A friend and I recently thought we should change the old adage, “It isn’t good; it isn’t bad; it’s just different.” to “It isn’t good; it isn’t bad; it’s just hard.” when describing Kenya. This only slightly references living outside our home culture away from family, friends, close support networks, etc. MOSTLY it refers to every surface in Kenya: wood, tile, concrete, boulder, asphalt, brick. This country is hard.
Nevertheless, there are things that I would miss terribly if I didn’t live here. Here’s a quick run down in no particular order.
- The warm, comforting, homey smell of bread breaking. I understand that were Snapchat to develop the technology to transmit smell as well as audio and visual, it would mostly be use for evil. But I would send you ten seconds worth of baking bread wafting on tendrils of morning sunlight.
- Buying things from the comfort of your own car. Seriously, you pull over at a roadside stand and they come to your window. Of course, sometimes it’s more of a mob. But, still. It’s pretty novel.
- Twelvish hours of sunlight every day, like clockwork. I miss fall. I miss snow. But, I love having sunlight by 6:20 every morning regardless of the season.
- The pop of vibrant color from tropical flowers. There is a vine of orange flowers growing in the compound that is startling in its strength. There is a tree with fuchsia blossoms that I’ve stopped trying to capture with my iPhone because that silly, expensive, state-of-the-art camera phone will never do it justice.
- Cool nights. It’s Africa; it’s hot in the sun. But when the sun hits my homeland, I’m nice and cool.
- Living on a compound. This one really surprises me. I’m an introvert and a homebody (you can stop laughing…God calls all kinds of people into missions!). But, I really like hearing the other families move around, scolding mischievous children, speaking in three languages, sharing food. It’s so much life and it’s right here!
- The view out my sitting room window of the mountain behind the compound atop of which sits our site. Most evenings it’s not raining, I watch the #nofilter sepia evening light bathe the mountain in a warm yellow glow framed by banana trees and a garden and I think, “God, you’ve brought me to paradise.” (See featured image)
- Getting whatever medications you want at the pharmacy. You can just go in, describe your symptoms and get meds. No doctor visit, no copay. It’s probably not the safe, but I dig it.
- These darn kids! I can’t help it. I’m in love. They have totally stolen my heart. Especially, now that they know me better and will call me over for a hug or when they are sad or to show me what they are working on or to tattle on each other. These kids are working SO HARD to be successful and do well in school. They inspire and motivate me in a new way and I can’t imagine not knowing them.