People. That's what I want to talk about tonight. Kenyan people are like people were in Alberta 50 years ago. And that's NOT a bad thing! As time goes on, I feel more and more like I'm back in my young teenage years 50 years ago. Back then people were so friendly. You'd walk down the streets of Taber and everyone you met said hello even if you didn't know them. Strangers would stop on the highway to help you when you had a flat tire. Children could play at anyone's house and they were safe.
That's the way it is here in Kenya. The five neighbor children come over every day after school. At first I wondered how their parents felt about that. So I made a point to go and meet them and they were absolutely fine with wherever their children went. One mother said, "They visit everyone in every flat and we think it's great!" How nice for the children to be children and not have to worry so much. LeRon has taught one of the children to play "Chopsticks" on the piano. We bought a few little cars and trucks for the kids to play with too. It's like having grandchildren here. So fun. And when I can't take the noise any longer, I tell them to go home and they do. They are also polite. Please. Thank you. May I? So impressive.
People . . . Hardly anyone smokes here. We've counted 13 people thus far and we've been here for over a month. Amazing. Smoking is expensive so not many people do it. So nice for those of us who have a hard time with smoke. And so nice, health-wise, for the Kenyans. But on the other hand . . . people burn things every day -- garbage, dead wood and who knows what else. There's always the smell of smoke in the air. That's like it was 50 years ago in Alberta.
I mentioned in another post about how Kenyan people, particularly men, walk. They stride along, arms swinging vigorously, head up and back a bit, with a little bounce in their stride. They are not out for a stroll. Definitely walking with purpose. Women walk everywhere also. They don't bounce quite as much as the men do. Most women wear skirts or dresses. I've yet to see an immodestly dressed Kenyan woman. (Only white tourists wear skimpy little outfits). The women are dressed in all colors, including black and white. Black Africans look especially nice in white.
The school children all wear uniforms. On field trips, the kindergarten children don't have to walk two-by-two, holding hands, as kindergarten children do at home. They feel safe as they run along the sidewalk, ahead of their teacher, enjoying each other's company and the green foliage and the sunny weather. But . . . each school is in a compound that is walled, gated, and guarded.
People are polite in traffic. "I'll let you in and then you can let someone else in," is the philosophy. The only honking we've heard is a polite little honk to alert you that they're there and they don't think you saw them. Drivers or passengers stick out their arms to let you know they want in -- and you let them in. It's the craziest, most polite traffic I've ever been in. People wave a "thank you" or give you a smile. No shaking of the fist or pointing of the finger.
Now as far as it being like Alberta was 50 years ago . . . Alberta has become very prosperous in the past 50 years. That prosperity hasn't helped people to be more sociable and kind and friendly. Prosperity seems to have made people more selfish, unsociable, and unfriendly. Sad . . .
In our Church, we call it "the pride cycle." People are humble and so God blesses them and they prosper. The more they prosper, the more prideful they become. As they become prideful, God allows things to happen to humble them. They are humble and God blesses them. They prosper and become prideful . . . So sad. President Hicken, our mission president, has spoken lots to the African missionaries about how they can help Kenya to avoid the pride cycle that has definitely affected western countries to their detriment. I hope Kenya can avoid becoming what the West has become as far as human relations go.
As one Kenyan told us, "Kenya is the promised land! There is plenty of opportunity for everyone." LeRon and I are very happy here. We're happy to be serving the Lord and we're happy to be associating with good people -- in our mission, in our branch, and in our neighborhood.
|Elder Torrie is teaching these beautiful neighbor girls how to play "Chopsticks."|
|Beautiful girl with a beautiful smile. She is moving away soon and we will miss her.|
|Neighbor children playing at our house.|
|Cute as a button!|
|Of all the toys, the John Deere tractor we brought from home is the favorite.|
|I will miss the foliage around our mission office as the new mission office is a walled yard with only gravel to make it interesting. This lovely hibiscus grows near the door to our office. I didn't notice all the ants on it till I looked at the picture.|
|Another pretty flower. I know this kind grows in Hawaii too but I can't remember the name off hand. I bought a bird book but not a flower book. In the bottom picture I'm trying to show the cut and uncut grass. All the grass on the left was cut by hand with a metal scythe-type thing. The grass on the right is yet to be cut. What a lot of physical labor these people are happy to do just to put a bit of food on the table for their families.|