Saturday, September 13, 2008

By Candlelight

By lamplight, I sit alone at the table while everyone sleeps. Moths flicker about the white table cloth, landing on my journal. A cricket-like dudu, bug in Swahili, sits perfectly still--his long antenna alert, his shadow making him appear much bigger. Maybe that's what Africa really is as well. From a visitor's standpoint, Kenya truly is like a shadow that grows by firelight. By candlelight. When you immerse yourself in its richness, it becomes even grander than you ever imagined.

I sit by the fire tonight alone when three of the askaris come to talk. Joseph is the most outgoing. Anderson also chimes in, maybe not quite as confident with his English as Joseph. And Daniel is quiet, but he keeps a thoughtful smile (and gets a kick out of the fact that my husband's name is Daniel as well!) We talk about kids and family. Joseph has two as well, and says it's hard to feed four people. It's hard to be away from them. I agree. He is really excited about Barack Obama. Joseph thinks that Obama "takes care of everybody" and that "most of the people who come to Kenya do not like George Bush!" Ha!

The few short minutes I bond with them. I see Joseph every day after that and he is already like an old friend. I am finding that life here comes in brief moments. But each small moment is immense. Another beautiful contradiction. My conversations with these guys will stay in my heart forever. A gentle curiosity. The warmness of friendship. Intensified by the glowing embers that heat my blood.

Thoughts about the world. Family. Kenya. A Milky Way cloud above me. The red Earth below.

And me, engulfed. Absorbed. Overtaken by the completeness of it all.

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