(NOTE: I will be starting a separate blog, called 'The Law, Justice, and Peace Diary', please visit it and read along! lawjusticepeace.wordpress.com)
But how do you wrap up an adventure?
Perhaps in two ways - by reflecting on what happened, and by looking towards the future.
Looking to the future is the easiest - I will be heading to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do there, yet. But I do know that I am going to continue to work towards making the world a better place, slowly and steadily. And I do know that I'll be getting married. Those are both very positive things.
But there has been a lot of developments, experiences, and friendships over the past year in Kenya. It is clear that the benefits that I've gained from this opportunity far outweigh the contributions that I made to Human Rights in Kenya, or to the ICJ Kenya office. But I do hope I was able to leave some positive developments.
Kenya itself is a place I will not soon forget. Full of extraordinary contrasts and enigmatic personalities, there is a conflicting sense of great hope and opportunity, perhaps underscored by the fear of violence. Ranked 16th on the 'Failed States Index', there is something inherently false or blatantly ignorant about considering Kenya a poor, unstable, developing nation. The level of sophistication in Kenya is palpable. The level of political posturing immeasurably immense. And the discrepancy between rich and poor is strikingly obvious.
That is a long-winded way of saying that the situation in Kenya is complicated. There are people suffering, and there are people flourishing. I hope I gave a good picture of both those sides over the course of this blog.
ICJ Kenya, my employers, continue to be a leading civil society organization in the country and the region. Civil society plays a key role in monitoring and agitating for positive changes in Kenyan society, so it is concerning when news reports come out that try and 'rubbish' civil society through conspiracy theories. There is a lot of work left to do.
Personally, I leave with more knowledge and passion than when I arrived. I'm a committed Human Rights advocate, now. That much is certain.
Where that takes me, well, we'll have to wait and see.
A recap of the 3 most popular of my blog posts:
2. But for the Donkey...
3. I Grew up Herding Cattle...
As a tribute to my time in Kenya, my favorite Kenyan songs (enjoy!):
Camp Mulla - Fresh All Day
DNA - Maswali na Polisi
P-Unit ft. Sauti Sol - Gentleman
Ringtone ft. - Talanta
Just a Band - Huff & Puff
Muthoni the Drummer Queen - Mikono Kwenye Hewa
A brief Interlude from Istanbul (an archived message I left myself a while ago):
"It's warm here - 28 degrees or so. The airport is pristine, and teeming with people going, well, everywhere. This is a cultural melange, and none of the languages seem the same, yet they all sound similar. Everyone is tanned, except for the occasional person that is so shockingly pale that I wonder about their health. I think I'm a bit culture shocked. Everything also smells like perfume or cologne. It makes me a bit dizzy, although that could also be the aftereffects of a red eye flight.
I am in Istanbul, but I am far away."