It is so strange to me that I am leaving to go back home. Has it really been four weeks already? It’s strange that this is the last time I will be waking up in Kenya, the last time I will sleep in this bed. I almost want to walk up to the Nakumat one more time to take everything in.
Every time I think of the month I’ve spent here I smile. I have to many good memories to bring home with me and I can replay the trip over and over again in my mind and see how this beautiful, amazing country changed my outlook, my appreciation and myself. When I arrived I felt very much like a child, even at 24, I didn’t feel like I was making progress. But after four weeks, I don’t feel as though I am the same person I was when I arrived.
I’ve learned to be grateful for all that I have, I’ve watched children with absolutely nothing be ten times happier than children at home who have everything they could possibly want. I’ve seen poverty in its truest and most heartbreaking form. I used to think seeing a person begging on the side of the road was sad, and it is. But you don’t understand the extremity of poverty until you see children using piles of trash as their playground or watching twenty people rummage through those same piles of trash at 8 in the morning to ensure they get the best options.
I’ve had the opportunity to teach children who live in shacks without a bathroom, without running waters sometimes without even a place to sleep and watched them be the happiest kids I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I then was lucky to grow close enough that I developed a special place in my heart for each and every one of them. I know I will keep that with me forever.
Here in Kenya it is a different world, a simple world. Aside from the rooster waking me every morning at 6 a.m., it is incredibly quiet and serene here. The people take their time, they are never in a rush and I believe they are happier for it. Kenyans often don’t keep Time, 10 a.m. can mean 1 p.m. and it is just accepted. Its something we can learn from them, why is the westernized world always in such a rush to go nowhere?
And I dare every woman to go a month without wearing make up, without doing your hair, without dressing perfect all the time. It is a guarantee that you will discover your self worth.
Looking back on this trip I have no regrets, I immersed myself in a new country, I ate new and different food, met new and interesting people, I learned to take a five minute shower (which was more like a sponge bath), I learned to navigate the streets of Kibera, ride on a matatu and find my way into the city.
Coming to Africa has been something I have wanted to do since I was 10-years-old. Over half my life it has been my dream to come here and make a difference. 14 years later I finally achieved my dream and it is bittersweet.
But the best part of fulfilling a dream….now I get to go out and find a new one which will consist of backpacking through Europe. Stay tuned.