Thursday, October 11, 2007

So long and thanks for all the ugali

I can't believe that my time at Lubao Peace Centre is coming to a close. I've made so many friends in this short time, and there are so many funny memories. Certainly the endless meals of ugali and beans and rice will be remembered but not missed! Chapatti I will miss! And I can't wait to taste fresh vegetables again.

I will remember my first trip in to Kakamega town all by myself and the way everyone waved me off at the road and then was so excited to see me back safe and sound (and bringing chocolate!). I will remember Florence and Chris, the HROC facilitators. I will miss Florence's laugh, the associations crying out for more food in Chris's stomach, and the fries they made for us! There was the night when we had so many people staying at the centre that six of us were piled into Getry's bedroom (which only has two beds!)

There is "Mummy" who cooks and cleans for us when we need extra help and says "aie" when I say something funny. There is Timoth who does errands and is the caretaker. He likes the generator to turn on at 7pm - it is not possible before! There is Eunice who came and helped out for a few days and made amazing chapatti and of course there is the old man down the road who likes to eat unripe figs.
So here are a few snapshots - Getry with her daughter Dennah, Mummy with her extended family, Timoth down by the river with Mummy's son, Wilberforce and me attempting to wash clothes Kenyan style.
One thing I loved was the fact that all the people I know who are living in Kenya are connected to each other in some way. As visiting is a regular event, I was able to catch up with most people either for work or for pleasure. I was able to invite Pete to visit us, and introduce Dennis who I'd met in Geneva to the centre, as well as go visiting friends Eden in Kisumu, Rose in Kitale and Fran, Kim, Christine and Robin in Shinyalu.

The saddest goodbye will be with Getry. She has been a sister, a confidant, a teacher and part of the audience when I was acting the clown. I have learnt to wash, fetch water, and cook mandazi, thanks to Getry's patient guidance. We have laughed and cried. Thank you Getry for being such a wonderful host and a dear friend.

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