Life in a foreign Land

You’ve put on weight.

That was one of the last sentences I heard before I left Kenya two weeks ago.

“Yes, I know,”  I replied, a lot less defensive than I would have been in my pre-Kenya phase of life.

No but really my friend insisted, “Umeongeza kilo.  Kilo ngapi?”  (No but really, “you have added kilograms, how many kilograms have you added??”)

“I don’t know,”  I said, repeatedly as I tried to change the subject and remember in the deepest parts of my American culturally-born soul that this was a compliment not an insult.

You see, in rural Kenya, being big and voluptuous is a good thing. . .a sign of wealth and beauty and security and who knows what else.

But in America (the place of my birth), an extra kilogram equals negativity, shame, and a step in the wrong direction if you’re trying to achieve the southern California skinny yet muscular triathlon-competing ideal.

Sometimes I forget I live in a foreign land, until I get smacked with a “you’ve added kilograms” comment.

I LOVE Kenya, I do.  I wouldn’t have spent the majority of my last six years there if I didn’t.  But some things about living in a foreign land are getting hard.  It is bringing up questions for me about where I am and how I fit in.

So I’ve been wrestling.  And in the wrestling, I decided to explore my roots.  The one spontaneous bone in my otherwise uptight body made a super duper quick trip back to the U.S. to get some counseling, spiritual direction, and family connection.  As I advocate tirelessly for these things for others, I thought it was time to take my own advice.

Possibly the most nourishing medicine for my soul was an ice cream date with my nephew.

After two weeks of soul care, I am on my way back to Kenya.  What am I most excited about upon my return?  Dance parties with this crew.

I’m looking forward to being back in the U.S. again this summer and getting to reconnect to more friends, family, and BEAM supporters.

We covet your continued love, support, and prayers. . .please keep it coming!

Colleen

*Please consider a monthly or one time donation to support the BEAM Kenya mission to advocate for the emotional, spiritual, and education needs of impoverished children in Kenya*

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