It’s been Small Wildlife Month at Chez Owens, first with a tree frog in our bananas, then a mouse racing fat and terrified around the kitchen counter.
Now thousands of flying ants have descended upon campus, plague-like, fluttering out brief lives before doffing their oversized wings and seizing belly-up on the floor. Our guys left the dorm windows open last night to the tune of five hundred small visitors, which ended in a late-night snack of fried and buttered ants. Because, naturally.
(Discarded ant wings)
In other news, I have not been able to exercise for like three days now, as my knee is inflamed or annoyed or something-or-othered, but the highlight of this story is I managed to tell my coworker about it in Swahili. Monday, I was running down there on Barn’s trail, and I fell and now I have pain in my knee. You have no idea how delighted I was to find I have the vocabulary to say this unfortunate thing.
On the less-delighted side, not exercising makes me itchy and restless and I am more or less grumping around the house right now. It’s really too bad you’re all not here to enjoy it.
Friday Kenya Kids Can was invited to attend an academic celebration, and PEOPLE. That thing was so much fun.
They sat us front and center, guests of honor at this first-ever Longonot awards ceremony, and with all the stops pulled out: balloons, poetry, song calling, cascades of faux flowers. Hundreds of students packed the courtyard, whooping as their schools were announced and trophies bestowed. Highest performer. Best in the district.
It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to dance.
I’m guessing that not that many years back, when hunger numbed even our brightest minds and student performance lay frail and unmoving, it was hard to scrape up something to celebrate. But Friday the applause thrummed deep and those beautiful, capable kiddos bobbed and whirled and leapt like they’re made of so much light.
Mark was given the chance to speak, and he said it well, what he always says, what Steve always said before him: It’s not me. This is so much bigger than me; I’m standing here representing a whole bunch of people all over this earth who love God and love you and who find quiet joy in knowing you’re eating and learning. People who believe you have bright things to offer this world, and who’ll shoulder mountains aside to see that happen.
You should’ve seen these students dance, and this one gal in particular with her chin angled, eyes blazing, so proud to be Maasai and beautiful and strong and educated and ready. So absolutely ready.
I don’t know about everybody else, but the way I saw it, all that cheering and stomping aimed a straight shot to heaven. They were peals of glory thundered back to our Creator, rising hot from our dust to the One who is the Bread of Life, who meets our soul-hunger with nothing less than Himself.
I’ll be the first to tell you that not every day sings this bright. Some days feel flat and ordinary, or downright challenging, but in all the betweens God keeps our faith alive and trembling. He keeps us close. He keeps us.
And all the while He shows up true and infinitely sweet.
I’m the luckiest Shannan to have you to be my friend.
(That’s how Silas would tell you what my heart is telling me.)
I could live a lifetime in your words. And holy cow, you’re a good language acquisitioner!
But really – you buttered the ants???
I am not responsible for the butter. That was our freshmen guys–though a few of them subscribe to the law of Waiting is Overrated, and just ate the ants raw (some of the ants still squirming). So actually, buttered and fried is not a bad way to go. 🙂
Kind of makes you want to come visit me, doesn’t it? Halfsies, my friend. You let me know.
So sorry about your knee (will be praying), so glad about the Swahili. The mouse part made my stomach flip-flop. Throw me into a barrel of bugs and snakes, but please: no rodents. The photos are amazing. I’m so glad you were front and center for the celebrating.
my heart is flip-flopping a little, reading your words and drinking in these pics.
I’ve always thought that you were one of the lucky few that didn’t need or want to workout. Nice to know you are sweating it out in Africa. 🙂 And those last words were pure poetry friend. You have such a beautiful gift.
Blown away by the amazingness of your life at the moment, dear friend. Prayers for abetter knee are heading your way. xo xo