"Look at us all, boundless meandering wanderers
Nowhere bound, lovelost starstruck whirling ponderers
Forming gentle honeyed milk soothe nothings within the wave of our whispered reverberation
Dying and relighting like phoenix flame moths, tiny candle souls melting our generation"
The spirit of our American youth generation. I can only say it once, and ten years from now, I'll be looking down rather than right into the eyes of what it means to be young.
Growing up we look up to these 20s, and later on we look back but there's one thing I want to say I appreciate about being young, and one thing I want to say about the Americans around me.
I really enjoy the fact that I'm growing. Not physically sadly enough, but that's okay I'm fine without a second puberty, because I know that I've mentally grown at least two feet since first coming to Kenya. Being in the Peace Corps, you have no choice but to deal with things that are so basic you wondered how you could be so numb to them back in America.
Water is finite, they come in the form of two 20 liter tanks that I used to cook (when I feel like it) and bathe (not going to repeat the previous side comment).
Getting from one place to another takes energy, commitment, and motivation. No hopping in a car down the high way, it's walking for a half an hour or more one day, and back again. I'll never hesitate to use a car to drive again to see friends back in the US.
Food is not always granted. Sometimes I don't have the foresight to shop ahead of time and am left with nothing at night. But more importantly, things have to be in season for there to be plenty.
Try living on under a dollar a day (about 85 shillings) and you'll see how limited your options are. Especially if you don't have the capital to buy ahead of time in whole stock, a typical day in Sagalla looks like this.
1. Two Mandazi (10 shillings)
2. Chai (15 shillings)
1. 1 chapati (15)
1. Beans (15)
1. 1 Chapati (15)
2. Beans (15)
That's dollar. If you want toilet paper (30 shillings), phone credit (20 shillings minimum), or even 20 liters of water (10 shilling), you better skimp on some meals.
Kudos to Yasmin Hussein for inspiring me to take a similar challenge to MPAC's Food Stamp Challenge, and Louis Vayo for his successful endeavor to do so last year.
If you want fruit, you'll have to wait for the right season unless you want to fork the 300 shilling round trip to go to the city. Then factor in medical emergencies...you see the picture.
The thing is, the more I learn, the more I get out of this numbness that strikes at the heart of my dissonance with the world.
I've noticed it, our generation, has more than any generation, delved deeply into our own psyche. We are more introspective, imaginative, and some ways lost, than any generation before that. I mean that in complete quantity. The fact that Facebook is a way to communicate with the masses by just becoming self involved shows that. It's a need, to be connected, but also a symptom, of how disconnected our generation finds ourselves.
Ask your parents, especially those like me who were 1st generation, did they have a poetry phase at the age of 12, did they play at least two different instruments, or delve into so much media to the point where they were "film buffs". We've laced every thought and concept in our life with our own flavor, individualized in our own identity.
That is our American generation, born from a time when the economy was supposedly perfect (I'm a 90s baby, laugh), and raised when following your dreams goes hand in hand with the cynicism joblessness brings.
From Liberal Arts majors waiting tables, to fresh grads accepting data entry for the comfort of the pay check. There is so much of our generation that is looking...for something.
Will we find it in a Masters, in an adventure in voluntourism, in tried and true romantic relationships? I honestly can't give you an answer until we reached past this part, but I can say one thing, we're growing mentally at a rate I think is extraordinary throughout these 20s. While growth can be destructive as well, too many thoughts turning into depression or even apathy, but it's as intrinsic being an American 20 something as waking up in the morning and blinking until the you're wide awake.
|This is what it means to be young, to climb uphill, and to grow for it.|
So here's to this generation, this generation of lonely, lovely, wanders. May our pilgrim's journey inspire the next batch of youngsters behind us. It's our legacy
|Heck, I'll look at this photo years from now and remembered that I sharpened the blade that killed a snake, was used to feed 30 people goat, on top of Sagalla, where I grew up|