Monday, October 12, 2009

A Song, Two Lists, an Aha

Life is beautiful... but it sure is full! A missionary's "leave" is not exactly R and R, but it is a joy to be able to squeeze my visits with family and friends between the requisite medical and dental appointments, continuing education (RN) credits and -- oh, yes -- fund raising. Today I watched my one-year-old granddaughter select and name her crayon colors. Today I also received a very generous donation from my eleven-year-old granddaughter for the orphans of Maseno: $210, the proceeds from her summer lemonade stand sales. I am so proud of both of them and so grateful to their parents. It will be a delight to see my four "off-island" grandchildren this weekend, at last. "How can I keep from singing?"

Just for fun (and because I miss everyone, everywhere), I have comprised some"miss lists." They are works in progress, of course:

"Kenyana" That I Miss in the U.S.

Patients and friends

Sights: smiling faces; kids chasing/chomping termites; mamas balancing baskets on their heads and babies on their backs; lush green forests, cascading bougainvillea, hevetia peruviana (lemon-yellow “trumpet trees"), sunsets blazing through the windows

Sounds: Emmah singing as she works, peepers peeping, cockroaches skittering, hadada ibis squawking, mosquitoes whining (outside my bed net, thank you very much), monkeys bickering in the trees, rains teeming/“laughter on the roof” -- and Gary-isms, like "DC the egg."

Smells: frangipani/plumeria in the daytime, charcoal/Jiko cooking fires in the evening

Tastes: Weetabix, Stony, Tusker, fresh avocados & tomatoes & mangoes & papayas, Emmah’s nurturing meals

Feels: perfect 75-degree sunshine every day

"Americana" That I Miss in Maseno

Family and friends

Electricity and water (especially in the hospital)

Thermometers, pulse oximeters, routine meds

Safe public transport

Broadband internet


Chocolate chips

Parmesan Cheese

Friends ask, "So what's it like to re-enter?" I'm not sure how to answer that question since I am not really re-entering: I expect to return to Maseno in early December. But I am reminded of a missionary friend who said, after a visit to the U.S., "I feel like I don't fit anywhere anymore." Perhaps things will change, but I actually feel quite the opposite -- and I am grateful to the people in every corner of the world who make me feel that way. Is this a glimmer of grace, a taste of being "in, but not of, the world"?

Thanks be to God.