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I recently read, “Old stories are like old friends, you must revisit them every now and then…” or something like that. Coincidentally, two days ago, I came across the journal I was writing in while I was in Kenya. I opened to this page and felt everything I felt then all over again. Reminders, man. Enjoy. 

July 11, 2010
It’s beginning to get harder to get out of bed now. I’m not quite homesick, however, I feel as though I’ve lost purpose on being on this trip.

I keep thinking about Toronto and all of the feelings I’ll have and the commitments I’ll try to keep. Like spending less time in the shower, turning taps off while washing/brushing, unplugging unused electronics, buying food I need opposed to greed, being more inviting to strangers, being more available to friends, spending more time in Kingston with family, letting frustrations pass with a convenient ease and smile, being more conscious of where the products I buy are coming from, sleeping earlier and long before it’s time to get up. Consume carefully. Write more often. Say Thank You. Take breaks but work hard. Save $$…

All of these things and more.

I’m ready to go home – I feel very confused here. I definitely don’t belong, it’s not my place and it’s all quite disappointing.

Even though I have such negative feelings about all of this, there is one very special thing (person) that keeps me alive here in Kenya. Janat.

The top of her head reaches no higher than my shoulders and her cheerfulness expands eons. She has wide eyes with big black dots in the middle and the most straight, clean teeth out of any child here. I sink into her lanky arms each time we meet. She loves playing hide-and-go-seek, chewing grass, talking about what different words mean in Swahili, asking questions like Where were you?, saying Yes, throwing her handmade ball of rags to play catch, and of course, laughing. A lot of laughing is a must around her.

Every time I see this girl I am instantly happy and calm. All is well with Janat. She is in Standard 5 (or grade 5) and looks like a young Lauryn Hill with a shaved head. She has an older sister and two older brothers but acts as if she’s roamed the ends of the earth and back all on her own. There is a wise soul inside of her that I only hope gives her strength to be everything dreams of and more. More than me.

She is so smart, appreciative, and smiley! While collecting water with a plastic container that once held cooking oil, walking back and forth from a river 20mins away – she did it all with a smile. As if happiness was a state of mind unconditioned, as if smiles could be smacked on faces like lipstick for special occasions and this right here, the moment of now, was a very special occasion. I can’t get over her.

Britta B.


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