Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Family Matatu

A real matatu.  They can have as many as 20 passengers.
Just when we thought that the car couldn’t possibly hold any more with its current load of eleven people, accessories, and 200 pounds of groceries on the roof rack of our 10-passenger, 2-decade old Toyota LandCruiser, CrazyMom and CrazyD decided to make a pit stop. To buy a pot. A collective groan emerged from the back as we began to imagine where exactly they were going to put that pot.

Normally, the back of a car would be the logical place to put a pot. After all, the back tends to be more spacious, open, and dirty. Expendable. Today, however, we had spent all day in Nairobi doing some Christmas shopping and there were currently four sweaty, cramped, and slightly irritable children squashed onto the sideways benches. Hence the groan.

A half-hearted attempt was made to suggest that the pot would sit on CrazyMom’s lap. Anyone could see that that particular solution wasn’t going to work. Not with an hour and a half of pitted road ahead of us. The joke over, the base was placed under Ed and K.D.’s already intertangled legs, while F.G. put her legs into the intruding piece of clay and got the pleasure of my feet in her lap. Anything is endurable for a time, right?

An hour later, we reached the stretch of road just before our turnoff that contains a beautiful view of the Great Rift Valley, and naturally, a collection of shops to snag prospective tourists. I could not believe that I felt the car slowing down. Now was NOT the time to be tourists. Unfortunately, our car was, indeed, stopping. We knew what came next.

All exiting the vehicle were immediately whisked into the nearby shops. Running commentary was heard from us remaining chilluns as we watched our driver and associates disappear into a tiny shack, wondering how they even fit in there. We had decided not to get out of the car because we figured it would take too long to get back in. Various sightings of the adults were seen from time to time, but it was not until a half hour later that everyone was safely back in the car. With, of course, more purchases.

Soon enough, despite our griping, we were sitting safely in our own driveway, extracting ourselves from the benches we thought we’d become permanently molded into. Stretching our stiff and sore limbs, we were glad to be home. So, transportation was more comfortable in the States. But this? This is what makes us fit in. Our very own Big Crazy Family matatu.
Packed into our own matatu.

1 comment:

btr8898 said...

I found your blog a long time ago when I was doing a search to see if it was possible for large families to enter the mission field. We have 9 kids (2 grown and moved out). The remaining 7 range from 11 yrs down to 6 yrs. Those younger 7 are all adopted and we look like the United Nations! Anyway, I love reading your posts and getting glimpses into the life of a large missionary family. Have a very merry Christmas! God bless you all.