Written on July 6:
Hello or Habari!! It’s Penelope and I am back as journal girl today! This was a long day and we are all exhausted with a capital E. We began the day with some pancakes and hard boiled eggs which was nice because it’s comforting to eat American food once a day. But don’t get me wrong, I sure do miss some Tex-Mex (hint hint mom for when I get home). We went to Tiriji Eco-center to pick up rocks and sand for an hour that were used to make concrete. We made a lot of progress with the Gazebo including putting three posts in the ground! We returned back to KACH for lunch and then we went to Kenyan markets. First we went to a market to buy food! We bought Kenyan versions of American snacks such as chips and candy which are very tasty. Then, we went to a real outdoor Kenyan market which was one of the most unique things I have ever experienced. It was strange but also amazing because we were always being stared at which at times felt uncomfortable. That also felt like we were viewed as celebrities. Aspen even said “it’s like they met or saw Justin Bieber” because everybody wanted to shake our hands or high five us.
That was the most I have ever been immersed into a culture that it is so opposite of the US. Kenya is very different from home which I both love and dislike; I love it because it is nothing like home so I’m completely unfamiliar with so many things. I don’t like it as much because I feel out of place and left behind. I personally believe that those types of feelings teach certain lessons like those, and they are necessary to have so I am extremely happy we saw and witnessed those things.
After we returned we had dinner and had so much fun with the kids. We played musical chairs, which I won once finally!! It was so pure to see kids smiling and laughing the entire time. The fact that these kids have had such hardship in their young life and they can still enjoy life at such high levels is so heartwarming and the best feeling in the world. They always have the most positive perspective on life and they never hesitate to give you a hug; probably the most beautiful thing is that most of them don’t have families so they turn to each other as brother and sister. I could never imagine a life without my family especially at 7 or 8 years old and these children are thriving in life; seeing that truly gives you a new take on life. I have learned so much with this trip and it’s only day 7 with so much more to come; when the group talks about flying home it’s so sad because I don’t want to leave these people I love so much. The next 9 days will be even better than the previous, and I can’t wait to grow with these great people. Much love, Penelope.