After 13 months I still don't grasp Kenyan Culture. We as a family had the strangest Christmas Eve on record. It started out typical as we attended a Christmas party with snacks, kid's dressed as angels and wisemen, and the reading of the Christmas story. Then Sara was paged to the hospital (which is also quite typical).
But then it all changed. The rains came, thunder roared, the roads turned to red mud, the clouds covered Kijabe Station. Sara returned from the hospital to inform us that a pregnant patient was very sick and HIV+ but the nursing staff deemed it best to wait until the day after Christmas to inform her of her status, because no one should find out such information on Christmas Eve.
We settled into our home hoping to spend some time as a family, a cup of hot chocolate, maybe one Christmas Eve present. Knock, Knock, Knock on the door at 8:45 PM. We were surprised to see our friend Sarah K. with a very large bag in hand. The time before Sara came with a bag in it was a live chicken (for us to butcher and cook). And the time before that she came with two parakeets and two bunnies for us to watch.
"Greetings, I am here. I told you I would come and I have come!" In the bag was a Twister (a wicked Kenyan blender), 6 conconuts, and Kenyan Cheetos for the girls. Sarah K. had come to make us coconut milk on Christmas Eve at 9:00 PM. "Well thank-you Sarah. I don't know what to say."
I wasn't quite sure if Coconut Milk was a tradition on Christmas Eve. "I need a hammer," Sarah K. said. Minutes later she was driving the hammer into the blunt edge of a knife and cracking open 6 coconuts brought from the coast. The banging went on and then the roar of the Twister as Sarah K. fed this machine bits of coconuts and out came a chunky milky substance.
Hospitality is valued in Kenya over privacy. Not making time for friendships is condemned. Unannounced visits are to be expected. It is Christmas..and the greatest gift of all was an unexpected birth of child in an unexpected place who came to redeem the world. And that is how God would intend it to be.
Merry Christmas from the Friess family.