11 December 2008

KuKu and PooPoo

We finally reached the place after many turns down small dirty roads lined with metal gates. I am half surprised that we made it down that small alley without a punctured tire. We enter the home through the small door and my dear friend YuYu greets us. We are ushered through the courtyard to dark inner room. Three beds and two chairs are lined up around the walls. I take a seat on the edge of a bed and Mike sits in a plastic chair. Tomas sit with us and YuYu exits to prepare drinks. A few minutes later she carries in a tray. Two bottles of Pepsi and two bottles of water are served along with four glasses. All of it is for Mike and I and we'll be expected to drink it all (whether or not caffeine keeps me up at night!). We're lucky they didn't serve a third bottle of Pepsi for my boy to drink all by himself.

The next hour or more is spent chatting, passing around babies and chasing H around the few rooms that comprise the house. Conversation goes from the small property (75 years old and showing it) to the still-hot weather to church to America to the war to being a policeman (Tomas is). Other things too. Later we migrate outside to sit in the courtyard under a makeshift roof. YuYu hands me a guitar and tells me to play a song.

laughing... "What? Me? I don't know any songs?" (we're speaking Arabic)

"Oh, that's okay, I can bring you a songbook"
(she disappears into the house and reappears with a book in her hand.)

She hands it to me and I laugh again... "This is in Arabic! I can't read Arabic!"
"Sorry," I say, "I don't know any songs and I can't read Arabic!"

Oh well. Silly me, I thought one of them was gonna play the guitar for us!

We sit awhile longer. YuYu is in the small dank room unattached from the house used as a kitchen swarming with flies preparing a meal for us. KuKu sits on my lap, and I learn that tickling him under his chin produces a cute squeal of laughter. Then I hear a little noise and look down to learn that KuKu has poopooed on my pants. Mike runs into the house to fetch the bag with tissues and wipes. Tomas is embarrassed and yells for his wife to come. I just laugh and really don't care. However, I am reminded why diapers were invented.

Awhile longer of sitting and waiting, a large tray of food is set before Mike and I on a tiny table set between us. "Thank you, it looks delicious!" We say. As the others stand up to leave, we insist that we must all eat together, but it's no use, and their custom of leaving guests to eat alone wins. Tomas is sitting just around the corner from the small covered room and the women and children have disappeared inside.

It's a large silver tray, at least two feet in diameter, with various shallow bowls resting inside. There is a salad (tomato, onion, green pepper, and cucumber), a small pile of bread, a small dish of salt, lemon, and hot pepper, and a dish of cooked liver. I love to eat like this... all off one tray, tearing off a peice of bread and using it to pick up a bit of salad or a piece of meat to eat. And I love squeezing fresh lime juice on anything and everything. However, I don't love liver, and after one bite of that I am done. Mike manages to eat enough for both of us so our hosts won't be offended, although he doesn't like liver either.

After awhile, Tomas enters again, and (as expected) scolds us for not eating more. So, we take another piece of bread and eat more. He still says we didn't eat much, but we declare "We had enough, thank you" and stand to wash our hands in water from the barrel, signaling the completion of our meal. YuYu carries the tray back to the kitchen and I assume they will eat our leftovers for their evening meal.

We sit together a little while longer. KuKu is being cute, and 8 year old Eliza is carrying H around on her hip. She talks to him and he likes it. I stand and announce "We want to go now" and they insist our visit was too short (it's been nearly three hours now!). We share a prayer together and everyone shakes hands and says goodbye. I hope to see them again soon.

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