Friday, July 2, 2010

Venturing Out

Today the girls and ventured out by foot to do some shopping at the local market. We discovered a few days ago that they folks around our neighborhood are saying that our house is occupied by a bunch of tourists who are coming and going, so we wanted to show our faces in the community to let them know that we are slightly more permanent than tourists. A couple of days ago we did a walk through of a loop just outside of our neighborhood so that I could see where it goes and so that some of the folks in the community could see the face of this white woman with locals. It was the beginning of building relationships in the community. So today I put it to the test.

I strapped my baby girl on my back, grabbed a basket and the older girls, and we headed out. Our streets are all dirt roads, very rough and very dirty. As we leave the gates of our neighborhood, we are greeted with strange looks and whispers of , "mzungu! mzungu!," which simply means "white person." The streets are littered with all kinds of trash. At one point, my oldest asked me why there were so many old shoes left on the ground. Then she asked me why people leave their trash on the ground, because she knows that isn't wise. Oh boy, that began a discussion as we walk of different values and priorities and that sometimes people are not taught to value the same things that she values. And on we went. So the street outside of our community is lined with shanty little kiosks made of old wood. Some have bags of beans and rice and maize sitting out front. Another has a few crates of brown eggs. Most have bananas hanging from them, big green and yellow ones, and also the tiny sweet yellow bananas. Those are 5 kenyan shillings each, and so yummy. One kiosk has oranges, mangos, and avocados all neatly laid out in an appetizing display, with green, leafy vegetables behind them. I discovered today that I could buy a bag of greens already chopped up into tiny shreds. That was a brilliant discovery and came in handy at dinnertime!

We made our way to the local neighborhood "supermarket"to see what they had to offer. It consisted of three very tight aisles cram-packed with all sorts of things. So we grabbed a basket and began to work our way through it. It was tough to do with the baby on my back, as the aisles were just wide enough for us to walk through, with all sorts of tempting things on either side for her sweet baby hands to grab. So we moved quickly and I just kept turning from side to side to keep things out of her reach. We were able to buy bread, butter, detergent, rice, and napkins at this supermarket, and I was quite pleased to discover that it was remarkably cheaper than driving to the big supermarket at the shopping mall where we had been doing our grocery shopping. As we wormed our way around the other locals who were shopping there, we paid for our goods and moved on out the door. We had step over an old dog covered in flies and dirt to get through the doorway, and then crossed the bumpy dirt road to buy some produce.

I stopped at a couple of kiosks to buy bananas and greens, more so that I could meet the ladies selling them. Then we stopped at a little restaurant (here they call them hotels) to grab some lunch to take home. This is our version of a fast food take-away, but much healthier than McDonalds. We like the beans and chapati (something in between a tortilla and Indian fry bread-love it!) there, so we ordered our lunch and waited. They serve up an order of beans in a thin plastic bag with the end tied in a knot, and the chapati is folded over and placed in the same sort of bag. We paid our bill of 140 shillings (under $2), gathered our goods and headed home to eat lunch.

I am waiting a few more days for my hands to heal before I give the laundry another go. I am trying to not wait too long, otherwise the load will be huge and will surely lead to bloody hands. Evidently, though, my technique is part of the problem, so I have to refine how I hold the clothes and wash them. None the less, the scabs are still a bit fragile, so I will give them another few days. Needless to say, my standard of dirty clothes has changed drastically. If the clothes are not standing up on their own yet, they are still clean. Hahaha! No, seriously.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. Blessings yall! Thank you to those who are praying for us and have sent encouraging words. They have been needed, and have been well received here.

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  1. Danielle FranciscoJuly 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    So true about the clothes Shauna. I can't believe what I was willing to wear in India that I wouldn't have touched here at home. As long as it was partially dry and didn't repel people away from smell alone, it was on my body! I miss those little sweet bananas, they have those in India as well as the chapati bread. Oh the little everyday joys of living overseas. Keep us up to date. Loving the blogs!!

  2. I think of you and your family often. Ecuador has those little bananas, we call them "oritos". I could eat my weight in them!!! Praying you can answer all the questions your kids have for you (that can be tough sometimes) and they soak it all up. When I think of you I shoot up a prayer... and that is often.

  3. I would love to see photos of the market place, but I suppose that would be a totally TOURIST thing to do...carrying a camera to go grocery shopping!
    Much love!


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