10 February 2009

Not So Fast!

A day after declaring the bridge project, I come to you a liar.  Today, I had to fix the step (dig it out) and remove the dirt covering the bridge (prevent rot).  I will also have to add cement to the base and fashion a railing for the handicapped children as the ascend the ramp.  It seems that just whenever I think I am done something another component is added or changed.  Lines of communication are not always solid, so this prevents things being done the way in which they were intended.  I can chalk it up to another Kenyan learning experience.  This fox trot does not seem to bother anyone.  In fact, it really is just like some sort of choreographed dance.  Each movement is known in advance.  The next is just as prepared with the knowledge of more to come.  It has been hard to join, but as I have become more accustomed to the movements of daily life I have found it much less stressful than life at home.  I do not think that there is a Swahili word for stress (there probably is but I do not know it).  Here things just come and go just like the rain.  It will eventually come back and will soon be here every day, but it will take its own time to get here and leave whenever it is done. 

Some may say that things are 'slow' in Kenya, but that is a egregious misnomer.  Slow implies a sort of laziness.  People here are not at all lazy, they are present.  Each moment has more value than any that has passed or will come.  If you are walking along to some meeting and see a friend, you stop.  A conversation takes place between you and your friend and you do not rush off.  People are not in a hurry to be places.  They take the time to have a real conversation and catch up with their friends.  The present moment is most rewarding.  The same is true for visitors.  It was long, but William felt it necessary to cook us a fully prepared meal.  What he had to do after that was of no consequence.  This was very hard to deal with because all I could think about was what the things I had to accomplish when I got home.  We have been told explicitly to never leave a home without eating something.  You can drop in on someone and they will insist on giving you food and probably tea.

I have personally enjoyed this change of pace.  It has been a challenge to fight the urge to be constantly busy.  I appreciate the fact that there is an equal presence of mind and body.  People are not at a place thinking of another.  Even if it is a moment of silence between a conversation.  The seems to rest within the now.  It is very hard to explain what this is all like.  I have observed this for a few weeks now and I felt that I would give my best attempt to explain it all.  Everything goes against what I have been taught and thought to be  right.  That is not to say that everything I have learned is wrong and this right.  Rather being removed from what is comfortable has given cause to re-examine the nature of living day to day.

Random Thoughts and Stuff About Today

  • Meeting today was very slow and continued to involve conversations that circle around the same thing because of some sort of communication breakdown (baby).
  • William came by the SJC, will be visiting tomorrow.
  • At the meeting we discussed the funeral policy.  It now stands at: We care for clients for the term of there life.  Necessary because families expect the SJC to pay for funeral expenses, but how morbid!
  • Vampire Weekend really did just rip off Paul Simon's Graceland album.
  • Zimbabwe is out of control.  Cholera continues to rise.
  • Madagascar is having violent riots over elections.  The solution:  The challenger who believes the election was stolen has set up a SECOND government in the country with his own cabinet.
  • Our next staff meeting is on St. Patty's day - blasphemy!
  • Cow Cow Cow Cowey Cow Cow (inspired by Woodie Guthrie and Kenyan cows)