Under African Skies

I bought a skirt from the Masai market the week before I left Kenya. I loved the color and pattern.  I didnt realize at the time that there was Swahili printed on it. One of the teachers pointed it out to me and said that “Mema Tuliokfufnza Nenda Kayaendeleze” means “that which I have been taught, I will go and spread”. 

I find that message to be very fitting. I came to Kenya to teach, but I have been the student. I have met so many remarkable men, women and children. I have been inspired by their stories, by their courage, strength and bravery. I have been completely humbled and challenged. 

I have learned what it means to have the faith and hope in the face of adversity.

I have learned what it means to be joyful in the face of suffering. 

I have learned what it means to have the faith of a child.

I have learned what it means to be grateful, regardless of circumstance. 

I wasn't prepared to fall in love with these children so quickly. They will steal your heart. 

When I was asked to stand in front of them and say goodbye at the closing assembly, I broke down. Some of the youngest children didn’t understand when I was crying. “Miss Natasha, are you sick? I’m sorry”. I remember that my grandmother would cry every time she left after a visit to Newfoundland. As a kid thought it was really strange… but now I’m just like her. I must be getting soft in my old age.

The older children understood why I was crying. Dear Phyllis said “Miss Natasha, I don’t want to miss you” .. I think I know what she meant.

When it came time to say goodbye to my highschoolers at the end of the day I was already dehydrated from all my tears... then Lilian, Joyce and even David broke down. My heart was shattered in a million pieces. I guess it's a good thing to cry. It means that you have opened your heart to someone and genuinely care about them. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life that make it so difficult to say goodbye. 

Saturday was my last day in Africa and I was on a mission: to see elephants. I had one failed attempt to see elephants the week previous. It was a series of unfortunate events that involved 9 matatus and 1 buda buda. 

This time the story has a happy ending, thanks to two gorgeous sisters: Mwende and Karimi. 

The project takes in elephants that have been orphaned and nurtures them until they are ready to be reintroduced into the wild. (http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/)

I even got to pet one! What more could a girl ask for? 

I went home a happy camper with elephant kiss on my foot! (And I'm never washing that food again!) 

My heart is overflowing with wonderful memories that I will look back on for years to come. This has been my greatest adventure. Yet.