Actually, believe it or not, I will miss Kisumu. I have spent 6 months of my life here, how could it not make an impression upon me, how can I not miss it for all of its bumps and blemishes, and yes, great opportunities. For all of its warts, it is really quite a fascinating place to live. I will miss the opportunity to continue to serve the communities through the OGRA Foundation, and I will miss the opportunity to help establish and embed income generating activities within communities. I will miss my interactions with the HIV community support groups,
they truly are wonderful people working hard to overcome society’s stigma, and become active and contributing members to their communities. I will miss the beautiful sunsets over Lake Victoria, especially at Kiboko Bay and Dunga Hill.
I will miss the wonderful sunrises on my morning runs, and the full moon that settles over the west leading me through the streets at dawn. I will most definitely miss the people, I will miss who they are, where they are, their warm welcoming smiles and firm handshakes, their spirit, many with great intentions and a will to make a better life for themselves.
I will miss David who I have enjoyed working alongside of for 6 months. He is quiet and reserved, but when he speaks, he raises excellent points, and is able to focus intention on the key issues at hand.
I will miss all of my friendships made here and our many conversations throughout the past 6 months. I will certainly miss my PULSE family at the dinner table most evenings. I will most definitely miss Beldina who has been an incredible inspiration and a source of information, and a truly wonderful friend during my 6 months in Kisumu.
I will miss walking everywhere: the market, the shops, some of the really good local eateries. I will miss the experience of knowing that the focus is the patient, the focus is on the patient, and that our focus needs to be driven not only to those individuals, but also to the communities and areas where it is needed most. We need to keep focused on that every day at GSK. Yes it is the patient, but it is the community, the health care education process, the culture and the cultural changes that need to be implemented. I will miss the walk to the office every day—it is nice to lock the door, and off you go, without having to need a car or to have to deal with a morning commute. I will miss not seeing a single traffic light or a STOP sign in Kisumu. I may miss my small cottage style apartment and its quirky noises at night,
but I will definitely miss the geckos I meet in the middle of the night—and I thank them for helping to keep the ant population under control. I will miss the opportunity to see incredible wildlife in their natural environment. I will hope I have the opportunity to see Mount Kilimanjaro again in the next few days in Amboseli, and I have missed that incredible feeling the mountain had given me last year, and I will hope to have that same feeling again when I can hopefully see the mountain again next week. Go ahead, go climb a mountain, go climb your Kilimanjaro, “Feel the change”.
I will, and I will not miss writing my blog. Each entry, as random as they may be, has captured the essence of what I have felt, these are my personal stories that I have told to all of you to allow you to live my experience through my eyes, through my experiences, through my emotions, through my random thoughts that stimulate an idea about something (and often nothing) to write about. I thank you for following along and staying in touch. Your emails and WhatsApp messages are priceless (and I will miss receiving those), Thank you. To my managers and directors who have supported me 100% from Day 1 and throughout, thank you for staying with me, standing behind me, and encouraging me. To the PULSE team, and all of the PULSE alumni that I had been in contact with, thank you for letting me into the “Be The Change” club, or at least a small part of it. And to the OGRA Foundation, thank you for the opportunity to serve the communities during these six months. There are many changes to be made, and they can only be done one step and one change at a time.
I know I am a better person having had this opportunity and experience, and I know I am also a changed person for having experienced all that I have experienced. To those who ask if this is something they should do, all I can say is Onwards and Upwards, Carpe diem, you too can ‘Become the Change’.
Tomorrow: “What I have (and have not) missed the most”; followed by “What I will look forward to.”