Overcoming Postpartum Depression & Living and Loving God's Blessings

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Combining Cultures

I would imagine that if you live somewhere long enough, you become desensitized. I don't want that to happen, but I want the real experience. 

In the beginning, I thought it was cute for all the kids to shout,"muzungo!"  It means white person. It isn't meant to be derogatory. It is just so rare these kids in this area see a white person. Our neighbors in the area know our names and that makes me happy. Some of the kids I see often still shout "muzungo" and I just remind them my name is Jodie. Then they smile and try to say my name. I don't want to be "muzungo" anymore. It is the first time in my life I had to think about the color of my skin. It is the first time I had to think about being different. 

Phill and I have been walking a lot. We almost got ran over by a sheep once. It ran at full speed right between us. We had a good laugh. 

I have to buy carrots for my rabbits. We like to buy from our neighbors. I bought the carrots and we kept walking. Apparently it was so funny to see a "muzungo" holding carrots going for a walk. Everyone laughed and pointed at me. Especially the kids. 

Now this is the stuff you might really chuckle at. Americans are actually pretty rude when it comes to bodily functions. It is not acceptable to burp or fart especially in public. This is a challenge for some of us in the Klamm family. Not mentioning any names. If you must do this, you have to leave or clap your hands to muffle the sound. I am serious. It is so rude to do in this culture. It is called polluting. Our friends tell us people will think something is wrong with you in the head. Thou shall not pollute. 

One of my favorite things about being here is the friendliness of the people. When you go for a walk, you stop and talk to everyone. You greet everyone you see. If you get invited in for tea, you stop in. They are very hospitable. They want to show you their homes and meet their families. I love this. Even if we know very little Swahili, it still works. We can usually figure out what they are saying. 

Lastly, there is such a respect for the opposite sex. Whenever you meet, you shake hands. If you hug someone of the opposite sex, it is a distant hug like you are square dancing. You are called Madame. When a man talks to you he looks at your eyes and not your chest. 
Marquite has been asked for her phone number, has been asked out and jokingly has been asked to be married. She is still mistaken for being Kenyan. We just tell them she has a cute boyfriend at home. Which is true. They back off immediately, disappointed of course because she is gorgeous. There is a respect for a woman who is taken. 
You also NEVER see PDA. They might hold hands but that is it. Kissing in public is not appropriate. You won't see short shorts or tiny tank tops. I was explaining to our friends Joab and James what a massage was and how often Americans get them. Their faces were in shock when I said you only have your underwear on. 

It is such a great learning experience because there are definitely things I don't agree with. It is a mans world. Wives have very little say in major decisions especially when it comes to money. Men can have more than one wife as long as he can afford to provide for them. Teachers and parents hit kids with sticks to make them listen. I still flinch and it upsets me, but I have to know my place. I can't come in and expect to change a culture overnight. I can listen and share how we do things in America. I can respect a different culture even if I don't always agree with things in it. Just like I have with our culture. It is all about perspective and respect. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The honest truth about a big fat lie

I don't want this to sound like a lecture, bragging, or self praise. It's not meant to be. It is just me being honest. 

I could usually buy almost anything I wanted. I owned multiple Coach purses, Ugg boots, Silver jeans, and other name brand clothes. I spent $80 on jeans, my hair, and shoes more then once. It is very normal to do that back home. My kids had nice clothes. We did DisneyWorld for Christmas. We owned a house, three flat screen televisions and three vehicles. (Our vehicles were not nice but still we had three.)  We had a camper in Wisconsin Dells and even got season passes to a theme park one summer. A few years ago we had jet skis, a boat and a nice house by the lake. We have a nice retirement started and investments. 

Fast forward to today. We still have a house that is being rented until we come home this summer. We still have the retirement and investments. I still have some of those clothes. We sold our vehicles, camper, televisions and lots of other items. We will need to purchase a vehicle, and a few other things upon our return. The rest will come as we need them. 

I just didn't appreciate much of what I had. I always wanted more. I had to be skinnier, have better clothes, change my hair, have a better marriage, be a better mom, daughter, friend etc. I was never good enough. My house needed new floors, air-conditioning, and a big garage.  I wanted a nice vehicle and I deserved it right?  I deserved to be happy. I tried everything to feed this longing for acceptance in a materialistic world. Guess what friends?  It is a never ending battle that we will never win. We can't possibly keep up with this lie that is changing right before our eyes. 

I am going to share briefly what my eyes have seen in these two months here in Kenya. I see parents busting their backs for longer than 12 hour days to put any amount of food on the table. They eat the same foods every day. I see kids wear the same clothes with holes in them for days in a row. Kenyan parents take out loans for their kids to go to school. School is the only chance these kids have to better their future. When a friend of ours was offered a soda, he asked to save the money so he could buy a back pack for school. This same sweet boy asked to take a small piece of cake home after the birthday party yesterday. Of course he can. He looked at me with a big smile and said, "This was so much fun. I can't wait to share this cake with my brothers and sisters!" Yep. Tears in my eyes. 

I am not asking you to change anything you are doing. I am just hoping I can share with you how much God wanted me to see here and I pray I will be able to fight that beast of a lie that we need more stuff to make us complete. There is only earthly value on our possessions. Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have your treasure in heaven. Then come follow me."

Friday, February 6, 2015

Farm Life in Kenya

I grew up on a small hobby farm as a little girl. I loved it. We had chickens, cows, rabbits, cats, a dog, sheep, a horse, pigs, and goats. I spent a lot of time loving these animals. I even was a five year old animal rights activist when it came time to butcher our chickens. I wrote something like, "How would you like it if I chopped of your head!"  My dad got the note and showed my mom. They knew it was best if I went to my Grannie's house until it was over. 
In Kenya, we have goats, chickens, rabbits, cows, and a wonderful dog named Nala. Nala has been such a blessing to us. She is a good protector and friend. She loves all the extra attention and she has accepted us as part of her pack.
A few weeks ago, Phill told me it would be time to slaughter one of our goats. He was given to us as a gift at Christmas time from a great family here in Kenya. We were supposed to have a big celebration for our new house being built and that was tradition. I started crying. I know a bit dramatic. Phill said if it was that big of a deal we wouldn't slaughter him. Amazing how quickly my tears stopped. We had guests come for two weeks and it was so wonderful having them here. One of the guys had a birthday so he wanted to slaughter a goat.  Good thing I wasn't here for that. So we had a birthday party and a different goat. 
Last night our calf, Beauty, got lost. Our night staff spent a lot of time looking for her. Natalie and I looked for her this morning. We still haven't found her. She could have escaped through the fence and followed another herd. Our head of security, Sonko, sent out a message on Twitter for the area. I laughed because it is as silly as it seems. We are all upset and worried. Natalie is a lot like me and loves her animals. Natalie and Beauty used to chase each other around the yard. So we are praying for a miracle to have her return. Her mom bellows for her constantly. She bellowed all night and all day. It breaks my heart. She is out looking for her calf now and we are hoping Beauty comes home. 
Farm life is tough. I am learning that all over again. I wouldn't trade it for anything though.