Sarah Durham shares her thoughts preparing to welcome Kenyan guests for the first time for the Kenyatta University/University of Cincinnati Exchange.
I know you from pictures. I know you from Facebook posts. I know you from words Richard uses to describe you. I know you from a drawing I sketched. The darkest part of your face is your eyes. They’re brown, rich, pensive, and a small part of a very complex person.
Your writing is kind, courteous, unassuming, and powerful at the same time. I feel as though I know you already Muriithi, but I don’t. Until four days ago, I didn’t know which name to use when referring to you. Kelvinson? Muriithi? Mwangi? You’re a man of many names. In three days, I’ll speak one of them aloud, and the Kenyan and the American will shake hands.
We grew up in different towns, different states, different countries, different continents, different cultures, different worlds. Monday morning at 10:10am, I get to share a little piece of my world with you. We’ll train together, eat together, attend classes together, and ride in an Uber car together. I’ll watch your face as you walk into Barnes & Noble bookstore for the first time in your life. When we’re talking throughout the day, I’ll wonder what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, if you’re over or underwhelmed.
What is it like to be in an environment where nearly everything is foreign? You’ll have to tell me. I do not know you, and you do not know me. Yet. I look forward to November 2nd when that statement is no longer true.
-Sarah Durham, CCM Drama 2019, University of Cincinnati