July 24, 2017
I don’t think one day so far in my month-and-a-half stay has turned out just the way it had looked through the morning light. Days at home aren’t like that. Because this is Monday, cook’s day off at the rectory, he doesn’t bring my paper. I must walk down to the gate, which is all of about 4 minutes (if I’m slow) to pick it. Actually if I could go in my pj’s I’d be fine with that but I fear I’d scandalize the community, so must dress. For me the height of luxury and self-indulgence is to spend at least an hour doing the Sudoku and the X-word over a leisurely breakfast, then get dressed (or not) and face the day. So today I had to throw on the jeans and a shirt. Not a big deal in the long run. But as I walked down, I saw Lucy, looking quit miserable. “Lucy are you OK?” “I’m fine.” “Are you sure?” Then the story came out. She’d been thrown from a piki piki 2 days ago and wrenched her back, was scraped up a bit and possibly had a damaged toe. Lucy hasn’t lived at Mji for some 5 or 6 years and you may well remember that just last year she had a real break-through in understanding the many mistakes she has made. At 22 or so she has 3 children and no source of income. Empower the World has now taken her back to salon training, which she had left because she had no one to care for her children when they were sick. I brought her to my house, asked her some questions, fed her some breakfast, gave her Ibuprophen and put her to bed with my hot water bottle. I called Joyce, who is our medical counselor, who advised taking her to the district hospital right across the road.
While all of that is going on, Ruth is trying to get my attention about a letter she needs to write and could I help her? (Can you put it on my table?) I’d asked Hillary to come at 10 so we could do some things Fr. Kiriti had requested. I haven’t brushed my teeth, washed my face, combed my hair—-nada. Hillary arrives and walks Lucy to the hospital, I get my 2 days of dirty dishes washed, read Ruth’s letter, wash, brush and comb. Take a deep breath. Oh yeah, have to finish packing to be ready when Fr. Kiriti arrives to take me to Nakuru to visit my dear friend, Lydia Venter.
By the time Hillary returns I’m done and ready to work on our job. Lucy comes back and seems to be a bit better, either from the Ibuprophen or the hot water bottle or perhaps that and the TLC. We refill water bottle, Lucy leaves, Hillary and I get our job done and it occurs to me that it’s lunch time. “Are hungry?” Hesitantly, “Well, yes.” Have you ever eaten a grilled cheese sandwich?” “No.” “Everybody loves grilled cheese sandwiches.” Hillary watches as I slice the cheddar, butter the bread on the outside and plop it into the hot frying pan, where the bread toasts crisply and the cheese melts. Just then Mungai walks in, smells the sandwich and sits down. Now I have 2 more people for whom a grilled cheese sandwich is a favorite!
Fr. Kiriti arrived to have lunch and time to tak, then drive me to Nakuru. I had come with my laundry list of things to discuss and he had his things to tell too. It’s the first time we’ve had to really talk since I came and all through lunch and the ride to Nakuru more things kept bubbling up.
I was on my way to visit one of my favorite families, the Venters, who are a South African couple with 7 adopted mixed-race children. Actually the oldest aren’t children any more. Only the 2 youngest are still at home. I met them years ago when I admired some earrings on display in the salon where I have my hair cut (and will do so again on Wednesday). You may remember the story of the taka taka earrings, made from flattened bottle caps and other bits of detritus. Lydia is incredibly creative and is at her best with found items of little or no value. She turns everything into art pieces, which I wish I could bring back.
Maki, the eldest lived in South Africa for 3 or 4 years, but has come back to live nearby with her brother, Stephanus (#3). Maki has learned to make soaps and is getting quite a bit of business.
From left hibiscus soap, lemon grass, ACH can’t remember the kind that looks like cheddar cheese (it’s not) The pieces in the pink mold are still curing, a process that takes about 1 week if she does the hot method or 6 weeks if she uses the cold method.
I showered with her charcoal soap this morning and found it quite nice. Lydia tells me charcoal has a lot of healing qualities. What I noticed is that it lathered nicely, was quite hard (so would last long) and didn’t leave my skin gray, as one might imagine. I was hoping to get some to bring back, but evidently she had a big order and has none on hand.
Joy, #2, has gone to South Africa for a time, where she is learning even more about baking. She had opened Joy’s Delights to sell her wonderful cakes, donuts and sweet breads here in Nakuru. However, since she is a South African, she was not allowed to run a business so had to close. Lydia and Wilco are missionaries and have finally been able to register their foundation here in Kenya, so Joy will be able to run her bakery under the foundation, as part of her profits go to support the schools the foundation runs. The next 2 children are in boarding schools, so I’ve not seen them, while Timothy (14) and TD (9) are home schooled. It’s the most loving family and a joy to be with. Only downside is that Wilco, being also South African, so unable to work in Kenya, spends 3 of every 4 weeks in SA so he can support his large family.
I spent 3 days with them, although I think it was a bit hard for Lydia. Her life is always busy and hectic, particularly when Wilco is not there. She has a volunteer, Rose, from Holland, whom she has to juggle, along with the children and me.
More on the visit in the next post. Here we are at dinner the first night I was there.
Rose, Teday (9), Lydia, Stephanus (19) and Timothy (14).