Kate's been going around singing snippets from What a Wonderful World the past few days. I'm not sure I can agree with her and Louis Armstrong, especially when I read things like this:
On a bed of sticks in one of the many straw huts in Yida, Younam, a 14-year-old boy, told the story of how his family fled bombings of their village. When his family and other refugees reached Jau, a town on the border with South Sudan, Bashir’s soldiers attacked. Hiding under a tree, Younam witnessed the rampage. “They cut the babies; then the young people,” the boy recalled. “Then they stoned my parents until they died.” Days later, Younam arrived at Yida—naked, hungry, and scared. “I’m worried there is no one who will ever be able to love me like my parents did,” he said, rubbing his eyes to hold back tears. From here.
Both Kate and myself have designs on writing a book. Mine based on my faith journey and hers on being a missionary. Yet we have not take any steps in that direction for a long time. That is till this week.
We are now writing everyday. I'm taking Stephen King's advice, which I read in his memoir On Writing, and practicing writing. Five days a week we are putting words on paper, well virtual paper anyway. I also wanted a means of chronicling our experiences, and this fits the bill well.
So far we have written about how we got here (Kenya,) miracles, transitions, and today's assignment is failure. Not sure if we will share or not, but the practice is good for us.
Meshing people together in order to create family just is not easy. In fact it's difficult and more often than not unrewarding.
One of our goals from the beginning with our orphan care plan was to create a space where the children would be free to express themselves. Not really a normal situation here in Kenya, where children have very little to no say in what happens to them. This is compounded greatly when that child is an orphan. They do, go, wear, eat, and everything else that they are commanded to do.
Certainly children need boundaries and have to be told what to do. Yet as they grow and mature more and more freedom is needed to be able to mold them into functioning adults.
However there is a downside to all this freedom and security we have given these children; attitude.
Personally I don't really care about attitudes nor who has them. I live my life, for the most part, oblivious to how people feel. I'm not saying that's right, it's just who I am. Kate on the other hand really cares about the children's attitudes and feelings.
Now that they know we will not get rid of them for bad behavior some of our children have become more bold in their acting out. Which makes for more stress on Mom, Kate. Which in turn creates more stress for the rest of us.
Yet we are not giving up, and still love these children very much. Just this morning Kate was standing up for our most ill behaved child. Sometimes you have to be the one who first loves.
Last week, we did some farming. A friend of ours has 2 acres. We hired a tractor to dig it up. Then we bought seeds and fertiliser to do some planting. (We'll get a percentage of the crops and give them away to the community after the harvest).
When it came down to plant the seeds, we kept hearing the guys talk about 'Women must plant the beans, and men plant corn.'
Johnny and I were a bit confused. WHY? Why does it matter who plants what? This is a culture full of superstition so we were quite curious.
So we did some research... Ok, we just asked. But before I tell you the answer, let me explain something about the culture, and try to tell a joke at the same time...
<ahem.> Ok, so when I call a plumber or a carpenter to do a job for me, usually he asks me for the tools! I now own a plumbers' wrench, a saw, and a level among other simple tools, just for when I need a plumber or carpenter to fix something.
However, when a farmer hires people to till the land and plant seed, they 'bring their own hoes.' (Ok, that was a bad joke, I know, but it's true). One can see men carrying their hoes over their shoulders to the work site.
What we learned is that women workers use a smaller tool called a panga (machete) when planting. SO when the workers come to plant, the men have the large hoes for digging bigger holes for the corn, and the women have a smaller 'knife' to poke holes next to the big holes for planting the beans.
I'm sitting in a guest house in Nairobi feeling tired with a minor headache. Eowyn is playing and making messes, Johnny is using the free wi-fi to do whatever it is he's doing, and my other kiddos are back in Nakuru with my friend and cook Leah. I always feel a little separation anxiety when away from my children. I have to deal with it every time I go somewhere.
I had to come to Nairobi to work on getting Ewoyn's birth certificate and then birth abroad declaration and finally her passport. We're still on phase I of just getting her registered as 'born' despite the fact that she's two years old. Things in Kenya can take a painfully long time to get done.
I hope that things go smoothly tomorrow and they just give us a birth certificate for her.
They didn't like the fact that she was born at home. (As if I'm the only person in Africa who gives birth at home.) Anyway, thoughts and encouragement are always welcome.