A Month In Kenya: Day 3 (Friday, June 23)


Day 3 might as well be dubbed Day of Many Ailments. 

First, my right knee was very sore. It was swollen and uncomfortable, and at times there was wrenching pain. I've been blessed to have a body that has always functioned pretty well, even when I don't take good care of it. Aside from the occasional terrible migraine and monthly cramps, I really don't suffer from physical issues. So this knee pain caught me off guard. I couldn't remember having injured it, though once before leaving WI I had been rushing around the house in my new slides and one had folded under and jarred me to a lurching stop. But I think that had happened a few days before we left, so probably wasn't the cause. Obviously I'd been folded into an airplane seat for 16+ hours in a 24-hour period, so maybe that contributed to the problem? Who knows. Whatever the cause, I had to move more slowly and adjust my gait, which was proving very cumbersome, especially for the events that would follow.  

I came out to the living room at 8:45 a.m. to find Ezra lying listlessly on the couch watching A Series of Unfortunate Events with Harry. Ezra soberly announced that he had been getting sick all morning. It's the first time I can remember that I wasn't with one of my babies when he was sick and I felt terrible that I'd been sleeping through it. 

I checked on Nehemiah and was relieved to see he was still sleeping soundly. 

But my relief was short-lived. Nehemiah woke shortly after 10:00 and promptly got sick also. I took over sick duty and Harry hung out with Ezra, whose bout appeared to be over. He was perking up (i.e., becoming more his talkative self) and even came into the bathroom with us when Nehemiah had to get sick, speaking words of encouragement to him like, "I know it feels terrible, Nehemiah, but it will all be over soon" and "You're doing a GREAT job, Nehemiah! I love you, brother." Unfortunately he was returning so much to his normal loquaciousness (that word's for you, Kayla W!) that he also kept trying to engage poor Nehemiah by saying things like "Do you want to watch another movie after this?" or "Nehemiah, aren't you so excited we might go Pokemon hunting later?". I was keenly aware of the divided loyalty that motherhood sometimes breeds. On one hand, I was Ezra's mommy, so proud that he wanted to help and to show compassion to his brother. On the other hand, I was Nehemiah's mommy, wanting him to have the quiet he needed while he was doing his thing and not have him feel like he had to engage in conversation at such an uncomfortable and vulnerable time. A couple of times, I gently reminded Ezzy how people don't want to be listening or talking at a time like that, and he would agreeably leave or be silent for a short while before starting in again. Eventually Nehemiah said, kindly but firmly, "Ezzy, please don't talk anymore." That was that. 

Harry walked to the store and discovered Saltine-type crackers (hurrah!). I was relieved to see that the package was divided into eight separately-wrapped packets each with four perforated crackers. There are tiny little ants that appear whenever there is ripening fruit or any exposed food, so having the wrapped packets meant I didn't have to tie up the open box of crackers in a plastic bag to ward off the ants. It's the little things...  

Ezra decided to read and have some crackers while Nehemiah rested on the couch. 

One thing that made this whole process different from when we're in America was the presence of another person in the house.

Let me give some background first. Everyone in Harry's family has someone paid to do the cleaning and (some/much of) the cooking in their home. I've been told that it is typical for families to have such a person, often called househelp. In families with children, this person also serves as a nanny (or sometimes there will be a separate nanny). It is not uncommon for the househelp to arrive before the family wakes up and to leave late evening. Being American, the whole thing rings of servitude and is vastly uncomfortable for me.

Well, while we are here, we're living in "serviced apartments", meaning that someone is designated to wash the dishes, clean the whole house, and do the laundry. Christine is the woman who helps our apartment. She is kind, hardworking, and shy. Even though I may very well be the laziest woman on earth, it's still very hard for me to just accept this situation and let her serve us. And on this particular day when the boys were getting sick, I was very aware of the presence of someone else in the house and felt like I needed to be careful not to be too (fill-in-the-blank). Also, we had to vacate the living room for awhile so that she could clean it, and I caught myself feeling frustrated that we weren't in charge of our own situation. And then I felt guilty that I felt frustration about someone CLEANING MY HOUSE. Ugh. But I was truly very grateful for the help, for Christine bringing fresh towels and for knowing while I was sitting on the bathroom floor cradling Nehemiah that the floor had been freshly mopped. 

OK, quick digression. While I was sitting here writing this (about 10:00 on Monday, Day 6), some movement outside caught my eye. I grabbed my phone to try to catch what I saw: 

Do you see what's huddled there, just above the bamboo, above the bottom right window across the courtyard? I caught another shot a moment later...

And then I switched to video just in time to see this. (Focus on the center set of windows on the right, across the courtyard. You may want to mute so you don't have to listen to my inane commentary to Harry.)

I'm trying to imagine walking into a room to find a monkey there. Pretty sure I would not find it so amusing as I do watching from afar!

Back to Day 3... 

Both the boys had recovered fully by about 5:30, thanks to rest, rice, and Phase 10.

I'm absolutely certain they both got sick because they hadn't eaten dinner the night before at Patrice and Courtney's (Ezra because he fell asleep, Nehemiah because he wanted to get back to playing). Harry and I had eaten heartily and neither of us had gotten sick.  

The night drew to a close with a visit from Mark and Wabi (pronounced WAH-bee) and Maurice and Lemayian (pronounced approximately Luh-MY-un).