Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thankful for Community

It's not easy to pick up your life in Canada, everything you know and all the people you know best, to come and settle in a completely foreign country. A country where you stand out because you look different, you talk different, your ways of life are different, etc. A country where you can't speak the national language and the culture is so upside down compared to yours. As much as I love it here, there are definitely days I miss home. I miss my family most. But I think I miss things that are easier. Life in Kenya is tough and sometimes I just need a break. A break from the heat, the dirt, the noise, the constant heckling, the poverty that surrounds me, the bland food, and so on.

I think I will be forever torn. Good thing I don't have to be on earth forever but have a citizenship in heaven that I belong to.

However, since I have returned, I have been overwhelmed by the community that God has placed me in. I have REAL friends - not just people that I think I should try help or minister to - but true, beautiful, wonderful friendships. I have an awesome church that is not perfect but probably one of the godliest churches I have ever attended. I have people who love and care for me. I am so honoured that one of my best girlfriends' here, Rahab, is throwing me a surprise bridal shower (she told me she was but I don't know any of the details) and inviting all my girlfriends to come. I can walk through the streets and randomly bump into people I know. I don't feel different from them. I don't feel like the white girl who they have to be nice to. I feel like one of them. And they treat me like one of them.

And I didn't make all these friends through Kelvin. If Kelvin wasn't in my life, I think I would still have this community around me.

Of course, it has taken me 3 years (yes it has been 3 years since I first moved to Mombasa) to build these friendships. I had to do a lot of adapting and learning of the culture and what goes on in their lives. But I have integrated to the best that I can (although I still can't speak swahili fluently - that is my next goal as I am really starting to feel the pressure to learn it). People appreciate when you understand them. People appreciate it when you don't think of yourself as greater or better off than them, or like you are here to come and help them because you are rich and they are poor. People want love, acceptance, friendship, fellowship, care, and to feel like they belong.

And that's what I feel here in Mombasa. Like I belong.

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