Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"But you're so close to the road!"

I've mentioned before how the kids often ask if I sleep alone. To them, that's hard to fathom. In the rural parts of Kenya, no-one sleeps alone. If you're single and happen to live in a hut by yourself (which is rare), you take in a relative's kids to come and live with you. Or you "borrow" a neighbor's baby to sleep with you. Very different from what we're used to, I know.

So there's talk of robbers being around. A short while ago, one of our employees' hut was randsacked while he was at work. They took everything. He walked into a totally empty house when he got home! On Sunday, kids saw robbers walking out of a neighbors' house with a television*. They alerted others and the guys took off running. They escaped by hiding in the maize (corn fields).

This time of year, crime goes up in these areas for that particular reason. With homes being surrounded by maize, it helps robbers hide.

And that's precisely what happened last night...

I went to bed really early and was woken up by the dogs barking. I finally got up to shout at them, when I heard this voice out on the road (a few yards from my window), "Adele... We're out here, looking why the dogs are barking." Turns out that our askari (bow-and-arrow-bearing guard) had spotted someone trying to get into our compound, which isn't an easy task since we now have a huge gate. But perhaps the gate makes the place look more like someplace worth breaking into. Don't know.

So the kids kept asking me if I was scared. "Nope." "But what if the robbers got into your house." "They cannot." "But what if..." "But they cannot. I have burglar bars and a metal door that bolts from the inside. No-one can get in. I'm not scared. In any case, God is far bigger than the robbers." "But you're so close to the road! You should borrow a child to sleep with you."

I know. There's no logic in that. The child would be scared. I wouldn't. But they think it would be wise to have someone with me. Even if it were a child. "You should take Dennis!" one girl suggested. Dennis is our newest kid. He's the baby brother to Hilary and Sharon. Was too young to come with his siblings 2 years ago. He just turned 3 and is dead scared of me. I'm probably one of the first ever wazungu he has seen!

Back to the point. Am I safe? You bet I am. Am I scared? I honestly am not. Could anything happen to me if robbers would come? Not while I'm locked into my house. Could they take anything outside? Patio furniture, I guess. Half-full paint cans. My chameleon's cage. If they could lug away my second spare tyre, they'd have something of value. But the thing is far too heavy to run off with it. It weighs a ton.

Perhaps weight is not an issue. One of the gogos (grandmas) came over this morning, highly upset. Her cows were taken during the night. Her cows are her only source of income. She's almost 90. Now, she has no cows, and thus no milk to sell...

For those of you who might be concerned about my safety: Please don't be. I am really very safe. In fact, my home is the safest one around, impossible to break into! Just in case you're wondering. ;)

*Even out here, many families do have televisions. Many have little black and white ones with very poor reception. But they have 'em, nevertheless. I obviously don't have one and won't be getting one anytime soon. I'm not missing anything by not having a TV. Haven't had one in many years!


  1. Hey Adele,

    When you first spoke of Dennis a few posts ago, I thought (and hoped) that he was Hillary and Sharon's brother. It's so good to hear that he's finally joined his siblings. Thanks for writing in your blog so much, it reminds me of being there.

    Tell Hillary (and Sharon and Dennis) "Hi" for us.

    -- Nate and Sara Jones

  2. Nate & Sara,

    I'll tell Hillary & his siblings you send greetings. THey'd be thrilled to hear that. It's business as usual back at Ilula. The kids went back to school on Monday. The only excitement in the West Wing is the addition of Dennis, so everyone's thoroughly enjoying him. He really is a treat! I took pictures, but due to a technical glitch, lost them all... Will take some again.