What I can look forward to and what I have been grateful for
“Per Angusta Ad Augusta”
And so, with this final entry, ends my days of blogging from Kisumu. Me a writer, me writing blogs – who would have ever thunk it. But this was an incredible way to bring you into my world during this time in my life and within my life experiences. And as it comes to a close, I realize it is also a beginning to a new journey with new doors ajar to take a peek inside. The future is tomorrow, and who knows what tomorrow will bring, for often we must create our own future. I will be grateful to have another today, and certainly many more tomorrows, I just want to make sure I will not miss either.
So much to think about when thinking about what I can look forward to. Perhaps the first will be enhanced scrutiny during the Nairobi departure protocol as well as the re-entry process at PHL immigration. Six months in Kenya, not necessarily near the Ebola-ground zero ‘hot zones’, (the Hot Zones are actually just as close to London as to Kisumu—3123 miles). I can look forward to being home, my bed, my pillows, Greek yogurt, being back in North Wales, Pennsylvania, winter and being cold in North Wales, Pennsylvania, helping with the planning of our daughter’s June wedding, being with friends and colleagues (with or without a 21 day quarantine period). How about FRESH AIR everyday! I can look forward to new challenges, new issues and new problems to deal with, to work through, to resolve, and another ‘new’ GSK reorganization that is bound to effect all of us. Some things never change. I am sure I can look forward to a snow storm at some point within the first few weeks to remind me that there is “no place like home”, which will make me look forward to planning our next dive trip to someplace tropical somewhere, anywhere warmer than North Wales, Pennsylvania. I most certainly look forward to seeing my family, hugging my children, scooping up my grandchildren and holding them just tight enough until they wriggle free; and yes, absolutely, I can honestly say, I do look forward to seeing ‘Mr. Donatello’!
What am I grateful for (thank you Eileen): Firstly, I am grateful for ‘Chocolate’, my Beany Baby moose that accompanied me on my journey and who stayed next to me every evening and gave me my true connection to home.
I am grateful for chocolate (from Belgium, Poland, Germany, Grenada, US, Switzerland) as a piece every evening was our PULSE group’s nightly bonding ritual that connected all of us together at the end of a day.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here and to serve in an altruistic way. Grateful for the opportunity to learn, absorb, assimilate, integrate, educate and to be educated by the culture, the people, the surroundings that are Kisumu, Kenya.
Every day we take a step closer to changing our tomorrow. How could I not be grateful for that chance to be a part of the change, to help to become the change, to Be the Change. I am grateful for having had a great manager to guide me these past six months, “thank you David”. And I am grateful for the support I received from my managers, directors and colleagues within GSK to enable this opportunity.
I am most especially grateful for my GSK colleagues in Kisumu who have listened to my voice, been a source of great companionship, inspiration, excitement, reality checks and fantastic dinners and engaging mealtime conversations—“I’ll have the No. 5 with a Tusker, cold please!”
Every week JoJo built us a better burger! Could I have done it on my own, sure but not easily. Each day, Michelle, JoJo, Victoria, Isabelle and Rami made my time and our place in Kisumu comfortable, and I could always look forward to there always being something to talk about and someone to be with at the end of the day and during the weekend. They were always there when needed most, and always concerned, and for that I am most extremely grateful. I am grateful for having a friend nearby, Beldina was a story I wrote just a few days ago. She welcomed me and all of the PULSE colleagues into Kisumu with the warmth of her friendship and her true Kisumu spirit; thank you Beldina for your kindness. She has been a wealth of information about the area, the culture, and about what gets done, and what does not. Her generosity, warm heart, and helping hand at all times of the day, especially on 3rd November, 7 am, were so very much appreciated. I am also grateful to have had the concern and compassion from Dr. Steve Okello, a good and caring physician. I am grateful for many others who I have met briefly and who have helped to keep me remaining focused and grounded,
and I am grateful for the incredible electronic and personal friendship of Eileen (thank you), the often slow but progressive chess matches with Patrick (E2-E4), email chats with Jessica and Ben and the beer updates from Larry, the WhatsApp chats with family and friends (local and afar), the many people who would comment on my blog, and many many others that I have met who have impacted my experience in an extremely positive way. And although this list can go on and on, and on some more, it is time to bring closure to my assignment. To all of Kisumu, I say ‘so long’, but not ‘goodbye’. Adieu.
I am lastly and most very grateful for having a caring, loving, tolerant, and very understanding wife who stood by me from the very beginning, from a distance and while she joined me in Kisumu too. Christine, it is time, I am coming home! “Amor Vincit Omnia”