THE MUSIC OF MAISHA
By Amy Paulson (Reposted from The Gracias Foundation, now called Global Gratitude Alliance)
In my dream, I’m sleeping in a large, warm, cozy bed where I have enough space to spread out like a big X. Slowly, the bed starts shrinking smaller and smaller. Or am I growing bigger and bigger? A grumbling lawnmower in the distance starts running towards me, daring me to fall off the bed so it can run me over, while a symphony of vuvuzelas swells up around me. Suddenly, an angry rooster jumps on my head.
No, it’s actually two roosters.
I crack open my eyes, feeling fuzzy and confused. Where am I? And, why are there roosters screaming in my ears?
Sitting up in the dark, I squint at my phone: it’s 5am. Then I remember where I am – at Maisha children’s home in Ruai, a beautiful rural suburb of farms and open plains, sprinkled with metal shack mobile phone shops and wooden fruit stands, 40 minutes outside the city center of Nairobi.
Ten meters from my room, the dueling roosters continue to yell from inside their coops – indignant at the fate that would lie ahead at the end of the week.
I look over at the lawnmower that is my snoring husband. Though Auntie Martha and Auntie Monica have to share this bed every night, sharing with my husband isn’t easy. His rule of thumb is that he is 2x my size, so naturally he should get 2x the twin bed. Nice try, dude.
Not thinking, I scratch my throbbing mosquito bites. The vuvuzela buzzing is actually a swarm of mosquitos dancing just outside my bed net and around the Maisha fish pond next to the house.
Then: a dog starts barking, then howling. Another joins in. Then, another. And, another.
Finally, Mama Maisha starts yelling something in Swahili, while a goat cries out in a high-pitched “Mah-ah-ah-ah-ah!” as if whining, “Don’t forget about me-ee-ee-ee-ee!” while he runs to catch up to his other goat friends.
These are the lively, every day sounds of the Maisha farm. Sounds that soon became familiar music to us with each waking day.
Until that last morning, when the dueling roosters became just one angry man-chicken who lost his friend.