Once you have been to Kenya you want to return. Once you have worked with Sudanese, Ethiopian, Somalian, and Kenyan artists you want to do it again. The well of the soul is so deep in West Africa, the joy easy, the time expansive, the simplicity profound.
Once I had a dream to return to Kenya with students from the University of Cincinnati. When that dream died because I could see its smallness, I let it grow until the dream reversed; what if I brought some Kenyan students from Kenyatta University, the best university in the nation, to America instead? Rather than affecting 4 or 6 American students, I could affect 50 American students by bringing over 4 or 6 Kenyan students.
Today was Day Three of a dream realized. I drive the large white van at the end of every evening loaded with 7 Kenyans after another filled and powerful day in America, and I am amazed to hear the Kiswahili behind me, the laughter and joy, the cultural noise of Kenya in America. I smile and drive and listen, calmly stopping at every signal, savoring the time. I hear my Kenyan family behind me in the van and I am content.
The Kenyans are really here. Every day brings new ease, new discoveries, new stories. Our Kenyan guests are open and daring and generous and thoughtful, willing to say NDIO to any and everything thrown their way.
This trip is an international phenomenon. The support is world-wide, and I love it. There is such interest, such curiosity, such engagement. During every moment of every day I turn and see a new combination of people fully engaged with our Kenyan guests, connecting and sharing through work and play. We have danced, we have acted, we have cried, we have shared meals, eaten ice cream, watched a film, taken walks, visited book stores, driven in cars, and we still have so much time together. Hundreds have been touched.
I am full of gratitude. I am practicing living in Kenyan time every time I encounter one of our Kenyan guests, I look forward to the adventure of each successive day, and I CAN’T FRICKIN’ BELIEVE THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!