Yea this pretty much captures the general mood of the day. “thumbs-up” is common here. I honestly forgot what we do back home in the states. Do we throw up a W formation and say “Wesssssssiiiide” ? Was that right? Oh and here “2 fingers up” doesn’t mean peace, it means “Chill, bro”. Well, I guess that does mean peace.
After some more hiking, we emerged at a riverbank overlooking a large man-made lake. Across from us were some coffee plantations; not as extensive as the ones in Kericho, but massive nonetheless. And at the banks we just chilled for a moment. In a few minutes, I noticed many of the guys were eating fruit, and I’m thinking “we didn’t pack all this fruit.” “Maper, Pablo, maper, shika” So he offered me “maper.” Really hard on the outside, pink on the inside, lots of seeds, but really (really) good. I found out later that maper is really Guava.
Junae gathered us all together for a few games. Now in the states we have games like this, similar to “they hokey-pokey” or “the chicken dance”, group interactive song-games with body movements and clapping. Yett our games are more for kids, while these were just cool, like seriously a lot of fun!
As we danced around a circle, creating a bit of a scene (as Junae had planned) All the boats in the river had their eyes on us. One boat decided to paddle over and check us out, and then took pictures of us! Yea it was a little wierd.
As we marched around in the mud, our shoes got heavier and heavier, and we each got taller and taller. It provides a slow kind of resistance, as the mud builds up on the bottom of your shoes…. See, the mud here, is more like a clay, so it doesn’t wash off so easily. It sticks.
Men of 1,000 Talents
After lunch we kinda just lounged in the picnic area, talking, chatting. When I remembered some of the things that the guys said they’d prepare, a drama, some songs, etc. The Kenyan drama is an art form in and of itself, the way it’s executed and performed, very different from dramas of the West. Young people create dramas for fun, not for any competition, or pursuit of fame, but just to do it. The dramas are a mixture of scripting, improvisation, caricatures. Very enjoyable, for sure!
“Umemsifu nane? JC!”
I felt kind of out of place when I performed for them my acoustic rendition of “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it is one of my favorite songs of all time, and its something from my country that I could share with them. I think westerners are more fascinated with the culture of the east, more-so than they’re fascinated with our culture. That’s the general vibe, I’m guessing.
The rest of the day was excellent: row-boating, camel rides, more group games and activities, some soccer. The scene on the field is etched in my memory, the man on the megaphone with his group of 100 students from Daystar University, and they were loud and having fun, so naturally we felt we needed to have even MORE fun than they were. So we started making some noise of our own. The battle of the noises proceeds, but one can’t compete with a 200 watt megaphone.
Caller: I want, I want!
Group: I WANT!
C: I want, I want!
G: I WANT!
C: I want Junae, to dance like this, like this, like this, like this, like this, like this, like that!
(Junae gets in the circle)
J: I want, I want!
G: I WANT!
J: I want, I want!
G: I WANT!
J: I want Rajaab to dance like this, like this, and shake like this like this like this like that!
We managed to make the time go by.
As I spoke with Jonte overlooking the field, I hear behind me:
“PABLO! COME HERE!” Followed by the voice of a woman “Nooo! I have a boyfriend!” Apparently, the guys were tryin to set me up with a beautiful Somalian woman from Daystar Uni. These women from Daystar told my friends that they were fascinated when they saw me singing in Swahili on the guitar and wanted to know my story, to which they decided to call me over.
It seems that everyone here is trying to do 2 things:
1) Get me to buzz my hair short
2) Get me married
“Paul, why don’t you get married, brother?”
They don’t understand how we do things in NY. My parents would have to agree with my friends here, though “Get married, ya Paul!”
As sunset approached it was time to return home. We huddled together, and each gave an encouraging word to the other, thanking everyone for making this day what it was. That Saturday at Paradise Lost was one of my most enjoyable and memorable days here in Kenya. I hope that one day these guys will look back and remember our time here. It’s sealed in my heart for sure. The question remains, however, what next? I have ideas for these guys, but in a few weeks I’ll be gone. I’ve been trying desperately to find someone to take over the work here. It’s troubling to think that all this time was invested for nothing. There’s a lot of work to be done, if it weren’t for college loans.