Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out of Africa...

I think that this post has been so long delayed for one important reason, and that is that I do not wish it all to be over. I do not pride myself of the fact that I descend into a nostalgic trance now that I have returned to the states, but that has often been the case. A lifetime seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. It is difficult to write about Kenya now, as it seems so far away, and yet not a day goes by that I don't think about my time there. And when I do, I can't help but smile.
Like I was at the beginning of every post previously, I am once again overcome by the the daunting task of describing my experiences, much less giving them proper justice through my description. After leaving TBI, I and a few others, traveled a bit in the south of Kenya. After staying in Nairobi, we went on safari in Tsavo East National Park and we saw elephants. Lots and lots of elephants. We didn't just see elephants. We nearly had them trample us in our tents, charge us in our car and walk right through our camp. This is on top of the baboons and vervet monkeys steeling our bananas and the lions roaring within earshot of our tent. It was absolutely wonderful! The Kenyan coast was spectacular. After safari, staying near Mombassa afforded us the most spectacular view of the Indian Ocean, while allowing us to eat fresh seafood every night and go snorkeling whenever we wanted. The amazing thing was, comfortable seaside lodging and delicious food added up to no more than about twelve dollars a day.
My return to the states was, and continues to be, difficult. All of the familiar sights and sounds are lost to me here. I miss the sunrises. I miss sitting in the cool evening air watching the sunsets over the hills every night. I miss the sand and the sun. I even miss the heat. It would be an understatement to say I have experienced culture shock upon my return here. Everything seems, at the least, slightly more than necessary. Television, billboards, concrete sidewalks, tall buildings, cars. The noise of it all can be defining. I am comforted by the knowledge that I will return to Africa and that I take away from it knowledge I could not have acquired otherwise. Both the knowledge of human evolution and ancient prehistory in Africa, and the personal affinity towards Africa that I have gained, give me pause when I hear things like "this really was a once in a lifetime opportunity wasn't it?" To that I say absolutely not. This is a lifetime opportunity. One that I expect to influence me for the rest of my life.

With that I say Asante Sana, Ejoka Noi, and Thank you. It has been my pleasure.