Well, Meru has changed our lives…as dramatic as that sounds, its true. We came here as four students, somewhat naïve in what we were about to experience. We knew that our paradigms would shift, how much of a shift was nothing short of outstanding. I apologize for the delay in this post, as we are fortunately without internet access at our apartment.
Upon arrival, the sweet smells of Nairobi entered our lungs as we inhaled our first breath of air. Perhaps it was flowers, perhaps it was the fact that we had been relaying from airport terminals for the past 20 hours. Regardless, to have our feet on solid, Kenyan ground, felt comforting. Henry was there to greet us, along with Simon and Susan, all equally making us feel at home instantaneously. In our exhausted excitement we commented in awe at the Acacia trees, donkeys on the highways and cows crossing the road. Kat experienced an awful journey, suffering from an equal concoction of those damned malaria pills and a potential flu bug…not to mention flight anxiety. However, with the help of the angels at the Anglican Guesthouse, she was comforted by new friends, and comically Fanta with salt. The next day we met with Mamma Jen for the first time (truly deserving of that name). She got us amped and ready for the 4 hour drive to Meru.
It seems like months ago that we had that first journey to our new town. I remember analyzing and observing the people as we drove, my mindset completely different than what it is now. I remember almost pitying them, for their lack of technology, electricity, and proper housing. I remember feeling bad for them, for wishing for some common solution to help them all. I remember being scared to eat their food, to drink their tea, to live their lives. I never thought of myself above them, but I did think my way of life was easier. I now understand, that our Westernized way of life is not easier at all.
We are consumed my technology, not only ruining our environment, promoting child workers, and racking our bank accounts, but also driving us away from each other. We have phones that communicate instead of our mouths, ipods that allow us to segregate ourselves from the rest of our peers, and big houses that ask us to be alone, locked behind the doors of our own bedrooms. We eat food from around the world and have mega superstores, but what we eat is pumped with hormones and filled with toxins making us sick. We may have vehicles, but our lack of exercise has made our country obese and fragile. We have so much, yet hardly share our wealth, in fact, I’ll go as far as to say forgotten how to give.
Maybe the Kenyans don’t have our prestigious lifestyle, with our cars and our clean houses and our flashy material goods. But what they have is better, they have a sense of community. They are healthy, strong-bodied individuals, who have people that care for them and family that love them. They have nothing and give everything. They are unaffected by this demanding sense of time management we have in Canada. They walk and talk, about the big things, and the little things. They eat local food, unaltered by toxicity and import, minimizing their carbon footprints. They don’t use their lights in the day, because sunlight is more than enough. They do not waste, they do not care for vanity, and strive for comfort rather than attaining uncomfortable stilettos. The children are independent, grateful, eager to learn, undistracted by technology…not to mention killer fast runners. So yea, I have an Ipad, but what I don’t have is strength and acceptance from community.
Photo sent to FHF by Mwenda which he entitled as Carolyn Francis introduced her teachers to Ruuju students