Sunday, June 9, 2019
35+ hours of travel, a few hours of mediocre sleep, eight additional checked baggage fees, one missing bag of safety glasses, seven $10 Dubai Shake Shack milkshakes, and thousands of replayed memories later, the team is back in the States.
We are grateful to have made it home safely, but sad that our days of sipping chai and playing endless games of basketball in Kenya are over (for the time being…). It feels like we have left our hearts in Kenya.
As Josh mentioned, the LLM kids and staff put together a farewell program for our final dinner together on Friday. They told us what a blessing we were to them through our projects and in spending time with the children, but I hope we made it clear how much of a blessing they were to us. We would not have been able to work with joy and endurance if it weren’t for their consistent smiles, words of encouragement, and wonderful examples of eagerness to serve. My introverted self never found it difficult to strike up a conversation with the Kenyans, and for some reason I always had just enough energy to play games or have my hair braided with the kids. Saying goodbye that night was harder than I ever imagined.
Staring out a window for hours at a time gives one time to think and reflect on the two weeks of work and exploring we just completed. Each member on our team is at different places in his/her life, whether it be after a few different careers, beginning one, studying for one, or figuring out the one God is calling her to. During our commute to our guesthouse from the LLM property one night, we discussed the difficulty of finding meaning in monotonous summer intern work, especially after working with a visionary organization like LLM in the Collaboratory for a year. It brings up the elusive issue of our individual purpose, which drives our motivation to do our work well and with joy. I pray that each member of our team goes into their next steps for the summer with the same drive and lightheartedness that we entered Ol Kalou, Kenya with, whether he/she sees the ultimate meaning of their work or not. Our purpose is ultimately to serve God and shed a light in every community whether it be in a neighborhood of Kenyan buildings or in a neighborhood of cubicles. Cliché, but so relevant.
I believe that I speak for all of us when I say that Kenya has truly changed us for the better, whether it be our first or second time interacting with the people here. We all have varying levels of confidence that we will return to Ol Kalou sometime in the future. As of now, the Land Development team will return next year to build a recreational field for LLM, provided they raise enough funds, but the Solar PV team will be moving on to another project for the ‘19-’20 academic year. Many of us would love to return at some point if God presented the opportunity, though!
Thank you again for all of your support and following us on this journey.
-Meghan Sampson, on behalf of the Solar PV and Land Development Teams