On the lengthy bus trip to Nairobi, I had nothing but time. I’ve found that while traveling, my mind does it’s best wanderings into the past, present, and future. This time around was no different. Well, maybe a tad bit different in the respect that it would be the last time I travel to Nairobi as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
The flat landscape, greened with the recent rainy season, gave way to rolling hills and then an abrupt upwards slope into Nairobi. Acacia trees with their lofty branches dot the land with the occasional Masai herding his animals that moo, bleat, and baa. The Kenyan landscape is gorgeous – I will miss it.
The lull of the rumbling bus puts me into a trance-like state, enabling me to drift back to the beginnings of my Peace Corps experience. The Mbatu family in Machakos who so graciously hosted me for two months. The first terrifying matatu ride to Meru and later moving there. Falling in love with the tiny discoveries I made within Meru like the waterfall, the hollow tree, and dear friends Yvvone, Paul, and Murithi. The first day of school with my kids at Kaaga School for the Deaf and the many beautiful days that followed. The day that Mikary Je’Trasely showed up on my doorstep on the day after Christmas. The day that the entire Kaaga community got together to move a tree that had felled onto the middle of the road and how I terrorized many people with a harmless chameleon in my hand. The many get togethers with Clare, Rohan, Mark, and Jill. The entire experience of changing sites from Kaaga to Komotobo and starting over at Komotobo School for the Deaf. Seeing my grandparents, Susi, and my parents different times during my service in the Seychelles, Dubai, and Hungary. My two days traipsing around Cairo.The day that Samuel Chombe brought me five kilos of kei apples from his backyard. Days where there wouldn’t be water and I’d walk down the nearby creek to bathe only to realize that people hidden in the shadows were watching me. Training Marre Marwa, Godfrey Mbwera, Samson, Emmanuel, Bonface, Samwel for volleyball at nationals and winning second place! All the great times in Kisumu with volunteers and Kenyan locals alike at Duke of Breeze, the Marina, Signature, Laughing Buddha, and countless other locales. Gaining a site mate, Khalil Jarrett, and getting to know the wonderful man that he is.
Looking back, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have visited so many places in Kenya:
Lamu, Mombasa, Mtwapa, Kilifi, Makindu, Machakos, Oloitokitok, Maralal, Meru, Maua, Chuka, Nanyuki, Karatina, Nakuru, Migori, Komotobo, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Lambwe, Kakamega, Webuye, Sipili, and of course Nairobi.
I’ve traveled more times than I can count crouched up in a matatu, a handful of times by bus, and a single time by airplane. On the bus, the final leg of travel in Kenya, I feel at ease with both the length of travel and comfort level. I remember the days where I would bicker and moan about how long travel would take and how uncomfortable it is. Those days are long gone.
I was skeptical when my Peace Corps recruiter said “Peace Corps will change your life” but Peace Corps has without a doubt changed my life in more ways than one. I officially become a RETURNED Peace Corps Volunteer on November 30th. Thank you Peace Corps, for the lessons learned and the friendships gained.
This is Josh aka Joash, Mwita, Murithi, J5, “squinty eyes” signing off for the last time under the Kenyan sun.