Finally starting to feel again

June 6, 2007 at 3:17 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

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Samite said we’d be depressed when we came back to the States, but I was honestly starting to think it just wasn’t going to happen. But this morning, waking up to Miriam’s cat meowing loudly at me and walking on my head, I felt sadness swirling around inside me for the first time since leaving Kenya. And surprisingly, I was glad to feel sad. Not feeling my feelings is very strange for me, since I’m usually a self-proclaimed emotional basket case.

I think my body was protecting me from the magnitude of the experience by numbing me. It’s like seeing something really intense or jarring–the mind just says, “okay, well this is too much for you to deal with right now, so I’m just going to shut down, and we’ll deal with this later.” It’s a protective mechanism, and it works really well.

But eventually, the feelings start to come back. I think to myself, “why am I feeling like this now? I already had the experience, and it’s over now. I shouldn’t feel sad now, I should be fine.” But that’s just not how it works.

I think I’m staying at Miriam’s place for the rest of the summer, which is aaaaaaawesome. What better way to process my emotions from the trip than to hang out with my roommate from the trip and go through it with her? I’m very grateful to her for offering me her living room. And I’m very excited to be back in Jamaica Plain, which is where I lived last year. It’s so much more laid back and beautiful than the city, which really helps with the transition back into “real life.”

I’m really just rambling now, but I wanted to say hi on the blog. I hope people keep reading and responding on here, it is such an amazing way to stay in touch. I can’t wait to put the report together with writings from all of us and pictures. And the DVD!! I have no idea when that will be put together, but I can’t wait.

Love you all very very very very very much.

-Beth

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Wait, where am I?

May 31, 2007 at 8:11 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

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So, I just woke up from about 22 hours of very restless sleep. When I got home yesterday evening, I had a 101.4 fever with chills, nausea, headache, the whole shebang. I think it was a combination of major jet lag, and emotional and physical exhaustion.

I’m feeling somewhat better now, and I’m excited to go over to Karen’s tonight to chat with everyone and just see the group again. It’s weird having been around everyone pretty much 24 hours a day for the past 2 weeks, and now just not being around them.

It’s nice to be home, and it’s both comforting and strange how quickly I can fall back into comfortable routines.

Right now it’s 4pm here, so it’s 11pm in Nairobi. The kids at Nyumbani and Shangalia are probably sleeping, and they’ll wake up tomorrow and have another day. I can’t begin to explain how much I will miss them all. But such is life, and life goes on. I just feel blessed to have been able to share the time I did with the kids.

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A hard goodbye

May 27, 2007 at 7:24 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

Today was our last day at Nyumbani. It was so hard. I can’t really explain it right now because I am so numb and overwhelmed. Miriam and I connected with some of the teenage girls there, and we wrote a song that we recorded at a professioal studio yesterday. It was hard saying bye to them today.

I’m pretty tired right now, so there’s not much brain function happening. This entry is mainly just to say hi and that things are good, intense, hard, sad, frustrating, amazing, heartbreaking, bittersweet, happy, funny, tragic, and beautiful.

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The Roller Coaster

May 24, 2007 at 7:55 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

fd.jpgIt’s always hard to think of what I could possibly say that can capture how I’m feeling and what’s going on here. When I get time to write on the blog, I usually opt not to because I am so emotionally and physically exhausted that I’d rather just space out and not have to think more about my day. But I also feel bad for not writing anything on here for a week or so, because I know family and friends are checking it..so, I apologize for that.

I’ve been pretty much on an emotional roller coaster the last few days. It’s weird because I know all this stuff that’s going on here is affecting me, but it comes out in weird ways. Instead of being able to identify what exactly is triggering my emotions, I just feel generally lethargic, depressed, and snappy. Then it will fade and I’ll be hyper and goofy and silly. Then I’ll be overtired and spaced out. Then I’ll just feel sad for no apparent reason and have a good cry for about 10 minutes. It’s a little crazy.

I just know that this trip has been a pivot point in my life. Things can’t be the same after seeing what I’m seeing and experiencing what I’m experiencing here. There’s no way I can go back to being naive to all of the suffering that these kids go through.

It is so obvious that we are here for a reason, and everything about this trip has fallen into place better than I could have ever thought. For example:

Yesterday Amanda and Karen were on national Kenyan TV talking about music therapy and what we’re doing here to 6 million viewers. That’s not something we could have ever planned for or expected.

On Saturday, we are performing in a concert with Eric Wainaina, who is a Berklee grad and is HUGE in Kenya. He writes songs about touchy political subjects, and is an activist. He is letting us use his professional recording studio this weekend to record the songs we’ve written on this trip. Speaking of the songs we’ve written, they have also been an example of things just working and being in the flow. Everything about this trip is just working out so great.

I miss all of you reading this. I can’t wait until you can all see the DVD we’re going to be making about this trip. We’ve had Njeru, a professional videographer, with us this whole time, and he’s gotten some amazing footage. I think when you all see what has been going on here, you will really begin to understand that which cannot be expressed in words.

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After Shangilia

May 18, 2007 at 7:44 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

becky-and-amanda.gifI don’t even know where to start, because I am very overwhelmed from today’s visit to Shangilia orphanage. It was really amazing. The kids were immediately friendly and had huge smiles. There were some shy ones, but even they would come up after a while and just quietly take my hand. They didn’t have much at all. Their soccer ball was actually a plastic grocery bag filled with crumpled paper and bags. There wasn’t much space, and over 200 kids live there. I’ve seen living rooms bigger than the entire facility.
And yet the kids were so hospitable and welcoming to us. They were really eager to show us their school work, their dancing and acrobatics, and to play their music for us.
As amazing and fun as it was today, I am so wiped out. We have a lot more to do, so I know I’m going to be pretty tired by the end of this trip.
I’m off to bed for tonight. Another day at Nyumbani orphanage tomorrow, when we will be meeting most of the kids that weren’t there for our first visit yesterday. Goodnight!

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Getting ready to take off!

May 15, 2007 at 3:26 pm (Beth, Trip 2007)

Well, I packed, unpacked, and repacked this morning. I keep thinking I must be forgetting something, but I think I packed way more than I could possibly use in two weeks. The trip is beginning to feel a little bit more “real” this morning, and it’s only going to get more and more real from here on out.

I think I’m going to miss eating Top Ramen and Tostitos for two weeks. Sigh.

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