Friday, February 19, 2010

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

We were wisely informed, during our mission training, that a sense of humor might come in handy. It seems especially useful these days... I stifle many a tear on the ward, but I chuckle through many a moment in Maseno.

I was thinking, for example, that "African time" has all sorts of permutations, from two-hour-"late" meetings that phase absolutely no one, to ten-minute exchanges of pleasantries that are prerequisite to every conversation. Contrasts in culture are perhaps funniest, though, in the other ways we pace ourselves (or don't). I was recently told by the town drunk/character that he had never seen "an old mzungu go so fast." He was weaving his way alongside me on a rusty, twined-together bicycle before I jogged off -- almost late again -- to chapel. We were both left in the dust, however, by the Maseno Boys' School track team that day. This is, after all, the land of marathon winners.

Our little conversation got me thinking (again) about my age and laughing even more, in the context of my life in Kenya:

You know you're old...

When kids call you "Mzee" (Old One) instead of "Mzungu" (White One).

When you revert to your childhood, slap "Blue Band" (hydrogenated palm oil) and sugar on white bread, and call it lunch.

When the neighbors ask if you have daughters that their sons might marry.

When you're too tired at the end of a day to stitch up the holes in your mosquito net.

And when you go to bed (at missionary midnight - 9 PM) with your laptop.

Lala salaama, Everyone. Good night from my ASUS PC and me.


Kim said...

Goodnight, Dearest Mzee! At least you're fast! Love you.

kate said...

What did you tell them about your daughters? Are these "sons" cute? Hee hee.

one of your (okay, not so eligible) daughters!

Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny said...

I told the Maseno mamas that my daughters are beautiful but already married. I also told them I have a handsome son, but that he, too, is already married. In addition, I explained that men and women alike are "only" serially polygamous in America. Nobody here volunteered to wait, and I trust none of you there will, either!