Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The first committee meeting and life

Today we had our first committee meeting for the wedding. It was interesting to sit in and watch 18 total strangers plan our wedding. Within this committee are 11 sub committees one for cooking, goat, cake for vegetarian, decorations, M.C., music, photography, trumpet team, security, transportation and more. I did not really know what to make of all this. But I will feel better after I get used to the idea. Oh and the only decision I made about the colours I was told by the women on the committee that they were bad and they refused to use them. After some discussion that I did not understand I was told I had till Jan. 31st to produce the colours that I am talking about and they will make the final decision. Definitely a lot of different ways of doing things to get used to.

I am living with a woman called Mama Stella. She is so lovely I just want to pick her up and put her in my pocket. Meaning I really like her and she is super cute. I stay in one of her quest houses with two German girls that are here for a year, Nicole and Amja. It is nice to have these roommates around.

Getting used to being home is sometimes harder than you think

The bus ride home to Moshi was very long, very hot and very cramped. And for those of you who are picturing it, no there were no chickens on board. Kenya is suffering from a drought right now. There has been no rain and temperatures of +40. With the depleting economy and the shortage of maze (corn which is one of their staple foods) the effects of the drought are reaching clear across the country, even touching my family in Mukeu. My Kenya dad said that there are still many displaced people that were forced to run from their homes during the riots and killings in January 2008 keeping refuge in his village. They are the ones feeling this the most. Many are scared and all are starving. Please pray for rain for this country because we know that the God we serve will provide all they need.

In Tanzania we drove through some areas that were so dusty you could not see 5 feet in front of the vehicle. Then we drove through rain so hard you would splash the people on the side of the road and hear their screams as you drove by. Then came the heat. As I approach the house where I will see Elli (Bariki’s daughter) I am left wondering how she will react to the surprise. You see today is her 13th birthday and she has no idea that I am the birthday surprise she has been waiting for. I approach the house and she decides to hide in shock. As I stand outside and hug my mother in-law I look for her to reveal herself. When she does she runs out to me and jumps into my arms. I pick her up and we turn around in circles. As we sit together she buries her head in my lap and says nothing. She remains there for almost ten minutes till I ask her if she is happy. She digs her face further into her hands and my lap and shakes her head yes. It was just as I imagined now I am truly home.

Entry In To Africa

I got at least some sleep on the second leg of the journey. It is easier on a plane that is over half empty and you are able best you can to stretch out over two seats. As we make our final approach into Nairobi Kenya at six in the morning I look out over the African plains and sit in wonder over the endless horizon. Then it comes, the sun peaks over the horizon in all of its glory. I take a deep breath in and think to myself, I am home.

In all me exhaustion I head for customs and they simply flag me through. On the other side of that glass door was Bariki. I had not forgotten his smile but I tell you I sure did miss it. It was wonderful to be hugged by my fiancé after 7 months (which by the way felt like an eternity).

My first day or so I thought was going to consist of a shower, a sleep and some food. No company, no pressure of having every moment of my day figured out (a program) and definitely no leaving the Hotel. None of which worked out to well for me. After about a half an hour with my feet on solid ground Bariki’s brother in-law called and wanted to speak to me. After asking how my journey was he asked me what my program was for the day. I explained nothing and that was the way I wanted it. In hind sight he was probably just preparing me for what was coming that day. After sleeping a while Neema (Bariki’s sister and my maid of honour) came to see me. That was nice I really love her. Then she said that her husbands sister in-law was dying to meet me and was arranging supper for me. Alright, why not I had nothing else planned. After greeting me with much joy and excitement the questions began to come. What colours had I decided for the wedding? How many people would stand up with us? What was I going to do with my nails because when I put my hand out to get the wedding band put on EVERYONE will be looking at my nails? Actually I really liked her as well. I was very surprised that someone who had never met me or even Bariki before could be this enthusiastic about our wedding. It gave Bariki and me a lot to think about and made me so tired I could have fallen asleep at her table, didn’t help me sleep though when I got back to the Hotel. Day two in Nairobi reminded me why I dislike Nairobi so much. So many people, most staring at me as they walk past, thousands of vehicles, pollution and of course a balmy 28 degrees Celsius at 7 in the morning in the heart of this concrete jungle. But on the plus side of things my Kenyan mom and dad came from the village to talk about the wedding and have lunch with me, Bariki and Neema, whose goal for the day was to help me pick colours. What a day and mission accomplished with the colours. For those of you who don’t know ne well this may not seem strange, for those of you who do just know me, it’s a long story. The colours are pink and purple.

The definite departure and the indefinite return...

The last few days seemed to go by so quickly that they felt as though they went by in a flash. I have felt every emotion possible over the last few days and very sleepless nights. I just kept saying, “I just need to get on the plane then I’m sure that I will take a deep breath and just fall asleep.” I did breath but sleep was not part of the equation.
Sitting and trying to decide what to pack was interesting enough. I kept saying, “How do you pack for an indefinite return?” Then the packing was done and I began to take inventory of everything I never got done. The list was long. I said on the way to the airport that “I don’t know what was longer, the list of things left undone or the list of people who in the last 24 hours before I left said they did not want me to go.” A quick thought on how my morning went. As I arrive at the Edmonton International Airport I realize I do not have locks for my bags. No problem, send Patti to buy two locks. $13.00 later she hands me the locks and I decide not to lock them until we weigh them in case I have to move stuff around. So I put them in my pocket and weighed the bags. I was allowed 50 lbs one was 49 and the other was 47.5. I was so relieved I threw them on the track to be taken away and not seen again till Nairobi. As I sit in Harvey’s talking with everyone that came to see me off I reach in my pockets and what do I find but two locks. Man I guess today is how much money can I throw away day. You will see how much more I threw away as you keep reading. Not my day.
Now as I write this sitting in Heathrow airport in London UK (in my 5th hour of a 10 hour layover), none of the things left undone matter. Except the tornado mess I left as I ripped around the house yesterday trying to get last things together. That I feel bad about (Sorry Mom and Dad, remember I was praying for my flight to be delayed. I love you). Side note I have heard the security message about not taking other peoples luggage so many times in the last 5 hours that I could make the announcement accent and all. Oh and I just spent $19.00 US on the worst cheese burger I have ever tasted in my life. Needless to say I pretty much gave the restaurant $19.00 just for letting me sit there for a half an hour.
Now I am left with time to think about the future, to look forward to see the great man that is waiting at the other end of this very long trip, my fiancĂ© Bariki Lyimo, who I have not seen since July 2008. I have time to ponder the fact that as soon as I arrive in Africa my life will totally change. That will be my home, I will be the mom of the most beautiful 13 year old girl in all of Africa, and I will cook over a fire. A wedding will come in February and I continue to search out God’s plan in all this. I know that He has lead me to this place or I would not be sitting here right now and that He is with me I just know that there is something more to this. I look forward to finding out what it is because I know that as I seek His will I am going to find His heart.