Friday, June 18, 2010

No foreigners here!

Today I got shot! Shot with immunizations that is. Apparently, keeping up on your vaccination card is VERY important. When I told my nurse that I didn't have an immunization booklet with proof of all my shots, she seemed a bit surprised and quickly got me a new one. It looks very official with a handful of very cool stamps. Now I guess I'm cleared to fly into the wild unknown!

Next we went shopping for a SIM card and phone credit. I got the card but it doesn't work on my US phone and I may have to buy a cheapy just to get a few texts out. I'm holding out for some place to just hack my blackberry, but I guess that isn't as common as in the Philippines. There has to be a way!

And this evening, Gordon and I and two other missionaries from the Sudan all went to see a movie. We watched Robin Hood. It was nice. But afterward, the couple from the Sudan (Dan and Laura from Minnesota) ate in a restaurant, whereas Gordon and I went shopping for fruit! :- )

I have missed the tropical fruits and am thrilled to find them! Would you believe grapes cost roughly 500 shillings a pound but you can get big juicy mangos for 20 shillings a pound! Yum! Mangos it is!
I can handle that.

But while we were at the store, he asked me if I were comfortable here in Kenya. I told him I was very comfortable but I couldn't quite place my finger on why. So while I walked through mountains of papaya and heaps of pomelos, I considered his question.

Then it hit me! No one was staring at me. No one was calling out to me, 'hey joe!' or making cat calls behind lewd glances. I was all together uninteresting. That's it. I'm comfortable here -very comfortable- because no one treats me like a foreigner. It's refreshing.

In the Philippines, men would call out after me as I walked to the market. "Marry Me! I Love You! What is your name?" I'd laugh and keep going but it was very disconcerting. I was always made to feel like a foreigner there. I never liked the attention but eventually I got used to it.

In Haiti, instead of the silly 'proposals', I got glares and distrusting glances. I wasn't loved because of the color of my skin. I was made to feel 'less than' and seemingly hated as a result of it. I don't mean to pick on Haiti but I must say, the overall effect was to make me feel very uneasy. It was clear I was NOT one of them.

Here, all that is different. I like the fact I draw little to no attention. I enjoy being of no consequence. I appreciate blending in with the crowd. It makes me feel very much at ease and .... yes, even comfortable! Just one more reason to love it here, I'd say!