"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination." ~Don Williams, Jr.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the newest group of trainees, who've since sworn in as full volunteers in Kenya.
The group of 50+ trainees was due to arrive around 10 or 11 pm...and due to some travel delays they ended up arriving in Kenya a bit later.
At any rate, the fun began when the other volunteers and I were playing "spot the trainee" when their plane arrived. It's a rather easy game to play - you look at the people getting their luggage and guess if they are a Peace Corps trainee or not. Sometimes it's easy to tell - for instance if they have more than 3 bags they are likely a PC trainee. Though that is not always the case. I remember seeing one guy who had just 2 carry on bags with him.
After a long period of waiting, we finally got all of them and most of their stuff on buses to the hostel where they would be spending their first few nights in Kenya. (I say most of their stuff because there was a few volunteers who had luggage delays).
During the first night, while they were there, I could not help but reflect on how I was dressed and how I must have looked getting off the airplane.
We stayed with the new trainees for a few days in Nairobi and we shared with them our experiences during our training - what our homestay was like..what the food was like...the first time using the choo (pit latrine)..and so on.
All of this brought back so many memories of the first few days, almost 3 years ago now, when I got off an airplane in Africa for the first time. I remember the excitement and anxiousness of getting in to the training and figuring out what we would be doing as volunteers.
Being around the new trainees, I felt a sense of nostalgia - I began remembering what it was like when I first began learning Kiswahili.
Then I found myself thinking, once again, of how far I've come. In 2 years and 23 months (to the day) I've come a very long way. I've changed in many ways which are beyond description. Kenya has also changed, of course.
In reality, I think that I have gained more than I have given to Kenya. For that reason I want to make sure that during my few remaining months I give back as much as I can to as many people as I can before the time comes for me to depart.
Life is full of opportunities, all we need to do is take them. For me, joining the Peace Corps has been a life changing experience that I am certain I will continue to cherish for the rest of my days.