Sunday, May 23, 2010

Furaha ya maisha ni upendo

"The joy of life is love"

After baseball practice Saturday morning, Jackson and I ran home to shower, get dressed up and drive up to Nebraska for a dear friend's wedding. I've known Brenda Lou for 20 years now, and she got married at Camp Carol Joy Holling where we first met in 1990.

Thankfully, we arrived a little early and I got to give Jack a quick tour of Camp before the outdoor ceremony began. Here, he's chasing a butterfly on the hillside.

He was especially interested in the two big challenge courses, so we walked over to one where a group was "rock climbing." After being a camper there for six years when I was young, going through the Counselor-In-Training program for a couple of years in high school and being on staff one summer in college, I haven't been back in 13 years. It's changed a lot!

Brenda's new husband, Kakasii, is a native of Tanzania where he owns his own safari company. They first met when she was on a mission trip there in 2001 with Lutheran World Relief (where she's worked as a director at its corporate headquarters in Baltimore, Md., ever since).

Kelvin, another longtime friend, playing the guitar, was even one of my counselors way back when.

They're definitely in love.

This picture kinda reminds me of Shel Silverstein's book, The Giving Tree. I think it also was the first time I've ever had to say, "No, you can't climb the tree 'til after the wedding."

When the ceremony was over, the two of us ventured off to explore some trails, check out the tents, find the Honker Howser stumps and see the ol' arts-and-crafts pavillion.

The reception was a great blend of cultures, sharing lots of traditions and merriment.

We learned that goats hold special value in Tanzania. Luckily, the only kind of goat we had to eat was cake.

After dinner, showing Jack the bunkhouses at ranch camp. I remember helping lay that stone walkway!

The retreat center, where the reception was.

And Crystal Springs Lake ... with the moon overhead.

It was after 10 p.m. when we finally left and we both had a blast. It was great to go back and visit a place where I had such life-shaping experiences — but to introduce Jack to such a special place and special friends, made it even more memorable.

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