I sit here in Shimoni, overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean, and I’m feeling déjà vu. I have said goodbye to coastal Kenya once before, so the emotions and the anxiety comes as almost as a welcome familiar. The anxiety is different now though, because I’m expecting the counter-culture shock. I’m expecting the depression, the deflation, the isolation…so I hope that by pre-emanating the disaster it may be less intense. It’s like nuclear warfare game theory between my mind and soul.
OK looking back at the ocean/horizon and I’m feeling the calm come back over me. Maybe this is the problem for world politics, the major players in nuclear disaster is coming politics don’t have a view over the Indian Ocean. I could win the Nobel Peace Prize for this concept.
But let’s focus on Kenya and community development – that’s the hardest part of leaving right now. I feel like I just got something going, and there is so much left to complete. I maybe overreacted and created a farewell packet, a 6-page detailed document outlining all of the future objectives that the Women’s’ Group and I had discussed, from how to open a bank account and write a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for partnerships, to ideas for marketing like using the new logo (designed by my super and beautiful and talented sister Alexa Barry) to make t-shirts to sell in the Curio shops around Kakamega.
In writing the packet however, I realized how much I wish I could stay and see it unfold. The Women’s Group started from nothing, and now they’re a registered group and more importantly MAKING MONEY. They’re organized and determined, and most importantly, they’re on it. They can’t be stopped! And that doesn’t come from me. That was in them and always has been, I am just a player who got a ball rolling.
So my dilemma is personal, it is some kind of psychological syndrome with some name like mama-letting-go-of-her-baby-so-it-can-walk, I don’t know. For the past 6 months I’ve had purpose, and I feel like I’m “making a difference” blugh I hate when people say that…but I say it meaning that it was making difference FOR MYSELF. I was developing myself professionally, and also I was spiritually in a beautiful place with calm and peace constantly around me. The stress level is very low, and I’ve come accustomed to this lifestyle. I don’t want to go back home and deal with the life that I left behind, and go back to hustling tables to make life work, and endlessly struggling with my school fees and incompetent advisors. I know I am being whiny and pestilent, but I don’t care.
I know this is the PROCESS blah blah blah. And I do have to admit there is a growing, albeit still tiny, ball of excitement growing in me to be home. There is soooo much I love about home. Most of those things are people, which can’t be replaced or reproduced in foreign countries. And that does wear on you. Loneliness and isolation does happen here, of course, but it’s about feeling a part of you that is inside and pushed aside, because it has no place here. That’s the very deep part of you, the original part that comes from your childhood and your fondest memories, when you came of-age and when your inner self emerged and you became you. But now, in Kenya, you have to push that all aside to and focus on the new and the exotic.
Now, I need to go home and reconcile these two parts of me, and reignite the deep part of my soul. And look towards the future, which is unknown, which is scary as hell, but that’s the next step for me. It’s what has to happen!! And the bus tomorrow night to Nairobi is booked, and the flight from Nairobi to London, and London to Newark, and then the train from Newark to Boston…and then my lovely mother will pick me at South Station and then 2 hours later I will be in my bed! After a long hot shower. And that is going to be what I have called #travelhell, but then I’ll be home, and with my friends and familiarity. And cheese. OOHH there will be cheese. So all in all, it’s not that bad.