Looking Back, Looking Forward, Getting Dizzy and Sitting Down

“As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” – Kodos during one of his campaign speeches, The Simpsons


I am not going to lie, I wrote this blog post two days before it actually got posted, but I feel that it’s appropriate in some metaphysical way, representing the time it took for me to leave America and arrive in Kenya.  I left on November 11th, and arrived on the 13th.  I think the 12th got lost in Amsterdam somewhere, like so many days of so many people.  I am sure we could all have second lives if we simply reclaimed the days lost by others in Amsterdam.  So here I sit writing on the 11th while you sit reading on the 13th.  Enjoy the temporal-ness of your existence for a moment.

Looking Back

Ok, come back to me.  Let’s stand together, let’s reminisce about experiences you never had and some I wish I never had either.  But it’s OK, we can pretend together, you wishing you were here, me wishing I was there.  Out paths might cross in the ether.  That’s where friendships form.  It’s been a zany year in Peace Corps Kenya to say the least.

The staging event in Philadelphia, meeting so many people.  I met a girl going to Lesthoto first, and then five seconds later I met, “The Bear.”  Of course he wasn’t The Bear back them, he was John Juliano.  He was from Chicago.  He didn’t really know what he was getting himself into either.  Now he farms fish near Voi and hopes for the day they finally connect electricity to his house.  It will come… the day he packs up and leaves.

The plane rides were long.  Yes, we had two of them.  Remember that day lost in Amsterdam?  That was in between the two plane rides.  I went to some European health-beverages stand and tried to find sustenance.  Who knew health-beverages were mostly disgusting and completely lacking in fulfillment?  Apparently only me.  Thom and Will liked them.  Thom bakes bread now, making pizzas and teaching secondary school somewhere in the central area of the country.  Will got kicked out because instead of teaching at a school that didn’t need him, he decided to help street children in Mombasa.  It’s ok though, he came back on his own and now runs the Moto Moto Circus, an organization that gives poi (fire-dance) performances for a fee.

Loitokitok was this dust bowl of a town, think Mos Eisley minus the spaceships.  It had border-jumpers, cross-border raids, a sweet mountain, too many piki pikis, and all of a sudden a whole lot of white people.  They didn’t know what to do with us; I wonder if anyone does.  We didn’t know what to do with them either, so at least mutuality kept things interesting.  And soon enough they were no longer theys, and we were no longer thems.  Theys became mothers and brothers, cousins and friends.  Theys became co-workers and instructors and teachers.  Thems became Christophers and Isaacs, and Erins and Tameishas.  All huddled together in the loving bosom of Mother Kilimanjaro.

And we stopped being unknowns to one another as well.  We bonded at first because that’s what you to do with the people you’re in the corner with, backs to the wall, facing the curious masses.  As the masses went off on their own way, we turned around and discovered who had been keeping our back the whole time.  Though we may not have enjoyed everything about these deeper relationships, these new friendships, we always remembered: they had our backs from the beginning.  No friendship will fail when built upon that most solid of foundations.



Filed under A Category Other Than Uncategorized

3 responses to “Looking Back, Looking Forward, Getting Dizzy and Sitting Down

  1. kim

    Happy Anniversary!

  2. Jesse

    This is a really great reflection on a year.. gave me some perspective of the ups and downs. I too favor teamwork but have also done many things alone. Kenya was very much a solo gig for 5 of the 10 months I was there about 3 years ago.

  3. Happy One year!! sounds like even Kenya is about the same, no matter where you are in the world Peace Corps is about the same thing and we have some of the same things happen or not happen for that matter. good luck with your next year!!