"Don't forget about us"
For past two weeks sadness, concern and hope were the feelings that the Kenyans were showing and sharing with me. They knew that the time for me to leave would come, but for some reason nobody expected it to come so soon … not even me! We were very intentional in not saying goodbye; a "see you later" sounded more appropriate. I have to say that I had not really expected such an abundant demonstration of love, brotherhood and hospitality.
Concerns and hope were raised mostly because. because of the job that I was doing here: collecting data/information from the schools, allowing them the opportunity to create a solution to the water problem and receiving proposals on how to deal with that and, in addition, proposals on income generating activities. So, then the main questions became: What is going to happen now? When is it going to happen? And is it really going to be possible? Well dear reader, I am not going to lie to you, some proposal were extremely ambitious, others not enough so, also only 9 out of the 18 schools accomplished the goal of getting the completed proposals to me. I must admit that part of the problem was the strike, but if some schools were able to make it happen, that means it was entirely possible.
But something that I heard from every single person that was seeing me for the last time was: Don't forget about us! I didn’t know how to respond to that in a way that would make them understand that I could never forget about them. How is it possible to forget about the people that showed me there is so much more to see beyond the Americas. I have learned many things here, but probably one of the most important has been about hospitality (like that of Pastor Charles’ family who gave me the master bedroom of the house to stay in).
I am awaiting my plane to go back to the New World, but something strange is happening inside of me. I am asking myself: Who am I?... I don't really feel I necessarily “belong” anywhere anymore. As far as nationality goes, I feel that I have lost pieces of the Argentinian in me, although I am definitely not a Gringo, but for some reason I felt that I fit so perfectly here (the only thing missing was my wife). I came to realize that in my family life, being a child of God means that we don't belong to any country, but that we are citizens of God's kingdom. That being said, our place in this world is where we can do something to show God's love, mercy and desire for humanity. The scriptural reference regarding service to the orphan and the widow has been played out in my daily life over the past eight weeks. Let me tell you, right up there with the day I married Roni, being in Kenya I felt sure I was in the place where God wanted me to be.
Even though, here I have been a msungu (white man/traveler) to the Kenyans, in the end, we all were able to see and understand that there was no difference between us and we were able to talk at the same level, respectfully forgetting about our color and recognizing in each other the One who lives in our hearts. When we did that, we realized that nationality was not the primary concern, but the fact that we are a big family spread out all around the world.
Kenya will always have a special place in my heart, but this is not a goodbye, this is just a break until I can return to them...