Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I was sitting around the lunch table today with three dear Kenyan colleagues, having a meeting about child sponsorships.

"Adele, is that all you will eat? Or is there more coming?" Emily asked, looking at my bowl of fruit salad.

"This is it. I'm just having a salad for lunch."

"But will that really satisfy you?" she continued, really concerned that I would only ingest a bowl of fruit.

"It is sufficient, yes. I'm trying to reduce." (That's Kenyan for loosing weight.)

"Eh! But Adele. There is nothing wrong with you." Veronica chipped in. "Is it your culture that says you are too heavy?"

You've got to love these ladies! I explained that my culture has nothing to do with the fact that I'm trying to loose 10 pounds. (I didn't add that I actually have a bet going with 2 friends - whoever does not loose 10 lbs before mid August has to pay up!) They suggested that I overcome the hurdle of tight-fitting clothes by simply buying bigger sizes. But that's exactly what I do NOT want to do.

We talked about the fact that another colleague of ours told me this week, "Eh! Adele! You got really big in America!"


Except, my friends suggested it was truly a compliment. It wasn't meant in a condescending manner whatsoever. I should know. I'm African. But it still just doesn't feel good when friends make comments like that.

Or like the one from another friend last week. "Eh! Adele! Your hair is really . . . BIG!"

I just smiled a really odd smile and said, "Thank you."

I'm not from Texas. I don't aim for big hair. And honestly, it wasn't "big."

Anyway. I don't have hangups with my hair or my waist size. I just am trying to get in better shape.

On a completely different cultural note: I have gotten an offer for my car. I called a colleague who is interested in rebuilding it and told him the offer I had gotten. "If you can meet the offer, the car is yours."

He called back 5 minutes later, offering me less, but adding 2 cows to the offer. It really made me laugh. I'd actually consider the offer, funny enough. It depends on the condition of the cows. I could let them graze at friends' house so they can get the income from the cows. It's a way to help people without giving them a hand-out.

I think it'll be funny to say "I sold my car for x amount, plus 2 cows." But I don't think it'll come to that.


  1. Oh take the cows! That is so funny!! Hey, I was wondering if I could shoot ya an email. I wanted to talk to you about Africa. But, I can't find your address...



  2. "BIG HAIR"? Have you ever seen "Hairspray"? Philadelphia is the city of "big hair"! There are some areas of the city where beehive hairdos from the 1960's are still worn proudly today! ; )

  3. ps: "beehive" = "bouffant" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouffant

  4. I can so relate to the comments. Very funny and very sincere but who wants to be told they have big hair. Reminds me I need to make an appointment. I loved the pictures of the veranda near the river. Wow, can't wait to go and read and talk and read and talk and read and talk there soon. Be well. Sherri