Sunday, September 14, 2008

If Home's where my heart is...Then I'm out of place

Hello again...I've been back in California for a week and a half now. After only 6 weeks...why does Kenya feel more like home than does my little house in Costa Mesa where I have lived for over 26 years?

It is such a strange phenomenon. I have been telling people it is like the Narnia movie ....I walk through the wardrobe (well....not so much a walk as a 30 hour trip to get through!) out of one life into another every time I go back and forth to Kenya. People here often innocently ask me "How was your "vacation?" and I struggle to explain that when I go to Kitale...it is not a vacation...but a LIFE.

I have come to realize that I have two complete lives....on opposite sides of the globe. Each of those lives is full of people that I love and that love me. Each life has important work. I have big responsibilities and a lot of people depending on me in both of my worlds. I have dogs and a house and flower gardens in each place. I get up in the morning...go to the kitchen and make my coffee and get ready for work in both Costa
Mesa and Kenya.

My house in Kitale, Kenya
My house in Costa Mesa, California

My Kenyan dog, Sky

My American dogs....Lola and Rico

The hard part is that I am the only one that COMPLETELY understands both of my worlds. The people in each life that love/need/depend on me.... really want me to stay in THEIR world and are pretty vocal about that sentiment.

So, you might ask: "Which world do YOU want to be in, Lydia?" Well, that is a question with no simple answer. To be honest, it is heartbreaking to leave Kenya...to leave my kids behind. The night before I leave is always a big cry-fest with the kids...especially the boys in our Group Homes.


The last night in Kenya...at the boy's house...stalling over good-byes

There is a little "joke" that I have with the boys in our House 2. A recent popular pop song in Kenya has the title "Hakuna Michozi" which means "There will be no crying". The song is about when we go to heaven. But, about a week before I have to leave Kenya...the boys look at me and say "Hakuna michozi, mom".

They are already anticipating how sad we will all be when I fly away yet again. Geoffrey (my Kenyan partner who runs all the Oasis programs) actually tried to make a bet with me the last day and jokingly offered me a small sum of money if I could say goodbye to the boys in House 2 without crying. I'm no fool....I turned down that bet right away!

I told Johnstone (my most emotional "son") about the bet and he replied "Mom....michozi (crying) is a MUST!" And of course...it was!

Crying in the hallway with Johnstone, Martin and Timothy

So, I am back through the wardrobe...doing my best to adjust to life in the states again...traffic, concrete, the rush rush rush of it all. But, also back to the creature comforts that we take for granted here: constant electricity and warm water, high speed internet connections and Starbuck's coffee! Nonetheless, I hope to be back in Kenya in a few months. Until then...I am going to use this blog as therapy to tell the stories of the kids and my trip. Hopefully, these stories will give you at least a small inkling of why I love Kenya so much.

I know that I will adjust to life in California again soon. But right now...one of the songs that I have been listening to a lot is Homesick by Mercy Me. It is a perfect expression of how I am feeling right now. I picture the faces of each of the children I love so much whenever I hear it...because in the end....the reason that I love Kenya is them. Here are just a few....if you knew them, you would understand.


Ann Elvis

Janet Evans



Joseph Dorcas



Martin Timothy




Sheila Jonah

Bramwel Donald

Ajix Paul

Edwin Irene

John Johnstone

Centrine Steward

David Joseph


Homesick (by: Mercy Me)
You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
is, How long must I wait to be with you?

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again

To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow?
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow?
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow?

I've never been more homesick than now......

2 comments:

Alli Hibb said...

How is it that I can feel homesick for these kids and I'm still in Kenya? I have tears in my eyes right now...

Love that you love these kids. Hate that your love for them constantly brings me to tears!

Daina Goodwin said...

Thanks for making me cry;) Theyre good tears though...I couldnt agree with Al more...I live here and I freaking miss these kids...youre amazing, thanks for letting me share in all of your amazing work, Im so grateful