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Friday, June 15, 2012

This Time, A Bunch of Bananas

Some of you may remember Goreti, the woman who helped me bargain for a pineapple in my early months at site.  Last Sunday I fulfilled a long-standing promise to visit her.  It wasn’t my first time to stop in at her little house by the main road, but it was one of far too few visits, perhaps four or five over the last year.  Rather than accosting me for neglecting her, something everyone else in Gihara is fond of doing, she smiled when she opened the door and drew me into a warm embrace, planting a big kiss on my cheek as she did so.  I’d wanted to bring her a pineapple as a little inside joke but I couldn’t find one in Gihara, so I settled for a bunch of bananas.  She accepted them happily before ushering me inside.

She’d cooked cassava bread and vegetables in peanut sauce.  I normally hate cassava bread, but nothing about Goreti is typical, not even her cooking.  She’s tall and slender with a strikingly angular face, deep-set eyes and a uncomplaining tiredness about her.  Things have been going well for her lately.  The cow she and her husband bought earlier this year gave birth recently, which means they have both a calf and a milk cow.  She send me home with a pumpkin from her garden, a liter of homemade drinking yogurt and abundant blessings and well-wishes.  When I told her she was too generous, she told me not to worry.  “We give to each other,” she said, “because that’s what two friends must do.”

Things have been busy lately.  Between ELT-JCS, planning our GLOW camp, attending meetings for the GAD committee and our regional group and dealing with all the changes at school, I haven’t had much time to spend time with people at my site.  Usually once I’m home I just collapse into bed and spend the rest of the evening reading a book - unless I have papers to grade.  I visited Goreti because she met me in the road last week and asked me to find the time. I’m so glad I did.

What really matters in life are the people.  It’s nice to be reminded of that.