February 7, 2016

Upon A Gust Of Wind

At first it looked like ash or rubbish floating across the road. The bus was quiet as most of the kids had fallen asleep in various position of comfort and necessity. Some baking in the sun, others shielded by sweatshirts or scarves.

Upon a closer look, one could notice that the paper white ashes, were not ashes at all, but a swarm of thin pale butterflies, and with a bit of imagination and perhaps a pension toward romanticism, one could almost believe that they were a flurry of snow flakes, rolling across the road upon a gust of wind. 

The stars are out again, the way that stars rollick in the darkness when allowed the freedom to escape the lights we create to run our lives. A gentle breeze. The silence of the night and the eerie peaceful calm which is the natural sound of night as a planet rolls toward morning.

My ears are still ringing from the music. Earlier we had a bit of a dance party, watching our kids in various modes of amazement watching the Daraja girls dance without a trace of inhibition. Some of our kids joined in, waving their hands as wildly as they could. Jumping up and down, impressed by how easy it can be to be free. I sat watching, still too embarrased by my lack of rhythm to do anything but be jealous.

Back in my banda. Excited to show another group of people the magic of a school build on nothing but passion, love and a trust in humanity so strong that it becomes a self-perpetuating prophecy.

On the bus watching:

The languid ease of not needing to be anywhere at any given time. The chaos of a bus over burdened by people and their belongings. Fifty gallons plastic jugs of water or cooking oil, the necessities of life. Families on motorbikes, babies in slings, and the smiling desperation of selling your bunch of bananas in the noon time heat. Watched a group of young boys playing tag on the side of the road, barefoot and all smiles, wondering when do our kids get to be kids so independently.

My thoughts drifted:

How often do I romanticise the life of people leading very difficult lives? Why are white people so scared of black people? It feels strange to be a minority, a pale face in the midst of so much unknown. So many people are unable to see the true face of reality, because of all the baggage we have been burdened with by our cultures and histories.

What were are kids thinking today as they looked out their windows and bore witness to the true face of a place that has only been a myth to them. Were they awed or scared? Were they open to the idea that they could relate to the people outside the passing window, or did they linger on the obvious disparity of their lives and the ones on the side of the road?

I hope that by bringing them here to Africa, Kenya, Daraja, we can show them that people are people are people. And that poverty is not some thing to fear or romanticize. It is the true nature of the world. And the people who pass by through our windows living quiet lives on the side of the road, when we get to them and spend time with them and hear their stories and their songs, will always teach us how to be our better selves.

The only way to overcome fear and its belligerent cousin racism is through exposure.

So here we are on day one, ready to look at our ignorance both new and old with open eyes, open minds and open hearts.

Drama means bridge and we are all Daraja.

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