It’s interesting to live in a foreign culture simply to experience all of the expectations and unique traditions that come along with the holidays.
Kenya is a warm climate place (ever read that book “Foreign to Familiar”?) and relationships are of premier importance. At no time is this more apparent than at Christmas. We are asked multiple times a day what our plans for Christmas will be. Generally, the conversation goes something like:
Them: “So are you going for holiday?”
Us: “No, just staying home.”
Them: “You are not going anywhere? Are you having a big dinner for everyone?”
Us: “We’re just staying around, having a quiet day.”
Them: “You will come to my house for Christmas!”
And then the fun begins. We have had many invitations, and what we have learned in the 7 months that we have lived in Kenya is that an invitation to someone’s home does not mean an hour meet, greet, snack and run. It is generally an ALL DAY affair.
Thankfully, Esther, our house help knows better and is a good judge of about how long of a visit we can muster! She invited us to her home for lunch on the 23rd as we would be busy at the Centre on the 24th with an outing for the vulnerable moms and babies. On the 25th, we have been invited to a slum elder’s home…for an agreed upon 2 hours rather than the whole day as he initially requested.
Here are some shots from our lunch at Esther’s place. Esther lives in a 3 bedroom concrete home with her mother and children that does not have piped water, but does have electricity.
Here is Esther and her mother Rodda preparing our lunch in their kitchen which consists of a sideboard, a jiko (charcoal bbq type thing), and water storage tanks. No cooker, no refrigerator.
Here is Rodda with some green grams (a type of African and Indian lentil) that we ate mixed with cooked beans and peanuts, and also spooned into dough and fried as samosas as you’ll see in the 2nd photo.
Ian says Esther’s house makes him feel like he’s back at his grandmother’s place on East Burnside in Portland, Oregon. I agree. Same kind of feel.
Here we are with our meal, eating at a picnic area set up in Esther’s yard:
You can’t see it here, but we had some fresh chicken for lunch that Esther’s mother fried up. It just so happens that I couldn’t find Esther for awhile the day before, and as I was driving away from the Centre I found her running back up the dirt road with a live white chicken held by the wings in her hand. I figured it was our lunch. Megan made really good friends with our “lunch” when it got stuck in the Centre toilet trying to get a drink of water. That will be a whole blog unto itself, you’ll have to keep checking to see if she’s posted about it: www.megansteele.wordpress.com. You’re probably wondering though, “how does a chicken get into a toilet?” Oh, the things that happen here in Africa. I really wasn’t surprised at all.
We had a great time and enjoyed getting to know Esther’s mother and one of her boys a little better. We exchanged gifts, and here Esther is opening hers: Her first full Bible ever. She mentioned a few months ago that she had never had one and would like one so very much, so I filed that away in my brain for Christmas. She looks pretty thrilled huh? Esther’s gift to our family was large and heavy, but doesn’t shake. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what kind of treasure she has sent us home with!