Monday, July 7, 2008

Two little girls from Africa ...

This past weekend, I had the great joy of taking my best friend back home to "Africa."

Janice and I met when we were little girls, and I have known her longer than any other friend. Our missionary parents served God in Tanzania and Kenya. We first became pals at "mission meeting." Once a year, everyone from our mission group in East Africa gathered for this week-long extravaganza of Vacation Bible School, conferences, personnel meetings, games, banquets, song-fests and other events. One special year, Janice and I got to be flag holders during VBS. (Notice the spiffy patches on the knees of my pink jeans. Also notice Janice's very fancy cat's-eye glasses. Weren't we special!)
Janice and I continued our close friendship in middle school at Rosslyn Academy and in high school at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. We roomed together at boarding school and spent hours comparing notes on boyfriends. Years later, Janice and I had the great joy of adopting siblings from an orphanage in Romania. Her daughters Andrea and Katie are birth sisters to our son Andrei. We've stayed very close and try to get the kids together as often as we can.I was thrilled when Janice told me she and Andrea would be coming for a visit this weekend. They arrived on Friday morning right after the donut fiesta, and we headed for "the village" in Clarkston. I just loved seeing my best friend's beautiful smile as she held African babies, spoke in Swahili to our friends and ate a samosa at the farmer's market.
Janice spent much of her childhood in Kigoma, a town near the camp where our Burundian families lived for many years. They had great fun reminiscing about Lake Tanganyika and the surrounding countryside. The hospital in Kigoma where one of the refugee men worked actually began as a clinic in Janice's backyard!

My heart is full as I look back on my childhood and this long friendship through which God has blessed me so richly.

1 comment:

Janie Banes said...

Catherine:
What a beautiful story and so glad you and your friend have remained close after so many years. You are doing a great job and we pray for you all. Janie Banes