Friday, January 27, 2012

Triumph of Love

Or Triunfo del Amor as it is called in spanish. 

This just happens to be my favourite tv show here in Kenya. Shameful? Yes. But really, there isn't much else on the Kenyan airwaves. I try to catch Grey's anatomy on Monday mornings at 11 (we are talking re-runs for the first and second seasons) but most of the time I am out or, if by chance I am home, some sort of breaking news happens and all the tv stations turn to CNN or some event happening in Kenya (check out what happened this past Monday which cancelled Grey's). 

The beauty of this program is that it comes on every evening including weekends. Yes friends, that is seven nights a week! Don't you wish your favourite shows would come on every night instead of having to wait for a week till the next episode?  It also comes on at 8pm which is about the time that Kelvin gets home and dinner is ready. So our bonding includes watching a spanish telenova and chatting during the commercials. 

It is a spanish program with english voiceovers (some of which have the funniest english voices). It is incredibly passionate and overly dramatic. It's now at the point that everything bad that can happen has already happened. There has been murders, shootings, kidnappings, drunks, car accidents, attempted suicides, mental hospitals, crime, backstabbing, sicknesses, surgeries, love triangles, marriages, divorces, affairs, money made, money lost, illegitimate children, lying, and evil mother-in-laws. (It reminds my of the OC where after the first season, I was convinced that the writers couldn't come up with any more drama since it had all happened. I was wrong. They just kept coming up with new crazier, story lines). One of the main characters, Max, has the worst of it all. It seems that everywhere he goes, he finds trouble whether his child has just been kidnapped or he finds out his real mother is actually alive or his other mother has breast cancer or his father has been cheating on his wife or his sister is now paralyzed or his other baby is not really his baby or his crazy wife is trying to kill him. I don't know how he doesn't go completely insane or throw himself off a bridge. 

But we love it. We love it because it is constant and we can follow along. We love it because of how cheesy it really is. We love the suspense (they end each episode with some dramatic event which means we must tune in the next night). We love that we can see the same actors on other tv shows on different channels. I guess they don't have much of a selection in Mexico so they have to use the same actors for everything. 

It will end soon I assume and some other soap opera will start (we loved the one that came on before this one. it was called Soy Tu Duena. No idea what that means but it was just as cheesy and dramatic). 

In the meantime, we will continue to follow along Max and Maria's twisted, dramatic lives. 

Holy Smoke!

It was the one thing I was dreading living here. 

And its happening. 

You see, our apartment faces behind the compound. It is much better than the other side which is right on the busiest street in our area. Being along the street is safer than living ndani (inside- meaning off the main road). However, it comes with its faults mainly the noise and dirt and little privacy. However, since our apartment is at the back of the compound, it was facing a large grass patch, and we have a relatively peaceful and quiet life. It is still a bit noisy (there is a school a little ways away and there is a pub downstairs) but nothing compared to the front. 

My prayer was that the beautiful patch of grass outside would stay that way for a while. I didn't want anyone to start building on it. 

But it is a beautiful space and the owner would be silly not to maximize it's use and get a good profit from it. 

So the building has begun. 

But before the building started, some of the guys thought it would be best to burn all the grass. BAD BAD idea. The small patch they burned pretty much smoked us into our apartment. I quickly closed all the windows and turned my fans on high. But the smoke just kept seeping through the windows. I was now starting to cough and my eyes were burning so I thought I should step out my front door into the corridor. However, the corridor has no roof and so smoke was entering from the top making it even more smoky than inside my little apartment. My neighbour ran out in her slippers thinking that the building was on fire. I assured her it wasn't but she was so furious that she went down to complain. In the meantime, I waited it out in my bathroom. It was the only place I could hide without my eyes burning from smoke. I sat on the toilet lid and played on my computer. 

I think my neighbour wasn't the only one with angry complaints. The fire was put out very quickly and the men were instructed to get out their machetes and start chopping the rest of the grass. When I looked out, only a very small patch of grass was burnt. I can't imagine how much smoke it would have created if the burnt the whole thing. 
The dry grass lit on fire so fast that you couldn't see the ground.

I couldn't even see out my window!! That's how bad it was! 

 The next morning we awoke to about 50 guys digging the holes for the foundation. That was the sound I dreaded to hear. 

After the first day, they had made some pretty good progress. They were noisy but they managed to get a lot done and not many returned the next day. Although nearing the end of the day, I could hear a bunch of yelling right outside my window. I think the guy who hired them all was refusing the pay them what he had promised. I would be pretty upset as well. 

I am happy that they are only building on that one side which means that I won't have any structure obstructing my view or cross breeze anytime soon (although I do pity the people on the other side of the building). Also, I think the noisiest part is over and they are going to now start lay bricks and allowing cement to dry. 

As I am typing this now, they have lit up some of the leftover grass again. Really?? I can feel the heat through my windows although now the wind is blowing the smoke away from my house. Phew! It's a good thing most houses are made of concrete here instead of wood that catches on fire so quickly! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heartbreaking and Heartwarming Stories

Kelvin comes home every night with a new story about the boys. After each practice, he usually has a conversation with one or two of them concerning things other than soccer. Sometimes he learns things that are absolutely heartbreaking and sometimes he hears stories that are heartwarming. I love when he comes home, we sit down to eat dinner, and he shares the stories with me.

A couple days ago he came home with a heavy heart. He had finally got the chance to sit and talk with certain young man on the team. Upon finding out who the boy's father was, Kelvin's heart broke. The father is a well known junkie in the community. His mother sells viazi (fried potatoes) and uji (a millet porridge) on the streets to support the family. Amazingly, the boy is incredibly healthy and even finished high school this year. Big up to the mama's in this community! But this is the story of so many youth in the communities who have fathers who are...duds. Complete duds. That's why Kelvin has such a heart to raise young men who will love their wives and children.

Then he told me of another story of one of our boys who was struggling to pay his rent yet neglecting to tell us. He had been running up and about trying to find work but just couldn't make ends meat. He hadn't paid rent in over two months and had a debt of $45. His landlord went and locked his door with all his stuff inside (hence why he wasn't practicing for weeks - all his gear was inside). So Kelvin sent someone to go pay the rent. Sometimes they just need a small break in life to get them going again.

However, the next night Kelvin came home with the sweetest news.

In August, we sponsored one of the boys to attend an agricultural school on the other side of the country. The boy lived with his mom who is a widow. She works hard to provide a life for her and her 3 boys. Right now, all of her sons are out of the house doing well for themselves. Since she had some extra space in her house and few extra pennies in her pocket, she decided to take in two of our boys. One of them we sponsored to go to art school so she just provides him a place to sleep and some food for his belly. But then she took another one in and put him into school! Yes, she took what little she had, took in some young man, and gave him a chance to do well for himself. Not only that, she put him in a Christian school where he does bible study every night! I am always amazed at the generosity of the people who have nothing. I love the 'Let's take care of each other' attitude so many people have in the community. We took care of her son and she took care of a couple of our 'sons'. Such good teamwork.

I am anxious to see what story Kelvin will come home with tonight.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


We finally went for our honeymoon! Since my family was here for a week after the wedding, we decided to postpone the honeymoon. Plus, December is high season and rates drastically drop in mid January. So finally, this weekend, we went for a honeymoon. 

The advantage of living in Mombasa is that we really don't have to go far to find some luxurious resort to honeymoon at. This place, Boko Boko, was maybe a half an hour drive from our house. Can't beat that. 

For my honeymoon, I didn't want to do a beach resort. I wanted a small cottage in the woods. We had looked into a place on the other side of the country in a large forest, but the drive there and the price of the place just wasn't what we wanted. I happened to stumble across this place online and loved it. It's not on the beach but the owner has created a little jungle with little huts inside. 

It is owned and run by a lady and her daughter from Seychelles. 

It was so lush inside!! 

 It has some funny cultural touches.

 We got this little, secluded cottage for ourselves. The inside was huge!! We were amazed.
 We had our own private patio where they served us food.
 And a pool! We were the only guests that weekend so we had the whole place to ourselves. 

 Kelvin is not a water baby like I am. He came in for about 3 minutes, got water up his nose, and called it quits. I just admired the beautiful surroundings and sat dangling my feet in the pool. 

On their website, we were told there were crocodiles and tortoises. I didn't really understand what they meant. I got there and couldn't see any crocodiles anywhere. Then one of the staff escorted us to their habitat (which happened to be directly behind our cottage). Seven huge crocodiles!

We even got to watch them being fed cow intestines dipped in blood. Yummy. 
Then the crazy caretaker jumped in to collect the remains!! He told us that the next day he was going to actually clean out the pond that they were swimming in while they were still in it. Scary!

 And then they had 3 gigantic tortoises. They totally freaked me out. They were about 200 years old and were brought to Kenya from Seychelles. Kelvin loved them.

 It took me a bit of warming up to get that close to them.

 The whole place had the most amazing butterflies! They fluttered all over the place amongst the jungle.

 We spent hours on our private little patio. I found an awesome book on my kindle while Kelvin looked up soccer stuff on his phone. So peaceful and perfect. 

We had such a relaxing time. We ate like royalty (who know the Seychelles have such good food!) and relaxing the quiet. 

Now back to reality! 

Like father, like son?

Kelvin and one of our boys, Lamlo, watching the game. Kelvin's influence extends to standing postures! Haha. I just thought it was a cute sight. 

 But I loved this picture! You see those papers in Kelvin's hands? Those are Lamlo's clinic card, ID of his guardian, and death certificate of his guardian! Can I tell you why this is so exciting? 

Well this year, Kelvin made it mandatory that all the boys have their birth certificates and IDs in order for them to play on the team. He wanted to push them to take initiative and get their lives in order. Plus, we want to play in some bigger leagues that require that each player has an ID of some sort. Now Lamlo is an orphan. He has no family members. His parents died a while ago and he is an only child. He somehow made it to Mombasa from his home across the country and manages to makes a small living for himself. However, when we told him that he needed an ID, he told us he wouldn't be able to get it. He doesn't have any of his own documents or even his parents death certificates. The best we could think of was that he could travel upcountry to meet with the chief of the area that he came from and see if he could vouch for him. We were prepared to pay his expenses as we know how much he wanted this. 

However, on wednesday he surprised Kelvin with all his documents! I guess he had been running up and about, missing practice, trying to get his stuff in order!! It was so awesome to see him take initiative and get his life in order. This ID doesn't just get him on the team but allows him to vote, get a job, go to school, etc. Its kinda a big deal! 

So the next day Kelvin took the application form to him (we actually keep copies of the form with us because we hand so many out). I am excited to see his ID! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Who is that chick playing out there?!

Can you spot her??

That is Ali, a fellow Canadian passing through Kenya. She is a friend of a friend and when she heard that we have a soccer team, she asked what she could do to help. She came loaded with a bag of soccer stuff for the boys and some other kids, something that we always need. Then she asked if she could practice with the boys. "You want to actually practice with them??!?" "Yeah, I do" she replied as if it was no big whoop.

Kelvin was tickled pink to have her come out. And let me tell you, she was fierce. I guess she plays on the provincial team in British Columbia and has even gotten chances to play on the national team. She plays for a big club back in Victoria, BC. So she's pretty darn good.  She held her own out there with those boys. I think they were pretty impressed. They kept saying, "Ah! ye in kali!" Ah! she is fierce! 

She came off the pitch at the end of practice with a smile on her face. She said it was probably the most intense practice she has had in a long time. She figures that if she was to practice like that everyday, her game would get even better.

Although, she was walkin' like a granny. I think she was quite sore. I bet her muscles are painin' today.

Way to go girl!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prince of where??

"I work for the Prince of Hanover."

"The Prince of where?!?"


I burst out laughing. Hanover? I have never even hear of Hanover.

He began to explain to me where it was in Europe and I just continued to giggle.

Have you seen the Princess Diaries? Well the movie is about a young teenage girl who discovers that she comes from a lineage of royalty in the country of Genovia, a country that she never knew existed.  Now, Genovia is a fictional country made just for the movie. So when this fellow mentioned to me that he works for the prince of Hanover, I immediately thought it was a fictional country he made up.

Turns out it is an actual place. (Maybe you are reading this and you already knew Hanover existed so don't laugh at me.)

Last night, Kelvin and I met up with a friends, Kayla, and her friend. They are both Canadians from Vancouver and have come to Mombasa for 2 days to visit. Kelvin really wanted to watch the Arsenal game and we wanted to eat so we went to a bustling beach bar just a little ways from where the girls were staying. Upon arriving at the gate, Kelvin met a guy who he had known from Kongowea. This guy was all blinged out with tiny dreadlocks. The guy also had two kenyan friends who were looking rather snazzy.

Because the place was packed, the three guys sat at our table. I got a bit uncomfortable thinking that they were going to make a move on the girls, but Kelvin reassured me they were harmless. One of the guys offered to buy everyone a round a drinks. All the men ordered beer and we got some sodas. Then the guy offered to buy us another round of drinks. Mighty generous of him. I was beginning to wonder where he gets all this money from. All 3 of the guys had their iPhones and high end cameras on the table. And then he orders another round of drinks (by that time us girls had had enough soda).

As the game ended we started chatting with one of them. That's when he brought up Hanover.

Apparently he works on the yacht for the Prince of Hanover. He grew up in Lamu where his grandfather was the governor. Lamu does attract some pretty high end people, including the Prince of Hanover and his wife, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who own three houses on the island. Having grown up around these people, they paid for his school fees and offered him a job. Now he lives a lavish life cleaning the yacht of royalty. He even showed us that he has the Princes' number in his phone. I guess they are good buddies.

He had some pretty cool stories. He told us that the Prince was set to come to Mombasa in a couple days where he would rent the whole wing of a hotel and have lunch with our new friend. Yah, the guy has got some money.

I actually went home and looked all this up because I didn't believe it (sounded a little bit too much like Princess Diaries). But it's true.

We thanked him for the drinks but he told us it was his friend buying them. We asked what his friend did.

"He is married to the daughter of the biggest share holder of Heineken."

Ah, now it makes sense. The 2 iPhones, eReader and 3 rounds of drinks didn't seem so absurd anymore.

We were all pooped and although these guys were fascinating, I was ready to get my head back into reality. It seemed all too glamourous for me. So we left and giggled all the way home about our interactions. I guess you never know who you are going to meet.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Glorious Washing Machine!

I caved in. 

I finally got my washing machine. I struggled for months whether or not to get one or to keep employing some mama who needs to feed her kids. When one of my friends offered to pay for it (and my family saw what a process it was just to have someone come wash my clothes) I decided that it was a good thing. 

Having someone come wash your clothes is not easy. Well at least not for me. Most families have a full time househelp (maid) who is able to wash clothes every day as well as just maintain the house. Since my house is so small, I have the time, and I don't have the money,  we don't have anyone who comes in and cleans our house. Therefore, we have to call someone to come wash all our clothes every week. 

Depending on the person, you have to prepare a head of time. We had a lady who liked to wash outside. That was great but there is no water source outside so we used to have to fill buckets and buckets of water and bring them outside for her. We couldn't leave her because if she ran out of water, we would have to fill up more buckets. It usually took her all day to do our clothes. I felt like I was babysitting her. 

Then we had another one who was quicker and less demanding but he liked  to wash in our bathroom. So for hours, we would have this man sitting in our bathroom washing clothes. I am so awkward that I wouldn't like to ask him if I could use the toilet. So I used to hold it till he left (sometimes like 3 or 4 hours!). 

I am not comfortable when people are in my house working. I like my space. I also don't feel comfortable leaving people in my house, so I always had to be present. And many of them couldn't speak english, so Kelvin always had to stick around as well to make sure everything was going well. Half of the time, they would show up late or not at all. Then I would be stuck with piles of clothes stinking up my house and going mouldy. 

On top of all that, it was getting mighty expensive. I am not sure if it is just that I am white or that the area we live in is a little more upscale, but we used to pay a lot for our clothes to get washed. I used to cringe whenever Kelvin would agree on a price. 

SO all of that saying that the decision to get a washing machine was the right decision for us! 

And it is glorious.

It's been quite the hassel getting it all hooked up. 5 days later and the fundi still hasn't finished. I have been frustrated so many times with the way they work and their funny little politics. 

But its all worth it. 

They literally had to bang through our cement walls to hook up more pipes. 

 Cement everywhere! It flew to all corners of my house. I am still trying to clean it all up. 

 I know this is random. The day the machine was all hooked up, we celebrated with Kraft Dinner! My family left me a few boxes that I am savouring. Kelvin doesn't think Kraft Dinner alone is real food so I added in some left over ground beef. But oh KD has never tasted so good! 

Ta da! There it is! LG Turbodrum wonderfulness. I stared so intently at it the first time I used it. Kelvin said to me, "Goodness! You would think you are a kid who has never seen one before." It has also inspired Kelvin to do more laundry! 

 I love the way it is done in like half an hour. I love that the clothes are barely damp when they come out (instead of completely soaked when washed by hands which only makes them smell if they don't dry fast enough). I love that we can turn it on before we go to bed. I love that we can chose when to wash clothes so if it is raining, we don't have to wash them. It is such a gift! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas for The Rehma Boys

First of all, I need to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated. I was so humbled by the amount of people who stepped up and gave for our boys. We managed to reach our target and even more! 

We planned to hand out the goods on Christmas eve. I was a little hesitant to be honest. I guess I just fear that the boys will feel like they are our 'charity cases' and that we give to them just because it makes US feel good. I always think it makes them feel like they are less than we are which is not what I want at all. I never want them to feel like the 'poor'. I want them to be our friends, sons, companions, community. So I was honestly feeling a little held back from doing this however, I prayed through it and asked God to go before me. 

Dad, Mark, Kelvin and I went to the supermarket in the morning. It happened to be the busiest day of the year as we struggled to push our way through the masses of people. We counted out 25 of every food item on our list. Kelvin and I had a budget of what we wanted to spend. It was funny because we actually barely reached the budget. We had a list of things we wanted to buy but we found that they didn't add up to the amount we were willing to spend. We kept coming up with things like, 'Oh yah and we can give them juice.' And then we would add juice and still have left overs. So the boys ended up getting a lot more than we thought they would.

Mark pushing the rice and cooking fat! 

Kobwa latched on to my dad. Now Kobwa doesn't even play for our team but is probably our biggest fan. He shows up to every game and practice. I used to see him and always high on something but these days he seems to be clean. Anyways, he is pretty much a part of the team so we asked him to come along as well.

The whole family assembling the food. While this was happening, Kelvin took the opportunity to talk to the boys about it. He wanted to explain to them that this was a small gesture of love. People sacrificed so that they could eat. He kept reassuring the boys that someone indeed cares for them even when it seems like no one is interested in them. 

Mallards, in Castlegar, had donated some socks for us so I thought it was a good time to give them out. 

Good little workers!

I told you Kobwa latched on to Dad. 

There they are looking awesome in their new team t-shirts. I did have a wonderful friends, Klark, offer to make them their own logo that is proudly displayed on their t-shirts. Now they can show up to games looking all official! 

I love that my baba is squeezed in the middle of them!!

Kasondra's family sponsors Eric to go to school. It was so awesome to have the two of them meet. 

Some pretty happy campers!

They walked home weighed down with tons of food. Ah, my heart rejoices!

So it's a bit of a sad story...I ended up missing the whole thing. Yah, I got stuck trying to send money to a relative. It was THE busiest day of the year so line ups were long and traffic was insane. The boys waited almost 2 hours for us and I wasn't going to make them wait for me just so I could witness it. Then who would it really be about?? It's all for them in the end. However, I did make it eventually and there were a couple who wanted to stick around to see me. I got the low-down from my family after it was all over. I am glad they got to experience it. 

At the end of the day, the boys were so grateful. I hope they are beginning to believe that they are indeed LOVED, and WORTHY, and PRECIOUS.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am resolving to....

I have never been one to make new year resolutions. I actually can't think of any that I have made...ever. So this year I didn't even bother thinking about it. Actually our new years celebrations included moving into our new apartment and passing out at 9:30pm with ear plugs in (so I couldn't hear any noise from the local pubs). However, there have been a few things rolling through my mind and that have been really pressed upon my heart to pursue this year. There are not so much tangible things (like lose 20lbs by the end of Jan) but are more lifestyle changes.

So here it goes.

1. Be a wife. I don't think I know what that all entails. I know I will make mistakes. I know that I will not be very 'wifey' sometimes. But I want to do the best that I can and figure out how this marriage thing is to work. Being less than 3 weeks married, Kelvin and I are just barely scratching the surface of married life. It's a big shift going from singledom (or being a spinster as my marriage license stated that I was) to the married world. I guess I just wanna keep my eyes focused on Jesus, submit to my husband, be the best helper and homemaker that I can be, and LOVE the Kelvinator with all that is in me.

2. Support my friends and family. I am not sure where this came from but right after the wedding, I felt a strong prompting to start focusing on the people around me. Over the years, I have had so many people support me. That doesn't just mean financially. But just 'being there' for me. Now, I want to 'be there' for my family and friends. I want to open my home to people who need a good chat, a free meal, a family atmosphere, or just a bed to sleep on. I want to attend funerals, graduations, birthday parties, and other events (like my friend Christine Ndela's listening party - will explain at the end). I want people to call me if they need help moving. I want to watch football games of our boys and visit their families and schools. I just want to 'be there' for the people in my life.

Last weekend we went to our good friend's, Senior, concert. He has a wonderful worship band and put on a worship session on January 1st. Once he realized we were there (as it is a shock for anyone to see us as everyone thinks we are 'busy' all the time), he was humbled. He even announced that we were there and asked Kelvin to come up and do the final prayer.

On Saturday we went to a funeral of one of the tenants in Kelvin's house. This particular lady was faithful in greeting me from her kiosk every time I walked through Kongowea. Unfortunately she died suddenly in her room last week and the funeral was on saturday. This wasn't my first choice of plans for the day (it was a beautiful day and we wanted to rent a car and drive around a little) but we felt we had to go. However, when we arrived, we were told that the burial happened 3 hours earlier than they thought it would so we missed the whole thing and she was already buried. Its practically unheard of that anything happens earlier than planned here in Africa.

And then yesterday we attend our good friend's, Christine Ndela, listening party. She is a famous musician here in Kenya and has just recorded her 2nd album. She gathered together her closest family and friends to preview the songs before she did the final editing for the album. She did a mini interview, sang a beautiful hymn and then let us listen to her album. Afterwards we celebrated with fresh mango juice, cake, and samosas. Can't wait to get a copy of that CD!

(Sorry about the dark lighting. I was too lazy to get up and find a good angle)
Our friend, Munga, did a little interview with her before we started listening to her music. It was wonderful to hear her heart and then journey it was to make this album. 

She gave us all these sheets to fill out as we listened to each song. We were to encourage her, give comments or critiques, and tell her what our honest opinions. I love that she sought the opinions and counsel of her close friends and family....although I didn't really understand any of the songs since they were all in swahili. I did my best. 
Can't wait for her to have her big album launch in a couple months! 

3. Bring Jesus into the centre of everything I do. A friend of mine posted this article on facebook just before new years. It really got me thinking. I am definitely one of these people that prioritize my life as 1. Jesus 2. Kelvin 3. Family 4. Work etc etc. And that is not bad but I find that often I put Jesus first yet don't know how to make Him the centre of everything else. What does it look like to put Jesus first in my home? Work? Marriage? I, especially, am good at reading, studying, preaching the bible. I have been in 'ministry' for a few years now. Yet, I struggle to bring Jesus into the other areas of my life. Or maybe I just don't what that looks like (maybe I am doing it). But that is my focus this year - to put Him at the centre. This year Kelvin and I will be working (yes, more of that venture later) and I want Jesus to work in and through me as we work. Yes, folks, a little new for me. I want Jesus to manifested in our workplace, in our daily chores, in our conversations, and in the small, seemingly mundane areas of our lives.

So now that these things are on the big wide web, I guess I am a little more accountable to them. I know I will fall sometimes. Yet I am excited to see His kingdom grow in and around me!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

...and the two shall become one flesh.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
 and the two shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

One flesh, that is what we are now. Hard to believe but so amazing. One of the we things learned in marriage counselling was the concept of 'oneness'. Kelvin and I are now one. And that doesn't mean just physically but emotionally, mentally, situationally, etc. We are to share in time, resources, emotions, material possessions, family, goals, aspirations, finances, etc. I love the 'oneness'. I love that I am no longer an independent person, but one that is attached to another human being on so many levels. It's nice to have a companion.

On to the wedding day...

It really is the day every girl dreams of. Mine was perfect. Of course there was hiccups but it didn't matter in the end. I loved every minute of it.

Some of the highlights of the day:

  • having the groom and groomsmen come for breakfast. I know its tradition that the bride and groom don't see each other but Kelvin and his guys were staying in our new apartment that had nothing in  it except one bed. So I had my lovely ladies help whip up a nice breakfast for them. It was the perfect start to the day. 
  • Relaxing (Yes, I was relaxed) at the resort with my family as we all slowly got ready. 
  • Having my mother do my hair and make up. She cried for almost the whole process. 
  • Walking down the aisle, listening to my friend play my song on the guitar, and having my dad hand me over to Kelvin. 
  • The quick ceremony (practically unheard of in Kenya)
  • All the colours. The garden we got married in was simply stunning. Add to that the mixture of people and all the different clothes, it was simply beautiful. 
  • Being welcomed at the ceremony by more singing and dancing. 
  • The food! It was amazing. 
  • The cake was even better. 
  • Seeing all our boys, looking their best, acting like princes at a fancy party. 
  • Our first dance. (I was a bit nervous as it is a known fact that white people have no rhythm but I did pretty well. I think I shocked a few people). 
  • Being surrounded by Kelvin's family, my family, and all our good friends all in one place. 
  • The breeze off the ocean made it the perfect temperature. 
  • Kelvin's aunties bringing us clay pots and Kelvin placing them on my head (still don't understand but it was so much fun). 
  • DANCING! Yes, there was loads of good dancing. I remember just looking up and being surrounded by my good friends, my family, Kelvin's sweet siblings, and our boys as we all danced. I just delighted in having such wonderful people in my life celebrating all in one place. 
  • The final hours. The party died down but the band kept playing. Our families and a few friends were the last ones there. I got to just sit and talk with my family while the band played and the breeze came off the ocean. The lights twinkled in the palm trees and a few souls were dancing. It was perfect. 
  • Kelvin and I and Munga, the best man, were the last ones at the party after everyone left. We just chatted and winded down before Kelvin and I left together. 
I had 4 goals for the day: 
1. Get married 
2. Eat good cake 
3. Dance to good music 
4. Have fun.

I accomplished my goals, that's for sure. 

Instead of posting all the photos, my album is open on facebook. You can click here to see them.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Wedding In Kongowea

Traditionally, for weddings on the coast, there is a kesha the day before the wedding at the home of the bride or groom. Since our wedding was invite only (so half of Kongowea wouldn't show up), Kelvin wanted to do the kesha so the community could come celebrate with us. I stayed out of it while him and his family organized the whole thing. All I had to do was show up. 

I have to admit that it was a blast! 

The bride (and her family) are welcomed by singing, dancing and piga vigelegele (making noise with their tongues like cheering) by the women of the family. All the ladies in the above photos are relatives of mine, with Kelvin's mom joyously singing in the middle (with the white top.) 

I got big hugs from all my family as I got out of the vehicle. My family also got big hugs as the ladies continued to dance and sing. Then I was ushered into the house. 

Kasondra is such a trooper. I don't think she knew what to expect when we arrived.

As I was walking into the house, the ladies covered me with lessos as to hide my face from the groom. I guess the groom is not suppose to see me until the actually wedding. I was a bit confused..I thought this was only a muslim tradition but I guess not. Finally, my dear Aunty came and pulled off the lessos and told me, "well its just tradition but it doesn't mean much to us!" Ha. 

So there was a huge party with tons of people...and my family and I got to sit in our own room by ourselves. It was rather ironic that the party was celebrating ME and yet I didn't even get to interact with people. My parents thought it was especially weird. But we ate and were grateful! Kelvin was in the room next to us with strict orders to stay in there and not come out to see me. 

Then we danced inside with the ladies! 
And my family all got to go outside and dance for everyone.

SO happy the Ronos could make it even for this event!

Baba loved the dancing. I was told she danced more than any of my family. 

Meanwhile, I was stuck inside. I could hear all the music and cheering and laughing but wasn't aloud out. Again, I thought it was weird that it was MY party and yet I couldn't really do much. Kelvin snuck out of his room and went dancing. He even came and said hi to me, but then his granny scolded him.

I am so amazed the way the community pulled together for us. They were the ones who made this all happen. I love that the men are the ones serving the food. They are pretty efficient with their long lines of handing over plates. The boy in the middle is on our team. He just came home for holidays after being in an agriculture school in Eldoret. He came back a changed man. He also got to see the Ronos who work for the same organization as his school. It was a really cool reunion.

Some hungry men! 

On the left is Kelvin's youngest sibling, Diana (who has a twin brother). And on the right is Kelvin's niece. I always wanted sisters. Now I have six!
Granny herself! The whole shindig went down at her place. Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling great so she hid in her room. She didn't even make it to the wedding the next day. It was too bad as she was one of the people most excited for us. 

The food is dished out on these big plates and handed out to people. One dish serves 2-3 people who sit on the floor (or on the dirt) and eat it with their hands. Saves a lot on cutlery and dishes...just gotta make sure your hands are clean..and the hands of the person you are sharing the plate with. 

I think Mom and Dad were really touched by the whole event. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into but they totally enjoyed themselves. I think they were more content knowing that I have a family and community that will take care of me.