This Is A Made-Up Conversation
Living in Kenya you find out quickly what things you should share about your life and what you should not. For instance, I am rarely from America any more when I’m out of my site. I am instead, Canadian. Its easier… for some reason. Here is how it goes:
Kenyan: Unatoka Wapi? (Where are you from)
Kenyan: Sawa (Ok)
OR it can go like this
Kenyan: Unatoka Wapi?
Kenyan: Ooooo American! Nipe (give me) –>; Water, Sweets, A Wife/Husband, Address for my visa, first born child…. Everything.
Needless to say, everyone is happier when I am Canadian. I can get work done easier and don’t have to ruin my first time meeting someone with a bunch of “No, you can’t haves.” It never stops there though. Eventually you get to the point where Kenyans start making up your life stories too. People here like to tell me how many children I am going to have and what their names will be (always their name). They love to pick out my next home and even sometimes my second husband. It’s always easier to play along. I give them back a lot of “Eh’s” and laughs and it appeases them. Recently, though I did get perturbed with an instance of this.
We were on safari with 8 of our friends. Relaxing at the hotel/tent city in our chairs, drinking wine and talking about all the crazy things we had seen that day. A man approaches. Silence. He is just standing there… So we start the simple Swahili greetings. When we are out of those and there is no way he is leaving (as is culture here) we start into more in depth discussion like work and family… things we can still say in Swahili. So then he retorts with questions for us. When he found out Brett and I were married and didn’t have children he was shocked. This is typical. Then we start discussing how many children I should have. Him and Brett were in cahoots about me having 12 kids. They loved this idea. I kept saying no, obviously :) I wanted 4 children. That was plenty, plus I am getting old. But no 12 was the number that kept being pushed at me… well I started to get a little irritated. It wasn’t a big deal… but at the first sign of a snippy remark Rachel turns to me and says “Brittany, this is a Made-Up Conversation – You can’t get mad at this.” Which is true. I laughed… and then laughed harder. Eventually we all laughed until we cried with the poor little Masaai Man wondering what the heck was going on. This instance wasn’t that funny, but its the first time someone brought to light how many things we pretend about here just to make it through the day.
Christmas wasn’t an exception… I thought it would be a fantastic idea to incorporate everyone’s most favorite tradition into our beach vacation. But it turned out to be simpler and better for everyone if it didn’t happen at all. I’m not even sure if I heard a Merry Christmas from anyone but Brett. We were all bummed about it. So we just pretended that it was another day and let it pass us by.
This entire month has been the same. We have been tourist for most of it and always from different countries with sometimes fake names. We have enjoyed ourselves and now that it is coming to and end we are all well rested from the village life and I think it is safe to say we are all looking forward to going back to site. We will bring in the New Year together on the beach hopefully dancing too hard and staying up until sunrise. We will start off 2013 the right way!
Posted on December 30, 2012, in 1st Year!!!, Peace Corps and tagged Africa, Blogging, Christmas, Culture, Dancing, Family, Friends, Humor, Kenya, Life, Love, Marriage, New Years, Peace Corps, Story. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.