Sunday, October 3, 2010


I went to lunch at one of the teacher's houses today. She is a lovely woman and an amazing cook. She made pilau, a rice and meat delicacy that's become one of my favorites. Afterward, I went with a friend to a music event at a local Catholic church. The event was awesome, the music was great and I felt like I was really connecting with people. However, I realized something today. I am stingy.

A couple people kept asking to borrow my pen. I would lend it but always ask for it back........not so much because I thought people would steal but because I have a tendency to leave things behind (scatter-brained, absent minded person that I am) and I'm really paranoid about losing things. However, I realized the messages my reluctance conveyed: that I'm cheap, stingy, selfish and distrustful. In the end, I freely gave it, simply because I realized the mistake of my attitude.

It did make me think about something. Here in Kenya, yes, people do ask for money. Yes, we all have been ripped off at the market place. Yes, Nairobi has nicknames like Nairobbery. At the same time, that doesn't begin to convey the truth I have found here, in that most Kenyans I know are disarmingly generous. Children who had nothing and were trying to sell jewelry gave me one for free as a gift, without expecting me to purchase anything in return. A lady I work with cooked me the most delicious lunch and consistently shares everything she has with me. People here have given me time, food, gifts, and warm welcomes just for the fact that they are hospitable people. They trust me with everything, including their children (this one worries me a lot, actually. More later).

Who am I to hold back the smallest and most insignificant of my possessions?

I tend to keep up a wall when there's no reason for one. I hope this will always remind me that I don't need such heavy armor.

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