Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

my Kenya theme song

Life is Beautiful by Vega4

Life is beautiful
We love until we die

When you run into my arms,
We steal a perfect moment.
Let the monsters see you smile,
Let them see you smiling.

Do I hold you too tightly?
When will the hurt kick in?

Life is beautiful, but it's complicated.
We barely make it.
We don't need to understand,
There are miracles, miracles.

Yeah, life is beautiful.
Our hearts, they beat and break.

When you run away from harm,
Will you run back into my arms,
Like you did when you were young?
Will you come back to me?

I will hold you tightly
When the hurting kicks in.

Life is beautiful, but it's complicated,
we barely make it.
We don't need to understand,
There are miracles, miracles.

Stand where you are.
We let all these moments pass us by.

It's amazing where I'm standing,
There's a lot that we can give.
It's just ours just for a moment.
There's a lot that we can give.

you can hear it on their myspace page by clicking here and clicking the title of their song...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why is it 1200 degrees in London?

Hello readers!

We made it back from the safari safely yesterday (the 25th of July) and then had the most wonderful dinner back at the guest house with all our Kenyan friends. It was great to have dinner with Kwame, Nelson, Kim, Gloria and Marcus and the opportunity to reflect over our time in Kenya.

And in all honesty, I can't believe it's over.

I feel in a lot of ways that I just got there (though I'm sure my friends, family, and boss will disagree). I was just becoming comfortable in Nairobi and then had to leave.

And at the same time, I feel like I've been there forever. The relationships I established with our Kenyan friends was amazing. They are truly wonderful people and I'm grateful for Julius sharing his friends with us. To the guys, Kim, Nelson and Kwame...thank you...I love what you all brought to our group and can't wait to see where it takes us in the future...our trip would not have been the same without you there.

So, now I'm sitting in London, catching up on email and trying to not die of heat exhaustion. Jodi and I will be leaving soon for Philadelphia and then I will be running back to Sara when I get off the plane. I can't wait to see her face and I can't wait to spend the weekend with the W's and J just talking about everything.

Until I get home later tonight, I'm going to try to track down a fountain drink (seriously, what do people have against ice), listen to my Kenya song (it's Life is Beautiful by Vega 4) and simply reflect over the fact that we said goodbye to almost everyone (except Jenn) in a rush.

To 3 weeks that have changed my life, to a country and city I love, to children that I can't imagine not meeting, to 9 people who are friends in the states and to 3 who are friends in the homeland....thank you

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Perhaps I'm a little angry

This is funny, considering yesterday I was sad. We left Humura, after taking over 400 pictures of kids. Every kid we could imagine, we took pictures of. I actually can't wait to post them. Who knows how I will feel when I get home, but I'm hoping to get most of them up right away, especially after a shower and a load of laundry.

Anyway, back to the sadness. I didn't realize, or maybe didn't want to realize how hard it was going to be to leave these kids. For 2 weeks, as hard and sad as it was, they were my days. Getting bitten by a toddler, feeding Aaron, singing to the women, this is how my days were filled. I left the window open as we drove away yesterday, looking into eyes and faces of people I had seen for 2 weeks. I wanted to listen to my sad song, but just went over the lyrics in my head:

Shadowlands by Ryan Adams
God, please bring the rain
Yeah, and bring it soon
Let it flood right through the houses
Into Judy's room

With a father on amphetamines
Her mother hides the pearls
Reach out into the darkness
And find my little girl

'Cause she's angry like a salesman
That couldn't make a sale
Threw her wedding ring in the sewer
And damned them all to hell

Please lead her to the mountain
That you fashioned out of sand
While the roaches climb the walls
From the hotel where he calls

Most people never find a love
Most people never find a love
Sometimes you just can be a man
Sometimes you just can be a man
When your living in the darkness
Of the shadowlands
The shadowlands
The shadowlands

Last night after dinner, we sat around, looking through pictures and talking. We didn't have the energy to deal with what happened yesterday.

However, this morning I am angry.

We had decided that today, we would go to Kibera to help with a clean up project. It was disorganized (and not even Kenya disorganized). We stood around for 1.5 hours, waiting to be told what we would be doing. Once we started, we couldn’t do anything because we had too many people to help and when we would start doing something, we would be moved to another section. It was hard to feel accomplishment. However, that was when Jenn told me where all the trash we picked up was going. What I didn’t know was that all this trash was going to end up back in Dandora. That’s when I stopped.

I wasn’t about to continue the circle of making Dandora worse than it already is. Maybe that’s selfish, and if I’m known as the lazy American, I’m okay with that. But out of love for Julius, Emmanuel, and Julianna, I wasn’t going to participate.

What I appreciated about this morning (what Josie helped me process through later) was that it was cool to be with everyone in the midst of the clean up and see children take care of their community. I appreciated the opportunity to be with them all in the midst of the clean up, but it was hard to do nevertheless.

We left early, walking back to Nakumatt, soothing ourselves with Coke, chips and ice cream. I’ve listened to my angry song and I’ve cooled down a little bit, but I’m still angry and I’m ready to deal with the consequences. I had to stand up for something I believed in.

I really need the safari part of our trip. I’m ready to relax, maybe to the point of where I was at the Ritz in April. Maybe there I can figure out my next steps. I just know my life is forever changed due to my time here, I just don’t know what to do with it quite yet.

We don’t have access to internet (YIKES) while on safari, so I’ll be back in touch on Wednesday. Until then, my hope is for peace and relaxation because I definitely have a lot to consider.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

why yesterday was long and tomorrow will be hard...

Both Bri and Julius have been sick since at least Saturday (Julius a little before that). Sarah and I (and basically the whole group) encouraged them to go to the hospital and just make sure it wasn't anything serious. So yesterday morning, the 4 of us (Sarah, Julius, Bri and I) all went to a Nairobi hospital. For some odd reason, they had to go to the casualty section which I couldn't understand why someone would go there if they were alive...doesn't casualty mean dead? Thankfully, they are both fine (Julius has a sinus infection and Bri only has an upper respiratory infection).

Once we arrived in Huruma, I went to go play with the toddlers. And I don't know what was in the water this weekend with them, but they have been feisty all week long. I was bit twice yesterday, once on the arm and once on the eye. And it did hurt.

After we finished up at the orphanage, we left for Dandora. Dandora is another slum in Nairobi where Julius grew up. We were greeted by the children of another orphanage through song and were able to present 70 children with portraits that were done by artist back in the states. They loved it. We were able to take a walking tour of Dandora and then I saw the most horrific site I've ever seen. Next to the apartment that Julius grew up in is by the far the largest dump I've ever seen in my life. And while my words will do no justice to the sight that I saw (kids playing next to it, people looking for things in it) my heart broke to know that the Kenyan government looks the other way while this continues on.

Once we left, we were stuck in traffic for over 2 hours. We finally got back to the house late last night and had to remind each other that we started off the day at the hospital.

Today wasn't anything out of the ordinary. We had the afternoon off and dinner is shortly. Tomorrow, though, is a different story. Tomorrow is our last day at the orphanage. Tomorrow is the last day I will have Collins tackle me as I walk through the doors, feed Aaron, walk 5 toddlers to school, hold Sheva in my arm and pinch her cheeks. Tomorrow I will walk away from the orphanage knowing that my life has been changed because of these kids. A doctor was in the infant room yesterday and saw all of us holding the babies and he told Jodi that we were doing the best thing for these kids. Even though they are malnourished and need sunlight and warm clothes, by our love, these kids are getting more than they could ever need.

We'll probably sit around tomorrow drinking Tusker and crying over these kids that we love and want to bring back. Thankfully we have an easy evening tomorrow too...I don't think any of us will be ready to jump back into anything quite yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Packing food and staying back

After arriving back in Huruma after the weekend, I realized I was excited to see my toddlers. Learning more and more of their names and how they react to seeing me, it's definitely the highlight of the day. I was able to help them get dressed and walked them to school. I sat in the room for a few minutes, but since we were short 4 people yesterday, I went to serve lunch in the handicap room. Collins ran towards me to greet me with a hug and Thomas wanted to do the hokey pokey with me. I love that they also look forward to us being there every day.

I fed Aaron yesterday. Aaron is a boy who doesn't say much and doesn't really focus on much, but always gives me the biggest smile. Feeding him, watching him smile is always the best part of my day, no matter how hard it is to be in the room.

Last night, Nelson and Kym came over to help us bag food. Through one of the other trip attenders sponsors, she was able to provide rice, lentils, sugar, salt, coffee and matches to 370 Huruma families. We packaged it all up and it's being handed out today.

Why am I not there today? Well, there has been a bug flying around our room and while I haven't caught the chest congestion, my stomach has been giving me issues. I wanted to rest and relax today and that's exactly what I did. Bri, who is feeling sick, stayed back too and we walked to Nakamutt (aka: Wal-Mart for Kenya) and had lunch. Now we are going back to rest some more before more shopping this afternoon.

So, here's to rest and relaxation and hopefully feeling better by tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I feel so dirty

Today, we left Nairobi to head toward Lake Nakuru. We stopped at a market along the way, but since it was freezing (supposedly the highest point in Nairobi) we didn't stay long. Making our way to the lake was bumpy and hard at times but the view of baboons, zebras, and sheep along the side of the road made the trip easier.

Maria Dorsey, you will be so jealous of my day.

Once we entered the park, we saw millions of flamingos. They were beautiful and noisy but when you saw them from afar, it seemed like little islands off the lake. It was majestic. Our car was about 5 feet from 4 white rhinos. A family of giraffes passed right in front of our car. Imagine your best trip to the zoo, and then realize it's fully possible in Africa to be inches away from the animals. However, with the wind, dust, and all the flying particles from the road, I feel disgusting...I REALLY HOPE THERE IS HOT WATER WHEN I GET HOME TONIGHT (some people who stayed last night took 3 30 minute showers this morning, leaving us no hot water today). Today made me so excited for the safari, which we start next Sunday. 1 week, I'll be on a puddle jumper to head to safari. To stay in a exquisite resort where they have 1 staff member for every guest. To be pampered and to relax (yes, I'm getting a pedicure and massage if possible). And even as I type that I know I'll feel guilty in the midst of it all. Going from one extreme to another is a hard thing for me. But I'm hoping that the rest, relaxation and peace will allow me to process my trip. I know even if we left the orphanage and flew straight home, I'd still feel the pang of guilt. I think I will experience it even when I get home. But it's a healthy guilt, one that leads to change and one that causes growth. And those pangs I'm always grateful for.