Congratulations, Your Comfort Zone Just Got Bigger

Part of my joy on this trip to Kenya is having my wife with me, and seeing her discover things for the first time. Previous to this, my wife had never left North America. So this was truly new for her. This was her first time to another continent, first time to a non-first world country, first time going somewhere without the children. It was truly outside of her comfort zone. So I have asked for her help in writing this. I wanted to know first all, what her impressions of Africa were before she left to come here, and her impressions now that she is here. So now I hand this over to her.
“I think my thoughts about Africa before we arrived was that everything was going to be different, I wouldn’t find anything familiar. I thought I would be encountering a culture so foreign that I would feel awkward and out of place most of the time. I am not a person who likes to stand out preferring to blend in. I have huge (that’s an understatement) fears of the unknown. I thought we would be spending 10 days completely out of my comfort zone and I would be uncomfortable most of the time. I am still uncomfortable most of the time, because everything is still new. I am not an adventure seeker, but I no longer fear Kenya. I was able to see something through an entirely different lens.
I think I have been most pleasantly surprised by how hospitable and friendly the people are here. Everywhere we have traveled whether it was Kibera, the girls reform school, or meeting with our sponsor child and all the many hardworking people who are trying to help her have a better life, I have found nothing but kindness and genuine warmth. Even in situations where life seems more than bleak, I didn’t find a spirit of negativity. Look forward, don’t focus on the past. Work hard for your future. Tomorrow brings a new opportunity. These seem to be the attitudes of most I’ve encountered.
I think my favorite part of coming to Kenya has been meeting the people we’ve built relationships with. Had we not built those relationships with the people that have shown us around I would have had a very different experience. It was a comfort for me knowing that those relationships had already been established by our friends who came here shortly before us.
The food has also been wonderful. I haven’t had a bad meal since coming here. I expected bland food and chewy, gristly meat. Instead I got incredibly fresh food with lots of variety.
My least favorite part of this trip has been the lack of certain amenities, especially hot water. In some places we have either boiling hot water to shower in, or cold. In other places we have to wait for a certain time of day for hot water. I’m tired of having my hair in a pony tail. Its also exhausting not hearing English. It’s difficult to build relationships and have a conversation with people who speak English as a second or third language. It’s tiring to communicate. The smoke and the diesel fumes also bother me, especially in downtown Nairobi. I find it hard to breathe.”
I’m also going to add that when I watched my wife get up in front of a group of schoolgirls and start talking, I could tell she was in her element. Before we came here, I saw a lot of fears. I think most of those fears are gone. After all, fear of the unknown is the worst kind, but everything you know, at one time was also unknown.
If she has further thoughts later after some ruminating, I may write a subsequent blog. Till next time…

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One thought on “Congratulations, Your Comfort Zone Just Got Bigger

  1. I am definitely enjoying reading everything, seeing all the amazing photos, and following all of your journeying through Africa. It is so wonderful watching my dear friend break out of her comfort shell and experience this amazing adventure with you! She has an adventurous side too, she just sometimes likes to deny it exists. I feel so privileged to watch her rediscover it, here on your blog. Can’t wait to hear more!

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