Krismasi Njema (Merry Christmas)

I’m celebrating Christmas in the summer – that’s one more off my Day Zero list. It’s unbelievable to me all the things that I’ve been able to cross off my bucket list this year.

We’re decorating May Flower Trees which they call Krismasi Trees here because they bloom in December. The streets are red carpeted with these flowers and it looks magical, just like Christmas has always been to me and it made me feel philosophical and poetic.

Looking back at the year gone by astonishes me, all the things that have happened. Exactly a year ago I quit my job to follow my dreams but ended up having to take care of my grandmother instead. Growing up, mum always thought I’d be a nurse because I love taking care of people and with my grandmother, I learnt so much- including a new language. Little did I know that by the end of the year, I’d be learning another new language – Kiswahili. I have discovered dreams I had forgotten and I’m exactly where I want to be – without at first realising how badly I have longed for this experience.

I had applied to the Sauvé Scholars programme which I didn’t get through to because I was too young. I had enquired of millions of NGOs around the world about volunteering but I was either of the wrong nationality, the wrong gender, the wrong age till I finally found myself in Africa – a long cherished dream.

Then a thought crossed my mind – I am skinnier than some people. I am bigger than some others. I am considered fairer than most in this country and I am darker than other people. I am taller and shorter, more talented and less so. I will always be on both sides of every scale. It depends on the place – physical or mental. But that’s just the thing about walking the thin line, trying to figure out who I am – I WILL ALWAYS BELONG. There is always a home no matter how many houses I’ve had to shift through. There has always been a place where everything fits just right – all that matters is that we never give up on that dream.

If I could, I’d raise a toast to adventure, to go where your heart leads you even if you’re scared shitless, to finding home where you least expect it, to unforgettable conversations with random strangers, to finding a deep connection even if you’ve never met the person, to magic and to life. May you have all this and more starting right now! There, I’ve said it. Cheers! Have a Merry Christmas and a fantastic new year ahead!

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