Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let’s Celebrate, But Remember Those That Can't

The past 2 weeks have been full of celebrations! Last week I had the honour of being a guest at a friend’s graduation party. Kenyan’s sure know how to party! The whole community, extended family and friends were all under one tent sharing in the proud moment of a grad! I am sure it took all morning to prepare the multitude of food that we had, as my portion was a bit too generous (including the piece of cow intestine). The 60 of us ate our food while listening to the grads speech, and the Muzungus introduction. Because we were unknown it was customary for us to introduce our self’s, which is much nicer then the Canadian way of just thinking what the heck are these strangers doing here! At these grad parties they even take up an offering to assist the grad in finding a job. So my plan now is to say because I lived in Kenya I would like a Kenyan grad party….! In my family a grad party is simply a dinner with immediate family at a nice restaurant.

The next celebration in Kenya was hosted by moi, Canada Day! It was my first time celebrating Canada day in another country. With the recent issues of terrorism, I figured it was best to skip the fireworks, and just indulge in poutine! I didn’t notice how strange this French Canadian dish looked until my international friends started commenting! It is so interesting how food can be used to distinguish a country. Fun facts of the night: no I don’t live in an igloo and Justine Bieber was born in the same hospital as me!

My final celebration for this week was United States Independence Day party at the US embassy. I was honoured to be invited to this special event, among ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives from around the globe. Our group even had our own military escorts (with large guns!) to insure we were safe.To give a true American feel at the event, there were mini burgers, hot dogs and Subway for the guest to enjoy.

As special as I felt at this swanky even, I couldn’t help but remember what I saw on my way there. As we traveled passed a major overpass several children holding bottles to their noises approached our vehicle with glazed eyes. In Nairobi there are about 50,000 street children and 300,000 in Kenya. Of these children many sniff glue to cope with their situation. Children as young as 5 years old are addicted to glue (Voice of America, 2009). My heart broke as I rolled up my window on a young boy, I couldn’t image the feeling of rejection this child feels, at a time in his life he should be tenderly loved and embraced not ignored like a nuisance.

It was a good reminder to me as I go about this internship and daily life that there are so many things to be done no matter where in the world you are. We need to be active citizens not by standards. Let’s work together to be world changers!  

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