|With my bodyguard :)|
'She's not a Dog'
At the school dance before exams, I discovered I had a passionate body guard: Winnie, a sweet and sassy freshman. A couple days earlier, I had gotten annoyed with a group of freshman for treating me like a dog and petting me all the time. So now, she had shown up to tell them to "stop acting like she's a dog." haha It was so endearing! This tiny little girl was making sure I was treated with respect!
|Going to Embu was always|
interesting with Immaculate
Another day in Embu town, my friend and I noticed a crowd gathered at the front of Maguna's. There was a man standing on stilts, dressed like a big-bottomed, pregnant, dreadlocked Mrs. Claus. Once I spotted him, my mind skipped the confusion/wonder stage and went straight to appreciation. As people took out their phones to record his performance, no one was staring at me! For the first time in Embu, there was someone more interesting to stare at! Thank you totally random man for just doing your thing!
My first day in Dar es Salaam, I just watched the guys play basketball. But the next day, I felt more adventurous & decided to join them. I taught 'HORSE' to four guys. It's not really a difficult game to play, so I wasn't at an advantage for knowing how to play it before...I just happened to be the best shot in the group! I was amazed when one-by-one, each guy spelled HORSE. For probably the only time in my life, I beat 4 grown men in a basketball game. Dreams DO come true!!
So Fresh and So Clean
|To these cuties, I'm Amani..|
Say My Name
I love the little children in Dagoretti. If they had not met me before, they all gasped when they saw me and would shout ‘mzungu!’ and come running to greet me. If one of their little friends was too shy, they would practically drag them to me. The other day, I met with 5 little ones on the way to church. When they greeted me, I told them I was called Amani. On the way back from mass, I saw them again. I had to remind them of my name. One girl asked, ‘Amani nani?’ I took a second to decide which second name to give (Megan, Elizabeth or Swanson) when another tiny girl said, ‘Amani Mzungu!!’ Which was just too cute and innocent.
|Photo shoot with the family and Fr. David|
Good to be Home
My ultimate favorite experience in Kenya happened just days before I returned to the U.S. On my holiday, I went with Dan and his priest friend, Fr. David, to a Mass in a family home. About 20 of us gathered in their living room, circling around the table that acted as the altar. This was the first Mass I heard in Kikuyu and it was beautiful. I was moved to tears by the reverence of this family- every age was represented from toddler to grandparents. After the Eucharist, we enjoyed a feast with them: mokimo, rice, peas, nyama and greens. Then, we had a photo shoot with the family. There was so much joy and love there that I felt right at home. Later, I learned that the grandmother had been praying for me during the prayers of the faithful, saying she was grateful to have a visitor come by plane and that I was now a part of the family. This was my favorite memory from Kenya because it summarizes all the reasons why I love Kenyans: hospitality, generosity, thankfulness and love <3