When I first arrived to Kenya I had committed to be a BuildaBridge Artist on Call for 6 months and no more. Let me explain how I cope with short-term living experiences. My mindset adjusts to that length of time I am given in a certain place and I subconsciously carry around a clock to time the days and hours that ae left until I depart. As my mind’s clock begins to run out of time I start detaching emotionally from to prepare myself for sad separation and relationships cut short. I gage how involved I will become in certain areas based on the timeframe which I know I have in a place.
As far as Kenya, however, my clock kept on adding. Six months has become six more months and now the clock will again add another year! Because of the grace of added time I am also disarming myself, ever so slowly, to allow myself to sink deeper into relationship, lifestyle, emotional attachment, commitments, art projects and future visions. Disarming of course is both dangerous and wonderful. I give up my timeline and smash my clock so that I freely invest in the realities around me as if I will live here forever; invest to the fullest to reap the most. But on the flip side, becoming settled and rooted is wonderful until you are forced to uproot.
Working with BuildaBridge I think from the beginning I gave myself fully in my work, however in my daily living outside of work life I was still holding that clock up till recently. Since I’ve “smashed the clock” there is an excitement inside of me to seek out aspects of “normal life” that I have overlooked in my old mentality of this being a temporary position. Evidence of clock smashing? I have joined groups of people committed to good causes in the community, I have adopted a puppy I found on the street, I am exploring my hobbies for the first time since coming, I am allowing myself to dream up future possibilities within the context of using the arts in Nairobi. One year with BuildaBridge has flown by too quickly, but I am only left with lofty dreams and enthusiasm as I stretch roots down into Kenyan soil for another year!