Monday, September 03, 2007

Memories


twenty years ago this week i landed in a strange land...
me, who had never been on a plane, never needed a passport, arrived in kenya for a year's teaching at a bible college in machakos - a small town an hour's drive south of nairobi.
aged 23 i was fearless... of course the stranger i'd met the year before at a international prayer conference in london was who he said he was - the vice-principal of a bible college; of course there was a teaching post waiting for me; of course i wasn't going to get sick - i'd had all my injections...
indeed this was to be one of the best years of my life - i had my own little house on the temperate, shady college compound - with a 'proper' bathroom - the water came on twice a day for an hour; i learnt i could make up a curriculum from scratch in a week; i travelled the country on buses and in the back of a friend's pick up - lake victoria, mount kenya, the tea plantations of limuru; mombasa - three times!!; mount kilimanjaro; and numerous small villages i never knew the name of, but i knew the humbling hospitality of students' families who always put on a feast - and sent me home with armfuls of gifts...
and to top it all off, i met nick - all the way from california working with a water charity... all very Out of Africa... could it really be twenty years ago????
i bought this oil painting from a street vendor in nairobi the last week of my stay. i nearly didn't buy it - the cost would keep my kenyan friends in food for a month... but i knew i needed a reminder of all those market days in the town - all the colours, smells, noises... and yes, the money would keep the artist's family in food for the next month!
it hangs in our front room - as it has hung in all our front rooms both in california and in england - a daily reminder of the adventures we both had that year, all the beautiful sights we saw, all the precious friends we met...
and a reminder that everyone knows whose been to africa - whether you contract malaria or not (thankfully we didn't!!!) - africa gets in your bloodstream, and it is with you for the rest of your life...

12 Comments:

At 8:08 am , Blogger Fuchsia Girl said...

Morning Claire, thanks for sharing your memories this Monday morning. I can almost smell and taste the African markets right here on the Isle of Mull. Have enjoyed reading your blog and following your progress. With love & light Jane X

 
At 10:37 pm , Blogger judie said...

The painting is wonderful. What a treasure you have to remind you of the good work you did, and the brave adventures of youth! Ah youth. It's the only thing in life I have ever missed.

 
At 11:02 pm , Blogger MissKoolAid said...

What a wonderful experience this must have been! I'm almost jealous. ;-) Thanks for sharing this wonderful story from your past with us.

 
At 12:24 am , Blogger KaiBlueCreations said...

I think the painting is a way for you to travel on a day when you might not leave home.. I have many little things about mine that make me smile and rememeber when I see them.. and that makes them worth the price paid to me..
It's lovely Claire.
Peace, KAi xxx

 
At 12:51 am , Blogger Sunni said...

Such a beautiful painting and such and awesome history to have.
Thank you for sharing that and for stopping by my blog.
I loved your art work blog also.
Sunni

 
At 1:06 am , Blogger Kikipotamus said...

Neat. Not many people have taken such a big bite out of life. Who's Nick?

 
At 3:25 am , Blogger Carla said...

What a beautiful painting, Claire -- and what a year that must have been! Going to Africa is at the very top of my list. Do you think you'll ever visit again?

 
At 3:32 am , Blogger zorana said...

That was adventurous! What a great way to meet your love! I enjoyed reading about it. The painting is beautiful... and so meaningful now that we know how you got it. xo

 
At 3:06 am , Blogger Patti said...

What a wonderful adventure. So glad you DID decide to buy the painting. Priceless memories.

 
At 9:29 am , Blogger miss*R said...

you are an amazing woman, Claire! Love this story xoxo

 
At 7:47 am , Blogger mrsnesbitt said...

What a lovely inspiring post. Adventures eh?
Great that you can leave comments on my blog again! Great stuff!

 
At 9:59 pm , Blogger Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Claire.. your story is simply ENCHANTING... I have always wanted to see the picturesque parts of Africa but have been afraid to ever venture to that part of the world with all the civil unrest.

You are a brave and WONDERFUL SOUL dear one... I think of you often and pray for a speedy recovery.

xo!

 

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