Back Home Again

So, I’ve been back home for a week now, and the common refrain in my ear is, “How was your trip?” which is a good question which I’m only beginning to create a good answer for. The short answer is good, but also a little overwhelming, but not in a bad way, just in a real way. I have occasionally felt like people (particularly those I don’t know very well, but who know I was gone) want an elevator speech on the trip– a 30-60 second overview.  My best response to those people is the good but overwhelming response followed by, we spent a week in Nairobi, took a quick safari, spent a week or so in a small town on the edge of the nomadic lands, and then went out into the bush for a few days to meet with the nomadic tribes before returning to Nairobi. While in the bush I milked a camel. This is the short answer.

The trip was great, and in many ways what I expected, but also so much more real, concrete, and vivid than what I had envisioned. Before going to Kenya, so many of the pieces of what we have been doing through Daylight have just been a vague outline in my mind– it’s always been about “the land,” “the kids,” or “the teachers” but it didn’t totally fit together in my head, because I hadn’t seen it. And, once I was there, it made a lot more sense. I understood the concepts, and how to move us forward generally, but seeing the reality just made the vision that much clearer. Before it had always seemed a little fuzzy around the edges.

 

A sleepy self-portrait early in the morning at Maasai Mara (bug bites and all).

I’m incredibly thankful that I got the opportunity to go, and see the various realities of Kenya– urban life in Nairobi, small town life in Kapenguria, and nomadic life in Allale. It was an immersion experience, starting with the one in which I am the most comfortable. We didn’t necessarily plan it that way on purpose, but that is how it worked out.

Spending time with Michael, Angelina, and their family clarified the vision on their end as well, and what they are laying on the line to make this work. Kenya was amazing. It was a dream come true to go– something that had been in my heart since I was probably in 4th or 5th grade. I knew some day I would go to Africa. I wasn’t sure where or when, but I knew. But this trip wasn’t the end of that dream, it was just a step. Because just as sure as I am that this trip is a part of me, I know that I will go again. This place was always a part of me, but now that I have been there, it is even more deeply embedded in my soul.

We all lay things on the line occasionally for the things we believe strongly in. I know that this vision– not only from the American side, but also from the Kenyan side, is something that I am willing to stand by. Not out of a sense of duty because of the gifts I have been given, though that is a part of it. But because these people (Michael, Angelina, the students, the teachers, the nomadic people, the people of Kapenguria) are a part of me too. They don’t need charity, they deserve partners in the vision that they have created, and that is what we are doing through Daylight, and what I find so compelling that I can’t say this trip is the end of the line for me.

 

Back home again, but already thinking about going back!

It is a calling, and one I feel privileged to be a part of– to play my part in making this happen. I get to be one piece of the puzzle, which is pretty fantastic. I feel honored that they allow me to participate, and we can become family to each other to make this happen. It’s a little messy, and certainly not without its complications, but also pretty awe-inspiring.

Clearly, this reflection turned into a bit of a manifesto, which wasn’t really the intent, but where it seemed it needed to go. We each have things we are called into, and this is one of those things for me. What are you called into? Have you found it yet? And, if you have more questions on Daylight, let me know.

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2 Responses to Back Home Again

  1. Sherrie Kunkel says:

    You tell the story so well — very inspiring! We are so proud of you and your contribution to this remarkable endeavor, sharing in God’s work in the lives of these people. This is so compelling! Who knows where this can go…? (mom & dad)

  2. Fuab Thao says:

    Before I came back from Jordan, my professor made us all write a 60 second reply to that question. It was a reply that would only give them enough information, but also inviting so that those who were truly interested would inquire more detail.

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