I’m sitting in the Amsterdam airport waiting for my connecting flight to Atlanta and then Miami. It didn’t really hit me that we were leaving Kenya until… well… I was physically on the plane departing. It’s weird—I’m not sad per say, but I met some really cool people and developed some great friendships over the course of two weeks. It’s strange having to say goodbye without knowing if I am going to come back and when. To be quite honest, I would love to go back but I’m not sure if I can do it soon. When I was saying goodbye to the staff, they kept asking if I was coming back next year. It’s different for other people on my team because they are all still undergrads while I’m not an alumnus. They have the ability to come back next year still as a “student” while I will be out of UM. And I’m not sure if one year away will give me enough perspective to come back with fresh thinking and ways to truly make the impact I want to in the community. Time will tell but I would like to go back one day. Meanwhile, I will try to stay in touch somewhat with some of my new friends through email and Skype. I’m not foolish to think I’ll be talking to them every day but I would like to talk every so often. I’m hoping I keep up with that.
Kenya was good for me. I had fun, I learned a lot about Kenyan culture, and I met some awesome people with inspiring stories and backgrounds. I’m not sure if I’m an entirely new or different person with a new life outlook because of it but I definitely have been shaped by it. I do believe that at any point in time in our lives, we are a sum of all our past experiences. For that reason, I do think this trip has changed me but not completed redefined me.
Since all our flights were departing at night (10:30pm for all of us, except Layne and Afonso who were leaving an hour after us) and the trip from Meru to the Nairobi airport is about 6 hours, we were leaving Thiiri in the afternoon after lunch. I woke up later than usual, around 8am but went on a last run. I ran into Alex who was walking to BLISS on my run back so it was nice to have a last goodbye with him. Surprisingly or not, I was still the first person at breakfast from my UM team. The rest of our morning at Thiiri was uneventful. I spent time packing, lounging about, and saying goodbyes to the staff and medical and pharmacy students.
After lunch, we brought out our luggage and had our final hugs and farewells. Then I sat in the van for 6 hours until we got to the airport. Since we didn’t get a chance to stop for dinner, we were looking for food but there was only one restaurant in the entire airport and it was extremely overpriced. When converting the price I paid in KES to US$, it’s the price I would pay for a meal at an airport anywhere, like the US. I guess airport food is expensive no matter where you are.
The flight wasn’t too bad. I thought I could have slept since it was an overnight flight but I just ended up watching three movies: Man on a Ledge, The Vow, and Chronicle. The last two weren’t anything spectacular but who can deny free movies on a flight? Now I’m waiting a few hours for my next flight. I just looked at my ticket and realized that my layover in Atlanta is 4 hours so that’s a bit annoying. All I want to do when I get home is shower and sleep. I’m looking forward to it.