I was introduced to so many people in Kenya. Each name I tried to learn was more exotic and beautiful than the last. I have never been a linguistic learner; I cannot retain names or remember words or quote a line from a favorite film. I excel at all things visual-spatial; if I see it, I will remember it. It I travel somewhere once, I can find my way a second time without even trying, but if I needed to write the names of the streets I had traveled on I wouldn’t remember one. I remember what I see more quickly than what things are called. I think that’s why I’m a theatre director, as I can lean on the visual-spatial to create and make sense of the world.

When I met Zippy I immediately remembered her name. Dr. Zippora Okoth, a Professor at Kenyatta University, was introduced to me as Zippy. She is the first and only Zippy I have ever met in my entire long life. Wow, does Zippy match her name. I remembered her name because she was the definition of the word Zippy personified, a smile as wide as the horizon, with eyes that sparkled like the sun. She is energetic, enthusiastic, a lover of life. The students love her and she inspires her students. She is welcoming and inclusive, a mighty force who breaks boundaries and makes things happen.

I do not know Zippy very well, but I know her very well. I hope that makes sense. She is a deep well and she has been an unexpected rock, a powerful force that helped to make our Kenyatta University/University of Cincinnati Exchange entirely possible. Asante sana, Zippy. What a journey we have already taken together, and you haven’t even arrived on our shores yet.

Zippy is coming to America.


I met with my students yesterday in a departmental meeting to plan for our week together with our Kenyan guests, and I was pure adrenalin. I am so keyed up over this event that I feel like all I shared was a prolonged ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’. I hope I was more articulate, even though my heart and emotions are always racing in response to the enormity of this event.

In two days 7 Kenyan will board airplanes to fly to America. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ! ! ! ! !

Austin and Jean and Christine and David and Muriithi and Eric and Zippy are coming to America.



This entry was published on October 28, 2015 at 11:54 pm. It’s filed under Culture, People, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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