Kelvin's Mom and twin sisters arrived this morning at our house. This is a BIG thing. Culture says that we are not suppose to stay under the same roof with her because we are married. Due to circumstances, we have had to sleep under the same roof with her a few times so far. In April we visited her upcountry and, to my surprise, we were not allowed to sleep in the same bed under the same roof. So I slept on the floor with his two sisters and he slept on the couch beside me. We are suppose to build our own little mud hut somewhere else on the property that we stay in when we visit. We don't have the money (or the will) to do that right now.
We invited his mom to come to Mombasa for Christmas and stay with us. He had to ask her if she was allowed to stay with us. She agreed and now she is sitting next to me on the couch.
Let me just say right now how THANKFUL I am for our new apartment that has so much space that I don't feel totally overcrowded and overwhelmed. I like my space.
Kelvin's mom came from the village with a variety of things that my mother would never bring. Here are just a few:
- a large chicken to eat for Christmas. The chicken is alive. It's tied up on our porch.
- 2 smaller chickens to give to Kelvin's brother who wants to start breeding chickens. They are in a box on the porch.
- fake hair she bought so that her daughter could braid her hair.
- a whole sack of vegetables from her garden including sweet potatoes, maize, and beans - lots of beans.
- CD's and DVD's of church choirs and gospel artists from her area. She doesn't have electricity let alone a TV so she never gets to watch them.
- a VERY small suitcase of clothes (Mom, it is possible to pack light...)
None of this surprised me. I would actually have been a bit sad if she didn't bring a chicken for Christmas.
I find Kenyans make pretty easy guests. They are really independent and don't need a lot of entertaining. Kelvin's sisters are busy making supper right now (can I get an amen?) while his mom is super content sitting on the couch watching her videos. We can leave them at home all day and they will be fine on their own. Because of the language barrier, we don't have the most vibrant of conversations but that will come in time.
All in all, I am grateful for the large pile of sweet potatoes on my floor and having our house full of sweet family.