My life is full of good memories and I always try as much as possible to focus on the best memories. I believe that I am going through some of the best moments in my life. Welcome to my first blog.
On May 16th, 2015 I boarded a plane from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Nairobi, Kenya and moved to Washington D.C., to serve as a fellow at Atlas Corps. I said adios to my lovely wife Sylvia (I miss her every single day – I love you BaBeZ and see you soon), Mama Mary & small sister Mercy at JKIA. They had to wait for my last call at the departures to ensure that my baggage had the official size and weight, otherwise they would have carried anything extra that I didn’t need back home.
I commenced my flight from JKIA to Dulles International Airport (IAD), Washington D.C., where I landed 22 hours later. Pre-boarding and post-boarding were all smooth and enjoyable. The stewards and the fellow passengers I sat next to were very friendly. Thanks to Swiss Airlines and United Airlines, all the flights arrived on time as scheduled. I didn’t wait for long at IAD. The security and the U.S. customs checks were done quickly.
I picked my baggage and moved down to the arrivals where I met Huma, a very lovely and decent Atlas Corps Fellow. She warmly welcomed and gave me a few tips on grounds transport in D.C. Huma thank you for the warm welcome on my arrival to D.C. You were absolutely amazing!
The super shuttle taxi driver to my new home was very friendly and he had a respectable attitude. He told me and two other passengers to sit back and enjoy a happy ride. I definitely enjoyed the honesty and his warm-heartedness. It was a smooth ride to my new home on River Road, Bethesda, Maryland. I fell in love with my neighborhood, it is so calm and green. The vegetation is green, and the forest on our backyard has very tall trees. There are deer living in that forest and I saw two of them grazing behind our backyard recently.
The 365 days C.O.U.N.T.D.O.W.N. started on May 17th, 2015. We had very eventful and demanding first two weeks; week one was orientation while the following was (Global Leadership Lab) GLL. The first month at American Express Foundation has been amazing! #AMEXLEADS
I love the Metro trains and buses, thanks to Asad my housemate, from Pakistan. He quickly orientated me how to get around. He is a remarkable and bright young adult who is fun and easy to chat with. He has amazing stories to tell.
My first month in D.C has been tremendous. Our first D.C. monumental tour by Scott, the CEO and Founder of Atlas Service Corps was absolutely fantastic. I have visited a number of places in Virginia State. I found Arlington First Church of The Nazarene (AFCOTN) where I worship on Sundays. Thanks to Google Maps and Africa Nazarene University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Rodney Reed who invited me to this Church on June 06th. I feel at home just like I do in my home Church, Central Church of The Nazarene, Nairobi, Kenya. Last Saturday I was able to participate in a community service where a team from AFCOTN visited Shirlington in Arlington, Virginia and fed over 40 day laborers. They do this every 3rd Saturday of the month and teach them the word of God. Arlington has amazing events, and this past Sunday, I attended an event dubbed “Fathers Day Auto Festival” where different car categories were paraded. The car categories were; electric, hybrid, pimped and classic. In my early twenties, I loved pimped and loud cars; nowadays I think I like simple and economical cars and I would consider a smart electric car any day.
I visited Manhattan, New York City the first week of June where I participated in American Express Leadership Academy Emerging Innovators Boot Camp for 3 days. The boot camp was Awesome (#AtlasCorpsRepresent) and interacted with social entrepreneurs who are impacting lives in their own communities through various projects that they run. Have you ever eaten crisps made from crickets? Yes I did and this was by one of the entrepreneurs. The crisps are far much better than beef.
I toured Manhattan (Vesey Street is definitely amazing); most of the streets reminded me of Nairobi City old streets. Nairobi streets are crowded with thousands of individuals from all walks of life. The population in Nairobi represents international communities. In Manhattan, people walk faster, which is same as Nairobi. They in-fact run across the zebra crossings, in-stead-of walking, a similar case like Nairobi. The automobiles in New York City are dangerous on the roads just like Nairobi. The drivers are too fast and it is easy to be knocked off accidentally. You just have to be very careful as a pedestrian while crossing the roads. All these madness remind me of my favorite quote “If you can cross the roads in Nairobi, you can do it in NYC.” Believe That!!
In NYC, I stayed at a Holiday Inn on Delancey street for three nights; everything about this hotel was above average. I give them 4/5 in total. They have courteous staffs, grand breakfast buffet, great location and fast Wi-Fi connections. It was easy to locate subway to the Boot Camp venue.
After my first month in the USA, I still believe there is no place in the world like my beloved country Kenya. Home is home whether East or West. You simply have to experience Kenya to be able to understand. Kenyans have energy and are joyous in nature, ask Kelly the Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Service Corps.
I am proud to be a Kenyan, we own the Eighth Wonder of the World (The wildebeest migration – greatest animal traffic on earth). I am far away from home and still able to enjoy Kenyan cuisine; ugali (our staple food) I also enjoy Kenyan tea every morning and evening. Oh, they also have Kenyan coffee at Atlas Service Corps office.
I have very approachable office-mates at Atlas Service Corps. Scott, Abby, Kelly, Meredith, Julie, Esther, Ebben, Andrea, Harriet, Dian the Engagement Intern and other interns. They all motivate me with their kindliness and respect. They greet each other in the morning and say ciao in the evening when leaving the office. I have adopted the same and I keep shouting ciao at Kelly when I leave the office.
As I look forward to a year full of success, I believe I will learn new skills to take back home to help me be part of the solution to the youth economic empowerment.
You can reach me on my LinkedIn profile https://ke.linkedin.com/in/danfriday