Day 348: Necessities

By Lara Vogel,

Monday is our Sunday here. In the sense that the kids are in school, and after a weekend of doing things like organizing spontaneous relay races, leading extended running activities, and comforting the orphans who get scared by bikes on those runs, we can finally clean our house, cook, and go to the grocery store. I had all kinds of wonderful plans for a relaxing day. I was starting a new book, I had approximately a million emails to send, and I was going to clean.

I now laugh at those plans. By 9 AM, I was in the orphanage manager’s office, then in her house, bargaining with a lady from the neighborhood about whether it was 3 or 4 dollars to do three weeks of our laundry. We finally came to terms in that awkward way such things happen, and she began the apparently six hour process that ended up including our making lunch for her when she informed me that “someone is hungry,” hand lotion, and the use of Claire’s shoes for the day.

But as I first showed our new houselady to the apartment, I ran into Claire negotiating with our friend Francis, with whom we had scheduled to drive to town on Thursday at 10 AM. I think we all know that didn’t happen. He was now ready to take us, if we could go in the next five minutes.

So much for my tea, or my nicely toasted homemade bread (that’s right, mom! I make bread now!)…to market to market to buy propane, mefloquine, and various other sundries like 70 “hero books” for the kids, and long awaited brown sugar. Finally made it home, and spent about an hour yelling “wesharayah” (which apparently means “share” in kikuyu, but which also had absolutely no effect) to the 15 children who gathered to stare at the muzungus (white people) through the window into our kitchen until we decided enough was enough and handed them some paper and colored pencils.

Needless to say, no book was read today, and I technically wrote two emails, but they are both still in my outbox. As my sister in law frequently tells me about her experiences with her own kids, you only get done each day what you absolutely must. What is amazing to me is how very little is deemed absolutely necessary when there are always kids around craving your attention to anything but your own tasks.

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rachel said...

Been reading the blog for a while. So sending you encouragement for the running, support and community living. Plus, keep meaning to tell you that surprisingly I managed to persuade my friends to play 'the game' leading to much laughter and not a few contested answers!

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