I remember so clearly the fear of the unknown, the opposing emotional excitement of wanting to embrace the unknown, and the challenge of waiting, waiting, preparing and dreaming of my Fulbright sabbatical in Kenya. Now the show is on the other foot. I know what to expect in America; our guests have no idea what they are about to encounter. Six months of planning and dreaming is now six mere days from fruition. Nothing has been easy, and everything has been easy. Securing passports and visas was very challenging; finding generous supporters who believed in this cultural and artistic exchange was easy. Thank you Dr. John Mugubi, Dr Zippora Okoth, Marilyn Winter Tamkin and Susan Winter Ward and the Cohen Foundation, Neil R. Artman and Margaret L. Straub, Marge and Fred Leberecht, Beverley Thomas and Mike Ramundo, Jona and Alex Kerr and my family members Lissa and Sherwood VanDewark and Susan and Marc June. Your support is tangible, your hearts are big, and you believe in changing lives through education. Asante sana.
What am I most looking forward to?
When I see Austin Opata, David Babu, Christine Njeri, Jean Akinyi, Eric Mwangi, Kelvinson Muriithi Mwangi, and Zippy Okoth coming toward me in the Cincinnati Airport and finally crossing through security I plan to go wild.
I can’t wait for the CCM Drama students and the Kenyatta University students to share theatre creations together in our welcome celebration, to meet through their artistry, creativity, and generosity.
I can’t wait to see the biggest and most beautiful smiles. I can’t wait to hear English and Kiswahili mingle
I will so enjoy being called ‘Sir’, and ‘Prof’, and ‘Hess’, and ‘Mwalimu’ again.
I can’t wait to go to the movies together at Newport on the Levee, to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to see a play, and to go on a riverboat cruise in the Ohio River.
I can only imagine students from both countries attending classes together all week.
And what films will the students make together in the 48 Hour Film Festival? I can only imagine, and I know they will be amazing!
Every moment will be underlined.
I will see a dream come to life.
To my sleeping Kenyan soon-to-be guests; the unknown is now one day closer to being known.