gracious morning sun

by Elouise

NaroMoruConf2

gracious morning sun
rises on spacious lawn set
for tea and crumpets

* * *

Well, maybe not tea and crumpets. But the social equivalent thereof. This is gracious Kenya service at its natural, well-groomed best. It’s early in the morning. You’re looking at the Naro Moru River Lodge. It’s late August 1999. D and I are there for a fall faculty retreat, along with 20-25 faculty and administrative colleagues from the seminary near Nairobi where we taught that fall.

This was my introduction to the laid-back beauty of post-British rule services for vacationers and tourists. That included in-country and foreign visitors such as D and I. I’d never in my life been treated to such gracious service. It existed in the Deep South when I was growing up, but not for me. I felt almost like Queen for a Day. Actually for a weekend.

When I think about hospitality to strangers, I think of simple things. Yet this and other experiences like it, though not simple, are also signs of hospitality. I found myself enjoying the weekend while feeling strangely out of place and out of time. More than a little self-conscious because I was a stranger, unsure about my place at the table. Hospitable as it was.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 August 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, August 1999
Naro Moru River Lodge, Nyeri, Kenya