In the past few weeks I have re-met two very dear friends from when I lived here in the 90’s (which is sooo long ago now.) I realized we are old friends when I got introduced as “an old friend”. (I don’t really feel I should be forty-something but I am.)
Kinuthia Mungai was an intern at the ministry I was working in back in 1994. As office mates we became fast friends with my many questions about cultural dynamics and his insightful answers. We talked business, culture and art, sharing interests in a number of areas. I always thought of Kinuthia as so young. He was just finishing university and I was already in my 30’s. Today Kinuthia is married with two children. He’s a business owner and I can rightfully call him Mzee (the term for a respected male elder.) It’s so nice to see someone you have known a long time.
Irene Bilah also appeared in my life. Irene is from Uganda. She was my house worker when I lived here before. Marta, one of my roommates from then still has her working part-time at her house. Irene has a very special place in my heart. She had lived in Kenya for many years when I met her, raising her 5 children on her own.
Although Irene managed to keep the house, dishes and clothes clean for three of us, she also gave me a ton in terms of moral and spiritual help. Whenever I was stressed or down Irene would preach me a sermon. She encouraged me like no one else could. She might say the same for me. I know for sure that she has often prayed for me. And taught me many things about the meaning of quality of live.
Irene is a grandmother now. If my friends are old, does that mean I am old too?
Irene Bilah; friend, encourager, prayer warrior, oh yeah, house help too.