Laurie’s Africa Update #3

I came here with high expectations that I would be able to bridge the gap between the ambitions and goals of the World Health Organization to empower women with health care, however I did not realize how large this gap is. NGO think tanks have great goals, but what is actually happening with the poorest people in the country is another story. Most live on less than $1 a day. Their intelligence has never been able to come to fruition as a lack of foresight for education and family planning has kept them in the poverty cycle. What they do have are beautiful smiles and laughter that warms your heart.

My goals were to solicit a change, a change in thinking about health care and prevention; however shortly after Keith leaving I realized that it is not going to be the work of me, nor you, or any other volunteer to change other people. The most effective change there for the world is a change in you through human interaction and will. This particular village has been here for generations, more generations than we could count, and with it comes cultural values and beliefs hard-lined into how one thinks and behaves. To change that would be like driving a train off its track; not impossible, but it takes effort, and this may not happen in my generation. Maybe the next or one after that.

It is not that people can’t change; it is that they don’t want to. I often thought this phrase in many “aha” moments in the village. The interesting thing is that I have said this before teaching a yoga class, saying this to you in your practice and in essence myself. For example, as I live I generally do the same things, same behaviours and same thoughts. As much as I want to change my addiction to peanut butter by the spoonful, on a deep level I really don’t want to because if I did I would.

The way they think and live is completely different than how I do, but the common thread is that a change in behaviour will only come from within and it starts with you, or in my peanut-butter case, myself. I hope that I inspired some of those women and children to live out their dreams, however big or small, because every mother has a wish for her children and every child has a dream for themselves. It is my belief that there is a fighting chance with a little personal attention to each of our own wishes and dreams and personal change, we can overcome obstacles and the world will be a better place.

So thank you BYV students, teachers, Danny and Lisa, as this trip would not have happened without you. I look forward to seeing you all, but as my time in Kenya closes, my next adventures start by taking me south then west with the night. You can catch my more candid adventures at www.lovelaurie.wordpress.com. I wish you well.

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