dear kenya, we aren’t that different

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Dear Kenya,

I could really sum up our time together as a continuous dialogue of

 “asante”

“karibu” 

(but let’s be real: I will never brief enough for that.)

The exchange of love between your people and mine has been phenomenal,

as have been all the adventures of daily Kenyan life.

From your exhilaratingly reckless driving…. to ceaseless crater-sized pot holes.

From the never-ending tea-time…. to the ever-changing blue skies.

From all the smiles… to all the stares (because mzungu-status, of course.)

From your love of crocs… to the disdain for the “chilly” 70-degree weather.

From the assurance that no, the forecast will not be accurate today…

to the assurance that yes, the day’s adventures will be as unpredictable as the weather.

You are unique from my country in your vibrant and expressive personalities,

uncanny courage to conquer any terrain, and impunctual population.

So there’s no doubt that our problems are very distinct in many aspects.

But we are so undeniably similar in our humanity.

Behind the mud walls of your home,

your people love to laugh.

You are often weary.

You love your families fiercely.

You weep over loss and injustice.

You love to laugh… hard.

You are intelligent and informed.

Your children are still children, in need of both love and instruction.

You often feel ashamed of things out of your control.

You can be both hurt and encouraged by the words of others.

You love good game of football followed by a warm meal.

You are both proud and ashamed of your country.

Your people are both kind and sinful.

You are beautifully complex, and just like my country, there’s no one label which will accurately illustrate all that you encompass.

It was intense, as the realization that humanity is just so universal, sunk deep into my bones during my time with you. 

The human condition of emotion and complexity is the same all over the globe, no matter skin color, tongue, tribe, or nationality.

And though we are an endless list of differences, this shared human existence trumps all of them.

You gave this white American the welcome of a lifetime. 

You embraced this foreigner with open arms and open hearts.

You had no reason to, and you probably had many reasons not to.

But you did anyway, and for that I will be forever grateful.

And I sure hope that one day, you will be able to say the same of me.

In Him who is the origin of us all,

Mary Madeline

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