Edit Blog Post
Published: January 2nd 2014
Frank and I slept in, even though we were supposed to get up at 8. Haha. We took a taxi to the other end of town to pick up the car. We have put a ton of money into that thing! Along the way, a friend of his from childhood joined us as our tour guide, and we met with an old friend of his mom’s.
Once we got the car, we went to look at some land and houses under construction. Frank would like to buy land to build a house on so he can someday retire here. When his mother died a few years ago, she didn’t leave anything for her children. He would like to make sure he has something to leave. Plus, having a house here also provides a family house for the kids to go back to as they get older. Sort of a permanent tie to home, wherever he/they happen to live.
We looked at a friend’s house that is being built. Frank was discussing building plans, costs, neighborhoods, and who knows what else while I took pictures. One of the houses next door had a yard with grass!
It was a
very long day, which was finished off with a visit to Papaye! I got another hamburger, which was excellent. They wanted to charge me for extra ketchup for my fries though. That is one thing I don’t like here: everything comes with a price!
Once we got back close to home, Frank let me drive. Driving here is mighty crazy! There are people everywhere, motorbikes coming out of nowhere, taxis and cars getting on and off the road with no warning (or turn or brake signals!), not to mention goats and chickens in the road. There are giant potholes in the dirt road, and deep gutters on either side. Plus, the car is not an automatic, so shifting is another factor to think about. (I know how to drive a standard, but I don’t have one, so I don’t do it often.)
I think I did okay. We made it home in one piece at least, and the transmission was still intact. Or as intact has it has been. (The engine in our borrowed car is actually in pretty good shape and hasn’t been a concern.)
As it turns out, there is an internet café in our
neighborhood. It’s a long walk, so we drove. Well, I drove. Alex came with us. They have wireless too! We found seats and parked there for a little while.
I got to Skype with my sister Tina while she was at work. She is from Malawi. Since we are the same age, we tell people we are twins, except she has better hair and my feet are smaller. Alex was watching over my shoulder. I asked if we look alike. He said no. I said her hair is different, but that’s it. He said, “She is also a little black,” in a very small, unassuming voice. I about lost it! It was great to see her.
We Skyped with my sister Sarah (and former travel companion) and her husband Mac, but their video wasn’t working. Again, it was great to hear familiar voices. Alex was shy and wouldn’t really talk to anyone.
Back at home, we prepared for church. Frank’s family is Catholic, even though they don’t practice it much. His mother always went to church on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. (That’s why we went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve at home.) It’s a
way he connects with his mother and holds up a family tradition. New Year’s Eve is a big deal here in Africa. (More on that later.)
We had planned to go to Catholic mass, but there is a Methodist church across the street. Apparently that’s close enough. (Their words, not mine.) Service started at 10 and was to go til midnight. Yikes!
On the way there, Rosemary explained: If they say, “we,” you yell, “win.” “We win” is the Methodist motto. Her explanation was funny. The church was more than full, so we were standing on the porch. Several ushers came and told us they had a seat for us (me) in the front. Everyone was already staring, and the kids were embarrassed, so we didn’t do that. We sat in the balcony. I was looking forward to going to church until I realized it was in 3 languages, and none of them were English. Such is life.
There have been fireworks going off all week, and they got more intense during church. It was super loud in our concrete building with no windows!
Here, the day you were born is very important. Most people’s middle
names are the names for the day they were born. “Female born on Tuesday” or whatever. When they took the offering, they had a different bowl for each day. I asked why. Rosemary told me it’s because it’s sort of a competition to see which day gives the most. Haha!
Alex had saved some money and bought fireworks. He had never had them before, so he was excited. Rosemary, Rita, and I kept our distance as the boys played and blew things up! Typical.
After church, we were supposed to meet Auntie Bridgette for dinner. We couldn’t get a hold of her, so Frank and I took the kids to town for ice cream. They had never been to this place before, so they were very excited. I don’t think they’d ever had real ice cream before either. Even though it was nearly 2 am before we got there (traffic was crazy!) they were very excited.
They wanted to listen to music on the way. I had my iPod, but we couldn’t find anything they knew or really liked. Finally, I played Disney’s Tarzan. They have the movie and love it! Rita and I sang all the
songs over and over. We find a strong connecting point! They love the old fairy tales and Disney movies.
One line from the song echoed deeply in my ears and heart: Every moment now the bond grows stronger; two worlds, one family.
Tot: 0.201s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 12; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0152s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb