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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Our "Nairobi Daughter" and "Mama Frankie"
Our good friend, Kathy, having coffee during the house painting.
Bookcases were emptied and moved in order to paint the wall behind them.
Chairs and tables moved out of place, ladders in the way, wat-nots askew, getting ready to paint.
Of course this painter uses only "Premium" paint!
And knows how to measure each and every space to accurately figure needs before starting.
The formal dining room table serves as a temporary storage space.
Another view of the living/dining space.
And painting Begins!
How many of you have friends that would come into your home and paint for you just because they want to do something nice for you as well as spend time together with you? Frances and I are very fortunate to have such friends in Kathy and her husband Rob. Kathy came alone this time, arriving on Sunday night, intent on painting "Mama Frankie's" den, kitchen and hallway. I knew the best thing I could do for Frances and her "Nairobi Daughter" was to get out from underfoot, so I disappeared to the cabin. I'm hanging around today - but they don't want me to interfere.
Let me explain. In 1989 we moved from East Tennessee to Nairobi, Kenya to live and work. We arrived within a very few short days of Rob and Kathy Davis and their three children. When they heard the piano playing in our apartment, Kathy said, "I don't know who those people are - but they have been to Lee College. That's the same way my Mom plays the piano and she learned it at Lee!" Over "Tea" we learned that her mother's brother was converted in a meeting where my maternal grandmother was the evangelist, preaching in a tent, on Gasparilla Island, Florida. When we later visited Kathy's Mom, she brought out one of those old black and white photos of a crowd in front of the tabernacle at Wimauma, Florida, a Church of God campground. Standing next to Kathy's Mom in the picture was my Mom at the age of 15 - just the year before my Mom and Dad were married. What can I say? We "bonded" then and have been friends ever since 1989. Rob and Kathy were there to work for Compassion International. He was a CPA and gave a large amount of his spare time helping us with our book-keeping for the National Church which I had been sent to Kenya to supervise. It was one of those "God things". God knew that both of our families needed the friendship and encouragement lent to each other. The bond has grown over those 21 years. Since we have moved to Cleveland we have been delighted to have them and their three children continue to visit us from time to time. They feel like part of our family.
A word of explanation about "Mama". In Kenya, and most other countries in Africa, people will call parents of their friends "Mama" - together with the name of either their oldest child, or, if they know a younger child more intimately, they will use that name - but always preceded by "Mama". Our first-born was Frances whom we always called Frankie. Hence "Mama Frankie". It's a way of showing respect to the elders. For some reason I was always known by the respectful term "Baba" (Father) Fred. Another thing to note - Africans will call a lady shop-keeper "Mama" as a term of respect. Whether they know the lady or not "Mama" is used like we in the South used to say "Ma'am."
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.