Just returned tonight from my third trauma seminar - this one in the town of Eldoret. What an incredible group of people. Most of the participants were pastors, counselors, leaders in the community - committed to helping the traumatized people coming to them for relief. Over and over they tell me what a blessing I am to them, that what I have to say to them is just what they need to hear, won't I come back soon and give them more? And, they don't seem to know that I'm the one who is blessed, I'm the one who is given so much. I'm so grateful that I have these opportunities to be with these leaders. After the seminar, I met with 9 individuals who have been working in IDP camps with refugees - the stories of indignities, of abuse, of loss - I wonder just how much pain these individuals can continue to hold.
It felt good to return to work - I've had two weeks away from seminars/teaching/research which was good - but I'm glad to be getting back to the work that brought me here. My dad was in Kenya with a team from his church, I spent much of their visit with them in Naivasha. We took a day and a half to go on safari in the Maasai Mara - saw so many animals: zebra, giraffe, lions, wildebeests, waterbucks - it's an incredible way to spend a day!
This week I'm in Nairobi - alone at a friend's apartment - to do some writing for my PhD program as well as to write an application for a Fulbright Scholarship in hopes of returning to Kenya next year. I have fallen in love with Kenya and am more determined than ever to come back, hopefully in a permanent way. (If I'm repeating myself, sorry, can't remember what I wrote in my last couple entries!) I'm auditing a Swahili language course at the U this fall . . . my friends here tell me I'm doing a good job learning Kiswahili, but I can't yet carry on a conversation so I figure I'd better take a class!
Thanks to all of you who are reading my blogs and emailing/responding - I'm glad that you've enjoyed my entries - and it means a lot to me to have you tracking the trip with me! If I can find something exciting in my writing projects, I'll write later this week . . . otherwise, I'll wait for the following week: my final trauma seminar in a Nairobi slum.