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The Browns – Tom, Ali, Crescena, Bez, & Ber
February 15, 2012 12:19 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Today we were put into teams of 4-10 and went downtown in Machakos (the town in which we are doing our orientation) to relate and interact. We walked to the main road to catch a Matatu into town (Matatu: a white van that picks people up; between a taxi and a bus.  Its like a taxi because there are no set pick up and drop off points, but it is like a bus in that you do not call for it; you just stand on the side of a main road and wait for one to come; but they are NOT on a set schedule like a bus).  Once in town, we went to a restaurant first; most of the table ordered a hamburger, but were told there was no beef.  Many of the sodas on the menu were also not available.  Because there were no hamburgers, we decided to split chickens.  Tom and I ordered a grilled chicken, and the other three in our group ordered deep fried chicken.  When the chickens came, they were exactly the same- fried; but not breaded and fried, just fried. One of the girls went to the bathroom (I am glad I didn’t have to go) as she said it was just a hole in the ground and you had to dip a cup in a bucket of water to wash your “business” down.  This was the first set odd encounters.

After lunch we walked around the market.  Most of the people selling in the market were women.  And, there were 100+ people selling (picture a farmers market on the ground).  I (Ali) grew up in Pleasanton and loved the Farmers Market. However, in California, most of the “farmers” sell different produce.  At the market we went to today; most of the farmers sold the same thing (ie one would have potatoes and onions; the next would have mango and potato; and the next would have potato, onion, and mango; etc).  There were lots of potatoes, green oranges, TONS of mangos, cabbage, onion, garlic, grapes, plums, etc.  My favorite was the avocado… selling for less then 10 cents when you convert shillings to US dollars.  It was hard to know who to buy from when 25+ people had the same thing.

What was the most fascinating was how many of the women asked to hold Crescena.  The children at church wanted to hold Crecsena, but most of the white children doing orientation with us also love to walk around holding Crescena like a live baby-doll.  Having young and old women just grab for your child in the market was a new experience.  Think about it, what would you do if the person you were trying to buy corn from at your local farmers market grabbed for your baby?  It’s just foreign that as we looked at the fruit, they would ask for or grab for the baby.  Crescena usually cries, as she does not like to be held by strangers at this point.  We were sent out with questions to help us relate, but, with a baby, we didn’t need the questions.  Three women were sitting on a bench on the side of the road as we left the market; they called us over and asked to hold Crescena and within minutes several other women had come out of shops to be included in the passing of the baby.  The picture (above) is of Crescena and one of the women that came out to hold her.  This particular picture was taken because the lady holding Crescena had a friend take a picture on her phone; because she was taking a picture, I felt comfortable doing the same.  There are so many sights I would like to catch on camera and share, but I feel uncomfortable taking pictures as if the people here are a spectacle or an exhibit.  So, I tend to shy away from snapping photos.  I wish I could capture the smells, sounds, and sights for you though.  The sounds are usually pleasant, the smells usually not so much. = )

On the whole, it was nice to be out in the town.  We spend most of our days in a large spare room, sitting in a chair, listening to presenters.  It was a welcome break to walk around and interact.

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