Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cultural differences

Some have asked, "So, how was the mung bean soup?" Tasty! None of my Kenyan friends like it, though, because it's sweet. The only thing they really like somewhat sweet is chai. The Kalinjin people rarely add anything to their food. Not even salt. "You know," Laban told me recently, "all the vegetables have their own natural flavor. Even ugali has it's own natural flavor. You cannot taste the natural flavor if you add salt."

So I'll be eating mung bean soup for quite a while, it seems. Kids seem to like sweets a bit more, so I'll try sharing with some of them. Who knows, they may like it. If not, I'll be getting my fill of protein for the next two weeks from a portion of beans.

The house is coming on pole pole (slowly). In some ways, I wish I could supervise every last step. The bathroom sink's in, but it's crooked and I'm told pole (sorry). That's it. It's not drastically crooked, so it's one of those thing I should just live with. I'm really trying to encourage the builders to do things at a better level, to use masking tape when painting along lines, to make sure the walls aren't full of paint tears. It's frustrating, at times. I am constantly asking myself, "Is this something you should just let go?"

Yesterday, I discovered that the windows are about 6 inches longer than I was told they'd be. In other words, the curtains my mom and I made when I was home, are too small. "Pole," Tobias says. "Can you just add some material, try to find something that looks somewhat the same?" I'm trying to figure out what I can do. Nope, the hemns aren't big enough for me to simply take them out. I'm thinking I may have to start from scratch and make new curtains.

I'll upload some photos of the progress this evening. Right now, I need to go and set up everything so the kids can see their Saturday movie. Today, it's Finding Nemo. When I spent time with the kids this morning, they came to ask me one by one, "Adele? Today we see movie?"

Kipkurui with his limited English crawled onto my lap, put down his head, stuck his thumb in his mouth and said, " I like movie. Lala salama." And he took a nap while the other 3-year-olds decided to find every scrape on my hands and feet. They'd inspect each one and say, "Pole." And then each one showed me every cut they had. I can go and put some Neosporin and Band-Aids on their cuts, but with them playing in the sand all the time, the Band-Aids are off in no time. Nevertheless, we know what kids are like. It doesn't matter if the Band-Aid's off in 10 minutes; they feel cared for.

And that they are!

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