The last month has been hard. It’s been frustrating, complicated, and a time of questioning.
Originally, as you probably know, I was supposed to be in Liberia by now, in the middle of the jungle, assisting with Amani’s Girl Club which focuses on keeping girls out of prostitution. For months I have been researching and mentally preparing myself for this exciting yet grueling opportunity.
Have you ever been attempting to follow a GPS along a new route and then you miss a turn you never saw, moved into the wrong lane, etc and that dreaded word starts echoing in your car. Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating… (I have heard this quite often in my driving experience) It has to be one of the most frustrating sounds of the 21st century.
I found out in the beginning of this month, approximately three days after my last blog post, that the possibility of getting to Yekepa was slim. Liberia is severely underdeveloped, and it is hard for me to wrap my American brain around the fact that what is keeping me from what was supposed to be my new destination comes down to transportation and other logistics. Instead I am currently recalculating.
Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed my time in Nairobi immensely, but in the back of mind I have always viewed it as a temporary respite before I plunged into a hard core adventure. Instead of trekking through a rural village I navigate streets teeming with people, board a matutu, and bump my way along to work. Instead of the fresh air that I had been envisioning, I breath in the heavy pollution of the city. I think I have only seen the stars twice since I have been here. I was never a city girl and I don’t think I ever will be.
However, Nairobi offers so much and everyday I am learning more and more. My handful of Swahili words is slowly growing. I have the opportunity to meet people from all different types of backgrounds. Instead of gaining perspective from one context I am learning from Sudanese, Congolese, Indian, Ugandan, Kenyan, Somalian… I get to have dance parties with forty and fifty year olds complete with a disco light, Bollywood music, and a liberty to let loose. I get to continue to go to a church that I feel at home in. I continue to learn from a lady who started an international business after becoming a refugee herself.
The day after I found out that I most likely would not be going to Liberia, I found myself going in the wrong direction on the public transportation system. And I let myself get angry. Angry at the situation. Angry that I was still in Nairobi. Angry that I was not getting the chance to prove myself. Angry at God for not letting me know of his plans ahead of time. I was angry because I wanted to keep going on the route that I had punched into the GPS. Not this recalculating bit that was taking me where I did not want to go.
Now I find myself going down this new road, albeit reluctantly. I still feel waves of disappointment when I see a road sign that reminds of where I initially wanted to go.
The sun is shining in Nairobi today though. It is a new day and I honestly have no idea where I am headed. Some days I still get angry. Then I remember what I wrote about in my last blog and I laugh. I may have talked the talk but now I am being forced to walk the walk.
Last weekend I attended the annual Amani retreat. The speaker talked about change. How change is never easy. How we always seem to view potential change as a negative experience. She talked about how it is easy to let yourself become a victim to change. I don’t think it was a coincidence. I was nervous to attend this retreat, but I was welcomed with open arms. It was a time of refocus and celebration.
Recently, I came across a proverb from Darfur that says something to the effect that a wise man (or woman) does not hide from the storm but learns to dance in the rain. There is so much to be thankful for and so much to rejoice over. It’s time to shake things up on the dance floor.