on Our Stay with the Shake Family in Bura
(Glen and Sue Crawford) are some of the original
founding members, and first had pen pals in Bura, the Shake
family. When Mwakai and Wakesho Shake came here (both are
teachers) and spent 3 months here at our schools, they stayed
with us for a month. How fun it was to show them our lives
here, like electricity, running water, microwaves and garage
door openers. They marveled at huge stores like Kmart, and
all our gardening tools (mowers and rototillers) and especially
that we had 3 cars and went everywhere by car, and instead
of walking paid money to go to exercise at a gym. We introduced
them to pizza, chinese food and also made local specialties.
I remember one special steamed clam and lobster dinner we
cooked for them at our house. They were appalled by the clams,
stating that they looked like slugs found in their garden
and refused to eat them. The lobsters, they said, looked like
giant bugs. We reminded them that when we were in Africa,
we ate termites, among other things, and they responded, "
yes but termites are good", we pointed out that we all
thought lobsters were good, and they did try them.
we traveled to Bura, and stayed with the Shake’s in
their 3 room house. We had one room, and our 2 kids and their
4 kids all shared 2 beds. The house was near the school that
Mwakai was the headmaster of, and Wakesho taught at. There
was a dirt floor, and a small kitchen, where she cooked and
Emily (our daughter, who was 6) helped cook over the Bunsen
burner. They got up every morning to get water from the well,
and boiled it for us. The cho (toilet ) was a hole in the
ground, surrounded by a curtain, with a small water bowl for
washing. Also the ‘shower" was a similar curtained
area with water to pour on yourself. The adults ate around
the table, with utensils, but the kids all sat in a circle
on the floor and ate with their hands out of one shared bowl
that contained rice, meat and vegetables for all 6 kids.
we were the only ones in town with a vehicle, we were thrust
into some wild experiences. We were en route up the Taita
Hills to a clinic where they planned a thank you ceremony
and dance for our previous donations of medical equipment.
We came across a group of people carrying a pregnant woman
in labor on a stretcher. They had already traveled 3 miles
and had 3 more to go, so we piled her, and all her relatives
in, and Glen drove everyone to the hospital. We also had to
transport a mentally ill criminal and his family, and several
armed guards, and our kids to the hospital.
wonderful people there are in Bura, they don’t have
much, but they share everything with us. There is one
photo, where Emily and Neil are getting clothes made by
the local tailor, a gift from the Shakes.
of the greatest things was taking the Shake family (with
4 kids) on a safari. Although they live only 30 miles
from Tsavo National Park, the kids had never seen the
wild animals, since vehicles are scarce. My husband
drove the Land Rover with our 2 families (10 of us),
and off-roaded to find elephant (tembo in Swahili),
giraffe (twiga), zebra (punda milia) and more. Their
kids were just as excited as ours to find the animals.
We also treated their kids to their first swim in a
pool, and their first stay in a hotel lodge and eating
at a restaurant with utensils.
was a great education for both sides!