Today our team divided into 3 seperate groups…here is an update from each group:
One of the best things we do on a 410 Bridge trip is to spend a day in the life with a family from the community. Today we got to spend a day in the life with the family of Warutere. Warutere is 84 years old, and he had 11 children.
We were greeted by his granddaughter, Irene as we arrived at the neighborhood, and she led us to her homestead where we met her mother, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already working in the small cooking shed beside their home, boiling water so that she could make us all coffee. When she found out that we didn’t all drink coffee, she quickly went back and warned some milk to make tea also. That is the kind of welcome we get everywhere we have gone in Kenya. Each place where you enter, they welcome you with a smile and the phrase “Karibu”, which means welcome. They always want you to feel like you are home.The cooking shed had a custom built cooking area in one side, and the other side was a storage for plates, cups, and wood for the fire. Kind of like their pantry.We took a walk out to the fields to meet the grandfather, Warutere. Warutere was taking the sheep out to graze for the morning. After they were all tied up, we all headed back to the house.Back at the house, we continued to prepare lunch for the day. We cut up some carrots, onions, garlic, and peppers to add to the beans that were already cooking. We also cut up some pumpkin and zest of a lemon for the Chapati bread we were preparing.
While the rest of the team went and toured the neighboring farmland, I stayed back and continued to make the Chapati bread with Irene. We kneaded the dough, made with mashed pumpkin, lemon zest, all purpose flour, and a little sugar, then added a little oil and left it to rest while we went back to work on the stew.The beans for the stew had been cooking and were now soft enough, so we put some oil in a pan, added the onions and garlic, and finally the carrots. When that had cooked a while, we added the beans to the mix and covered it to let it cook. We were told this stew was something they only made for special occasions, such as weddings.
In the meantime, the Pumpkin Chapati bread was ready to cook. It is rolled out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick, then placed on a very hot pan. Once a side has been lightly cooked, some oil is spread on it and then it is cooked some more until it is done on each side. It seemed like we were making a lot, so I asked her if it could be saved for later. The look I got from her is hard to describe. It was a little like what you would expect if you told somebody we should save the hot Krispy Kreme donuts to eat later, and when she gave me a taste of the first one, I understood why. She assured me we would eat them all, but maybe we could save some to take with us when we left. When I asked, she told me it was her favorite food.The rest of the team was back by then, so we each took turns rolling out the dough. Finally, with the bread done and the stew finished, we stopped to have lunch. The stew and bread was served with fresh avocadoes that they got from a tree in their yard. Irene never stopped serving us, and didn’t finally sit down to eat with us until we had almost finished.Once we finished lunch, we went for a walk and Irene and her grandfather showed us around and pointed out the many different crops and plants they had on the property. We saw corn, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, cabbage, and an aloe vera plant. There was also a clearing where many tea tree plants were located.Eventually we arrived at the home of Irene’ s aunt, who was also named Irene.I don’t know that you will ever see a greater smile than this one. This is the look of a grandfather holding his five month old granddaughter who is named after his wife who passed away, Tamal.We stayed there for a long time, talking about Kenya and asking lots of questions. We played with Tamal, and laughed with our new Kenyan friends.After we left Irene’s aunt’s house, we headed back and brought the cow in to water before taking it to a new area to graze. Then we sat down for another cup of coffee and tea before having to say goodbye.Before we left, we gathered the family together to thank them for treating us so well, and to pray over them and their house before we left. I don’t think there was anything more they could have done to make us feel more at home, and we learned so much about them during our time there. Family is very important to them, and they love each other deeply. But more important than that, when you are in their home, they extend that same love to you, and for that time that you are with them, you feel like you are family as well. That is a lesson I hope we never forget.