22 April


I will miss Kenyatta University. What I will miss about my long walks around the campus of Kenyatta University are the unexpected details. This is not what I know. My awareness is heightened because I am aware that everything is new.


I will miss walking down the long walkways that criss-cross campus, edged with variegated shrubs, light green, dark green, light green, dark green, a maze of choices that first confused, but now comfort me. What a gift it has been to be able to live where I can walk to work. The last four months have felt like living in an African park. The bushes grow quickly and about once a month they have been trimmed by armies of machete wielding workers. I will miss seeing that.


I will miss Harambee Hall, the frustrating, noisy, alive, crazy home for most classes and performances for the Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology. I will miss the creativity and chaos of the place I spent most of my time working on campus.


I will miss the steel desks, their noise, their oppressive presence, their ability to always be somewhere new. I still think they are alive and have the ability to move at night in the dark wherever they want.


I will miss the formal front gate to Kenyatta Univeristy. Elimu ni Nguvu. Education is Power. Like the entrance to Oz, Kenyatta University is guarded and gated, and the big blue front gates are manually opened and closed every time a car enters or exits. All of my journeys in Kenya have been about leaving the hallowed grounds of the University, about walking from the peaceful grounds into the unknowns, and the feeling of peace as I return through the gates to my now familiar peace.


I will miss my ranch house on the dead end street in the back corner of campus at Kenyatta University and the community I interact with every day in this specific place, our corner of the world. I will miss 4 Malawi Close and the lizards and the never ending surprises.


I will miss seeing African birds and hearing African birds. I sometimes feel like I live in a personal aviary on campus, with each species of bird selected for my pleasure. I love noticing and listening to the birds.


I will miss open windows every single day, with no screens, with no air conditioning and no heat but just air. Fresh air. African air.


I will miss Africa. I will miss Kenya. I will miss Nairobi. I will miss Kenyatta University. I will miss Malawi Close.

I will miss the people.


This entry was published on April 22, 2014 at 10:11 am. It’s filed under Culture, People, Sounds and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “WHAT I WILL MISS

  1. Drumistgabu on said:

    You are welcome again ad infinitum

  2. Bonventure on said:

    We will miss your presence. You have inspired many including myself. Thank you Mwalimu.

  3. You make the most of everywhere you go and whatever you do. So glad you are able to have this experience.

  4. Brenda Benzin on said:

    This is so touching. I know that feeling, when you are about to leave a place which has become part of your life! and I will miss hearing from you every morning!

    • Thank you Brenda. It’s been comforting knowing the number of people who have been reading along with my journey. I can’t believe 4 months come to an end in 4 days. I hope you are well!

  5. mimmoh on said:

    thanks sir u were great inspiration to many me included,,we wil miss u

  6. Marge on said:

    Richard this has been a magical journey…I am so honored to have been along with you and your students. I will miss the morning chat from you and I will miss your students. I wish them all the success and love possible as they travel their journey, forever changed
    by their American teacher/friend…Richard Hess

    • Marge- this trip to Kenya would not have been as rich without your support and interest all the way from Cincinnati, through all of your years as a life-changing teacher.

  7. M. Kim Babat-Yonaty on said:

    Thank you for blogging. I have loved following you. Seems you have been giving me the gift of extraordinary new experiences for the last 28 years. So happy you have had this experience

  8. Kenya will miss you too

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