There’s nothing that comes close to the emotions of Kenya. I’m not even sure ‘emotions’ or ‘feelings’ are words I could use to describe them.
Strolling through the centre of Nakuru at midday, eyes ahead and worries behind, greeted by smiles and waves and hearts and happiness.
Crouching in the red hot dust of the Mama Kerry School playground, clinging to a toddler who is taking a well needed nap, she is comfortable and content…that’s all that matters.
Driving through the stars along the East African Rift Valley, on the other side of sundown, thinking about everything and nothing, in conversation with God and in battle with the future.
Coming from a country where everyone lives their own life and focuses on where they are going and how they are getting there, it was a bit of a culture shock to suddenly be so intertwined with the children of Africa.
It was amazing to be sitting in a classroom so different to our own and witness the eagerness to learn, education was a life or death essential to them.
It inspired me to work harder, to use the resources and opportunities that are so readily available in Northern Ireland in order to gain skills and intelligence that I could someday bring back to Kenya, to pass on to the children that sat around me.
As a team we'd taught lessons, helped with construction of a classroom and did house visits to deliver food parcels but I can whole heartedly say that we didn’t come remotely close to giving those children anywhere near as much as they gave us.
While we gave them material goods and education, which don’t get me wrong are so desperately needed, they gave us love, perspective and life lessons that will forever be priceless to me.
They taught me how to be grateful, how to have a childlike heart, how to love God more.
They taught me the value of a smile.
The kids I met in the dump were truly amazing, filled with joy they taught me how to dance and rejoice.
I got to spend about 45 minutes playing with them and getting to know them, and honestly that short period of time made me happier than I ever knew possible.
Leaving those kids was hard, I knew they didn't go to school and maybe would never get out of living in the dump, unlike the kids at Mama Kerry who had slightly better opportunities.
I pray that someday they will get a better standard of living, whether God willing I'm a part of that or not, I'm going to try everyday to live my life with the same heart they have.
The atmosphere among the group was one of sympathy and thankfulness.
We spent the remainder of our trip exploring Kenya and getting to experience the culture. On Saturday an early rise let us go on a game drive safari through Lake Nakuru National Park.
I had never done something like a safari, I'd never even been to a National Park so I wasn't quite sure if I would enjoy it, but boy was I wrong to doubt!
I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure day, mainly because it was a great chance to spend time with the group and make unforgettable memories with amazing people in such an incredible country.
Settling in when we arrived home again was and still is also very hard.
The only way to describe the sensation is being homesick.
Homesick for Kenya, homesick for the kids, homesick for the culture, homesick for the love.I look forward to returning to Kenya someday, hopefully in the near future, but until then I am holding tight to everything Kenya taught me, holding tight to the memories, holding tight to the moments shared with my Mama Kerry children and kids I met in the dump...holding tight to the emotions of Kenya.
I am so grateful for the opportunity African Adventures provided me and will always be thankful for them. The staff were all amazing and the opportunities were varied and wonderful.
My African adventure may have come to an conclusion, but my new found adventure of life has just begun...