Kurudi: To Return
September 30, 2010 § 6 Comments
After an unforgettable trip home, filled with so many amazing people and experiences I missed, I returned to Kenya through the same crooked gate I arrived to more than seven months ago. This time the seventeen beautiful little faces peeking above the windowsill meant something so much more than they did before. I missed every one of them for such small and special reasons. When they poured out the door, the emotions were more incredible than the first time. It’s a blessing to feel part of a family in a place far away.
That said, leaving home in the States was surprisingly more difficult than the first time, knowing more acutely now what the sacrifices look and feel like. For all of you family and friends who hosted me at home, at the lake, in Seattle, and in Arizona, or came to whatever nook I was tucked in to say hello, it meant more to me than I could ever thank you for. To those who attended my presentation at Arbor Crest Winery or contributed to raising $2000 dollars for the kids, thank you! To all of you relentless kite flyers in Newport, thank you for spoiling me and sending me off with such faith and love. And to those I didn’t get to see, I wish I could have slowed time.
After a few days of hugging, hand shaking, and frantic catch up, my adjustment back to Kenya was eased by one of the most awesome blessings yet to grace this adventure: the arrival of my dad, my grandma Carol, and my grandpa Barry. To see their smile and their tears when they first saw the children, singing their welcome song in the sun, is a memory I will never forget. Members of the community walked over five miles to greet my ‘baba,’ ‘susu,’ and ‘guka,’ with song and dance and gifts of their own. I could not have been more proud to introduce them as my family. They danced when pulled to dance, rolled up their pants when told to roll, and kept an open mind and beautiful sense of humor amid the many twists and turns. My mom was a piece sorely missing, busy at home changing lives upon lives, but I’m working on her for a great adventure of our own. Help me by prodding her wild heart!
Having checked off sheep and cow from our ‘ferocious predator’ list, we left Njabini and embarked on our first ever safari! We visited four parks: Amboseli, Lewa, Loisaba, and Maasai Mara, an itinerary jointly arranged by Ker & Downey Safari Co. and the swirling, childhood dreams of my grandpa Barry. We could never have dreamt up more intimate experiences with local people, beautiful animals and camps, let alone asked for a more charismatic and knowledgeable guide, Joe Charleston. Thank you Joe and Andy Cambell for becoming such friends and helping construct the memories we now carry as a family.
I have posted a few of my many, too many pictures, along with a few from Joe and Dad. To name a few of our many adventures: we witnessed the wildebeest migration from a hot air balloon, had a spear throwing contest with Maasai warriors, tracked wild dog, slept under the stars in glorified tree forts, watched leopard cubs kill in a tree, got struck by lightning, and toasted a glass of wine to every sunset and every animal that gave an apt excuse to do so . It was an adventure made extraordinary by the fact that it was shared with my grandparents and my dad. I feel so blessed to have had them here; to have seen them connect with this place, these people, and the life I am living.
The tide of travel has finally subsided and I am back to work and life as usual, now with greater responsibility and greater successes to earn. I am grateful to have you still with me on this journey. It is through you that I can teach these children to live in pursuit of a dream; that a whole world of inspired people are rooting for them to succeed.
To a new chapter and life lifted,
When I was the stream, when I was the
forest, when I was still the field,
when I was every hoof, foot,
fin and wing, when I
was the sky
no one ever asked me did I have a purpose, no one ever
wondered was there anything I might need,
for there was nothing
I could not
– Meister Eckhart
Excerpt from “When I was the Forest”