A Two-Acre Wide World

Before our move, I remember reflecting often on what our littles might miss in coming to Africa (see, for example, this post). Enoch came here at the tender age of nine months and will soon be two. Now that he is of an age to observe and understand more and communicate a bit, we are realizing how small his world really is here.

We aren’t far from the main road (which is still a dirt road, not pavement, so “main road” is a relative term). However, in front of our house is only a small dirt path, just about one person wide. Given that we are near the main road and not too far from a spring that many here frequent, we do see a lot of foot traffic. Enoch is happy to greet our many visitors, and lately he’s been going across the street to Silas’s shop in the morning to get milk with one of the big girls. He always gets a sweet of some kind from Mama Sharon, so he enjoys the trip. He also goes down our dirt path with some frequency to the house next door to visit “Auntie Jane” and Babu (Grandfather) and Nya Nya (Grandmother). He’s made it as far as Auntie Judy’s (several houses down) when one day Micah and the littles and I chased a tractor down to a nearby field to watch it work. That makes Enoch’s world about two acres wide, and that’s probably a generous figure.

Enoch and big sister Hannah

I don’t think about it too much, but after our recent trip to Eldoret (the big city) I realized how little experience Enoch really has with the world. He’s only been in a vehicle three times, and for the first two he was pretty oblivious. He was, however, amazed with all he could see flying by the windows on the way to Eldoret and tried his best to communicate his excitement. There were tons of “good boys.” (His word for dog, because I’m always telling our Simba he’s a “good boy!” Enoch generalizes “good boy” to include goats, cows, pigs, and other large animals as well. We saw plenty of those road-side on the trip.).

The restaurant was another new experience for him. Though normally happy to greet people, he was suddenly shy in this new environment and ducked his head each time the waitress came by. He also hid from the people in the booth across from us, who thought he was adorable and would have loved for him to wave at them. He did, however, enjoy looking out the window and pointing excitedly at all the “Mrrrmmmm” (his vroom-vroom sound for motorbike or car). He had never seen so many at once!

The funniest of all was putting him in a shopping cart at Nakumatt, the super store. Rather than being excited about this totally new mode of travel (and in spite of my exaggerated efforts to let him know this was a fun new type of “vroom!”), he leaned forward in the seat with a look of sheer terror in his eyes, just begging me to get him out of there. He even cried, but we insisted he should be enjoying the ride. Eventually he calmed down, but I don’t think he ever really felt comfortable with the whole shopping cart thing. This was just one more stark contrast between Enoch’s experience and that of our older children.

The fact that it’s a small world for Enoch doesn’t really bother me at this point–it’s just notable in comparison to what our other children (and we ourselves) have experienced in America. For now, Enoch is very comfortable on the two acres that are his to explore. Eventually, his world will widen–but there’s plenty of time for that.

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