Thomas Baraka. Tommy. Little Baba Jeff.
Tommy is a bright, funny yet serious, boy who has been with us since March, 2007. He joined our family when he was only 4 days old and was our 14th child. Tommy was named after a very special man, a Kenyan missionary who welcomed us and helped us and encouraged us from the day we set foot in Kenya! RIP, Thomas Makhoka.
Tommy has always been a super kid, mostly just going with the flow and keeping out of trouble. We used to call him Professor because at a very early age, he could mimic anything you said! It was hilarious! He loves school (he’s in Madam Beth Ann’s class) and does well academically. He is also a fast runner (maybe he’ll someday represent Kenya in the Olympics)! So, why have I chosen Tommy as the subject of this blog?
Recently…..maybe two months ago….Tommy suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, attached himself to Baba Jeff! It all started one day when he told Baba Jeff that he wanted to go see the clinic (which is under construction and scheduled to open, hopefully, the first of next year). Since Jeff had been thinking that he needed to go check out the construction progress anyway, he nonchalantly agreed and he and Tom walked down to the construction site and checked it out.
That was it! That’s all it took! From that moment, Tommy has attached himself to Baba Jeff at any opportunity! He carries around a 500 liter, plastic Coke bottle filled with water (a smaller version of the one Baba Jeff carries around, full of Crystal Lite drink). He never misses a chance to tell someone, “This is my water bottle. It’s just like Baba Jeff’s”
When Jeff isn’t home, Tommy just goes back to his normal blending in. But when Jeff is home, Tom knows exactly where he is at all times, and waits for his opportunity to slip away from auntie and join his idol! If Jeff is in the kitchen, Tommy sneaks in there and makes himself busy sweeping or helping stir the zucchini bread that Jeff is making, or whatever! Anything to be with Baba Jeff!
If Baba Jeff is washing the cars, so is Tommy.
If Baba Jeff is walking the shamba to check on the crops, Tommy is right behind him, hands shoved in his pockets (just like Jeff), doing his best “Baba Jeff impression”!
The other day, Jeff was working on an outside project and Tommy was with him. I needed to ask Jeff a question, so I went out and interrupted his work. As he was answering my question, he leaned against the wooden fence on one elbow, his other hand in his pocket. It was all I could to not burst into laughter when Tommy did the same!
The best part is that Tom quickly figured out that if he wants to really be a little Baba Jeff, he needs to speak English! It’s amazing how quickly he is mastering it!
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when one of our visitors asked Tommy his name, he quickly and proudly responded, “Little Baba Jeff”!