Feed on

Scanned Photo-10
Africa. Experiences.


Even thinking about it now takes me back to the smell of chai and mandazis. I can almost taste the rich aromas of the coffee and tea plantations we drove by daily to get to school and church. Or the not-so-pleasant stench of “goat city” that, we too, had to drive through to get to school and church. I can see my white Keds turned red Keds from the red clay dirt that seemed to find it’s way into just about every nook and cranny of our lives. I can hear the sound of silence – sweet, calm and serene – on a typical night, where you can still see every star immeasurably scattered across the vast and boundless Kenyan sky. Coastal vacations on the white sands of Mombasa – the succulent salt air wafting through our hotel room beckoning us to put our toes in the sand and walk for miles. Reaching Mount Longanot’s highest peak – laden with camera, food and pretty much everything my mom thought we might need for a fun, “little hike” – as a family.


There are subtle, and then many not-so-subtle, moments when I look at my own children and it hits me that they are so “American”. I scratch my head and fret that because my adult life has led me to settle in the United States, my children may never have the opportunities like I had growing up. I stress about it…a lot. I hear “Americana” dribble from Sydney’s six-year-old mouth and I just want to cry. Will she ever realize that the world is much, much bigger and holds infinitely more, than her collection of Sleeping Beauty paraphernalia and stash of “golden” rocks hiding in her jewelry box? I know…she’s only six, but I desperately want her to know what I only wish I could have grasped as a little girl: that those experiences that take us outside and beyond the ordinariness of life, are the very things that open our hearts, minds and souls to a measureless world called “life”. I want my kids to actually have something to write about someday. I want them to be able to remember “the time we…”. I want them to breathe air that doesn’t smell sweet, or lose their shoes in something really disgusting, catch a parasite or two, sit in a room with five different languages carrying on conversations, set up a picnic five feet away from a python. I want them to know that there is ministry far more dangerous than an internship in Detroit; an adventure far more exciting than a vacation to Disney World; and a cultural experience far more unique than Canada.


My brain is a never-ending tirade of an unsatisfied wish list. I thought I was weird growing up because my experiences were so out-of-the-ordinary. Yet, here I am – the grown-up me – realizing just how extra-ordinary those adventures actually were. Even as I write this, I find myself challenged to take all of those encounters and incidents, collect them warmly in my heart, and allow God to use them through me. They are a part of my life story. They have shaped me and made me the woman I am today. While my children may not grow up overseas and share the same stories I write about, their’s too will be great. They have me for their mom, and through the telling of my own experiences, their minds will be opened to endless possibilities of the places they can go and the things they can do! Maybe they won’t grow up in Africa, but I am certain they will have a desperate longing to go there someday, taste the nyama choma, smell the maize crackling on a make-shift grill along the street, and hold the tiny, orphaned, diaper-less babies.


Experiences. My experiences. They may not grace the pages of a book or magazine, or be the topic of conversation at the next social gathering, but my experiences will hopefully inspire and encourage my own children to reach for the stars and seek wild, insane adventures of their own.

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Leave a Reply