S: This Is Not My Home
3: I’m pondering a question. It’s living in my head. I think it when I’m making toast, And when I go to bed. It’s not a routine query, Like “How will I keep a straight face?” But a truly profound inquiry About living in this place.
5: For some time I’ve been abiding Ever so far away, In a land where tomorrow begins Halfway through today. And you see, I’ve been adapting, Year after year. It’s true. So what I once thought normal, Now may seem quite new.
6: So, I’m wondering what will happen to amazing skills I’ve acquired, The impressive abilities my new home simply may not require. Like bargaining for pre-owned clothes, pyramid heaps of tomatoes, Knock-off watches, beans with bugs, slippers, and Irish potatoes.
7: I can make impressive curtains from completely mis-matched sheets, And mix up savory sausages from extremely fresh-ground meats. I can navigate a tarmac road that’s 90% hole, And make a cup of British tea with ants in the sugar bowl.
8: But it’s more than just the talents That I’ve honed to near perfection, I also think of things for which I have a true affection — | Waterfalls on the mountain, equatorial stars in the night, The color of sun on growing tea, the flicker of candlelight, Cold Coke in the oddest places, geckos on the walls, Coffee roasted right in town, and kangas used as shawls. Weaver birds in the morning, palm coconuts thumping down, “Hode” at the screen door – I surely miss those sounds.
10: Chicken-on-a-stick has no equal in this land, And I crave foods that are better When eaten with my hand – Ugali with greens, Matooke with beans, Even chapatti-my-eye. And I don’t think I’ll ever snack On peanuts without wanting chai.
12: Sitting under mango trees, To worship in many tongues, Then gathering for meals with friends In houses made of dung, Baptizing believers in murky swamps Has left my heart amazed, At the way I have been blessed To see my Savior praised!
14: And then of course There are the things That I won’t miss a smidge –
15: Power off for days on end, Food perishing in the fridge, Keeping an eye upon the hedge For the stirring of a snake, Gathering stamps on paperwork For every move I make. Climbing on a boda boda For a trip to town, And gasping as a piki piki Nearly runs us down.
17: I’ll mention too the endless tasks That I’ll be fine without – Boiling water for 1200 seconds Then filtering icky things out. Wringing clothing out by hand To hang out on the line, And tying parcels to the truck With miles of handmade twine. | You also have the elements that I won’t miss a whit – Rumble strips, police checks, cleaning rice of grit, The aroma of queuing on afternoons when the air is warm, Finding myself surrounded by a huge mosquito swarm, Searching for the shade as protection from the sun, And the need to sweep the floor again as soon as I am done.
18: Now I’m living in a land Where carpet covers floors, Church begins on time And visitors knock on doors. I can point here with a finger, ‘Stead of gesturing with my lips, And women are not searching For clothes that highlight hips.
19: My motives are not questioned when I forget to greet, And seatbelts are imperative for every single seat. All my friends have bathrooms here; no one has a choo, And mail’s delivered to my house not box one-seven-nine-oh. I don’t have to turn the heater on before I take a shower, And my schedule is not planned around uncertain power.
20: Even though the journey has been trying at times for sure I wouldn’t change the life I’ve lived, let me hasten to assure. Though sometimes it seems like just last week I packed my bags to leave What God has done from then till now I sometimes can’t believe. I’d be perfectly bleak Within a week If I didn’t remember one truth – God is bigger than here or there And has been since my youth.
21: On either side of the wardrobe, wherever I may roam, It becomes more clear, year after year... That this is not my home.