(only kidding, employers and mom and dad)
Shalom! How are the bones? (That's a common greeting here.) My bones, and the rest of me, our good, actually. (Bli ayin hara poo poo poo.)
Did I ever tell you about the time that Molly and I were stuffed into an overcrowded matatu filled with people and bananas and it was time for our stop and the only way out was through the back window? And that I'm not as bendy as the Africans and so it took a whole crowd of passersby to pull me out from the other side? Good times.
Did I ever tell you about the time that my father got knocked to the ground by a motorcycle? That he was crossing the street and looked both ways, but in the American order? That was funny. (Right, daddy? Even you laughed.)
Did I tell you about the time that a group of men offered to buy me for the price of the cow? But that happens all the time.
But those are all things of the past (except for the offering of the cow-dowry).
This time around, I am a visitor. Not a tourist, mind you--I ride the bodaboda bicycles even like an African woman now, side saddle and all. I even eat the skin of the mango that the kids throw down from the trees. And I'm not even buying souvenirs this time.
I have spent my last week and a half visiting friends all over the region. Since many of you know the people here, I'm going to do a bit of name-dropping, so skip this if they are just names to you:
I have spent about 1/2 my time at Hadassah with my children and a little bit of time on top of the hill reviewing the Passover Hagadah with the older youth. On my way down the hill, I have visited M'zee (old man) Nehemiah, who has a vanilla and coffee plantation (though I'll bet the Ugandans have never though to make a french vanilla cappachino). Further down the hill is Majuma who insisted I come in for tea and boiled eggs. I spent a night in Nasenyi visiting Jacobo and Norah and saw the team of oxen, Mike and Rene, hard at work. I also visited Israel Kilya's family in Nasenyi, but he was in Kampala. I've spent a few nights at the Putti yishuv where I intend on returning for shabbat. I went to Samson's and Dinah's house near town for a quick coke and saw their new baby. I've also visited Naume's new shop a few times. Oh, and of course dinner at Yael's, but unfortunately Yael had to be in town at the hospital with Sarah (not me), so it was cassava with Susan and the other kids. I've been to Namatala twice to visit Buete and Leah, and also Rachel Modundo, Nathan, and Maxwell. And last night Rachel M. and I journeyed to a small village ("This is REALLY a village," says Rachel.) near Namutumba where Mama, Papa, Grandma, and Grandpa Abraham live. I had never met them before and both parties were excited to meet the other--it was a big Abraham-fest (kinda like the Faust-a-thon, but not).
No one understands that I like my tea without sugar. And when I tell them that I like my tea like I like my men--big, black, and strong--they don't get that either. Hmm.
Last shabbat was spent praying and playing. This shabbat will be the same, but I have lots of studying and teaching planned also.
Some high school kids decided they wanted to go to Namutumba to help Pesach clean, so the 2 Israeli volunteers from the top of the hill and I are hiring Samson and his new van to take them there.
From there I will go to Kampala and then Entebbe and Monday morning I depart.
Yesterday evening I prayed in a grove of banana trees, their big leaves shielding me from the drizzling rain. Today I walked across a marshy rice paddy and through fields of millet and sorgum. I ate fresh roasted peanuts and drank tea while my hosts and I discussed the magic of airplanes and tractors. Those things ARE magic, I told them, but so are these things here in Africa--their own means of survival are slim but they are happy. And they have never heard of homelessness. Everyone has a roof and everyone has a family.
And during this visit here, all have made it clear that I am family too. Awww.
Wow. I'm truly in love.
Chag Kasher V'Sameach! Next year in Jerusalem!
P.S. To continue reading about my journeys, check out http://sarinthecity.blogspot.com