Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Good Friends, Tukuls and Cactus Butt

Meet my friend Kari...  

She went with me on this trip.  Not necessarily because she had a huge desire to go, but simply because I asked her to come with me.  She'd never been overseas and was petrified a little nervous about traveling to Africa.  She really is a good friend.

The plan Sunday was for us to break away from the Lifesong group and drive to my sons' family's village and spend the day with them.  There had been some concerns raised by some of the leaders living in Ziway about the safety of the region we were traveling to.  So, late Saturday night I went to discuss this with our main driver and then our guide.  They reassured us it would be fine and we would be perfectly safe (so long as we made no attempts at street evangelism ... done).  When I came back and told Kari what we discussed and what we decided, this is what she heard:  Apparently the plan is for us to get up early and then spend the night.  Meaning, she thought we were going to spend the night with my sons' family in their home.  She said I looked kind of upset/teary and so she didn't want to add to my stress by bombarding me with questions.  And so, she never said a word about her extreme fear concerns.  She watched me pack my bag Sunday morning and, seeing I packed no change of clothes, followed my lead and thought well, I guess we will just sleep in what we are wearing. She really is a good friend.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon.  We've spent several hours by now with my boys' amazing family.  At some point in the day when Kari was taking photos, she managed to scoot her skirt into a cactus bush.  As we are sitting inside the tukul watching home videos on my iPad for the 25th time (they really cannot get enough of watching our boys play), Kari looks at me with panic in her eyes and says "my skirt is filled with thorns."  She's looking around the dirt floor tukul, the chickens coming and going, the calf in the corner and seeing no bed, alarm started to settle in as she thought, WHERE are we going to sleep? HOW am I going to sleep with these prickles in my skirt?  She really is a good friend.

After a couple of hours we drive to the closest town to meet more family members.  An uncle is walking us through town because he really, really wants to take us out for kitfo (traditional raw meat).  Kari looks at me with slight panic in her eyes and says, "Captain, I will eat raw meat for you" (mind you, this is from someone who wants her steak cooked well-done).  She really is a good friend.

It was somewhere during this walk that we eventually communicate like human beings and I realize what she's been thinking all day and she learns what the real plan is:  to head back to Ziway at the end of the day and sleep in our hotel.  We have a good laugh and a good debate about who said what and who heard what.  She really is a good friend.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon.  After spending the day with the students at the Lifesong School in Ziway, we break into teams of two and each team goes to a different student's home and meets with their family.  Kari is paired with Terry, one of the most hilarious and caring men I've had the pleasure of knowing.  He protectively puts his arm around her and says "No worries - I will protect your buttocks from any penetration."  Eyes as huge as saucers, Kari says "That has always been my biggest fear."  We all just about pee our pants laughing as Terry repeats "the cactus.  I was talking about the cactus."  He really is a good friend.

And the theme for the rest of the week definitely is "Terry's got your back"...

And Captain and Kari apparently communicate like men (that is to say, not very well)....

And Kari really is a good friend...

Here's a picture of Terry cracking up the kitchen ladies. I think his theme for the week was "pretend to do work, and make people laugh."

p.s.  I will eventually (maybe) blog about more meaningful details of this wonderful day, but my brain is still processing what, how and how much to share.  Just in case I never get to that post, let me just say that it was one of the most blessed, sacred and joy-filled experiences I've ever been a part of.  I am so glad I didn't let fear rob me, but most importantly rob our Ethiopian family, of this gift.

p.s.s.  For the record, we did not eat kitfo and Kari LOVED Ethiopia.

1 comment:

  1. that actually made me LOL about protecting from the ...penetration