The tears finally came and now they might not stop

June 7, 2007 at 2:49 pm (Spencer, Trip 2007)

Maybe I am just following in suit behind Beth who made a similar post yesterday, but when I woke up this morning I decided to finally check the blog for the first time in a while.

Of course my mum has been checking it every day and telling me about all the posts, so I was prepared for what I was reading and seeing, but the video brought me back in ways I didn’t realize it would. I immediately broke down in tears for the first time since I have been back. My feeling have also been cut off and pushed away not wanting to deal with the depression and disconnect that we all were told to be prepared for.

My days at home have been filled with seeing old friends and new, catching up on the latest in my hometown, commuting to Boston as much as possible to keep busy and get away from my thoughts.

As I sit here with the utube video on repeat and the sound of the kids singing from my computer I feel as though I was just there yesterday, picking up Joseph and giving him my hat to wear all day, arm wrestling and playing “thumb war”, getting chased and tackled by five kids at once who are all yelling “Rooney” at me, trying to learn lyrics in Swahili from Charles. God I miss Charles so much, so so much, I miss all the kids so much. I’m not even in the video that was recorded because I was hiding in a back classroom with Joseph and John letting them take turns strumming the guitar while I made up songs and they sang along. My heart feels pain that I am not there, and that there is not more I can do at this time for the kids I fell in love with, all of the kids.

I miss the quiet kids, the ones that didn’t run up and grab your hands, or start singing really loudly the moment you taught them a new song, the kids that needed so much work just to get them to crack a smile, the kids you just wanted to hold all fucking day long and never let go of and tell them you would take care of them forever but you couldn’t.

I miss everyone that I traveled with and saw everyday for two weeks, I miss njeru and don. I miss my roomie Amanda (come back to us!), and as the thoughts and fears of being really done with Berklee start to settle in I realize that people like my roomie won’t be in Boston next year, and I have no idea where I’m going to be.

Even as I sit here and write I feel my guard start to go up, something in me that keeps me from letting me feel it all. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to talk to people about what my experience was like, in order for someone to get a true answer out of me, I would have to open my heart and let them look inside, I would have to break down in tears and tell them what every little step of the way felt like, I would have to explain exactly what it was like to walk away from the orphanage at the end of the day, get into a van, and try not to scream and punch the chair in front of me for the whole car ride back to our hotel, chocking back tears and thinking about the kids.

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My Belated Entry

May 23, 2007 at 9:24 pm (Spencer, Trip 2007)

Wow, so much has happened and I haven’t even had a chance to get onto the internet and update since friday. These past few days we went to a safari and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. Our drivers were so cool and friendly and we learned so much from them especially with the array of questions miriam was always coming up with. It felt so strange to be staying in such a nice place and wishing I could just get back to the orphanges and see the kids. It was so fun but I am just totally ready to get back to playing music and running around with the kids at shangali tomorrow.

Saturday and Sunday we spent with the kids at nyumbani. I barley made it down the driveway when we arrived and I felt someone holding my hand. spencer-holding-boys-hand.gifI looked down to see who it was and a young boy was smiling and pulling me along to the playground. The children performed for us singing, dancing, and two of the older boys rapped in swahili. For the majority of both days I was so busy running around playing, singing and playing guitar with the kids, or just talking with them, that the thought of how they are all living with HIV would not cross my mind. But holding a child in my arms, a beautiful, laughing, smiling little girl, and knowing that not only was she abandonded or lost her parents, but she is also HIV positive; that she is sick and her body is fighting itself is something I have never experienced before and struggle to describe in words. my eyes well up with tears which I fight back while bouncing her up and down, spinning her around and tickling her belly. But it consumes me, I wonder what will become of her after we leave and I hate myself because I will walk away, and they won’t. They will continue living and fighting everyday.

I almost cried on Sunday when we were say goodbye. I was saying bye to a young boy who I had been running around with for most of the day (who always wanted to have a turn struming the guitar while I fingured chords, but prefered to take the whole guitar pretending to play doing the “rock star” pose) and I told him I would see him next Saturday. He said, “you’re coming back next saturday?” and I said “of course”. He then said, “will you be coming back every saturday”. I immediately got chocked up and had to explain that we would only be back next week and then we would have to say goodbye. Seeing him go from being so excited at the idea of someone coming back to visit again, and then the disapointment of hearing we would eventually not be coming back crushed me. I know I will be back here again soon, and next time it will be for more then two weeks, maybe an internship?

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The Children

May 18, 2007 at 5:58 pm (Spencer, Trip 2007)

spencer-and-little-boy.gifThe children of Shangilia are amazing. So full of energy and excitement. Today was like nothing I have ever seen before in my life. I struggle to express in words how difficult it is to see children living in these conditions but at the same time try to understand that they are happy to be living in a community and to no longer be living on the streets. They have nothing and yet sing, dance, play instruments, and perform. They immediately wanted to share their music with us and ours with them. They are all so beautiful, vibrent and active. I have never been chased and tackled by so many kids before in my life. Everyone wants to hold your hand or sit on your lap, strum a guitar while you finger the keys, play the calimba, sing a song. I had so many kids just facinated by my earrings it was hysterical. It was so hard to leave at the end of the day.

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We’re In Kenya!

May 17, 2007 at 1:30 pm (Spencer, Trip 2007)

Hello Everyone, We are here in Nairobi, we arrived safely last night with no problems. We visited Nyumbani today, one of the two orphanages we will be spending time at while we are here. It houses about 90 HIV positive kids who don’t have any family. We only got to meet about 10 kids all 5 and under because the rest of the children are at school and won’t be home until 6pm. The founder of the program was a Catholic priest and doctor from the US who passed away last year at the age of 80. We met the new head of the program now, a nun, Sister Mary. Everyone is so nice and we will be going back on Saturday to meet more kids and play music all day.

Tomorrow we will go to Shangilia, it houses about 200 kids. More of these kids get there schooling on site so we will be spending a lot more of our weekdays with them. There is also a new program developing out of Nyumbani that houses more children and we will hopefully be able to visit that location next week. One of the men we will be working with, Don, is also hoping to set up some time for us to meet local musicians from the area as well.

It is definitely not as hot as I thought it would be, it is rainy season now. On the way back from lunch it started hailing and down-pouring but luckily we were in the vans. I will probably be wearing jeans and sweatshirts a lot more than expected. Samite’s stepson owns a restaurant not far from where we are staying and we will be eating all our meals there. Mom, you would love the coffee here; they have it two ways black or white and they walk around with a pot of hot coffee and a pot of hot milk. When I ordered tea for lunch they even heated up the small cream they gave me and I thought of you!

There is so much to be done and so little time for us here but we are all so excited and ready to get started! Thank you so much to everyone for their support. I love you all and I will see you all in the states soon, but hopefully not to soon!

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