Often times throughout my adventures here, I find myself overwhelmed with emotions, yet at a loss for words to describe the things I’m feeling and want to share. I want to share with you the amazing victories of these people, the ways they have been fighting and improving life for themselves, but also of the pain these people go through, the struggles they are facing and the hardships they find themselves in the middles of, and how it’s changed my heart and made me feel, and I feel so conflicted. Which is more important? Which deserves more focus? How can I effectively convey both aspects of life here? What message am I sending home? I want people to know that people here in Kenya need help, but that doesn’t mean they are helpless. I want people at home to read what I write, and feel motivated to make a change, to give; give of time, money or resources, to help, whether that’s helping people here in Kenya or people right next door.
I want to tell you about all the times I was happy and filled with love and joy being here with these people and experiencing these things, but there are moments when I get home after a long day and go to my room to do nothing but sit, and be idle, trying to wrap my head around everything I just experienced or make sense of my emotions. Some days I really struggle. I hurt and I cry and I wonder what in the world I’m supposed to do with what is going on not only all around me, but inside of me as well. And I never know which part to share with you. I don’t want to share only stories of happiness and excitement, when there are equal amounts of sadness and pain. The moments of happiness wouldn’t be what they are without the moments of heartbreak, so it’s only fair to share both sides of the same coin.
My hope is that from my time here and the stories I’ve been able to share that people would desire and dream to do something like this for themselves. I feel however, like that requires so much care and attention to the words and things I share. I don’t want to make it all sunshine and rainbows, only to have someone experience something like this and realize that there are very real, harsh, intense emotions that come along with the happiness and excitement! It would also be silly of me though, to share simply the intense emotions of sadness or heartbreak and scare people from ever wanting an experience like this for themselves.
So, rather than debate with myself as to what to share, I simply decide with each piece I write, and story that I share to be real and 100 percent honest with you. The realness of it is that every day at school with the kids and the teachers are filled with smiles and laughs, the odd tear or two, and the struggle of children who just don’t want to listen! 😛 And at the end of the day I come home pretty tired, pretty worn out, yet satisfied with how I get to spend my days. And days when I hear stories of a family who is hoping they can find money to pay rent so the landlord doesn’t lock them out of their home often leaves my mind scrambling and my heart crumbling at the struggles these people face. There are days where I feel guilt over the fact that I’m sitting in a safe home with wifi telling you these stories knowing that 10 minutes down the road in my back yard are people still struggling through life as per usual. I also have a smile on my face everyday, seeing the people working on the side of the road selling fruits and vegetables, shoes, hats, or whatever they can in order to provide for their family. Those are the parents that, while it might be easier to throw in the towel and let life work itself out, get up every morning, get themselves ready and work. And they work all day, wanting to provide a better life and better future for their children. And I’m incredibly proud and thankful for those people.
I think about all of these things on a daily basis, the happiness, the sadness, the guilt, the thankfulness, just to name a few and I wonder to myself, what in the world does a 20-year-old girl think she’s going to be able to do for 43 million people living in Kenya? I had a realization recently that while I’m here I have to do what I can with what I have for the people God places in my life. I need to care for the people who need to be cared for, to teach the kids that need to be taught and hug the people that need to be held. I also need to share these stories for whoever might take the time to read them, where ever they are in the world. Because maybe, just maybe, and it has become my prayer, that through my stories other people will choose to do the same. To step out of their every day lives and to go on a trip like this. To allow God to use them to help other people. What if, just maybe, through my stories both of happiness and heartbreak, 100 people make that choice to help those in need. How much more of an impact could 100 people make on the 43 million people in Kenya than when I first started? And so I share these honest feelings and stories of struggle, or victory, of relationship, of heartbreak, and I pray and trust that they aren’t for nothing and that God will use them. That he will use them to impact you.