A message to a friend:

Dear Kim,

I thought I’d just leave you a happy message before you left for Ghana because I’ll be in Taiwan in a couple of days so I don’t get to see you. So. I’d just like to wish you all the best for your little adventure… don’t get Ebola, please, please, please (If you bring it back it’ll probably freeze to death here in the Vancouver summer but let’s not take chances now). You will have an incredible time, I’m very sure. You’re sunshine-ness and open heart and endless energy will undoubtedly make your experience as good as it can get. When times get rocky, because when you’re on the other side of the world it sometimes can, just remember that I ❤ you very much and I am also eternally jealous and wish I were you. The people you meet will teach you so much and give you so much love, and the best you can do for them is probably just to love then back and keep their smiles and stories in your heart. They might make you cry, you might make them cry, but Africa is a beautiful home and it’ll hold you in it’s warm, loving arms until you smile again. I’ll miss you and I can’t wait to see the pictures. (I’ll try not to cry in envy and nostalgia when I see them).

Take care, ma rafiki. ❤

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To: July 24 2010 and 2011

It’s been one year, one whole year since I got on that plane that took me to a place where life taught me all that mattered. It’s so far away, that even I’ve forgotten some of the routes and take-the-left-when-the-road-forks, and when was the best time to eat our chocolate bars.

It was there I breathed the smell of the sky trodden upon by herds of cattle, when the wind echapee’d with the dust as the music reached my ears. Oh, the music! How they sang for God! Their voices would make the angels cringe in embarrassment of themselves. And the sound of life! So gentle and real and calming. Never once did I want it to shut up! and go away. If only the voice of the universe was always like that.

The warm feeling of sitting by a campfire and listening to the voices of friends-becoming-family, the morning smell of chai tea, the crunch of new-but-now-worn work gloves, and hushed huff the earth sighed as I passed its dried surface as my feet traveled on…

And now all I’ve got left is a couple of beaded bracelets, a few soapstone carvings, a wax art piece, and well, a blanket. That’s all. I don’t have the shovels or pickaxes that nearly broke my back, I’ll never be able to see the kids, and I don’t even have my buddies who braved this adventure with me. All I’ve got are memories that I won’t ever let go, even if they start to fade away. I’ll paint them again in my head over and over again; all the acacia trees and bushy hills and the thick red sand, I can still see it all.

But sometimes, I wonder if it ever happened. After all, I’m still here in Canada, with enough money and overflowing, messy shelves and dressers, and an infinite number of things to do. It’s so hard to believe that it was the same me that pushed the old wheelbarrows and watched the kids sing; I feel as though I’m looking at the memories through windows and frames, instead of really feeling it. But some things never change. The crisp 100 shilling bill that’s really only worth $1.10 will still be sitting in that green change purse, and the wax that the vendor so importantly pointed out on the drawing still smells great. So I guess I’ll always have my ticket home to Kenya. Most of the time it’ll just be a little walk in my precious memories, but maybe one day, that Air Canada plane that flies over my head really will take me to Montreal, where Swiss Air will drop a piece of beautiful, creamy chocolate in my hand as they fly me, finally, home to Kenya.