Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Day 18 of 30 -- Plans/Dreams/Goals I Have
For my entire life I have had written goals. When I was a teenager I had a "dream" board. On that board there were magazine pictures cut out and pasted collage style around the bright white poster board. I had a picture of a piano, a baby grand piano. I had the piano in my 30's. I had a picture of a beautiful sports car, a Corvette. I had three beginning in my mid 20's. And then, there was the picture of the giraffe. I wanted to go to Africa. Never did I dream I would have the opportunity to live in Africa the past two years.
Today, I have no written goals. I do not want for anything. Not because I have so much materially. Actually I have very little. I do not want for the one thing every written goal could never give me. Peace. I have finally found peace. Peace with myself, who I am, what I want in life and my place in this world. Why would I muck that all up with goals of material or simple "want"?
Really my goals come down to this; to simply remember the experiences I have had, the moments that have taken my breath away, the people I have met in my journeys and the person I became along the way. I live in the moment because every moment is so worth living and appreciating.
Yesterday as I was coming into Kisumu, a small town in Western Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria, my colleague and I were passed by a gray Toyota Hilux, the staple vehicle of Africa. He had been weaving in and out of traffic passing people on this very narrow, deep shoulder, pot hole laden road. He was in a hurry. Ten minutes later we come up on a crowd of people on both sides of the road about 10km from Kisumu. The gray Toyota Hilux was on the left side of the road and a little Kenyan boy, face down, blood pouring from his head was surrounded by shocked witnesses on the right side. He was very obviously dead. In Kenya you do not have 911, no ambulance will come, there will be no trained paramedics skilled in emergency care working desperately to save this little life. The life is simply over. He will be buried. To have one moment in life back, one split decision, one kilometer less of speed, one meter further across the road for this little boy, one moment could have changed a lifetime. Moments like this which I have been witness to, will forever be etched in my mind.
My dream is not to waste one moment, to savor every second. Last night at 3:15am I wake to hear a chortling, snortling, munching sound outside my window. I lift the covering from the tent window to see an awesome sight, a hippo directly in front of me enjoying his late dinner of fresh grass. I watched him for half an hour. I have been asked if I got a picture. There are no pictures, I did not want to miss a moment looking for a camera. I wanted to just enjoy the hippo.
Today after work I went for a run. I ran to the Impala Sanctuary down the road and decided to check it out. Clouds were rapidly building and I knew it was going to rain, but I really wanted to see the impalas. I saw Impalas...and Zebra
but I also met a young volunteer, Samora, who was walking through the park closing up. He came across me staring at the Ostrich, mesmerized by their incredible uniqueness. He asked if I would like to meet Festus, the Cheetah. We went to the area where the Cheetahs were, Festus and Alice and he moved Alice into another area and walked into the area where Festus was. He told me to come in. I did so wondering in the back of my head if I really had lost my common sense. Festus laid down right in front of me and I reached out and began stroking his coat, feeling the roughness of his fur and feeling the incredible vibrations of his purring, like a house cat on steroids.
As Sambora walked me out of the park he told me to hurry because it was going to rain in the next couple of minutes. I was about a 15 minute run (fast run) from my hotel. I took off as the wind picked up and it became darker quickly. About half way to the hotel the skies opened up. I started laughing. There was nothing about this day that I wasn't going to enjoy, including a fierce African torrential downpour. I quickly ducked under the eave of a small building along with three other young boys who had been caught in the rain as well.
I watched it rain for about 15 minutes and then as it slowed I took off again, just making it to the next shack for shelter. I leap frogged from shack to shack all the way back as Kenyans laughed and shooked their heads at this crazy girl running in the rain enjoying every second of it.
So...plans, I have none. Not really, some idea, but open to whatever comes my way when I land back in the U.S. in two weeks. Goals....to just take the lessons I have learned and the moments I have lived in Africa and keep them close to my heart. Dreams...to just continue living the adventure. I have found that adventure doesn't simply reside in a third world country on a third world continent in cultures vastly different from my own. Adventure lies in everything we do wherever we do it, if we do it all out, if we do things that scare us every day, if we live life fully, that is the adventure.
I just finished reading an amazing book, "The Last Season". Take a second to check it out...Near the end there's an excerpt from the missing ranger's log book from 1973. I think it most clearly summarizes this blog...Plans, Dreams & Goals...
"All of your life, someone is pointing the way, directing you this way and that, determining for you which road is best traveled. Here is your chance to find your own way. Don't ask me how to get to McGee Canyon. Go, on your own. Be adventuresome. Don't forever seek the easiest way. Take the way you find. Don't demand...signs. Don't demand we show you...Go find them yourself...This is your birthright, most commonly denied you. Be free enough from intentions to find goodness wherever you are and in whatever is happening. Here for once in your life you needn't do anything, be anywhere at a determined time, walk in a certain direction. You can now live by whim. Here's your chance..."