Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rafiki

I can't believe it, but it has been a month since I left for Kenya. Sadly memories are already fading, the sting of was I experienced is starting to heal and I've already talked about the trip enough for it to sound redundant to me, did I make it all up?

Crazy how life keeps moving on.

The tears come less frequently now, but a bit more surprisingly. I was in the car driving to the kids school thinking about an email I had received from a very special guy in Kenya and I sobbed. I sobbed so much I felt stupid.

I'm thinking that my time telling stories is not done yet. I'm fearful of leaving something important out, maybe never to remember it again.

Plus you have not met my peeps yet..you know, my Kenyan peeps.

Let me tell you about Beatrice...

I'm not sure what drew me to her or why we started chatting, but we liked each other very quickly. In the first few minutes I learned that she was the newest teacher at the Mulundi Primary school and she had just moved from the beautiful coastal town of Mombasa to the village with her new husband.

It's funny to say this, but it was like she just kinda walked over and opened her heart up to me right away.

It was a little bit of amazing, beautiful and scary all wrapped up into one smiling Kenyan woman.

On our last full day in the village, I was at the school to shoot some more pictures, we were waiting (always with the waiting!) for a few children, I turned to her..

"Beatrice, what is the word in Swahilli for friend?" Only she did not understand..so I looked to the others around me and asked them..

"What is the word in Swahilli for friend??" Everyone is looking back at me..blank stares, lots of mumbling (as was the norm for me) finally someone says..

"RAFIKI!!"

"Yes, Rafiki!" I say.

Literally applause breaks out.

I look to Beatrice, she is just beaming, moved.

"You are my rafiki." I say as I take her hand.

A moment passed between us, and as I cheesy as it might sound (and I know it does) it was like we had known each other for decades, like she had always been apart of my life.

She said, "I have always wanted a friend from far away and now I have one."

Someone snapped a photo...



I love this photo (ok with the exception of my face) (and let's talk about how much of my PRIDE I had to put aside to post this picture here)(really peeps you should be proud of me). When I first saw the photo I was surprised how relaxed I looked, everything about my body language shows that I'm happy. My feet loose, hips cocked to the side, my arm casually swung around a lady I had known for maybe 2 days. In Kenya people don't touch much, there is very little public affection, my favorite part of the picture is how she is holding my hand. We wanted to be close to each other, and you can see it. Amazing.

Today if I could, I would tell Beatrice that in her simple act of such open love and trust, she taught me more than I have learned in a very long time.

That even though she thought herself the lucky one, I'm pretty sure the luck ultimately landed with me.

9 comments:

Jamie R Maupin said...

GREAT post Amber!

Junebug Furniture and Design said...

Here's one peep that thinks you look beautiful as well as your friend! Very touching story, LOVE it!

XO Glad & Cel

Julene said...

Thank you Amber for sharing your rafiki story!! It really blessed me this morning.

Heather Simon said...

Love this story!

Valerie said...

Another fabulous heartwarming story!

Beth E-R said...

Another brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart post!

GardenGirl said...

so sweet. made my day.
deb ;)

tinkerverve said...

It reminds me so much of a pastor's wife that I spent a week with in a remote village of Paraguay. Our lips didn't speak the same language but our hearts did...I cried when I left her.

Wendy B said...

I think I might say this everytime..You are amazing.
And you do look relaxed!