Three American volunteers stayed with me this weekend in Meru. I was a little nervous about entertaining guests in someone else's house, but Stephen told me, "This is your home now too."
While waiting for our lunch at Sherlock's Den we spotted a group of mzungus, who on closer inspection turned out to be firefighters.
"I've seen them before!" I said. "I was driving back from Makena and all of a sudden there were like ten mzungus in firefighter uniforms walking down the street next to me." I was slightly tempted to shout "mzungu!" at them like everyone does to me. It isn't very often that I see other mzungus around town.
"They're on our turf. Well, they're on your turf" said one of the volunteers to me.
"I wonder why they're here. Go ask!" another volunteer said to one of the boys.
"No, I'm not just going to chase them into Nakumatt and ask what they're doing here."
"I know!" said the third volunteer "You can pretend to reach for the same thing as them and 'accidentally' touch their hand, and then ask."
"Or we could just start a fire?"
"But what if they aren't actually firefighters? Then we'll have a fire and no answers."
"We can put a cat in a tree?" I offered.
"Yes, great idea! But there aren't any cats around here, how about a dog?"
This went on for a few more minutes until one of the firefighters walked by our table and a volunteer got up the courage to ask him. Apparently their firehouse back in the UK had some old fire engines, so they shipped them to Kenya. Wow. "I think they just wanted to feel good about themselves" said one of the volunteers. "How are they going to maintain them?" wondered another.
Nonetheless, still a nice gesture. They're here for a week or two training local firefighters as well.
That night on our way through the parking lot to Simba Wells, a bar/club in town, we passed...a fire engine. They drove a fire truck to the bar! After crossing the swinging wooden bridge that serves as an entrance, we sat upstairs and talked for a while. Trivia started so we headed downstairs and grabbed the only free table, right in front of the TV playing 90s rap music! Turns out Shaggy is currently touring Kenya, soo bummed I'm gonna miss that...not really. Did you know his real name is Orville?
Anyway, it got late and on our way out I saw one of the firefighters chatting up a Kenyan woman. We got outside just as the fire truck was pulling away without him. "Hmm, looks like they're doing more than just training the locals" said one of the volunteers.
The next morning I drove Barita to the main road in my pajamas so she could catch a matatu (bus) to church.
“Thank you for making dinner and breakfast for us. I wasn’t expecting breakfast to be ready when I woke up this morning. I said I could make it for you so you could go to church early.”
“No, that is my duty.”
“It’s not your duty to cook for my guests!” I said, jokingly.
“I never served a mzungu before. I was very nervous for you to come. I don’t know what you will eat. But I like you very much, you do not make me serve a lot in the kitchen.”
“Well, I’m not a mzungu.”
“This is your first time to Africa?”
“No, it’s actually my third” it sounded strange saying that and I thought back for a second, verifying that I had really been to Africa three times.
“Oh, well you are ours now then!”