From Geoffrey to you; I am a lousy poker player

Monday May 25, 2009

I am a lousy poker player


A few friends and myself really like playing Texas hold em, not as some futile attempt to get rich quick we just like the game. We used to plop into a booth at our local Norms and play for pennies, dimes and nickels for hours. We got to the point when we used to play every hand (that is how you know we weren’t really serious) and just try to bluff out the other players. We would raise, re-raise and lastly, with a smug look, utter those sink or float words “all in.” I think that I was cursed, every time I actually had a good hand and went all in no one seemed to take the bate. Nine times out of ten I put all of my trust and hope in my bluffing skills and nine times out of ten my skills let me down and I lose the whopping seventy-five cent pot.

There is a woman here named Beth. She has a three beautiful young daughters, two of them being twins. She leads a small group and is very active in our church as well as in the community. She owns a small dress shop and is one of the very few people in Masii that actually owns a car. During my entire stay here in Masii I can only recall two times that Beth didn’t have a grin so big you could see her back teeth; when she was tending to a sick woman and had the “concerned mother” look that all moms seem to get when someone is ill and when her daughter was sick that she kept on passing out. This woman is always smiling, hugging, and greeting others. It is amazing how the masks that we wear can actually fool people into believing that all is well in your life when the crude reality is that you feel so suffocated and trapped by life that you can hardly breath and desperately want to give up. I even took the bait and feed into the lie that the front she put on was the real her… how I wish it were so.

She invited William and I into her home the other night for tea, which you would think meant a thirty minute stay when in actuality it means you are having dinner, tea and staying to talk after for three hours. We ate our supper and sipped our tea all the while Beth had one of the biggest smiles planted on her face. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but our conversation took a turn and Beth took off her mask and let us into the darkest and scariest chambers of her life and heart, the chambers that had been veiled and kept in secret for years.

She is married, but not happily. Her husband is an officer in the military, which isn’t an easy task in the slightest because even getting into the military requires leaps bounds and astronomical amounts of luck. To be an officer means that he is a someone in Kenya. His title may be her husband, but he is anything but. He makes his way home from Nairobi every few months just for sex. If Beth isn’t pretty enough or doesn’t satisfy this man then she is beaten severely, in fact abuse is the only thing she can count on him for and it comes regardless of if he is happy, satisfied or mad. Beth is left to pay for food, school fees and medical costs for her daughters as well as paying for rent and her other bills and this very well off husband is no where to be found. If she calls he ignores it. If she writes it gets thrown in the trash. If she visits he gets mad and beats her. He is incredibly jealous and often calls Beth accusing her of unfaithfulness with only fuels his abusive acts of rage. She can’t run because he will find her. The abuse is bad now but would only increase if she divorced him, which would only fuel his anger and fury. The mass difference between the exorbitant bills and the small profit or her business forces Beth and her daughters to reside in a tiny hole in the wall home that lacks electricity and running water but makes up for it with dirt, grim and deteriorating walls.

Throughout the entirety of her tragic story she just smiled. At the end of it all she said it is okay because my trust is in God. She says that it is a testing of her faith and that she is going to continue to praise and worship God through thick and thin and that he will deliver her from this ordeal. Lacking family to run, money to fund an escape and resources to provide for the children elsewhere, she stands firm and trusts in God. She smiles because she has hope.

Like a poor poker play, I tend to go “all in” on bluffs or ridiculous hands. Time and time again I have played the fool and trusted in some insubstantial and frivolous thing, my parents can tell you about the different ideas and schemes I have thought of and put everything I had into and failed. I need to be more like Beth. You see Beth understands 1 Peter 1:3 when they that Jesus is a living hope, something that doesn’t die or fade away. She realizes that it isn’t a bluff. Instead of chasing after the wind and putting everything she has on some insubstantial thing, she puts everything she has one something that wont let her down.

Trusting, knowing, believing Beth puts everything she has, she goes all in, on this living hope: God.

Asante Sana,


Janet’s eyes
Beth’s situation
Stacy’s wheel chair (it should be here Friday woot woot)
Funds for a few different Tumaini projects

I keep on listening to “Grace like rain” by Chris Tomlin
There are some pretty bad communication problems between myself and some of the locals, but talking on the phone only makes it worse. I got a call from my friend earlier today. She said “Geoffrey, my grandma is here I want you to come meet her.” I said Okay and that I would be there in thirty minutes. “You’ll be here in five mintues?” No I said thirty. “Oh ten minutes” No thirty. “Oh fifteen?” No thirty minutes” “OH ok. Twenty?” No T-H-I-R-T-Y minutes ha ha. “OH thirty minutes. Why didn’t you say so?”

That happens like three times a day. Another person called me about some food I ordered at a restaurant and they couldn’t understand if I was going to go pick it up, if they should drop it off at my room, or if I didn’t want it anymore. I talked to them for what felt like three hours, but that whole communication thing still didn’t work out.
Does anyone have the Chronicles of Narnia movies?
My toilet does half flushes…. Maybe to conserve water… I dunno.
My shower is raised above my floor…. A few times a week it floods my bedroom floor… kind sucks… and to fix it Mutuko gets a plunger and goes at the drain like me on cake.
I really think that staying in this hotel is for the best, not just because of the safety issue but eating beans and rice twice a day everyday…. Means I shouldn’t have a roommate
Kids think it is so cool when they get a soda or some juice so sometimes they get a plastic bottle and pour it into it and only take small sips so it will last a long time.
Nothing is worse then when you go to make a PB and J and the bread is moldy
Have you ever noticed that when you eat healthy food you don’t get as full as junk food makes you? Rice and beans leaves me hungry even though I am full, but pizza, hamburgers and ice cream fill me up
Black outs happen all of the time. They wrote in the newspapers about how we were going to not have electricity today… but we did. I think they just like the feeling of taking us by surprise

Maji – ma-ge

Chris Tomlin – Grace like rain

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