Today was bliss. Sundays in Kenya are pretty much about church or chilling. Today, we chose the latter. Tomorrow we start what promises to be a full month of work on this pilot study we are doing and also following up with the projects weâ€™ve formerly co-established here. So, today was about being together, swimming in the Indian ocean, reading on the beach, snorkeling, napping, eating delicious coastal food, and sleeping late.
There was about an hour and a half during which I was sitting on a coral cliff under a thatched pagoda that overlooked the ocean. Senya was napping peacefully in her car seat, Collin was snorkeling nearby, and I was leisurely reading a very interesting journal article about intersectionality. This was after an all-family swimming event (minus Zuri who was hiking in snow back home); it was Senyaâ€™s first time in the ocean, and it was magical. I cherished these moments as they were happening, and Iâ€™ll treasure them in my heart always.
The past few months have been tiresome and have been a struggle in many ways. The past few days in Kenya–making our way to the coast and getting established here before our work begins–have been restorative, healing, beautiful, joyous, wonderful, and hopeful. I donâ€™t know what next year will look like. I donâ€™t know what next month will look like. I hope that it wonâ€™t be as grueling as the past 2 1/2 months were. I hope that our life will resume the peace and prosperity that used to feel so familiar. I hope that I am not so consumed by things that I must do. I hope that life can resume feeling like life again and not like difficult, stressful work. I hope that I do not have to leave Senya so much. And being with Collin without the weight of daily stressors reminds me that sharing a life with him still makes me feel like the luckiest person on earth.
Ever since we arrived on this continent a familiar light came back into my heart. A beautiful life is in my soul again. I feel human. I donâ€™t feel like a machine. I am alive, not mechanical. There is no drudgery. There is no dread. There is no heartache because I do not have to leave my baby girl to go to work and school for 12 hours. I havenâ€™t had several days in a row without any stress in ages.
The sun is strong and hot, the air is dry, the sky is blue, there is a balmy constant breeze. I love it. We worked so hard to get here. Collin and I sacrificed and worked; we have cried and we have almost despaired. And no, the causes of all of the stress in our life are not solved yet. But traveling this far feels like a personal renaissance. It gives me the opportunity to forget some things and remember others. And I like that.
Itâ€™s late here now, so I should to go bed. We are meeting Terry (our good friend and partner in all this work) in Kwale at 10:00 tomorrow.