Monday, May 29, 2017

call to prayer

Here is how I knew I was in Somaliland. As I slept on the floor atop a flimsy mattress covered by a cheap, scratchy sheet, distant voices called sleeping souls to prayer. In those deep, dark hours between night and morning, they woke a whole city. Then, louder: the mosque next to our school started its call, weaving in and out of the other softer voices already singing. The strange words were carried on a tune that sounded at once eerie and ancient to my Western ears. I pulled the soft, fuchsia scarf I used to cover my head by day, my sleeping body by night, up over my head and willed myself back to sleep. After the call, the still, silent morning returned.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

looking intently (or, trying)

I used to write in places where I was anonymous or alone. Coffee shops or my kitchen table. Now I write in a garden where guests and friends interrupt me, even when I wear my headphones. I write less this way, but most of the time I have more fun.

A man today told me God will bless me with a well-paying job after my time in Kenya. The other week, a guest told me God has a gentleman set aside for me. I wonder if these words are from the Spirit of God; I wonder about the spiritual lives of these bearers of blessings, if I can trust the blessings to bring their fruit. Either way, can't I trust that there is something good and full in the words they have spoken -- a wish for a full life?

I was supposed to teach English at a community center today, but instead I took the day off. Which actually led to deeper work than I probably would have done if I'd carried on with my schedule.

Kenyans ask me for things. They see a mzungu and assume I can help. It's not a magic wand they seek, but the advantage of privilege. Money isn't just money; to give is a sign of friendship. I am learning to respect that, and to understand the ways I really am able to help.

Kenyans are also extremely generous. Don't discount the treasure of a smile, a spoken blessing, friendship, English, welcome, tea.

At first, time here seemed long and slow. Just the other day, it turned fast and short. And a lot easier. Now I realize how the struggle of those early days demanded my attention, required intention. I don't want to float through these last few weeks and realize I still wanted to more. (I want to want more now, and go after it.)

I want to see need here the way it is to be seen, not through my own lens of what should be had. I want to see provision and help through the lens of those who will receive it.