Ordinary is my Muse

 

A small section of our Garden. Planted by the non-gardener me:)

 

Masai bracelets and Silly Bands

Monday Morning: As the Nairobi sun beams through the Jacaranda trees it beckons me to be enveloped by its newness. Already my children are awake, getting dressed, playing and finding breakfast to eat (who ate all those chocolate chip cookies?).  I say hello to the gardeners who help us to take care of the grounds and the animals and thank the guards who have worked all night while my dreams soared past the African sky. They say to me, “There is no difference between you and me. If I take you to my village they will say that you are my sister.” “I am your sister,” I think to myself as smile back and prepare for the day.

 Wednesday: On my way to sub at a school. We are unable to drive up the road as police are motioning for us to go the other way.  We try to drive up the road anyway and notice that there is a large crowd of people walking and running in our direction. Stones are being thrown and it looks like something has been set on fire in the distance. The angry, yet helpful protesters tell us to wind up our windows and drive in the opposite direction. I think back to the other 3 demonstrations we either caused or were in the middle of while in Jerusalem and the huge red bricks that were being thrown at the cars in one instance at those who were breaking the Sabbath by driving their cars. But I digress.  Only later that day would we find out that the protest was in response to police who had murdered an innocent boy on the assumption that he was a thug.

       Herein lies a story that resonates with most Westerners. This typical media-driven sensationalism about the continent of Africa sadly frames our worldview of the Motherland. How I struggled to write this knowing that our experience here is characterized by other mundane excitements and ordinary miracles unrecognizable to the above written narrative.

            Saturday: We are going to the open market to buy our fruits and vegetables. We drive past several malls and many grocery stores on the way to the busy, mud floor bazaar. Perhaps it’s because we want the “African” rural experience that we venture where the trash looms outside and the monkeys are ever grateful for the abundance of food. Or maybe it’s because the produce is four times cheaper than the stores or maybe it’s because this is where Quincy can buy all of his exotic fruits and sprout the seeds later in preparation for his next project. Whatever the reason, we hold a certain romance with this place. Here we connect the faces to those who grow the food. Such a treasure was rare in our own consumerist, home culture. I see a monkey scamper by.  The children ask for shillings to buy sugar cane and maze, “Ninatoka maze tadfathali,” Zahari says with a big grin on his face. He is quite proud of himself as he bites into the blackened, golden kernels.

 

Rift Valley

 

Rural House in Limuru

 

“Want to buy a chicken? I also slaughter it for you”

 

“Look Mom I made a volcano!”

 

More artwork made of clay

 

Sunday School

At the Market after the Christmas Play

 

 

When Stars hide

When stars hide beneath the clouds those on earth can see

Cracked silhouettes, jagged edges fading glow-what once was brilliance.

When stars dangle in the ray of the sun their glow becomes what once was glory

Dangling in the beauty of a vast element, Venus is no longer the morning star.

When stars begin to wave across the blackened night with a trail of brightness we marvel at this wonder before us.

While we wonder and marvel, this star will quickly be no more.

What is this glimmering feature that hangs in the sky, encompassing rainbow’s blush?

While all of them light up the sky with midnight’s orchestra, only some starlight songs are called by name.

While thousands of illuminations dangle and dance along galaxy’s stage, the curtain of time will soon conclude this theatrical production.

By Joanne Ball-Burgess

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