Sunday, July 14, 2013
I Promise . . .
Hard to believe that it is nearly two months since I returned home from Kenya. Also hard to believe that I am still dragging out blogging about it. But I promise, these are my absolute final thoughts – part two of my final thoughts.
1) Always carry a supply of toilet paper and hand-sanitizer. I don’t know what the statistics are, and I honestly don’t want to look them up, but I bet that of the entire world’s population, more people don’t use toilet paper than do.
It’s a good idea to always carry a water bottle on you, too, because you just never know where you can find water to drink and you sure don’t want to drink it out of the tap.
2) Speaking of water, I generally drink a lot of it. Working in health care, I appreciate staying well hydrated. Water is about the healthiest thing to drink. Unfortunately, the more you drink, the more you have to go to the bathroom. In a third world country, you don’t want to visit the bathroom more than you have to. So it’s a trade-off, abuse my kidneys for two weeks or go to the choo on a regular basis. I chose to take the chance on making my urinary track mad at me. We both survived.
3) Hang your clothes on the line inside out. Because the sun is so much stronger in Kenya, near the equator, it will fade your clothes quickly. Oh, and don’t expect to throw your clothes in a washing machine. If you need to do laundry, you will wash your clothes in a bucket, by hand. Or you can always pay a kindly Kenyan woman to wash them for you.
4) Did I tell you about the brooms? These are the kinds of brooms everyone uses. Yes, you can buy a modern broom at the Nakumatt, but these are the only ones I saw in use anywhere.
5) For seven years now I have struggled with the prosperity we have in America versus the lack of everything in Africa. What can I possibly do to make a difference in the lives of all those kind, happy people living in poverty in Kenya?
It all comes back to the story of the starfish on the beach. You know the one. Where the person is walking down the beach and hundreds of starfish have washed ashore, so many that just one person can’t possibly throw them all back before they die. So you pick up the ones that you can and throw them back into the sea. No, you didn’t make a difference in the lives of all of them, but you made a difference to that one. And that one. And that one.
And you know what? A lot of those starfish you saved today are going to wash up on the shore again tomorrow. Sometimes all you can do is make a difference in one life for one day.