My mom got off the plane and landed in Nairobi the evening of April 8th and she stayed for a whole 3 weeks! It’s hard to believe that I hadn’t seen her nor any other family for over a half-year. I don’t know what exactly I expected her trip to be like during her stay here- I know I had expectations though; ways I thought we would interact, things we would do, places I would share with her, people she would meet, and introduce her to a culture she would grow to love. Some of these expectations were met, while others were not, which is always how it goes I guess. Some factors that influenced this were out of my control such as the upcoming art camp and meetings while other factors were stretched out like a tightrope and I tried my best to balance my hopes, needs, expectations, as well as my mom’s and other people’s. Looking back at the 3 weeks I don’t think I am good at tightrope walking.
Despite commitments and busy moments, my mom was so understanding and patient with me. It shocked me how much I have gotten used to living completely independent, which I did not realize as much until my mom arrived. During her time here we were able to explore a lot and take small and big adventures, before and after the camp. The day after my mom arrived we headed straight for Mathare Slum and she helped me to teach my art class; bending wires into heart shapes and then twisting, weaving, crisscrossing smaller wires with beads all around the heart shape. The children fell in love with her with them. After classes we took lunch at my favorite chapati place around and then took a long walk through the slum, as Moses explained how people live in that area. The following day was a contrast since we attended Nairobi Chapel Church with my Kenyan family and then drove together to a relative’s birthday party which could have been a wedding celebration based on how fancy the set-up was. The following week was the week before camp yet between preparations we took little outings together like Giraffe Park, Monkey Park, Uhuru Park, visiting grace and spending the night, walking through town, trying foods, going to Kariako and City Market, and taking lots of yogurt drinks! When I couldn’t come with her she still went out to Kazuri Bead Shop, to visit Grace’s family, Elephant Orphanage, material shopping, ect.
It was fun to show my mom the daily life and routines that I have. I enjoyed hearing her insight and cultural perspective since she was bringing fresh eyes and perspective to situations that I don’t notice or think about any more. Now that she has come she has a clear mind of the people and context where I find myself now.