Been silent for some time, thinking that I had almost wasted another week, mainly because of my smart-ass tendencies.
Tuesday night, a I recognized few visitors from the U.S., they a group of friends and acquaintances. Many of them were sick with various illnesses. So I reached down into that empathetic heart of mine… and made fun of them. I called them weak and soft, mainly in jest, but I reminded them that I had never gotten really sick while being in Kenya outside of maybe travelers diarrhea.
Of course, karma is merciless with the merciless.
I woke up on Wednesday with a packed schedule ahead of me. In fact, Wednesday through Saturday were packed with activities and plans. Documentary footage for Seeds For Hope campaigns, follow up with many of our students in various locations, and a visit to MaBoyz were all on the agenda.
I woke up feeling kind of ill, and then “kind of ill” became “kind of achey”. Eventually “kind of achey” became “kind of nauseous”. Soon enough there was no more need for the use of the word “kind of”, because “really” and “totally” took its place. And before i knew it, within an hour of waking up, I was lying down on the couch, curled up, telling my sister “I don’t think I can go out today”, to which she responded with something along the lines of “suck it up.”
She can be sweet sometimes.
I took a deep breath, and went to take a shower. And with the advice I was given, I decided to try to “suck it up.”
If the symptoms I was experiencing were measured on a speedometer, suddenly things went from 20mph to about 100mph in seconds, and I knew if I were to travel like I had planned, I would really regret it. We went to the hospital and took a bunch of tests.
I had tested positive for two tropical illnesses: Typhoid Fever and Amoebiasis! Oh boy. Karma is a bitch.
The lady at the lab told me “You will never get rid of this, you will be fighting it for a long time” I asked the doctor if that was true, and he reassured me that she was joking.
‘How is that funny exactly?
He told me he thinks I might have malaria as well, but I think he’s just being slightly dramatic. I got back from the hospital, and my body basically gave up on me, and I was pretty much unable to move, I had a fever of over 102, shaking, dizzy, sweating, freezing, the whole 9. And I remained this way, until Thursday afternoon when things started to clear up.
Friday I woke up surprisingly well. I was on 4 medications after all. I decided to hit the town and run a few errands. I should note that the medication for treating amoebiasis, involves a chemical that will turn into formaldehyde if the patient drinks alcohol of any kind. Pleasant, no?
So, I went out to run errands on foot in Nairobi. One of which was to deliver a laptop to a school, that was donated by my employer, Optaros. I wasn’t as coherent as I should have been when I got on the public transportation, as the rule is, the buses don’t stop, you kinda have to jump off running. I wasn’t strong nor coordinated enough to do this on Friday. So that’s how I fell out of a moving vehicle with about 30 pounds of equipment on my back.
But I landed on my feet (after a backwards somersault on the pavement). Working out helps, let me tell you. No injuries, no scratches, no blood! Just some glass in my hand.
After a hellish few days, I was able to wrap up the week solving the worlds problems with a buddy over half-eaten Italian food, and it brought a lot into perspective, and I felt ready to continue on with this journey, because for a moment, I had that moment of “why am I here?”
Which takes us to today.
A Trip to Subukia
6:30 am wake up call, we are on our way to Subukia. Subukia is a town outside of Nakuru, on the other side of the Equator from Nairobi, to visit some students.
But these aren’t just any students, mind you. These are the dudes, that I first started working with when I began my work here back in 2006. They call themselves Maboyz.
For those who haven’t read, it’s too much to go into right now, but imagine an unlikely scenario involving a bunch of dudes from Kibera, 2 hours of free time once a week, and a copy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Two years ago, these guys had a dream to accomplish something, and they went back to school, Jordan Polytechnic, to study Mechanics, Electric, Masonry, Carpentry, and be good to themselves. To learn and grow, and be apart from their friends and families to invest in something that did not come by every day.
We went today to see them, a month before their graduation, and I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of these guys. The pride and joy they had in their eyes as they told me what they can DO, what they’re able to make with their hands, the ideas they have in their minds, and this hope they have for their future that they didn’t know was possible before.
I stood in gratitude as one of them, my man who we lovingly call “Jamaica”, pointed out the building that he built with his own hands. Such fine workmanship I must say, for someone to have built without machinery. Stone, cement, brick, he knows his stuff. He will play an important role in the development of his community, one that is much needed, I have a feeling.
And the rest, each of them, I’ve known for so long now, and the ups and downs we’d been through over the years, and the pain of having been apart, and not knowing where they’d end up next. One of them, had left the school, and ended up getting killed, as I’d mentioned in a previous note. These guys chose wisely, to stick it out, and here they are at the finish line.
It was pretty kick-ass!
I’ll have some photos and video soon. It was an awesome trip, and my stomach behaved well the entire time. The next few days are gonna be ridiculous, but heck, that’s why I’m here, I guess.
Missing home, but not too much at the moment. Haven’t eaten a meal outside of a few bites since Tuesday. I’ll be back soon.