I love looking out on this view every day.
Day 5 (Sunday, June 25) was purposely low-key so we'd be ready for the afternoon/evening's festivities. Once a month, the whole family gathers at somebody's house to eat and hang out together. We were originally going to host this month's gathering at our place, but since it has many flights of stairs, it wasn't conducive to Mother Kiiru with her broken ankle and to the two pregnant aunties. So instead Mark, Wabi, and the girls generously welcomed us back at their place. (Which meant that I got to enjoy another drive gawking at the awesome sights!)
As is customary, we all removed our shoes outside.
It was hours of laughing, eating, drinking tea, and sharing stories. Just the kind of evening we came to Kenya to have!
It was crazy, noisy chaos there with 27 people:
- 1 mother (Harry's mom Nelly, also called CuCu)
- 5 kids and their spouses (Mark/Wabi, Maurice/Wambui, Harry/me, Edgar/Faith, Patrice/Courtney)
- 10 kids (Shiru/Noni/Lisa, Lemayian, Ezra/Nehemiah, Toria/Keru, Taye/Micah)
- 1 brother-in-law (James is married to Wambui's sister) and his 2 boys
- 2 adult friends (Anna and a man whose Kikuyu name I can't remember)
(Harry's sister Julia and her husband Weldon live in CA and sadly they weren't there with their daughter Lilly.)
At one point, Mark called out, "If you're a boy...go outside!"
The last time the boys saw their CuCu was in 2010, when Nehemiah was not yet one and Ezra was not yet three. It is wonderful to see them together again at last!
The kids bounced from one thing to the next. They started with a docile game of cards in the backyard, then graduated to climbing trees and making up "skits", which were mostly just the result of daring each other to come inside and tell potty-humor jokes to the grown-ups. (That would be irritating to me even in America because I can't stand potty-humor and I'm uncomfortable when kids behave inappropriately for an occasion, but it was especially mortifying because it's not culturally acceptable here. I felt like the kids might as well be wearing a sign saying "WE DON'T RESPECT OUR PARENTS".)
After one skit by Taye and Ezra that was more silly than naughty, Harry's mom leaned over to Harry and said something quietly in Kikuyu, then they laughed together. Apparently she said that when Harry was growing up, anytime he would come inside, she would know that "here comes the noise". Can't imagine why she thought of that after Ezra was in the room!
After enough chastisement, the kids moved on to a game of Ghost In The Graveyard, then prepared some magic card tricks to show the adults. Kenyan adults are not accustomed to (or interested in) bowing to children's whims or focusing their attention on children while having their after-dinner tea. So Ezra was frustrated and hurt because he tried to corral everyone into the living room at 6:20 (as people were still outside finishing their dinner, getting dessert, and having tea) and no one was making a move toward inside. I tried to explain to him that things are done a little differently in Kenya, so he, Taye, and Nehemiah would need to figure out how to present their show in a way that accommodated the adults. After his initial disappointment, he adjusted well, and they proceeded to put on a few entertaining tricks. (Although I think he would say that he wasn't happy that people weren't completely silent and totally focused on him. Talk about apples not falling from the tree...)
My youngest niece (as of now) is Keru. She is two years old and so, so sweet. Shiru taught her to say my name, and then Nehemiah had the cutest little exchange with her, which I was only able to capture in snippets of still photos.
After dinner and the show, we had family photos taken with a "fancy" camera by Wambui's brother-in-law. There was much discussion about where to take the photo and many people wanted to do it outside. Harry said, "My brother! Even though you have a professional camera, it does not make black people appear in the darkness. We need to come into the light." That brought lots of laughs! Here are people beginning to gather for the group photo.
Lemayian loves to raise his eyebrows to make people laugh, which was especially charming to me because Nehemiah used to do the very same thing!
As the night drew to a close, Faith said to Lemayian: "Come, Lemayian – Auntie will give you a bath."
Lemayian responded (in the cutest little voice, of course): "This Mayian?"
And then Toria came out wearing someone's high heels and purse and announced, "It's time to go to wohk (work)."
Another fantastic family evening in the books.