Nairobi - Day 1

As simple as it may sound, this is an extraordinary place. Here, you are constantly seeing, smelling, or learning. If we only gave them our ear, the Kenyan people wish to speak. My new Kenyan friends should be writing to you. Francis. Peter. Grace. Crispin. There isn’t much to idealize or find comfort here — there is a measure of sadness in every short-lived moment of joy. It is simply the way things are.

It is unfortunate that big game and safari parks gain the most traffic here – as the true majesty and grace that Kenya is, lies in the remote and gritty slums of Kituii Ndogo and Kibera. This is where the raw and unprocessed beauty of Kenya lies.

Putting gentle human faces on colossal tragedies like HIV, extreme poverty, and seclusion is found right here. The children here dream also – there are ungroomed aspirations and fairy tales of flying planes and becoming doctors and diplomats that seem so obscure to their teachers and guardians. But they teach nonetheless: A, B, Cs, limericks, and English songs about bathing or counting.

The children speak of their dreams as if their utterances make them more fathomable. But there is no mistaking their sunken eyes, their withering smiles as each draws images of a faraway place — a good distance beyond the sludge, stench and raw sewage two feet outside their makeshift classroom.

We must teach tomorrow — some lesson plan about hygiene or English or something. Anything. we’re told. Perhaps I can learn something in the process. They have so much to teach. So much to give.

Day 1 and we have so much to learn.