Friday, 25 October 2013

Sugar Sundown

The nice thing about a teensy miniature school is that Mum and I could take the five children in year 6 on a school trip to the sugar factory without inviting anyone else.

We watched the sugarcane transform into rough golden sugar, which we were invited to taste (the kids didn’t stop at a couple grains like Mum and I did). The muscular men hauling massive sacks streamed with sweat, and I thought ruefully of the sugar I put in my coffee. The faint salty flavour I occasionally notice isn’t just my imagination, then.

This evening the sunset was even more beautiful than usual. The last few days, Kisumu has been harshly, unfailingly clear-skied, but tonight the clouds came out to play. The fading sun set each one on fire.

I caught sight of it from the kitchen window. We are gifted with a masterpiece of nightfall practically every evening, and I’ve become blasé about them, as if these concerts of light and shadow are ordinary, glancing past them to slice onions or boil potatoes. But tonight I followed the display upstairs, climbing the spiral staircase from shadow into a glorious rose-light.

On the roof you can see for miles. The sky was too poetic to be called orange: flames made tender, tearing at my heart. The wind rose, tangling my hair, and a quintet of sparrows flew across the sugar-gold sky with such exquisite joy I could hardly bear it. Light leaking into the lake. The sugar sundown set yearning ablaze in me.

There is more than what we see. And the unseen grows clear as the sun goes down.

Psalm 65:8 - Those who live at the ends of the earth are in awe of your miraculous signs. The lands of the morning sunrise and evening sunset sing joyfully.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Meet Mzungu

Look at this cute little face.

I’m not really an animal person, but I just cannot resist this adorable cuddly creature. This white rabbit is the school pet, and I daily attempt to defend him from abuse.

For obvious reasons, I have named him Mzungu.

I visit him every day. Best bunny ever.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Kisumu weather

In the early mornings, the lake is hazy and it’s almost cool. Then the heat begins to build. By afternoon, I’m limp and thirsty, the lake is asparkle and I can see hippos swimming in the shallows from my desk.

As a result of the climate, just about everyone is a bit ripe. Obviously I am the exception to this rule and remain daisy fresh at all times (by showering two to four times daily). When my kids stroll into the classroom after PE, it’s all I can do to refrain from holding my nose. Instead, I swiftly open all doors and windows and give the poor little stinkers a strained smile.

It rains every afternoon, cooling the air and soaking the earth. One evening, it stormed so fiercely that it flooded the floor in every room. The lights flickered and died. We ran through the house shutting windows, even as the wind tore the screens out of our hands and slammed them wildly. I’ve never seen anything like the lightning that night. You could have sworn it was daylight, a brief, ghastly daylight, so bright the papaya tree in the window leapt out at us, leaves like knives. We lay on the sofas and watched the storm break, praying no fisherman was caught out on the water.

The sun sets over the lake each night, and each night the sunset is different. Some nights violent and deadly, some riotous, some ethereal. Gold, and purple, and crimson, the colours of royalty. There are evenings when the sky is soft as velvet, soft as fingertips, tangible and eternal. There are evenings when the light slits the sky, sharp as scalpels, tracing bright slashes through the clouds and tossing rays into the water.