Looking Back

It’s crazy that we have left Kenya, being that it feels as though we just arrived. This summer has opened my eyes to the reality of social injustices that occur everywhere. I’ve witnessed many situations in which people share their life stories and the struggles they have faced and/or are going through. Especially with working with SFC (Sisterhood for Change), I’ve seen in some instances families broken apart, lives scarred, and much more. For example, Janepher and others were working on a case where a 14 year old girl was being molested by her stepfather, and became pregnant, but she went through an abortion. It took her and her mother quite some time to come out and talk about what was going on especially due to being threatened   by him. Even the stories I hear from the SFC students are heartbreaking, one student when starting the program was HIV positive as well as pregnant and very sick, however, when you look at her now you would never have guessed her experience.

Although I can share so many more stories I’ve heard or witnessed, I just wanted to share a few to maybe also open another person’s eyes to the reality of life and the obstacles one may face. When I say this was an eye-opener, I mean that many things such as the stories above are heard on the news, or through other forms of social media. Therefore, creating disconnect between the situation, the people involved, and ourselves. However, here in Kisumu, I’ve met these people who are dealing with a number of obstacles that others will find hard to believe. It allowed me to understand that these things do occur and that it can happen any moment and to anyone. I am grateful for those who’ve shared their experiences and stories with me because now I am able to feel for them more than I would have than if I was home hearing it through the TV. But during my time here I’ve seen these manifestations and again reality sets in telling me that there are many others in the world going through something. I also feel that my own awareness has been echoed to those here as well. Many times I am asked if there are poor people in the U.S., are there slums, is there incest, and so many more questions. And when I tell them that yes there is, they are stunned, because of the image they have of America and Americans as the land of opportunity and more resources. But then as I’ve shared certain stories with them, they begin to understand that we too struggle and go through our own obstacles. It’s important for us all to share our stories, experiences, and more to be able to understand one another, therefore becoming more connected. So as I prepare to leave I am taking with me a new recognition of how disconnected one can be from the world not only due to where one is located, but where our minds take us. If they take us into the stories and lives of the people going through such problems as I mention, we need to inform ourselves and be able to put ourselves in their situation to understand what is going on around us. I believe that I have been able to connect with others in a much different way than just sharing one’s stories but also understanding them as well.

Kamari Harrington