The other day I was walking through a cornfield, minding my own business, when the following occurred.

Random guy I kind of recognize: Sister Mapenzi! Come here! Come here! [“Mapenzi” is one of my village names.]

Me: Err … Jambo! Habari za leo!

RG: Nzuri nzuri. It is said you will be leaving us soon.

Me: It’s true.

RG: Everyone will be very sad to see you go. You have brought so much love and education to our community.

Me: I will be very sad to go, too. I will miss Kenya very much.

RG: I am the pastor of a small congregation in [sub-village]. Can you join us this Sunday for our prayers?

Me: I would be honored.

RG: Good good. We begin at 10 in the morning, but if you could
arrive early it would be a blessing.

Me: Oh, ok. Sure.

RG: And bring 15 bags of cement.

Me: Wait, wha …?

RG: And blocks. We need those large coral blocks for building. Not so many. One truckload.

Me: I’m sorry, I —

RG: And money. We only need only ten or twenty thousand shillings.

Me: I’m really sorry, sir, I do not have —

RG: If you cannot arrange the cement and the blocks very fast, just the money would be ok. But without those things we need at least thirty thousand shillings.

Me: I’m sorry, sir. I have no supplies, and I am a volunteer, I make very little money. I cannot bring these things.

::awkward silence::

RG: If you need another week, you can come to our worship Sunday but next. You can have another week to collect that money.

Me: I don’t have it. I can’t collect any money by then. I can attend your service, but I can’t bring money or blocks or cement.

RG: Hmmm … then take two weeks. Talk to your mzungu friend. There is lady with black hair, I think she is Italian. [Actually, she’s another PCV who lives nearby.] I have seen her walking by your house. I am certain she has much money. It is said by everyone. Take two weeks and ask her to collect that money, then come to our service and build us a church.

Me: She doesn’t have money, either.

RG: It is all ok. Just bring the money. Just bring it. I know it is there.

::longer awkward silence::

Me: I don’t think I can come to your service if I must bring money and materials.

RG: ::prolonged, blank stare.:: Nice day. ::Walks away briskly.::

Sigh. Two years, and there are still a handful of folks who haven’t gotten the “I don’t have infinite money and stuff to give away, and even if I were a genie and did, I wouldn’t because HOLY @&!# DONOR DEPENDENCY AAAAUGH” memo.

Can’t win ’em all.

44 days.

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