I am home. Fairly rested. Unpacked. Laundry done. Back to cooking. Daffodils and narcissus are blooming in the backyard.
Looking in the rearview mirror at my three weeks in Kenya, brings a collage of images: Driving for hours on paved and unpaved roads, sometimes dusty, sometimes muddy and slick. Packing and unpacking. Laying my head on various pillows. Teaching. Spending time with deaconesses. Spending time alone. Visiting widows in mud huts. Snapping photos of kids in the slums of Nairobi. Conversations with my good friend, Pastor David Chuchu. New and rekindled friendships across Kenya. Landscapes so lush and full making my eyes hurt and my heart burn. The blaring noise and pollution of the cities that made me grit my teeth and want to cover my ears.
And life. Life everywhere. Crazy life—folks walking along the roads and highways at all hours of the day and night, intermingled with bicycles, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, cars and trucks. (There are no sidewalks here). Sellers of most anything you might imagine, line streets. Tree limbs, crisscrossed form a tiny stall where a young woman sells tomatoes, collard greens and onions. And next to her, a friend offers avocados, pineapples or mangos. On the edge of the road, in the rich red dirt, women attractively pyramid sweet potatoes or set bunches of green cooking bananas on piles of rock. Further down the road a tin shack offers electricity for recharging cellphones. Food vendors spill onto the street’s edges grilling corn on the cob over a charcoal fire, or deep-frying fish. There are places to get a haircut or a fancy hairdo, a posh mill where you can get your corn milled, and other spots to sit and have a Fanta or Coke. If something can be sold, you are likely to find it along the streets. And at certain crossroads where matatus and buses stop for passengers, vendors come right up to your car offering fruits, vegetables, groundnuts, water, candy…relentlessly.
This street life is chaotic, and would certainly never pass our safety regulations, but somehow it all works. Strange as it sounds, being the person of order that I am, I miss it. Life is lived out loud and large on these Kenyans streets. People talk to one another. Greet one another with handshakes and cheek to cheek “hugs”. (I shook a lot of hands!). Horns blare. Motorcycles weave in and out of traffic. Cars pass dangerously to gain ground, only to come to a screeching halt at the speed bumps set surreptitiously in the road. And I sit in the passenger seat and watch it all pass by me. Did I mention that Kenyans drive on the left side of the road?
And now, I sit in my quiet, still house, looking out at the bobbing yellow of the daffodils, remembering. And smiling. And planning my next trip to Kenya.
Thanks for traveling along with me…
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