After 1 ½ weeks of travelling in Kenya we brought my parents to Rumbek. In Kenya we were tourists! Joel and I knew our time in Rumbek would be very different. South Sudan doesn’t have a tourist industry and Rumbek has few foreigners. It is unusual for locals to see foreigners (kawajas) in a family setting. Most kawajas who come here are single or leave their children and spouses in their home country. So, people were delighted that my parents had come for a visit (although most people thought my mom was actually my older sister!).
We tried to show my parents a good time. We tried to show them how we live our life here and to take them to visit many of the people we work with. And we tried to arrange for them to have some new experiences. So they learned how to bake in a solar oven, they travelled to a cattle camp and asked many farm-related questions, they had a question and answer time with some students I teach (the most common question was: who is taking care of your cattle while you are here?), they helped install a solar system in our house (but until it was installed they lived with flashlights and candles, as we have been doing), and we took some bumpy road trips (which needed to be followed by some hammock time).
As with my sister’s visit in April, the most important part of my parents’ visit was that they now know where we are. That they can understand what we are talking about and who we are talking about.
Thanks for our time together Mom and Dad!!