Sunday, Sept 4, 2012
#33 Maya and Peter marry
Yesterday I went to Karen, a posh Nairobi suburb, to attend the wedding of Maya Perkins of East Palo Alto (EPA) to Peter (can’t find his name), of Kenya. Fr Kiriti performed the rite. I met Maya’s mother, Pat Foster, well-known and beloved in EPA, last October at the behest of Henry Organ, good friend and KH board member. Forty-six friends and family members traveled from the US to meet with Peter’s Luo family and friends. It was a splendid event and I was so happy to be there. A nice surprise was the presence of Mary Flamer of EPA, mother of Terri, who was in my first class at Menlo Atherton in 1983. I haven’t seen Terri in some time, but we used to keep in touch. Her mother was given the honor of blessing the food.
Catherine Wanjohi had also met Pat when she was in the US, so of course she too was invited. The 3 of us drove the 2 hours through farmland, small villages and the outskirts of Nairobi. I never tire of seeing the animals—goats and sheep mostly, with cows and still a few wild zebras—the activities of the people, walking, talking bargaining, farming, riding their bicycles, piki-pikis—just doing their normal stuff.
Good thing I’m not trying to make my living in photography, I didn’t take a picture of the bride! I did take a picture of Catherine in front of this beautiful church.
Here are Fr Kiriti, the groom and his brother, awaiting the happy bride. The wedding was late in starting, which meant we had to leave shortly afterwards. We did make a short appearance at the reception, just long enough to enjoy the food, a lovely combination of Jamaican flavors from Maya’s tradition and Kenyan foods from Peter’s.
Arriving back home, I “received” visits from Cyrus and Monica. You know about Cyrus, but perhaps Monica is new to you. She is in form 2 at Naivasha Girls, the only school that scored better than SFG in the 2010 KCSE!
Monica is bright and hard working and likes to come chat with me. Like Cyrus, she has big ambitions, wants to be a dentist. Two years ago in class 8 she did an impressive science demo for her siblings at Mji Wa Neema. Math and science are her best subjects.
We reminisced about the first year I was in Naivasha, 2005, when I went up to the orphanage to meet the children. Four of the girls insisted on escorting me back to the rectory, where I was staying at the time. It took me a few years to get to know all of them and to get their names straight.
This is Monica, now in Form 2 at Naivasha Girls, in her uniform, with Jecinta (social worker) on parent visiting day. Naivasha Girls is a national school, accepting top students. It is always a top performing school and the only one in the district to outdo SFG in the KCSE. SFG takes those students who don’t get into national schools.
What is it about this place that holds me so close? The approach of my departure has been a weight on my shoulders, increasing with each passing day. It’s not that I don’t want to be back in the US, seeing my family, whom I always miss, and my friends. My bed at home is much more comfortable, my house more convenient, shopping easier—life is easier, yet I wish I could stay here until I get really tired of it. Maybe that’s what keeps me coming back. I haven’t gotten my fill of all I love here.
(Sunday, Sept 11, 1 week later)
I am now home now and trying to put my body and brain on PDT, not an easy task. I arrived Tuesday, Sept 6 after a 5 hour flight to Dubai, where I spent the night and 15 hours to SFO. I’m still trying to stay awake past 9 pm and stay asleep until 7 am. I have one more email that I began before I left, but haven’t finished.
If you are interested, Kenya Help and I were featured on the Greatest Person of the Day section of the Huffington Post several days ago. Here is the link