Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 11: T.I.A. and Elementary School Mob

The first morning spent in Kijabe was a long one. We had our previously mentioned driver, John, who was to drive us the for week. He came up against a few challenges that morning and we were 3 hours late to a church service that was being held waiting for us... but T.I.A. - This Is Africa! The service was held to raise an offering to support a woman who had had a stroke 15 years ago. She hadn't been able to walk or talk for 15 years. She walked and talked for the first time the previous day. So, much celebration was going on. In the typical African way, a long church service was held. When we arrived, the word was being preached and continuing to be preached. Even after our inexcusable tardiness, the service went on at least another hour or two. Two of our teammates shared a brief message. This village spoke Kikuyu, a tribe and language within Kenya. George, our translator and host for the week was also Kikuyu. 

After we left the service, we were headed to a primary school to share the Zacchaues story once again. This was a school consisting of children from Kikuyu families who don't receive usual visitors, especially white visitors. We don't talk about color too freely in America because of past mistakes of mistreatment and racial pride, but I feel free enough to talk about it from the African point of view. As I was saying, these children behaved like they had
 never seen a white person in real life, ever.
They were shy as usual at the beginning. We had them gather around to greet them and share a message. After some time we shared the Zacchaues story and song. Once we got comfortable and sang with them, they just opened up! They were behaving like children should behave, not sheepish and coy.
There was a lot of down time in between the end of our song and dance and our departure. I attempted to talk to the kids in what little Swahili I knew. I even tried some Kikuyu. I was saying words to them like, 'beans', 'corn', 'chapati' and they were just rolling with laughter and praises of approval! They were truly the most enthusiastic primary school we had visited; I believe we visited three total. There again lies the resemblance of the most impoverished and simple life of a village having the most joy and satisfaction in the smallest things. After standing around, trying to break the language barrier, a few of the kids still wanted to shake my hand so, I let them. Then one wouldn't let go, and another, and another, soon there were about 10 kids holding onto my hands, wrists and arms from both sides. I felt like I was going to fall over! When they saw my instability, more and more latched on like hungry leeches! Not to say they were unfavorable leeches; they were just so excited to be touching a white person's skin. They started pinching and pulling my skin like I was something on exhibit or display. It was kind of cute actually. Then they went for my hair. After one kid pulled his fingers through my wind blown and ratted hair, they all laughed and reached to touch it. I had to pull away at that moment because I was honestly going to fall straight to the ground. I wanted to enjoy my time with the kids, but their excitement got the better of them. I tell people this story when they ask me about Kenya. This was one of the most memorable days. The children all gathered around are quite beautiful.

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