As we begin the journey multiple people are literally breathing down my neck, I become a contortionist, as I twist a turn, fitting more and more people into the vehicle. Arms tucked in, neck turned to one side, balancing my bananas on my leg, matatus are never full; there is always room. I look out the window to the rolling mountains and changing sky. My mind runs through a labyrinth of thoughts, my eyes traces the shambas, the mountains, the jacaranda trees, the maize stalks, the clouds, I am in my own world, fully present but magically gone. The driver stops in front of the sign St. Luke's Special School and again somehow weave myself out.
Here it is among the watchful eye of Mount Kenya looming in the West tucked in between the hills in the distance, my own personal slice of happiness. The students perched on top of a termite hill point and sign my name, the race begins. Three young boys race to help me with my bag, Ken the fastest little kid always wins out, but I always find something for Paul and Martin to carry. I always pass Bernard sweeping the dirt, his smile would melt even the hardest heart.When we reach my house the crowd has formed- asking me to play frisbee or catch or color or read. I tell them in a bit , and hurriedly unpack my things and head out.
Jackline and Faith spot me in the distance and they come running towards me with arms open hugging my legs as I approach. Rebecca and Stella now spot me and each grab an arm, I twirl them in circles until the giggle with dizziness. Others join we play, we dance, we climb trees, we practice sign language, we practice spelling, we throw balls, we chase, we fall, we are happy. The wind whips through the grass and it tickles are feet. The evening is approaching and we watch the sky change colors.
My one year in Kenya has been a tapestry of thoughts, stories, feelings, awareness, but the common thread of happiness has been my students. They define every moment, this school has given me, a place to be.