Good friends never say goodbye

May 27, 2007 at 7:54 pm (Miriam, Trip 2007)

To restate what Beth already said, I too had a difficult time leaving the girls at Nyumbani. Although I didn’t shed many tears, my heart was crying. I have so many questions. Will I see them again? Will they be there if I do go back? Will they remember me? Will I remember them? Will they continue to write songs and perform? Will we keep in touch? It is so easy to numb the feelings of separating from a place that carries so much stimulation. In a few days I’ll be back in my apartment in the midst of Jamaica Plain, MA. How will I learn to reintegrate the daily routine with the two week experience that occurred way way way way far away? The key for me is to figure out how to keep Kenya and the children in my heart, because I don’t want these memories to ever expire. I expect that this trip has allowed new challenges to blossom, and through this, there is a much wider expansion of possibility.

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Juxtaposition

May 23, 2007 at 7:03 pm (Miriam, Trip 2007)

These past few days in Amboseli National Park will forever remain engraved in my memory. Yes, we saw lions and elephants, gazelles and cheetah. But, besides the animal part, it was the ancient feeling one gets looking up as Mount Kilimanjaro as she shows herself to the sky. Have you ever seen Fantasia, the scene were they match music to the beginning of the world? There is red lava flowing all over the place, and bubbles of fire bursting into the air. I have never felt this close to the earth before. Amboseli reminds me of the beginning of time. The wildebeests gallop freely, and there is honestly less human presence than I’ve ever seen. Yes, I’ve hiked in the “back country” of the Canadian Rockies, and been to a National Park in Montana. But this is different. Animals roam like they would have…before we existed. Everything is quiet. I heard the elephants munching their green lunch, while the breeze softly whistled by. It was easy to feel holistic and meditative. The earth as it should be….the earth as it wanted to be.

And then….we drove back into Nairobi. The smells of diesel…the dust lifting off of the ground, the children bathing in the dirty water puddles that lay in between pockets of construction. Shacks with men selling freshly slaughtered meat. The headaches that came in between potholes on the road. It’s so interesting how Amboseli and Nairobi are only about 2 hours away and yet they juxtapose one another with such determination. The conditions were harder to face coming back. I never forgot about the children at the orphanages, but the images of poverty were sort of buried behind the grasslands and the watering holes. I kept thinking about Grace’s smile and playing the clapping game called “Numbers” with Cynthia….but for some reason, I must have been in more denial about the conditions than I thought. I look forward to greeting the children tomorrow. It has been refreshing to share these tangles in the mind.

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Surreal

May 20, 2007 at 6:39 pm (Miriam, Trip 2007)

My experience at Nyumbani Orphanage today felt surreal, although clearly it was real. Here I was on the porch outside with Beth, one of the students on the trip, and four teenagers, Grace, Laura, Madeline and Molly. This was probably the closest encounter I have had with music therapy while in Kenya. Beth and I wrote a song with these young women called “Mother Nature”. It took us but about 30 minutes. The girls are so talented. I don’t even know how to tell you the emotions that flowed through as their faces lit up each time we completed a performance for their friends. I wanted to cry tears of joy because these girls have experienced so much pain but the fact that they still feel happiness is so unbelievable. I never thought that such connections could even be made earlier in the day. Here I was, my short little self going up to four very tall girls, and quite intimidating they were! They sort of whispered at each other when I came to greet them, and they laughed, and one of them even told me that her name was something else at first. It was just, ahhh…to see the transformation we went through, how songwriting brought the girls closer to Beth and me. By the time we had to say goodbye, it was very hard. I only wish we would visit this orphanage more, but we are only here for one more week. Thank you to everyone who has allowed me to be able to experience these few hours at Nyumbani today. I can’t even imagine having missed out on this trip. When I return, I am worried that it will be difficult to keep these moments real…that this reality which seems surreal, will fade into something that never ever seemed like reality and that was always surreal.

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Colorful Images and Sounds

May 17, 2007 at 2:12 pm (Miriam, Trip 2007)

The one thing I have noticed while here are the dozens of colors and sounds. There are greens here that don’t exist in Boston. The color of the dark sky while we were landing in Nairobi was one I had never experienced before. You know the crayon color, Midnight Blue? That was the color of the sky. There are no lights like down below in the cities in America. The color of the mud. The smell of the diesel fuel. The way that the scaffolding is used…Instead of metal, they use branches from trees. Authentic bird sounds. Lots of Swahili among other languages. The flowers are more vibrant. Bright purples and pinks. Eucalyptus trees with tree trunks that rise straight up. Smiles are infinite. Flying over the desert was also a sensory experience. After awhile, it was almost like the desert was part of the sky. The rain comes down in heavy torrents but it only lasts for a few minutes. The children are shining with their laughter, voices, claps and movement. Poverty too has it’s memorable imagery. However, with the poverty there comes a joyful spirit, one that is full of passion for life. I look forward to expressing more of what I have seen and heard while here. I am so glad to be able to share this with all of you back home.
Love,
Miriam

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