He says as he turns and looks away back to his show. It was Mickey Mouse, and I thought this was the climax of the show – he couldn’t be moved. Ian knelt on a dining seat set close to the wall unit where the TV was housed. He brings the remote close to his eyes and then presses several buttons and lands on another cartoon channel. He excitedly jumps off the seat, and he comes towards this stranger who called him by name. I go ahead and ask him how I knew his name… He says “Sijui!” and shyly covers his elated face. Beth comes along from another room, greets me and asks Ian:
“Alafu kwa nini unatoroka?”
“Mimi siogopangi wageni!!!” “Sijawai Ogopa wageni, ata ile time ingine nilikuwa naongea nao tu! Mimi sina uoga!” *He moves along the couch and comes nearer* “Si unaona!?”
So I show him I am convinced that he doesn’t fear strangers. He does not fear strangers true, but there is a slight element of shyness in him. It quickly faded with time as we got used to each other. At this point, I decide to tell him my name and with his level of excitement, I knew just the right name to give him.
“Hutaki kujua naitwa nani?”
The dad chips in and encourages him on & so I tell him.
The boy falls into a fit of laughter, and I just sit there in that moment of awkward silence. Of course, he gets it. Gachau is a calf, and he could imagine this cow sitting there with him trying to engage him in a conversation. He figured it out, and since they have several cows at a corner in the compound, he was excited to learn that Gachau could also be the name of a person.
|Indian Clothing By Joan Villarante|
Ian is a few weeks home after his visit to India for his surgical procedure to remove the tumor that was threatening his bright future. He is jovial and is all over the place, and he is excited to tell me about his trip to India. The wound has healed fast and taking a closer look you can see the two incisions one that had been done in the first procedure, and the second one slightly bigger. My Selfishness and I decided to start with the flight. I asked how it was. I asked how far it was and if he slept on the flight. He was clear that they did not since they left around 3 pm as he said. He told me stories of the elephants and the Mahouts, the hospitality of the Indians, how families could be in the hospital wards with their loved ones and the backless outfits by the Indian ladies. This “nguo hazikuwa na nyuma kwa mgongo”, had to be the Backless Choli.
“Sasa vile tulifika huko, tulipanda gari itupeleke kwa hospitali, Tuliona mtu amebebwa na Elephant! Kubwa!!!”
“Hatungebebwa kwa Sababu tulikuwa tumechelewa.”
“Vile Tulifika Hospitali, watu wengi walikuwa huko! Wagonjwa walikuwa wamesurroundiwa na watu wao wengi! Wengine walikuwa wameketi tu huko chini!” “Walikuwa wanashangaa tuko tu wawili, mimi na mum” “…Tulipata marafiki wengine hapo wakatuonyesha Daktari…” “…usiku watu walikuwa wanatoa sauti funny sana kama *makes a funny grunting noise*…” Then he laughs again.
At some point, we engage in a thumb fight, he grabs a new nylon paper and blows air into it, later bursting in my ear. He is a funny guy, he then jumps to the TV set again, and as I watch him manipulating the remote, I am tempted to tell him that being too close to the TV will spoil his eyes. Then I hold back myself when it occurs to me. His left eye is yet to regain its full capabilities. He comes back to his seat after selecting a certain channel that has exclusive Indian movies and shows, and he gets to take me through some of the things he saw, including the bare backless outfits that got him laughing every time he mentioned it. We share fruits, and he has a special liking to oranges. His appetite is back I am made to understand, and he has even gained weight to the contentment of his parents & doctors. Before the surgery, he was underweight and small in stature for his age, and it was a cause of worry. The surgery was successful and the only thing remaining is to keep faithful to his medication of which are hormonal remedies since the pituitary gland was interfered with by the growth. He talks fluently, and as much as he has been home for the whole of this term, he has been recovering well. He will be undergoing regular checkups and MRIs to ensure that the growth does not recur.
It’s time for the sister Beth, who had also returned a day before, to tell us about her work related visit to China, and from the way Ian followed the stories and asked questions he was attentive and clearly a good learner. Ian’s stories from India were more exciting than Beth’s. They were more vivid and exciting. This is also because, as I realized, it is easier for a child to tell the story as it is, as compared to an adult who will just show you pictures and leave all the guessing to yourself. Which is why I related to Ian’s story better by the end of the afternoon. Then the time to leave came, and he was excited to help the sister & the brother move their suitcases to the car. He clearly missed her, and he developed ideas to go to Nairobi with her. Usually, at this point many end up crying but the mother convinced him that he would not need to go with her since they would be visiting Nairobi soon for the next MRI scan.
The family wishes to thank everyone who supported them in facilitating the trip and the medical procedure in India. They are grateful for the prayers, encouragement and messages of goodwill as well. It was a success & they commit you to prayer every time to thank God for the unity that made it possible.