God willin’ and the fun don’t stop.
by Through Inspiration
I have just finished chomping down an amazing Mango, dried juice still stuck to my elbows. I sat next to Scofia in the back of the house while she washed dishes and I licked my mango pit clean. We chatted about her daughter back in Uganda who is suffering from malaria, I pray for her. Scofia and I have become very close in spite of our language barrier. She has a wicked sense of humor and teases me endlessly. She loves when I dance awkwardly in the kitchen while she sings tunes from Uganda or when I attempt to hand wash my clothes. She also loves to keep me from my studies, interrupting me over and over and laughs when I tell her to go away. The night is cool, which is a relief from the extreme dry heat we’ve been having. The roads are dusty, the air is smoggy and I have dirt in all crevices of my body, the dust is unbearable. With the dry heat comes a lack of rain. March is supposed to bring cool rains, but we have yet to see them. The city has been rationing our water and three days out of every week they shut it off. I’m getting used to it but sometimes it’s still surprising to turn on the faucet and see nothing come out.
I’m learning to surrender to many of the challenging realities I have been combating. I have surrendered to the fact that I have no control, and no knowledge of how things are run here. Just when you think something is making sense it changes, just when you think you’re getting the local price someone rips you off, and just when you think you’re safe something sets the fear right back in you. This weekend was my birthday! My sister took me out for Ethiopian food and frozen yogurt, it was delicious! Later on my friends and I were out having a great time celebrating, eating cake and drinking mojitos. Many of us had avoided going out at night lately because sometimes it’s just not safe. This weekend however we decided to have fun! Unfortunately at around 930 we got a text from our director saying that there was a bombing in Nairobi and we were all to return to our home stays. This cut the night short and was not the ending to my birthday I had hoped for. I am fine, and no one from the program was harmed. They are still looking into who was responsible for this terrorist act. It is suspected that it may be the Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab. Despite this tragic event we managed to make the cab ride home an adventure. There was nothing we could do about the bombing so we continued to have fun until we got into our front doors. I was thankful to have people to celebrate with, I was feeling the love sent from America and I was safe. The lives that were lost in the bombing stick with me as a tragedy but I am recognizing them and holding them in my thoughts.
Monday was amazing! A group of 4 of my friends took a day trip to Hells Gate National Park. We rented bikes and biked ten miles through the park. It was early morning when we arrived and all the wild animals were out! We biked passed baboons, zebras, antelope, giraffes, warthogs and wildebeest. The scenery was stunning and the air was still fresh from the previous night. I felt so happy and free; a bit like I was in heaven! When we got to the ranger point we ate our picnic and then went on a tour of the gorges and natural hot springs. Our guide was fantastic and helped us climb rock walls, leap over hot streams and showed us where Tomb Raider was filmed. It was a fantastic time. Once we finished our tour it was about 12 and we needed to bike back. The African sun was pounding on my back and my $6 rental bike wasn’t going the speed I wanted. Basically, we were dying. Not to mention the fact that I got sick half way back and had to sprint into the bushes, not knowing what might be lurking back there. As I said, I am learning to surrender to the uncontrollable.
Tonight on my run I was hyper aware of the faces staring at me as I passed. What do I represent with my running outfit, nice shoes and privileged ability to exercise? Many of them hardly have time or money to eat three meals a day let alone make time for an evening run. I felt embarrassed. I pushed passed my embarrassment and focused on the beauty in each face I saw. Man, this country has good-looking people. If I could write a book about faces, this is where I would write it. Every one’s eyes seem to tell a story, they are intrigued by me and I am fascinated by them. I also continue to be obsessed with every child I lay eyes on. What’s going on behind their gaze? What is their history?
I continue to be well. I’ve had a few moments of frustration and homesickness in the past week or two. These have balanced out with some really incredible moments, however. The workload has increased and I find myself at my computer writing, rather than socializing with my family, which can be irritating. My mom is hilarious. Currently she is refusing to eat because she went to a funeral for a fat woman. She said to me tonight in the kitchen “If you are fat, you will die. I do not want to die, so I will only eat chai and bread”. I almost peed my pants. I asked her why chai and bread? She just laughed at me…She is a big woman and is always watching her weight but she is in no way unhealthy. The way she says things always makes me laugh, and her use of English is quite comical. Next week I leave for a ten-day trip to Tanzania! It is going to be incredible. I will fill you in on the details asap.
So much love.