Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I love Rumi, obviously the English translation is all I can understand
But take a look at this poem

"Be with those who help your being.
Don't sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.
A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don't try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it's too late for all you could become.
Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?"

Take a second and think about what that means to yourself.
I won't talk about myself this post, but you can talk to me.
I want you to be happy, in this world where in a crowd of billions somehow you end up just being stranded and lost at sea.

Whether you're 23, 18, 40, 50...80, isn't it important to remember that right it's spring, and there are cherry blossoms that have bloomed and gone, revealing bright green leaves. And when they die, the tree renews again, and when the tree dies, something else will take its place. While you're still alive, bloom.

I disagree that we are all just a collection of stories to be shared; I think there's more to the eye when it comes with just sitting in front of a sunrise, sharing it with someone you love, or just opening it to something bigger than yourself, and let your own spirit float.
You can't make that into a story, but all the same, it's what makes you break apart and fly.

Anyways, Rumi tends to write verses that make you think you're on the floor, ready to get up to love, and...why not? There's more to living in this haze of the world, so go out, trip, fall, drink in both poison and elixir but always stay coherent of your feelings, and find out what turns you yellow and discard it. Find the right roots.

Read the poem again, if you find similar meaning, I hope you'll learn to fly from whatever might be keeping you down, and be broken open by life.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

23 realizations before turning 23

1. As I left for Kenya on June 6th, 2012, I found out I passed the Fire Fighter Level 1 exam. Passing it entailed reading and understand over 1,000 pages and passing a grueling practical exam as well being able to handle the stress of being in a live fire capable of inflicting death in 5 weeks. I learned that I was capable of things beyond my comfort zone. Always go beyond your comfort zone.
2. During training in Kenya, I realized I couldn't sleep and always felt uncomfortable. Then, as I walked the fields of Loitokitok, I decided to just start doing what I used to do alone in the woods when I was 13. Practice martial arts. In front of gaping townsfolks, I was too nervous to continue at first, but then realized I should focus. As I continued practicing, I found a sense of calm. Lesson; do what makes you feel real, and live in it. If you can't feel real and focus on it; how else will you stay you and be okay with it?
3. Loneliness: I could be eating in dining room at American University or sitting outside my room in the cold in Kenya (which is how I maintain my internet), and it wouldn't matter, loneliness is a state of mind. I've come to terms with that, doesn't mean it doesn't hurts, but it means that it's there to stay and I should be okay just doing me at the moment.
4. Family: I've always felt like I was never as bright as my father or my brother, or as hardworking and sincere as my mother; but they'll be the first ones to tell me that I'm wrong, and they mean it. And it's time I learn to not use insecurity as a crutch and succeed. I am good enough, you are good enough, now let's just work for it.
5. Love: I've been in love with the same person for 2 years, to the point I dream about her. It shows the effect one person had on me. One can mope, but if I can't get her out of my head, why not just remember that that was a warm point and move on? I realize that in turning 23, I'm in no desire to get married, so why not just enjoy people as people and worry about the future when I'm ready. Because I'll have to make at least 100 more realizations before I can approach that topic again.
6. Mountains (Hills): I live on top of a giant hill that might as well be a mountain. And I've climbed several of the peaks. As for why, I can tell you that every time I climb to the top, rather than enjoying the view, I'm wrapped in nostalgia. So I ask you the question; why do we climb? I failed climbing one peak the first time, and did it again, just to say, I can. Why do you climb?
7. Self efficacy: If I don't believe in myself, how am I to grow.
8. Imagination: If I don't expand beyond what is the status quo; how will I effect change to the same problems tackled over and over again.
9. Agency to act: You can believe, and know how, but without doing, I might as well just go to bed. Just do it, seriously.
10. I love children: Seriously, I spend the time after work just letting children climbing on my back. Take a look at this one.

11. I love flowers: I miss the cherry blossoms at my house

 12. The smell of jasmines re affirms my belief in God: Jasmines are my mother's favorite flower, they smell wonderful, I prefer any vareities. There is one that is called "the Night Queen", it has dozens of buds that bloom only at night on a nightly basis. When I smell them, I think of my mother. Here in Kenya, the first night I spent, I smelt jasmines; I couldn't find them anywhere and assumed they were hiding, but I was happy nonetheless. Then...I realized I would smell jasmines randomly when I walking alone; like two nights earlier when I was coming back from work at 11 am in the pitch dark. I smelt them, looked towards the bush, and then had the urge to look at the stars and just say "Allahamdullilah". Seriously, no jasmines in Sagalla and I smell them, what else can I say?
13. Trust in my feelings: They are a passageway that leads to something that is wonderfully unexplained  Call it sixth sense or whatever, the more in tune I feel with the world, the more I feel guided, and I'm glad.
14. I am proud to be Muslim: Praying makes me happy, calm, and focused; I don't have many other things in the world that do. When I feel the wind, I feel God, when I smell jasmines, I know I am loved (by God and my mother), when it rains, I am drenched inwardly, and when I'm lonely, I have the stars. The simplest things in life are miracles, if we're willing to open our hearts to sense them out.
 15. I am not too old in starting over: I can still try new things, I can now do in one sitting
50 push ups
14 pull ups
100 sit ups
Mind you, I hated all three of those exercises, by why not if it makes me happy at the end?
16. Doing nothing is wonderful when it's a choice: Better than dancing and talking to a million people, sometimes just sitting in my room and watching my cat sleep makes me happy.
17. I love my cat: it's a small life that I do my best to make happy, and it chooses to sleep on my chest and that's worth waking up and falling asleep again.
 18. People are worth meeting: Follow your feelings and you'll find someone that makes you glad that you can listen to their words. Finding those people is part of the joy in life I believe.
19. Being in the forefront does not make you a hero: Learning to blend in the background of my work helped me watch other people take leadership, and I feel like their success is better than watching myself talk in front of crowds. My counter part works so hard, and he never wants credit. He is a hero, remember his name, Godrick Mwachofi.
20. I want to go to Princeton: So I should work for it.
21. I have trouble accepting I have ambition because it makes me afraid I'm selfish.
22. I am selfish: There, I should accept it and not let it own me.
23. I'm happy to be growing up: It's not an hour glass is it? Every day the light shines from galaxies far, far away, and the light is completely different from the moment before...new and ancient...like our blood lines in times past, present and future.
Bring it on April 17th, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

10 Month Anniversary

10 months have passed by since I arrived on the 6th of June, 2012.
10 months since I've arrived alone, scared, and confused about the world.
And 10 months later, I find that I am still alone, scared, and confused.
But it's okay.

I look at the work I've done

Working at a dam
Teaching hand washing to a completely different county
 Analyzing data for about 165,000 people within Taita county and then teaching the District Community Health Strategist how to do the so and watched her present the data to the Community Health Extension workers.
 Or watching the health group continue to make sanitary pads after having a friend from JICA teach them.
Finally obtaining the funds to build a Youth Resource Center  

All of these accomplishments I'm proud to say I've been a part of. But more importantly, all of these accomplishments couldn't have been done without the help of those around me
My supervisor Scaver Mwadime, teaching about life skills
My friend and Jica Volunter Tomomi, who taught how to make sanitary pads

Peace Corps Volunteer David McCoy, who partnered with me to analyze data

My family, my rock

And of course, my counter part, Godrick Mwachofi, the life blood of the work behind Sagalla

I've been told that people come and go in this world; and I believe that phrase. You may eventually die surrounded by loved ones, but in the end, it's you who takes the final journey away from this place. Regardless, the people who have came, make an impression on me. All of them.

Even the non people

But especially the  people people

And God willing, 17 months later, I'll have come, and gone.

This picture of the health center in the rain

 This boy sliding through the slippery steps for joy.
This Boy Traveler

But it's okay...because like I said, 
To be alone, is understanding that you aren't defined by others
To be confused is to acknowledge you don't know
And to be scared...is to acknowledge the truth of how you feel, both the beautiful parts and the scary parts.

What I'm glad I'm not is numb.
Because I know what it's like to be without clean water, fresh food, proper company.
And I know I can fix it.
In being alone I can choose the company I want
In being confused I can reach out to my own clarity.
In being scared, I can prepare to be brave.

That is my 10 month gift to myself. Knowing what I am and am not.

And watching the rains kiss the ground