Tag Archives: reflections

Pluck the Day

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Carpe Diem. This phrase popped into my head today as I sat down eating chai and arrowroot and reflected on my morning. I was so contented. I cant even understand myself, why it is, but I felt so good. The morning was typical for Kenya, but I guess I had forgotten how much I love what I do.

Now I have decided to begin my day with a routine. maybe this contributed to my contented feelings?

Wake up,  drink a glass of water, jump rope in the courtyard until I can’t breath, read the bible and drink a smoothie, shower, get ready for whatever the day brings…

this day brought writing letters to fundraise for the art camp coming up in April, meeting with Celtra arts organization, exchanging money in order to give to an arts group for the products they sold, promoting an arts group who just recently started putting their jewelry products in a local boutique, talk with many, hugging many, talking the buildabridge about wirting a grant, making plans to visit a school with a friend who is finally finishing her highschool education after many years of being away, making chapati, drinking chai, reading swahili, starting a new book, going to bed.

Carpe literally means ‘pluck’ and refers to plucking fruit when it is ripened. Plucking sounds relaxed, peaceful, an action of ease. This phrase describes my day and days to come I hope- let me pluck the day while it is full, juicy, full of flavor, ripe, rich, vibrant, dripping with flavor… may you pluck all of your days.

 

Returning Across the World

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I have come back to a place that just a year ago was so unfamiliar and foreign and now as I have returned I am shocked at how familiar Kenya has become. I have been able to easily resettle into routines, social circles and events, work… life. Moving into my own little place has made this return even more exciting since now I can go to the markets to buy my food each day and am able to take on full responsibility and control of my life choices and routines. I am still figuring out what a “typical week” looks like in regards to my job- the only thing predictable is that it is unpredictable! However, I have develpoed a bit of a schedule, which grounds me and is good in order for me to have consistency in my life. Here’s the tentative schedule:

MONDAY- computer work at home which will set me up well for the rest of the week/ evening = chai date with my friend, Julie, who has offered to begin a mentoring relationship with me.

TUESDAY- CTM meeting at the center in Kibera at 9am; 2-3 meeting with Goldmines Foundation to discuss fundraising for a choir performance they are planning; 3:30 -5 meeting with Celtra arts group as we enter into the school systems in order to teach art.

WEDNESDAY- 9-12 in Kawangware with Kreative Generations arts group in order to assist with web design and communication as well as an artist expo that they are planning for December. My afternoons will flex, however there are a few pastors in this same area and they apprciate visits to the various children and community ministries they have. In the evening I have Biblestudy!

THURSDAY- This day has remained free so far, which is good because then I can then work on responsiblities that I have committed to work on within the arts groups, planning events, and organizing for Saturday’s art classes.

FRIDAY- This is my free day!

SATURDAY- From 9-1 I am teaching 2 art classes in Mathare! Afterwards I am meeting 2 artists from the Inspiration Center in Mathare in order to train them how to teach the children using the same teaching style which BuildaBridge taught me. They will also be involved in lesson planning for the upcoming months.

SUNDAY- Church at Nairobi Chapel or Inspiration Center and then rest!

Things that I have yet to place in time slots, which are very important, are quiet times with the Lord, exercise, violin practice, and my own personal art-making time…not that I haven’t done these things, but they do not have predictable placements in my daily schedule yet and I would wish for them to be placed less randomly and more calculated… especially my spiritual routines and then second would be exercise. Another thing that I have dropped the ball with is communication and keeping in touch back home, but this also is something that I only need to be more diligent about.

Feeling 50/50

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I am equally excited and sad at the same time. Very excited to see many that are so close to my heart back home in The States, yet I am sad to leave many behind for the month I will be away from Kenya. How has it happened that I feel so closely connected and entangled in this “foreign land” ?

WHAT I WILL MISS

public transportation- those crazy matatus

walking everywhere

the pace of life here

teaching art to my students

eating with my hands

chai and chapati

nice weather always

people I am close to

fresh fruit

yogurt drinks

swahili

WHAT I LOOK FORWARD TO

walking late at night

driving a car

not standing out

swimming

wearing shorts

drinking wine

eating my mom’s food

experiencing summer and fall

seeing many friends

not being the foreigner

feeling competent

experimenting with new recipes

Things are picking!

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So much has been happening that it is very exciting to me that things have been picking up in regards to the arts initiative and it has been encouraging to see artists and the arts groups that I am working with to take responsibility and control- again a promising sign of sustainability! Here are some quick updates…

  • Thursday Art Meetings have been handed over to the control of the four arts groups that the Center for Transforming Missions is partnering with. We have dropped the meetings to twice per month and are meeting in Kibera and Mathare informal settlements. The 4 arts groups rotate responsibility for the arts meetings and each are given complete control of certain meetings. There are 5 additional arts groups that we are now exploring partnership with!
  • Since the Diaspora of Hope Art Camp in Kibera we are now gearing up for another camp over the August holiday, this time in Dandora which is another informal settlement around Nairobi. After this camp we will then focus on the camp in Mathare for November/Decemeber.
  • The GoDown Arts Center is coming to Kibera to train artists in filming and then sending them out into Kibera to film and compete in the One Minute Africa Awards!
  • This Sunday marks the end of this year’s Sculpture Class and so the children of Mathare, at the Inspiration Center, will be having an art exhibit in the afternoon. This will be their chance to present what they have learned and to share their artwork with their friends and family.

All the exciting things that are happening makes it hard to say goodbye to the projects and people that I have become so tightly entwined with. I am very excited to see friends and family when I return home August 12th but once I return September 21st I will look forward to hugs from my children, and dreaming up possibilities this next year will hold!

Smashing the Clock!

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When I first arrived to Kenya I had committed to be a BuildaBridge Artist on Call for 6 months and no more. Let me explain how I cope with short-term living experiences. My mindset adjusts to that length of time I am given in a certain place and I subconsciously carry around a clock to time the days and hours that ae left until I depart. As my mind’s clock begins to run out of time I start detaching emotionally from to prepare myself for sad separation and relationships cut short. I gage how involved I will become in certain areas based on the timeframe which I know I have in a place.

As far as Kenya, however, my clock kept on adding. Six months has become six more months and now the clock will again add another year! Because of the grace of added time I am also disarming myself, ever so slowly, to allow myself to sink deeper into relationship, lifestyle, emotional attachment, commitments, art projects and future visions. Disarming of course is both dangerous
and wonderful. I give up my timeline and smash my clock so that I freely invest in the realities around me as if I will live here forever; invest to the fullest to reap the most. But on the flip side, becoming settled and rooted is wonderful until you are forced to uproot.

Working with BuildaBridge I think from the beginning I gave myself fully in my work, however in my daily living outside of work life I was still holding that clock up till recently. Since I’ve “smashed the clock” there is an excitement inside of me to seek out aspects of “normal life” that I have overlooked in my old mentality of this being a temporary position. Evidence of clock smashing? I have joined groups of people committed to good causes in the community, I have adopted a puppy I found on the street, I am exploring my hobbies for the first time since coming, I am allowing myself to dream up future possibilities within the context of using the arts in Nairobi. One year with BuildaBridge has flown by too quickly, but I am only left with lofty dreams and enthusiasm as I stretch roots down into Kenyan soil for another year!

 

 

 

 

 

10 Impossibilities and Breathing

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Today, Sunday: a day to rest my head and slide my never-ending to do lists under my bed until tomorrow. I am doing a Bible study at Nairobi Chapel right now until August and so every Sunday I rush to get to the church at 8 am so that we have a 2 hour sharing time before church even begins. This has been a wonderful way to make many knew friends and share and learn from other believers. We are studying from a book called Mizizi (meaning Roots) which is required for all church members to go through and then attend a retreat at the end in order to graduate.

I have also been really inspired by the sermons recently, in which Pastor Oscar has challenged the congregation about their faith and the gaping rift between our faith in God’s provision and the resources God is waiting to pour into our laps when we call to Him in faith. A great challenge to me was last week’s sermon about the mustard seed. Here are my notes

  • Mustard seed faith doesn’t depend on ability, skill, or resources but it begins where my ability and resources end.
  • Many of us under challenge God in our faith and prayer to the point that God is getting bored
  • How is my faith challenging God? Do my prayers make God sweat?
  • We were challenged to come up with a personal list of impossible things that we want God to act on. Things that are next to impossible to become reality and yet my Pastor said these are the exact prayer that God is waiting to fulfill if only we ask. The problem is our faith only asks for small things we think God can handle, not big things that are possible for only God to do.

You can listen to the full sermon series here, called “Living on the Faith Lane.

Another insightful thing I read today that I would like to share with you was found on a blog by Jeff Goins. As I flipped through the blog titles one caught my eye: “Are you tired of being spiritual?”

my response: YES! Please, Jeff, let me read your spiritual insight on how to unspiritualize myself!

To me it was profound what I read. He writes ” the word “spiritual” comes from the same word for “breath” in Latin (spiritus)… In other words, to be spiritual is to be breathing. And what’s hard about breathing? I don’t ever get tired of inhaling and exhaling. To be spiritual is to be human, to be alive, to exist.

So actually, according to Jeff, I cannot escape being spiritual!

Life bound up in Nairobi

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Dear Readers, Supporters, Friends,

I’m sorry for the long silence. Mainly this was because I did not have a computer and my time has become increasingly busy or “bound up” in what is happening around me; the activity, exciting opportunities, new relationships. Every day new things come- huge God things that just amaze and astound me. And as my time here increases, my love for this place and for the people equally grows, so that I am even planning to extend my time here in Kenya and only go to visit the US before returning here for another year.

Within a month I will highlight the big things that have happened in my life in order to catch you up.

  • I turned 24 years old
  • CrossChange, a new program underneath CTM which addresses the problem of unemployment in Kibera, asked me to join their team, now as they begin teaching four students from Kibera, and later as we recruit students from the US to join this unique program.
  • Shem and I started dating
  • Rodgers and I begin to work on a new project involving the artists making solar panels in a rented facility and then being able to also use the facility as a space to use for their personal artwork production.
  • I was mugged at gunpoint
  • We held an artist appreciation breakfast at CTM
  • In preparation for the upcoming art camp in Kibera we have received hugely encouraging support from GoDown Arts Center, CTM, Goldmines Foundation, and many individuals, locally and internationally. We have enough funds now to have 125 children and 25 volunteers to participate in a 3 day arts camp! April 21st-23rd!
  • I joined a nearby gym which has helped me to dedicate time in the morning to exercise.
  • I have begun t connect to a girl my age as a prayer partner and am now in search of a mentor as well so that God can use my relationships to speak wisdom to me.
  • My mom arrived into Nairobi last week
  • I was generously given a new computer from friends and family back in the US, thanks Lord!
Love,
Kaylie