Day One Continued…Arriving in Western Kenya

If you have to wait four hours for a flight in an airport with uncomfortable chairs, it helps to be with friends. As we tried to get comfortable, Ann asked me, “Heidi, what is the meaning of life?”
I pondered the question and said, “I think it’s just love.” How prophetic those words would turn out to be at the end of my trip. It really is just love. And while this picture is dark and doesn’t convey much, when I look at it I smile and am overwhelmed with love for the people in it.

Kisumu is a beautiful city in Kenya. It’s very green and the sunset that greeted us as we left the airport was incredible. The roads…maybe not so much. But our driver, Godfrey, was adept at navigating the ruts in the dirt and our two week journey four-wheeling in an 11 passenger van (later safari jeeps) began.
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It might be true that the sun is bigger in Africa. We certainly felt it! It was blazing hot with no rain on the horizon, terrible for a country that thrives on rain to sustain people, animals, and gardening. The drive to the town we were staying in for the next few days was like a movie. People were lining the dark roads to walk home, with jugs of water on their heads, or school children with books. Tin shacks with fires blazing everywhere.

After we arrived, we were served dinner under a grass roof with flickering lights. We told stories. David and Moses sang. Christine was quiet. Suchi’s laugh infectious. I slept under mosquito netting for the first time in my life, and it was one of the best night’s of sleep of my life.
It’s funny how that happens.

On the plane to Kisumu I read an article about grounding. How when you go to a new country you should walk barefoot for 20 minutes to ground yourself and acclimate to the timezone. So I did, and thought about the children I saw with no shoes. I’m almost jealous of their freedom now. Scratch that. I AM jealous of their freedom.
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There is peace in Western Kenya. There are sounds that I have never heard, smells I have never experienced, and love is everywhere. When I close my eyes now, I can transport myself back there. My heart expands in my chest and I feel the warmth of a gentle hug, as the country tells me it will be waiting for when I return.

Or maybe I just feel the love from my family there.