It’s been six months already!!! I know I have probably told all souls that would care to listen these same words since June got here! I remember vividly the last few days packing whatever little or much I thought I would need for a year away from home and now I am at the half way mark…
Of course I miss my family and friends terribly and reminiscence with great nostalgia the lovely Kenyan sun, nyama choma and ugali and even surprisingly the loud matatus and ever-humorous touts especially on route 105!whoever said you do not know what you have until its gone was spot on! I smile to think that many times I have complained it’s too hot or noisy in Nairobi! You should now see me excited to feel the sunrays and be a lizard sun zapping as much as I possibly can in Portland!
With six months down and another to go, I have been reflecting most of the past week on my progress thus far and calculating how far my goal is. This time mark timing has also made me aware of subtle values and principles that my parents have promoted in me that have made my transition into a whole new culture much easier. Such small insignificant things like correcting my tenses and ‘forcing ‘ my sisters and I to read novels and write compositions in both English and Kiswahili over the school holidays ever other day have made me an effective communicator in both speech and writing or teaching us how to be diplomatic and communicate highly personal or contentious issues with decorum and grace.
True to one of my host organizations maxims, I have been a sponge these last few months and have learnt so much that I am in constant awe. From our monthly book reading discussion on how to be effective grant managers to writing and scoring RFPs to inheriting portfolios of grants and continuing managing them to closing grants and assisting others to fundraise, this process has been much more intense than I actually imagined it to be.
Being a lawyer by training, it is a skill I learnt by habit to talk a bit too fast. With my rather obvious change of audience, I have deliberately been working on slowing down my tone and pace to ensure that grantees not only feel heard but also hear and understand me as well. To aid in this process, I enrolled in a local toastmaster class and have been making some progress on the tête-à-tête rate!
I also finally get to be a lector in my local church having been on the wait list for four months now and going for practice. I was really intrigued by how well the Word is spoken in Church and how much practice is actually put in to get to that level. I give my first reading next Sunday at 8:00 am.
The last six months have really been mostly nothing I imagined or even maybe wanted but they have been worth it and I cannot wait to keep growing and going!!!