May 16: T.I.A. “This is Africa”!
(This post was written a few days ago but due to a lousy wireless connection I'm happy to be able to share it today...)
So, I’m a few days behind on my updates. The past week has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, excitement, exhaustion, happiness, anger, fear and love. I think that for a few days, while battling a nasty sinus infection, I was so over-stimulated by my experiences here in Kenya that by the end of each day I had nothing left to give. I am realizing today, as I head off to Diani Beach on the South Coast and then Lamu for my well-earned week long vacation, that I am fully willing to surrender to my emotions, my body’s feelings of fatigue and my minds’ lack of clarity.
This morning I woke up after my last night in the AYP house with Katy, (she’s heading up north to volunteer with an orphanage called Flying Kites for two weeks) and found that there isn’t any water. “TIA”…this isn’t an unusual experience here in Nairobi where the power goes out multiple times per day, wireless connections can take ten minutes to load a page and toilet paper, running water and soap are a luxury in a public washroom, so, I decided to practice being a local and have an ‘African Bath’. I filled a bucket with some water that was luckily saved for reserve, and washed myself with a cup from the kitchen. It did the job and I reminisced of days splashing around in my green froggy pool as a kid!
Here I am on this sunny Wednesday morning attempting to recap all that has happened this past week and a half. Impossible! There isn’t enough time or space on this page…
One thing I can share is that I am incredibly grateful for my experiences with Africa Yoga Project. I met so many fabulous friends who have inspired me in ways that I don’t think I’ll realize for months to come. As I think about our last day with the teachers last Saturday after practicing with 108 sweaty yogis and friends (thanks to a challenging class from Katy and Moses), I’m angry with myself for not having instigated a proper good-bye with everyone. My head cold and feelings of being overwhelmed took me out from being present and enjoying my last few hours with the shining hearts behind this beautiful organization. I will have to initiate a proper ‘good-bye’ next Thursday as I pass through Nairobi for one last day.
Our visits to the slums opened Katy’s and my eyes to a way of life that counters everything we North Americans understand. The living conditions are simple, yes ‘simple’, I’ll use that word, but, there is a sense of pride and contentment with these living quarters and it has made me question my belief systems about ‘need’ vs. ‘want’.
The funny thing is that I feel so deeply attached to Africa, I always have been and now that I’m here, the feeling has only strengthened. I know I’ll be back, probably even sooner than I think. I have been pondering whether I can see myself living here with these beautiful people. I think I might, but where ‘here’ is on this giant continent is still yet to be discovered.
Yesterday, (after our fantastic Safari and visits to the Maasai Village) as we drove from Amboseli to the Tanzanian border with Samson (a wonderful AYP teacher/assistant) and Jacob (our Maasai tribesman buddy), the scenery felt so familiar and out-of-this-world magnificent. When I had pictured myself one-day visiting Africa, this is exactly what I had envisioned. It was almost too much for me to take in. My body was tired, I was emotionally exhausted, and here I was looking out the window at my dream landscape. I found myself experiencing frustration for not being in the state of mind that I had hoped I could be in when seeing this beauty for the first time. Alas, I have to let it go. My feelings are what they are. My experience was exactly as it should be.
Prior to this trip, I considered the possibility that I may be able to live with less after seeing what I have seen. On the contrary, I couldn’t be happier by the thought of heading to an all-inclusive resort this afternoon with a hot shower, big bed and lawn chairs. Despite my deep new found appreciation for the things I have, I am happy to announce that I still want to have them! I don’t doubt for a second though, that I will thank the stars and the moon every day for being born in Canada with the abundance that surrounds my every action in life.
I want to send a special THANK YOU to all of my friends at AYP for their time, openness, generosity and love. I am feeling empty right now as I sit in the boarding lounge completely alone. I miss Katy, my partner in crime; I miss Billy, our ‘dancing king’, Auma, our 'Mamma' and the brightest and craziest teacher of them all, Sadick, our wonderful Rafiki and the ‘please speak in English’ police and all of the warm and happy teachers who have changed my life forever. As I said before, only time can now help me to understand what just happened, but I commit to taking these experiences and causing change back at home and in the rest of the world. If not now, when? If not here, where?
From one of the prettiest places on earth,