Raheli was a huge part of my childhood. She was a Maasai woman who worked in our house to help my mom out. Again, I don’t have specific memories of her, just a general feeling of warmth and fondness when I think about her. She had a great laugh. Thanks to Raheli, my brother and I learned to speak Maa (language of the Maasai people) at a very early age. In fact, there were some words that my brother didn’t know in English at all. His sentences were constructed half in English and half in Maa.
Here’s an old story on my little brother. It’s just an example of growing up in another culture. The Maa word for water is Enkare (en-car-reh. Go ahead and rrrrroll that ‘r’). My toddler brother pronounced that lah-leh and Raheli knew precisely what he was talking about and would help him get a cup of water. Much to his chagrin, my grandma who came to visit from the States, had no clue. His desperate pleas for a drink were met with a smile and nod at his little “nonsense” words.
I love this picture of her letting me “help” her do the dishes. I have no doubt that she could have finished her work and gone home much earlier if she had just done it herself. Look. I even wore my little apron.
She was a good friend to us and worked wonders to help our family adjust to life in Kenya. I am so thankful that her life intersected ours. She was a gift.