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Sugar Hill Homecoming

May 27, 2012
Jacob the Chimp

We met Jacob the chimp at the Ganta taxi stand on the way down to Kakata. He delighted in shaking the benches and tried to eat Matt’s cell phone, screaming his head off when Matt tired to take it back. Thankfully someone had a banana handy and saved the day.

Home in Sanni.  It was a long and dusty, but otherwise uneventful, trip to Kakata.  And thank god because both cars seemed quite sick.

I spent the afternoon with my host family yesterday and it was wonderful… after the first five minutes the same as if I’d never left.  All the kids have grown so much!  They’ve also added on to the house and started building the rental houses.  Such an amazingly hard working family!  I took a million pictures, we played Slap Jack, and I helped them cook the cassava leaf soup.  My Ma was in town at a meeting and as the afternoon wore on I worried I’d have to leave before she came, but then Princess smiled, “Someone’s coming, Auntie Leela!”  “My baby na come!  My daughter na come!” and she burst through the bushes singing happy birthday.  She presented me with a can of spray deodorant and a bottle of liquor and I gave her the Ma Ellen book my mom sent from America.  It was so good to see her and it felt impossible that a year ago I moved into their house in a rainstorm and could barely understand a word they said to me.  We all sat around the coal pot chatting and laughing like old friends and I was overwhelmingly grateful for them, their hospitality, and their love.

Actually… all of Sugar Hill welcomed me back like a daughter.  I didn’t expect any of the neighbors to recognize me and was prepared for a chorus of “white woman!” and “Emily!” (the Kakata Volunteer) but as soon as I turned off the main road an ol’ ma dropped her spoon and ran to hug me, “Leela, my daughter, where have you been?!”  This continued all the way down the path to our house.  “Leela!  Leela!  Leela na come home!”  It felt amazing that even after nine months they remembered me, all these people I’d done little more for than wave and greet twice a day in mispronounced kpelle.

My family will adopt a new son or daughter in just a few weeks and I’m praying for both sides.  My family wants someone like me.  That probably won’t happen.  And that will be hard for everyone, at least at first.  I just hope that they can sort things out and come to love each other like we do.  “They’ll be having hard time when they come,” I whispered to Esther and Luke, “threat him or her just like you do me.  Play cards and tell jokes, yeah?  Dance and tell stories.”  They nodded seriously.

One Comment leave one →
  1. blondie permalink
    June 22, 2012 2:22 pm

    Oh wow that baby is no longer a tiny baby anymore!
    Sounds like you’re always ready to give and receive kindness and love, so the world there has been very open to you 🙂 congratulations and happy travels B.

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