Friday, July 15, 2011
# 15 Adventures in Nakuru
Hard to believe I’ve been here almost 4weeks. Already I’m having separation anxiety for my Sept 5 departure back to Menlo Park. But 4 weeks is the longest I can go w/o a haircut, which means a trip to Nakuru (100 KM) to my friend Shamin, who has been cutting my hair here since 2006. Trained in London, she knows how to cut mzungu hair and I am so grateful to have found her. We greeted with a big hug and each agreed the other looked just the same—certainly true in her case.
The reason I couldn’t continue to look frowsy is that I was to have lunch with the bishop, who was returning my hospitality. You can be sure I took my camera, as I suspect there are those who wonder whether I’ve made up the whole story.
Fearing that the traffic would be bad, Fr K and I had arrived early. We stopped at a supermarket where I was able to find oregano—totally necessary for spaghetti sauce, which I will make Monday night (cook’s night out) for Fr Kiriti, Fr Kinuthia and Sr Cecilia, a very congenial trio. After the haircut we still had time for tea and a chat in a nearby restaurant. Even at that we arrived at his lovely but not ostentatious residence 15 minutes early. Fr Kiriti hates to be late. He is one who does not operate on African time!
We were greeted by Bishop Maurice Makumba, himself, in full regalia. Later I teased Fr Kiriti that he must be very confident to arrive in a casual shirt, no clerical collar in sight. But the bishop is very relaxed and easy to be with, has a hearty laugh and likes a joke. He had promised to help me organize a graphing
calculator workshop in the Nakuru area, so I wanted to nail that down. We had a lovely, unhurried lunch of very tasty chicken, cabbage and tomatoes, potatoes, and chapattis (something like Indian nan, but perhaps a bit thicker). We shared stories and laughs and I think I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t have, which was my worry. I do have a tendency to blurt out something inappropriate when under stress.
It wasn’t exactly tea with the queen, but close to it! I felt very honored and humbled, as well as amazed to have been invited.
Afterwards we went off to visit one of my favorite people, Sr Magdalene, principal of Bahati Girls, one of the top high schools in the country. She was in a meeting at the Pastoral center on how to treat employees and make them feel respected and appreciated. However she left the meeting to greet us. She and Fr Kiriti are old, old friends she and I go back to 2005 when we met and immediately became best buds. She is a wonderful mix of strength and determination with an easy manner and hearty laugh.
After a happy greeting and chit chat, I asked her whether she had seen SFG yet. “Only from the road.” “You’d better come soon, we intend to become your rivals for top performance.” You may recall that the pioneer class of SFG was 2nd only the Naivasha Girls in this district of 25 high schools. We think we have a chance to be #1 in the district, but beating Bahati Girls (in a different district) is a real challenge. They get the cream of the crop. She, too is interested in the workshop. She promised to visit me after school closes in August.
We didn’t want to take her from her meeting for too long and we still had some time, so we stopped on the way back at a very interesting exhibit of a dig by Louis Leaky, not far from where he found the first bones, some 300 million years old. This site had yielded many very early stone tools, hammering tools, obsidian cutters (very sharp) pounders (perfectly round) and others. We were the only clients for our very knowledgeable guide, shown here explaining the formation of the rock striations to Fr Kiriti.
It was a lovely day all around and I was sorry when we returned, as Fr Kiriti and I have not had much time before today to catch up with thoughts, ideas, questions and just enjoying good friendship.
I came back to my room to rest and continue reading Sarah’s Key, by Tatana de Rosnay, which takes place in current Paris, but flashes back to the story of a Jewish family, delivered to the Nazis by the French police in 1942. Great book, NYT best seller.
Later, needing a break I wandered into the kitchen where Julia and Agnes were preparing dinner for the children. Most had received their midterm reports today, each shyly or proudly bringing their marks to Mom. She is so remarkable, remembering the previous marks exactly for every child. If I heard correctly, every one of them had improved, some quite dramatically. We agreed that some recognition of effort is in order. It will be a Judy-style treat of ice cream and biscuits (cookies) on Sunday evening. Stay tuned for further reports on this subject.