Saturday, 15 February 2014

"Everybody needs good neighbours..." Know the tune?

I'm hearing of record-breaking floods, ice-storms and that snow has fallen, snow on snow. Time to lift the mood. Meet some of my neighbours.
Meet Patience, daughter to a couple who are teaching at the school. The grin says it all.   
Her parents, John and Inviolate Oyugi, invited me round for chapattis at 2pm, which extended (somehow) to 630pm. Sitting on plastic chairs in the sunshine. Definitely mustn't grumble! John's pretty chilled out on a Saturday. Inviolate was cooking in cramped, oven-like conditions, but came out smiling.

Jim and Laura are my 'go to' people for advice and practicalities. Jim (below) coordinates all the building projects, from digging toilets, to building entire schools. Gifted, quiet, witty guy, with masses of experience. Commands the respect of his workers.
Laura, like Jim, is the model professional: hard-working, wise and kind. I caught her during a rare break from preparing lessons for the secondary school, baking delicious pastries. Smelt so good!
Noor (below) and myself share the same illness - we're both Man Utd fans. Still wondering why we trudged across the desert to watch our beloved team play out a 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday night. Because of time differences, the match ended here at a little before 1am. Beautiful moonlit night to walk back and talk about the game.
Like Noor, his wife, Lisa, speaks excellent English. Dowate is one of their daughters, pictured below.  

I teach their son, Lowa (pictured below, left) for ten lessons per week. My Sunday lunchtime tradition is to eat with Lowa and Chulayo (below, right). Then we read some Bible. These aren't your usual teenagers: they know that poverty is always under the surface in the outlying villages, so have just started taking food to the neediest people they know and then they preach.
In the words of Psalm 82v3:
Give justice to the poor and the orphan; 
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and helpless...
They're off to another village tomorrow morning.
To stop this being an endless blog post, allow me to be brief with the remaining photos of a few other folks who live a stone's throw away...
 Below you can see the (ever-smiling) Head teacher (Letipo), followed by his four kids, then Joyce (his wife), expecting a fifth child next month. She is standing with the school librarian.

There are a few pastors living just around the corner: first up, we have Pastor Jamhuri (wife & 4 kids not pictured here); secondly, Pastor David (wife & numerous children also not in the shot... apologies); and finally a teacher from school, Lesarge, and his new wife, Esther. Plenty of houses flowing with chai and conversation.

Back home, I knew almost nothing about my neighbours. I mean, do you know many of your neighbours? Any? Such is the busyness of life in England, individualistic cultural patterns, alongside that good old British reserve, I never really got beyond, "Good morning." Shame on me.
These days, I'm feeling thankful to be part of such a closely-knit community.

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