Wednesday, September 3, 2014

they filled our cups

in Meru


That was Albert's greeting to me every morning during our stay in Masai land. To others he offered tea, but he quickly learned that I preferred coffee in the morning. I would grab a tin mug, pour in a few scoops of instant coffee and wait for Albert to bring me heated water or milk. He filled it to the brim, gave him my thanks, and sipped while watching the morning fire or predicting if the clouds would hang all day in the sky.

Albert always knew when to come back with hot water or milk to fill up my cup again, and I gladly accepted more.


During the second half of our stay, our team stayed for two nights at the up-country home of Mercy, the leader of Girl Child Network (our nonprofit partner). Her home in Meru was set back on a bumpy dirt road, with a view out the back of hills filled with banana trees and a baby goat trying to eat scraps of leaves on the ground. We had a clean tile floor and latrines and showers and home-cooked meals. After nearly 10 days of camping and then staying in a hotel, it was good to be in a home.

On our first night there, after one of our busiest clinic days, we ate dinner with some of the GCN staff. After dinner, we gathered in the living room, and eventually two of our Alabster teammates performed a piece they'd been practicing for the group, Sam on his violin and Jeff singing along. The GCN women returned the favor and sang us a few songs in their rich, bright voices, as beautiful as if they'd rehearsed for us. Then we all sang a few songs together, ones that were familiar to most of us. And then Mercy, our host, decided, "It's time for tea."

When the trays of warm tea and milk, and the cups and drinking chocolate and sugar was all brought to the table, our teammate Veena offered to serve everyone. She quickly poured into the first mug, only about half-way, and handed it to the person next to her.

Mercy laughed her deep, melodious laugh. "Oh, you have to fill it up all the way!"

Veena, always bold and direct, laughed along and answered that she was being cautious to be sure there was enough. I don't remember the words that Mercy used, but her short lesson in Kenyan hospitality taught us that, in Kenya, cups are always filled.


My cup overflows with blessings...
                                                   - Psalm 23:5

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