Why Do I Write: About Africa

So since I have finally accessed what I did and did not already publish from my collections pertaining to Africa, there’s going to be a random rain of those poems coming on the blog.

One of the questions I’ve been asked by peers in my poetry club is: you’re a middle class white girl. Why do you have so many poems that a) talk about Kenya b) have random Swahili in them c) generally reference a different continent.

Unlike other questions, this one has a pretty straightforward answer. The July of 2010, the summer right before I entered college, I went on a month-long mission trip to Kakamega, Kenya to plant trees, dig a new well, repair houses and learn about the lifestyles of native Kenyans.

I can say, without a doubt, that there has been not a single experience in my life that has affected me more than that one month.

I learned how to make a well, I learned enough Swahili to be equivalent to a Kenyan toddler, I got my butt handed to me in a soccer match with seven-year olds, I was stricken with typhoid and was pretty sure that I was going to die (I didn’t fully recover until another month into the school semester- welcome to college!). I made Facebook friends with young adults across the ocean, I became painfully aware and overwhelmingly appreciative of what I have, and I now sponsor a child in Kenya through Compassion because of my connection to that place (I hope to sponsor more when I have more financial stability and independence). I dream of Kenya more than anything else. One of my only solid life goals is to go back there, hopefully to visit both the friends I met and to meet my sponsor child, Kelvin, as soon as I graduate.

If one of the poems that I post about Kenya raises a question for you, or you need something translated, or you just want to hear the full story about it, feel free to comment and ask me about it. (I won’t do it on my own, just because I don’t want to clutter my blog with it if no one really feels inclined to hear it!) I’m more than happy to open up about anything you’d like to know about it.

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