle of the trip is that I DID NOT puke on the boat. Thanks to copious amounts of Sea Legs (a less than stellar knock off of Dramamine) swallowed on both trips. This was a first folks.. although I was very near being sick on the first ride (especially after Jason reached into his seat to grab a sick bag only to find it full of some one's else's vomit). For real, does it get grosser than that?

On our last trip we tried to hit the embassy but after getting the run around, being told the wrong hours of operation, and missing the time by about 4 minutes we planned accordingly and again called ahead. We showed up right when they promised they opened and waited. And waited. More waiting only to discover not a soul was there. They were in some meeting and would not be able to see us before our doctor appointment later so we left. The only highlight was getting to see if the rumors were true about the embassy (we have heard tales of alleged Starbucks coffee, American outlets, and even food for sale). Unfortunately the only highlight was American outlets, some nice furniture, and even a changing station in the bathroom (first one I have ever seen here). Besides the furniture all the inefficiency has been transported here and magnified. All the coffee and food rumors are lies I tell you!! You heard it here first; No food just government workers who may or may not be there to help you.

We returned to the embassy after Evy's appointment and a quick check for Miss Anni to make sure she is over her worm ordeal. It was most indubitable that I would be waiting all day so Jason stayed in the car and tried to coax Evy to take a much needed nap and convince Anni to rest by promising bribes of fruits snacks if she complied. Luckily we just missed a huge group of people and I only waited about 20 minutes! I was promised my passport would be ready the next morning and headed out.

With all that extra time in the afternoon we decided to check in with the social worker in Dar that is handling our adoption. It is always hard to know how to balance the not wanting to irritate her (since she can make our lives really difficult) but also showing up enough to convince her to get our case moving. With no nap for Evy (unless you count 10 minutes in a stifling hot car) we prayed it would go well. Anni was her charming self and earned us many points by singing in Kiswahili and greeting everyone. And after a bit of encouragement our social worker looked up all our info and we were overjoyed to learn that our case has now been sent to the International Social Services where the organization in the US will contact all our over seas references(get ready y'all). Every step we are getting closer....Yeah! Mtoto number 3....we cannot wait to meet you! It is amazing to know there is a child out there that will become part of our family!!

The next morning Anni and I headed out in a Tuk-Tuk (a small taxi/glorified motorcycle with a bench in the back). Anni always sees them zipping around in Dar and every time we are there begs to go in one (she forgot the only other time she was in one in Kenya way back when) so I decided we would make the trip to the embassy a bit of a Mama-Big Girl adventure and left Evy back at the guest house to take a much needed nap with Jason. In the crazy traffic taking a Tuk-Tuk was a wise choice since we got there way faster than if we had driven. After arriving at the embassy and going through security (a bit epic after the bombing- understandably) we walked to the waiting room and saw about 40 people standing and sitting everywhere. I prepared myself for what might be an all day deal to retrieve my passport. But in an amazing and unpredictable and never before seen bureaucratic miracle the security guard; who was an older gentlemen who had tried to help us the day before, saw us enter and escorted us promptly to the front of the line and allowed us to enter the small waiting room reserved only for the chosen few who might actually get something accomplished. It was awesome and I completely credit God and Anni for being so sweet and respectfully greeting him the day before (who can resist a Mzungu kid with awesome Kiswahili, really?). Within 10 minutes (and almost 100 bucks lighter-geesh!) we had my passport and were on our way. We Tuk-Tuk-ed it back after hitting one grocery store to stock up on cereal and broccoli and made it back just in time to load the car and hightail it over to the port to make the noon ferry back to our island.

I managed to only take about 4 pictures which for me really means we were non stop. But here are 2 of our trip...
dar 014.jpgedit
Evy enjoys the sea air on the boat (much more than her Mama I might add)
dar 009.jpgedit
Anni and I on our Tuk-Tuk ride

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

go fly a kite!

This week at Anni's school we made kites!! I thought of the idea when Jason accidentally bought the wrong size paper bags a while back in town. They were just sitting in my bin-o-craftiness waiting for a project. And after some careful tying of ribbon (cheaper than the string or rope I found in town) they fly pretty well as kites and thus the craft for this week was born. Add some markers, stickers, glue, and crepe paper left over from Anni's party and we flew kites! The fun part was teaching them what kites were. I guess they had learned "k is for Kite" but although they had all rote memorized that they had never seen a kite. I made it my personal goal to make sure they all knew how fabulous kites are! I read a story about a kite and then we decorated our bags and then I showed them the clip from Mary Poppins where they sing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" on my laptop. They loved it even though I could not properly translate 'atmosphere' or 'soaring' they got the basic jest. After singing the song and finishing tying all the ribbon there was only one thing left to do.....
lusi adn anni wash, kites at eden 016.jpgedit
lusi adn anni wash, kites at eden 021.jpgedit
if you try these at home reinforce the place you hole punch to tie the string or ribbon with masking tape to ensure kids can run and yank without ripping the bag...
lusi adn anni wash, kites at eden 028.jpgedit
lusi adn anni wash, kites at eden 026.jpgedit
today was a good reminder for me that flying a kite is the stuff of childhood....and it rules!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

repeat trip but with new friends

cinn rolls, prison island 015.jpgedit
remember this place? We know it well but have not made the rickety little boat ride back to this island since Evy was born. We figured we would rope some team mates (including 2 Germans guys that just arrived and are here for a year to help with our school) and those "other Wazungus" here for language learning in to join us for a Saturday island getaway. Great idea...if I must say so :) and well needed beach-day-sloth-fest after the craziness of Eid.
cinn rolls, prison island 004.jpgedit
Evy's first trip on the small wooden boats
cinn rolls, prison island 016.jpgedit
cinn rolls, prison island 029.jpgedit
since last time we were here they had a group come in and paint the estimated age of each turtle on the top of their shells- one was 185 years old!!
cinn rolls, prison island 038.jpgedit
Evy checks them out....
cinn rolls, prison island 045.jpgedit
and decides she loves them!
cinn rolls, prison island 057.jpgedit
exploring the beach with friends...
cinn rolls, prison island 074.jpgedit
cinn rolls, prison island 072.jpgedit
after lunch nap
cinn rolls, prison island 089.jpgedit
cinn rolls, prison island 076.jpgedit
Bene & Daniel clean a squid our team leader caught
cinn rolls, prison island 078.jpgedit
J's snorkeling trip was well worth it....check out what he dove down and got!
cinn rolls, prison island 079.jpgedit
Pretty amazing shell, right?
cinn rolls, prison island 085.jpgedit
the ladies
cinn rolls, prison island 050.jpgedit
our fam on a small sandbank with the main town in the background...
........Ah, the beach....

Friday, September 17, 2010

siku 3

sikukuu day 2-3 006.jpgedit
The last of our siku kuu celebrations took us to a small village right on the ocean for some more "kutembea" (literally to walk or visit and means both...sorta just hanging out without much agenda). For us list making, anal -Western types takes some getting used to :) I was invited by a neighbor who stayed there the entire Ramadan and then wanted us to come for siku kuu to meet her family out there. We drove out 1 hour trip with another girlfriend of mine as she knew the way and her son had stayed out their too with his grandmother so she was eager to pick him up. Jason did not know them well but said he would join us to meet the men of the village and to help in driving since it is hard for me to drive and handle both kids all day myself in a local house. I have done it but not so easy and depending on the day can be too much. As soon as we stepped out of the car we realized just how close to the beach we were as the ocean breeze was amazing! No sweating all day for us Wazungus!! Now that is sikuu kuu njema sana!
sikukuu day 2-3 005.jpgedit
Evy and her new friend (she got glammed up again but I received some "talking to" about my lack of black eyeliner...will I ever learn?)
sikukuu day 2-3 018.jpgedit
After settling in and meeting everyone I asked if we could head to the beach to walk and see how beautiful it was. We saw lots of locals fishing, digging for clams, and many women and children farming seaweed. They set up sticks and rope to allow the seaweed to grow and then based on the tide times go out to collect it and carry it in well worn rice bags to market on their heads. An entire rice bag full of it goes for about 300 shillings (less than 20 cents). They explained that the seaweed is used for making toothpaste and other products. As we talked with the children and women I just could not imagine how hard they work for so little money. How much time and energy is spent earning just enough money to trade or buy veggies to cook for today. Always humbling to realize just how wealthy I am and how often I take it for granted. That I do not have to do manual labor all day to feed my family. I said quiet prayers that I would always live in the light of the gratefulness I felt at that moment and that He would provide for these families and their needs. Makes a lot of what I complain about seem trivial.
sikukuu day 2-3 026.jpgedit
no swimsuit did not stop Anni from getting in the ocean...our hosts just gave her a kanga and off she went!
sikukuu day 2-3 021.jpgedit
sikukuu day 2-3 015.jpgedit
On our beach walk Anni played in the sand and searched for shells while I walked and talked with my friends until Evy fell asleep on my back. Later we returned to the house and we served food yet again. It was rice, a really yummy mchuzi (curry), and fresh juice. The older woman of the house told me to "ongeza chakula" (increase your food) because she said I was getting too thin. Now,I know this is definitely NOT true and my baby chunk I am trying to work off is a constant reminder (as well as a pair of pre-baby pants I tried on last week that still do not button) that I could lose a few but I gotta say again I love a culture where there is genuine worry when you seem to be losing any weight. For a girl who has struggled with body image issues her whole life; good. Really good. And since the food was yummy I did ongeza my food until we were properly stuffed:) Kangas are pretty forgiving anyhow.....

We sat and talked while Anni and some of the other children ran inside and outside building a sand house and eating Siku kuu treats and candy. As we were relaxing on the floor my girlfriend shared that she wanted to tell me about this numbness she has been experiencing in her feet and legs. I listened and asked questions when new words prevented me from grasping everything. She shared about this problem that has been plaguing her; that she has lost feeling, had several treatments and tried medicine but that she is unsure what will happen next. She told me she is afraid she will lose use of her legs completely and become paralyzed. She is only in her mid 20's with a 2 year old child and I just thought about how scary this must be for her. We discussed what the doctors recommended and what she can do from here and after discussing her options and offering to help in any way I could. She then said 'but what if nothing helps?' I felt immediately that I should pray for her healing and ask that God would help her, hear her prayer, and touch her body. I asked her if that was ok and she said that she wanted me to. In that moment I touched her feet and in my best stumbling Kiswahili prayed that the God who created and loves her would be with her and heal her. It was an amazing experience to be a part of that moment. And humbling. No matter who were are, no matter where we live, what culture we come from there is something that calls us all to know that our Creator is powerful. That to fear and love Him is where we need to be. That we can call on Him in our abundance, our weakness, and even our doubt. That when we feel that maybe nothing else "will work" that is when He can show us more. I was profoundly thankful she allowed me to share in her trouble, her worries, her vulnerability, and to pray for her. And I sense God will work. Not on my terms but on His. And I know it is all about Him. Not Me. And that brings me Peace and Freedom.
sikukuu day 2-3 025.jpgedit
sikukuu day 2-3 027.jpgedit is what is for dinner....

After some more relaxing, visiting, and seeing the octopus catch they were preparing for dinner (thank goodness we left before dinner as octopus is NOT a favorite of mine although Anni likes it) we packed up and drove the 2 women back to town with us. After arriving home safely we were all pretty exhausted but very thankful we had gone. I had a real sense He spoke in that still soft voice in the ocean breeze today.
sikukuu day 2-3 029.jpgedit

Thursday, September 16, 2010

siku 2

On the second day of siku kuu we headed out to visit our friends and their baby at their home in a village about 30 minutes from us. These friends are dear to us. It just feels like God has blessed us so with their friendship. We knew the man from 7 years ago when we built homes here for Habitat for Humanity and by an awesome miracle were able to catch back up when we moved here. He helped teach Jason Kiswahili, they study and talk together almost every week, and he has helped build our school as he is a skilled fundi. He got married and had his baby boy we have been a part of seeing their family grow and change. Their home is still in the process of being built but they always insist that they have us around for meals whenever there is an important holiday. Many people start building a home when they have some money but as often happens the building is delayed until they are able to get more funds. They still only have one room finished but since our last visit they added a small covering for the area where they cook and have made some progress on the bathroom as well. As soon as we arrived we were served hot chai and keki outside on the mat and then were asked what we wanted to eat (they said guest decide and they would cook what we wanted even though we said whatever they served was fabulous). After we all decided on pilau (spiced rice that his wife really cooks amazingly yummy) the men folk were off to buy ingredients while us women folk tended the watoto and got ready to cook. The first couple times we visited they would not allow me to help but this time she handed me a kanga (to wear to protect my an aside I seriously do not know how women in the Western world survive without kangas...they are amazingly helpful! For example, Evy had a poop blowout on the drive over and ta-da- kanga to the rescue, they serve as towels, skirts, head coverings, baby slings, aprons, and the list could go on...i digress...). I was able to help as much as the kids would allow this visit. Despite the insane heat, lack of shade to be had, and opening a bottle of fermented hot sauce only to have the lid pop off and spray hot sauce ALL OVER MY FACE I really enjoyed cooking together (ok, the hot sauce part pretty much sucked especially with no running water). While we cooked Anni played with some watoto from the neighborhood who wandered over and Jason and his friend chatted. Evy was having some major teething issues and was pretty crabby. When a baby is crying here it is the responsibility of everyone in the vicinity to help:) and I so appreciate the community (although I swear my children DO NOT cry because they are not wearing socks but I have given up trying to make locals believe this :) After a bath in a washing basin to cool her down she finally fell asleep. We were there all day. Eating, visiting, talking, kid wrangling, and sharing.

Siku Kuu day 2 well spent if you ask me.
sikukuu 059.jpgedit
sikukuu 064.jpgedit
one of my jobs was to peel the heleke (cardamom) and smash it to bits in this coconut shell
sikukuu 067.jpgedit
the women folk get their cooking on....
sikukuu 071.jpgedit
Evy and Muddi (their baby's nickname) sleeping (ok, well he was sleeping Evy was more pulling his arms and fussing)
sikukuu 078.jpgedit
finally asleep...and again kanga to the rescue!
sikukuu 072.jpgedit
how sweet is he?
sikukuu 084.jpgedit
their family dressed in their siku kuu best and I just noticed the pili pili (hot pepper) bottle that caused all the trouble in the background :) nice.