-July 9, Thursday
Dory, Rose, and the others were waiting excitedly for me when I arrived. When Lavin saw me, she came running and wrapped her arms around me in a tight embrace. I secretly gave her a small purse that held two necklaces and a bracelet. Lavin proudly carried the purse with her for the rest of the day.
I played the squares game with the children, and then we gathered around and sang a few songs that everyone knew, such as Deep and Wide. We also sang songs that the children did not know yet, but enjoyed all the same, such as The Lord's Army. These children love anything with a tune and some hand motions.
Directly in the middle of a song, I heard a boy say, "Excuse me, madam." I turned around expectantly, and he said, "We are requesting that you take tea."
This is the Kenyan custom. No matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, you are required to stop at that exact moment, sit down, and have a cup of tea and maybe a mandazi or two. The children with whom I had been singing urged me on as if taking tea in the middle of singing a song was completely normal, and it was... for them.
"What does your school need the most?" I asked seriously.
"Emily forever!" one girl shouted.
I ask them what the biggest need is for their school, and they tell me that they want me to stay with them forever. I wish I could.
For lunch, Barbie and James and I went to the Nacumatt, which is probably the same quality as a small-town Texas mall... smaller than my town, small. We ate at the upstairs version of a food court, which consisted of three or four little restaurants. Barbie chose to have Chinese food, and I ordered a pizza. Both meals were weird and African-tasting, but they were better than eating the same food for lunch that we had eaten for three meals a day over the past week, which is what the others in our team was eating.
Everywhere I go, I hear shouts of, "Mzungu, mzungu!" I am not simply a minority over here- I am a rarity. It makes me empathize with celebrities; no matter where I go, people are staring and shouting and waving. Barbie says, "Don't you just feel like Princess Diana, visiting the people?"
We went to the hotel and rested awhile before boarding our matatus and going to Jared's house. It was fairly nice in comparison with all of the houses we have seen so far, and it was in a much better neighborhood. We sat outside in lawn chairs and had a delicious meal of chipati, fish, chicken, cake, rice, and mango juice. It was the best meal I've had since I have been here.
We met four little children: Milton Jr., Julie Jr., Sandra, and Duane. Milton and Julie were named after Milton and Julie. They were all so precious and sweet.
The meal was very satisfying and we enjoyed examining the stars that quivered above us. They were so different from our own in the Northern hemisphere. It felt otherworldly to not be able to find the Big Dipper or any of the familiar paintings of the sky. We made up our own constellations, creating images of animals, such as a giant giraffe.
We finally arrived back at the hotel. It was after dark and we were exhausted, but happy, and very much ready for bed.
I must go now, because it is later at night than I thought it was, but I will write more tomorrow.