Friday, January 15, 2010

Isn't it nice to be home again!

Finally, after 2 long days...the little 13-seat plane I boarded in Nairobi was bearing down on the runway at the Kitale Airstrip. It's hard to describe the feelings that were rushing through me...anticipation, thankfulness, joy. As we taxied to a stop in front of the little building that made due as a terminal - I immediately spotted my greeting party: Geoffrey and his wife Olivia, their baby Charlotte (named after my mom) and two of my beloved Kenyan sons- Johnstone and Martin. I couldn't wait for the door to open so that I could give them all huge hugs.

I had asked Geoffrey to keep my arrival a surprise and he had done just that - telling the boys that they were going to the airport to pick up a 'friend' but not saying who. The second that they spotted me....the hugest smiles lit up their faces - smiles that mirrored the one on my face. Hugs, Hugs, Hugs! I cannot remember a moment in my life that was as perfectly joyful as this one was.

I was amazed at how much both of them had grown since I had last seen them. I always think of them as they looked when I first met them in 2006 when they were still living on the streets of Kitale:

Martin & Johnstone in January 2006

Martin and Johnstone now

I'm sure there is no mom anywhere prouder of her sons.

As the day unfolded....I reunited with so many people that I love - Onesmus and Phoebe who take care of my home, the 120 kids at Oasis (many of whom were new since my last visit), the wonderful staff at Oasis, the girls from our girls home who came to Oasis from their primary school next door to have lunch, so many people in town- street kids, vendors and old friends, and finally - the rest of the boys in now combines Boys' houses 1 & 2.

It was late afternoon and they were all at home studying at the big dining room table. The door was open, covered by the traditional fabric flap to keep out insects. I called out "hodi" (to announce my presence) and then entered the house. Ten faces looked up from the compositions they were writing and one by one recognition and excitement registered on their faces! Cries of "mom", "Mathey", and "Lydia" rang out as they scrambled out of their chairs and ran over to envelop me in hugs. Again...pure joy.

We spent an hour getting caught up, talking about the good and bad events of the year and a half since I was here. Each boy in turn had his moment to speak with me privately...showing his heart and sharing the special needs and concerns that only a mom can understand and help with. There were tears and laughter and silliness and the inevitable photos.

Me and Bramwel

The day, jet lag (and my 4 hours of sleep the night before) started catching up to me and I actually nodded off during a story that Steward was telling. So, I was promptly taken to one of the three bedrooms and put down for a little nap by my boys while they cooked supper. Refreshed after about a half hour, I joined them outside around the charcoal jiko (stove) that they were very competently cooking a giant pot of rice on. The beef stew was simmering in another pot.

All 14 of us squeezed into the dining/sitting room while Johnstone and Steward served supper. They made sure that the food was divided equally and then Johnstone thanked God for the food and for the day. I have eaten many a fine meal in a 5 star restaurant...but truly...not one of those meals tasted as good or was as enjoyable as that simple bowl of rice and stew.

Steward (with Justus and House Dad Robert)

I left at 9 pm after hugs and kisses all around. The boys begged to come to the house on Saturday after their chores were done, of course. They should be here shortly and we are all trooping into town to stock the house with food. We are going to cook a pasta lunch!

The sun is shining...the birds are singing and God is surely not only in heaven... but right here by my side . Isn't is great to be home again!

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