In Karen, my house was tiny. There were times that BJ suggested that I hire someone to help me, but I always insisted that I could do it myself. I greatly value my privacy, and it was also probably a pride thing. I wanted to feel like I could do it myself. My tiny house in Karen was a full-time job to keep clean. The houses here are not insulated, and the dirt and dust settles over everything daily.
Then we moved to Nakuru. My house quadrupled in size, and I was 7 months pregnant. Dry season was just starting, and the dust was unbelievable. BJ again lovingly suggested that I find someone to help me out around the house. He added that it would not only give that person a job, but it would also greatly help my Swahili to have someone to talk to and use the language with. By the way, BJ has far surpassed me in Swahili because he has far more opportunities to use it . . . and because he is smarter. :) He protests that, but it's true!
I had to admit that it was a good idea because I have to learn this language. I have no choice. I have to interpret from Swahili, and if I cannot understand what is being said, then I am of no use to the Deaf. Besides that, I want to learn it. Swahili is a beautiful language.
So now let me introduce to you my sweet friend, Kendi, and her three children.
Don't they look just like their mother? From left to right, her children are Blessing, James, and Collins. Blessing and Collins are twins. Kendi's husband is a deacon in our church.
Kendi comes to my house on Mondays and Thursdays for several hours. Thursdays work out well because BJ is gone all day in Karen, and it is a blessing for me to have someone around when he is not here.
Those first couple of weeks, I struggled to understand anything Kendi said. Remember Nakuru Swahili sounds different than Nairobi Swahili. On top of that, Kendi is very soft-spoken. I could barely hear her! Yet, my #1 rule was that we would only speak Swahili together in the house. Needless to say, I have learned from her a whole lot of new words that I did not know, my reception in understanding the language has vastly improved, and I've gained a close friend. As we talk, laugh, and work together, I am growing to love this dear lady who is probably very close to my own age.
Now let me share a conversation I had recently with her littlest, James. A couple of weeks ago, he came sidling up to me after church with bright eyes and a shy smile on his face. Oh, by the way, those eyes of his always look like they are thinking up all kinds of mischief! He asked me in Swahili if I like bugs. I told him, "No." Then I asked him if his mom likes bugs. His answer was a quick "No" as well. I soon realized that James is every bit the talker that Seth is! He talked and talked to me in his squeaky, 3-year-old voice, and I didn't understand hardly any of it! I am just to the point again where I can understand adults in Swahili; I've not yet gotten to the point of understanding baby talk in Swahili! I acted like I understood him though, and that was a mistake. He asked me a question, and was obviously waiting for an answer. I shrugged, and said, "Sijui." (I don't know.) Then he wanted to know why I didn't know! By that time, I was in too deep to get out!
* Today we are having Mexican casserole. Two Mexican meals this week--not a usual thing, but I am wanting Mexican food really bad right now!
Ummm, I need some more practice making ugali and sukuma wiki! When I get them down pat, I'll add them to my Kenyan recipes page.