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Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Mission guest house, quiet oasis in a seething city.  People, stories, lives, walking on roadsides, packed into mini-van matatus, selling fried grasshoppers out of large tupperwares at traffic stops, dining in suits and ties, shopping, tending sidewalk newspaper stands, pumping gas with aggressive service, braiding hair in open-air "saloons".  Horns, sirens, whistles, traffic police in their shocking white uniforms looking for trouble, careless drivers, barreling buses, inching traffic, stalled round-abouts.  Hawkers carrying entire stores, from the car window offers of newspapers, airtime, shoes, maps, inflatable toys, phone-chargers, ties, pants, tomatoes, green peppers, suitcases.  Boda-cycles darting around the slower SUV's, garbage being dumped on a sidewalk.  Our mechanic's junk-yard-looking work-compound at dusk, handshakes and greetings to all our kids, remarks on their growth as we pick up our truck after the latest fix.  Laughing with craft-market ladies as I try to come up with Christmas shirts for all my boys that aren't as wide as they are long.  Candlelight and spicy Indian food at the end of the day.  

It is not optimal, or easy, to shop in a few hours for weeks of food, something small for our kids' stockings, and for the six names we drew for the team, while also buying a truck-load of medicine for the hospital, dealing with some minor immigration paperwork and adding pages to our kids' bulging passports, paying phone bills, getting mechanical work done, etc.  On the other hand, it's kind of nice to have only one mall, and one day, and one bookstore, and few other choices, and to know that the rest of the season we'll be home.

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