Today I went with Maureen, out to a compound called Ngombe.
That is where she lives. Or used to live. We were going to pick up her things and her baby so that she could move into the "servants quarters" (that is what they call them here) on the back of our property. A small house with electricity and a toilet and a shower (cold water I think). It has its own fenced area and we can not see it from the house. She lives very far to walk and the amont of money she was to be paid would only cover her traveling expenses every day on the bus and her rent. So we offered for her to stay in the house.
We hired a truck, and the driver and her and I went out there. There were many bumps and holes along the way. As we got closer into the area, more stares and calling out "muzungu" or white person. A few children called out, "how are you?!!"
We arrived at her place and her friend Rachel came with Maureen's baby. We started loading up the truck and Maureen showed me around and introduced me to her landlord. She told her friend Rachel, "Come and meet Madame". (That was me...still getting used to that) The guard as well will say "good evening, Madame". Feels strange and kind of nice at the same time.
SO while her neighbors were helping her load up I stepped around the corner and took a few pictures of some kids.
My dilema when I have my camera and I want to take a picture is this.
I want to capture these things in photos and get them back to where you all can see them and hopefully understand a little bit better what life is like here where I am. Not necessarily life for me, but life for the multitiude of others. I so much want to do that.
But I also want to respect people and not be taken the wrong way. I don't want it to be taken the wrong way, or thought in any way that I would be takiing pictures to exploit anyone or anything. And I know that is not my intention, and I know you all know that is not my intention, but I don't know that those who seeme with a camera know that.
I especially did not want to make Maureen feel uncomfortable. As we were driving over she asked me if this was my first time inside a compound. I told her yes, and then asked, was it ok that I was coming. She said yes of course.
But even as she was showing me around her home and the water well that several houses shared together, I would have loved to take more pictures. But I am very happy and thankful with the 9 pictures I did get.
There were 3 kids leaning against the wall. I walked over and said hello and then shook each of their hands. ALL 3 of them shook my hand tenatively and then ALL 3 of them slowly looked down at their hand and moved their hand a little bit.
It was as if they were not sure about shaking this white womans hand. They were not
I was afraid, but just seemed to be thinking about it.
I started taking pictures and showing them their picture on the digital camera. They LOVED it. A few then wanted their own pose without other kids. One little one in particular (in the nebraska shirt) just burst out laughing every time. It was so precious!
I asked Maureen if she would like a picture with her friend Rachel. She seemed very pleased and said yes.
Maureen is on the right and her friend Rachel is on the left, holding Maureens baby Jackson. ( They call him Jack)
Rachel kept telling the baby, "You are going today!" "You are going today!"
As we drove away I said to Maureen, "they will miss you", and she said, "and I will miss them".
I was struck by how this might be better for her and her baby, but still hard and maybe a little sad too. When we offered for her to live she said , "Yes thank you very much" and later I asked her if it would work out and she said, "I am very happy!". So it was a joy to be able to help her out and bring this happiness. But I was mindful today that she too will miss her friends. Rachel said she might come and visit, and Maureen said, "We are like sisters".