01 February 2009

"You are the Son of Satin!"

Sunday we had our second annual (weekly) "Sunday Super Brunch." Michael and I were left with the task of cooking a filling meal for Sue, Jean Jones (who from this point forward will be know simply as "Foot"), Lori and Hezbon. After consulting our African cookbook, we found a Zambian dish that we altered and named "Super Rice." To prepare, we cooked bacon till crispy, sautéed onions in the bacon grease, and beef sausage in the remaining grease. In a separate pot we cooked rice with the onions. When done, added bacon and sausage along with cheddar cheese and garlic powder. Stirred to melt the cheese and served over a fried egg. I wish I could say that most of it was our idea, but all we did was add sausage and garlic to the recipe and omit green peppers. It was savory feast only made better by being eaten outdoors in our courtyard.

We did not eat in complete peace. The girls were back in full tween force. The group has grown to a sizeable crew of 10. There are four who like to instigate and call out as us while the rest watch. While Michael and I cooked, our guests introduced themselves to the girls and when we emerged with our meal they knew all of our names. It was nice for awhile to not be called "Mzungu." Until they started to sing out each of our names. Seizing on the opportunity, I corrected the girls and told them that they were wrong to call Foot Jean. Her name was "mguu." (Pronounced ma-goo, just like the blind cartoon character Mr. Magoo. Mguu means foot in Swahili.) The children burst out in laughter and attached their song to the correct name. Foot, a name of legends, was upset by the use of her name resorted to threats. "If someone else calls me "mguu" I will go to your home and put snakes in your bed, poisonous ones that are very scary, boa constrictors." To which one said, "mguu." Deepening the threat, Foot warned, "I will put them in your bed while you sleep, very quietly, I have them at my house and I will bring them over to your house If you don't stop calling me 'mguu.'" Unfazed because they only could understand about every fifth word she was speaking, the children continued to call her mguu. Michael amused us by asking the girls who everyone's name was, leaving Foot last. So they would say "Mguu!" in stereo. The fun quickly deteriorated as the girls became more bold and more agitated. Spitting and thrown objects took the place of calls and begs. We attempted a defense, but when one finally threw a coal into the house it was game over. Michael and I stormed out and I chased them off the property. I spoke as sternly as possible knowing that the only thing that would matter was the tone of my voice. Coming back, I noticed two left their shoes (both belonging to the major agitators). Without hesitation I snatched the pair. Five minutes later they came back asking for their shoes and were distressed to learn that I had them in my possession. They came over to get their shoes and I was even more stern in telling them to no longer shout. Again, my inflection was my main focus because children here speak rather good English and will respond with "yes" to every thing you say. If they understand "yes." If they do not "yes." When I was done I gave the two their shoes, said, "kwa heri (good bye)" and they left.

My title to the blog today is a reference to what the girls also said, but it was too good to allow to be mixed into the full story. About halfway through the ordeal one of the girls began to shout at Michael, "You are the son of satin." I quickly informed the girls that satin was in fact a fabric and they were the spawn of satan. Since they did not understand the chants continued.

Happy February