Saturday, July 23, 2011

the end, for now!

i said kwaheri (goodbye) to my kenyan friends and family this past wednesday.  i know that i went for a few days without blogging, my apologies! i departed from watamu, this time on a plane which was much less painful than the 12 hour bus ride and headed for nairobi for the last little bit of my trip.  when i arrived back, i was greeted at the airport by richard, a volunteer from south africa who helped me with my bags and escorted me to the car taking myself and two other volunteers back to the house.  heather and carolyn were two very cool girls with a very awesome mission. heather was an entertainment reporter who has interviewed stars like cameron diaz and jennifer aniston, and decided that she was tired of the red carpet affair and wanted to do a story on something with depth and purpose, hence her and carolyn's, her videographer, decision to head to africa to do a story on volunteering in foreign countries.  i wish i could say to look for me on tv, but they never got the chance to interview me as they had hoped because they left for watamu the very next day...bummer! check out their link of a few videos they have posted so far!  one of the perks of traveling with an organization that is flexible is that there is a constant influx of volunteers, so you meet new people from different places.  the saturday night before i left, i went to a restaurant with heather, carolyn, richard, daniella, and elisia.  we went to a place with a great atmosphere, sitting underneath the stars by a fire, and the food was delicious but a bit overpriced (we should have known this would be the case when we noticed it was a mzungu hangout!).  afterward we went to rafikis and psys, two local discos where we danced away the night with some of the locals-i had a blast and got some great new music to add to my itunes playlist. 

sunday morning a new girl, Claire, arrived.  she was a medical student from england and one of the most genuinely sweet people i think i have ever met.  some of us went to church on sunday where i listened to a monumental service that charged the congregation of the church to be the change the country needs to see with the next election.  post-independence, africa was voted to be the happiest continent in the world, and now it is known to be the unhappiest, plagued by corruption that has left the majority of the country hungry and homeless.  the church is beginning a mission of prayer that will go into 21 counties of kenya where they will pray up until the election-for a peaceful election compared to the previous one that erupted in anarchy within the country.  i felt like i was a part of hearing something historic and was deeply moved by her words.  before the service began a man from none other than chapel hill, north carolina was acknowledged and of course after the service i had to go over and introduce myself!  after the service i found him and turns out he is actually a professor at UNC in the Public Health school, how crazy! he is a part of an organizaiton called africarising that was created to help the people of kenya learn ways to sustain themselves a part from just receiving aid that may or may not always get to the right places.  we exchanged contact information and i hope to meet up with him and talk about how i can help the next time i visit (because there will be a next time!) 

the last few days i spent at the St. Dorcas orphanage with the children who i met my very first week.  we played football, netball, hangman, sang, danced, and i taught jacinta the basics of first aid.  it didn't feel like enough. the hugs that i gave, the attention i gave, it didn't seem like enough. i had a moment where i was watching them play in their clothes that draped off of them and were being held together by a single thread and my eyes began to well up with tears. i live in a country where opportunity exists and i don't have to worry about where i will get my next meal, where i have choices in life, and most importantly i have endless love. the children at st. dorcas live in shacks, have a playground that is nothing but red dirt, eat the same thing for breakfast lunch and dinner, day in and day out, go to bed without a good night story, share a bed with one or two other children and wake up and do the same thing the next day. even worse, and this hurts the worst, they may never hear the words i love you. i see them smile and laugh, i am amazed by their selflessness as they stand when i enter and offer me their food, their seats.  they ask me, please don't leave us, please never forget me. if i have ever felt heartbreak, this is it.  i look each child into their eyes and tell them you are beautiful, you are special, God has a plan for you...i hug each one, they grab my hand and look up at me and smile and i melt.  i think i feel more sorry for them, than they do for themselves. i know the life of love and family and i have a place that i can return to called home.  they don't know this life.  i will blog more on my ongoing mission for these children, please stay tuned for ways to help these children and for pictures and more stories of them!

so my last day, we travelled into nairobi center to stroll around and check out some of the government buildings and what not. well, the mentality in africa is never be in a hurry because there is constant traffic. well, this girl had a flight to catch and we were caught in traffic, once we got out of the congestion, the bus breaks down but praise the Lord miraculously begins working. i get home just in time to take a shower and eat a little bite and make sure all my things are packed. all of this could easily be done without trouble, if there is electricity. after the shower, the power goes out, so i am packing by the light of my phone. the power decides to finally come back on and i finish packing, eat my favorite meal that miriam kindly made for me and call the cab guy to make sure he has remembered to come get me. things are looking on the up and up. don't speak too soon kelly...when i arrive to the airport, i find my flight has been CANCELLED. there it is, staring me in my face, the worst combination of letters i could imagine at this point. my palms begin to sweat, my heart beats. i walk up to the counter, she tells me there is nothing available for me. i don't settle. i walk over to the ticket office, which mind you has a line that is moving at a turtle pace. some people are getting tickets on another flight, there is hope but this line is moving so slow i might lose my chance to make the departure time. i could use my phone to call the airlines, but wait i decided to leave my international phone with one of the other volunteers because why the heck would i need it...i guess i didn't think of this scenario ever occurring! well, luckily i had two angels behind me, john and debbie, who i began talking to and they let me use their phone. i then called the airlines and was able to speak with someone who re-issued my ticket and got me on a flight to zurich, from zurich to brussels, from brussels to dulles, and dulles to raleigh. long story short, here i am in the comfort of my home in north carolina, just after spending the day with my sister and niece, thinking how good it is to be home, but yet how bittersweet it is to be away from those who became my family and my home away from home. i am grateful for this feeling, because i know that it represents a trip full of purpose, full of love and memories to last forever, a feeling that keeps me attached to kenya and to continue doing the work God set out for me to do for them-because it doesn't end when my departure, but will continue until that good work is done. 

No comments:

Post a Comment