Roots of my Heart

I have an amazing friend. Her name is Carrie. Part of what makes her so amazing is that she grew up in Africa. Amazing, right? I asked her to write a little somethin’ somethin’ for this here blog and she did. Here it is. When you’re done reading this, go check out her blog. It’s amazing!

Hello, Queen of the Jungle Readers!  My name is Carrie.  I’m friends with the Queen of this domain and she invited me to write a little something for you, her readers.  Normally you can find me blogging over at roots of my heart about my childhood in Kenya.  You’re welcome to join me there any time you like.

If you came over to my house in California today just for a little coffee and a chat, I would be delighted. (You’d have to excuse the mess because housekeeping is not my strong suit.)  If, when you came, you brought me a little gift, I’d be even more delighted.  If that gift was a large bunch of green bananas, I would smile politely and thank you all the while wondering if you’d lost your ever-lovin’ mind.

But in Kenya, you see, a gift is not something you go and purchase in order to please your friend.  A gift is something you already have that you choose to bestow upon your friend; like a bunch of green bananas off of your banana tree, or a few ears of maize out of your shamba (vegetable garden).  We always took a big bag of loose-leaf tea or sugar when we went visiting.

This is a picture of my cousin and me nestled among the bountiful gifts our family had just received.  The maize and bananas were undoubtedly freshly picked from the shamba that very day.  Local women often delivered milk to us.  My mom distributed these glass bottles that had once contained Tree Top concentrated orange drink.  If she didn’t distribute the bottles, women often brought the milk in a gourd that was sterilized with coals, leaving the milk tasting quite smokey.  We were clearly content to munch on the delicious sugar cane.

Over the years we received goats, chickens, pumpkins and other produce.  But perhaps the most memorable gift was a freshly killed warthog!  My mom canned most of the meat.  It was surprisingly delicious, especially with barbecue sauce on a bun.  It tasted a lot like a pulled pork sandwich.

There is nothing better than a gift given sacrificially from the heart.

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