NZ in Kenya

It’s interesting how when you are faced with reminders of “home” how much you remember what “home” was like. For the past month we have had 3 kiwis volunteering with us. We’ve had former All Blacks player Norm Maxwell and NZ rowing pair Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh all volunteering with us. As they are all high profile NZ Athletes we have been taking round 7 schools in the Naivasha district with motivational talks for students. The presentation starts with a NZ background with the Maori migration, settlement and culture, plants, birds and NZ today. Then on to the Athletes journey’s to today using videos, photos through PowerPoint. But having them here is like remembering the NZ culture and how much I actually miss it. Things like the beaches, flat whites, the bush, tramping, Wellington, fish and chips, the people and our culture. How we are as people, our approach to life. Tonight the girls made dinner roast lamb and Pavlova. Can’t get much more kiwi than that!

Adapting to Kenyan culture has been something I have strived to do as much as possible, but underneath I think where you come from will always be your default and that is what you revert to more often than you realize.

I left NZ four years ago to set out on a new path. I left not wanting to go back for a substantial amount of time. I had had enough. I was at one of the lowest points of my life, when all I had known seemed to drop from beneath me. My move was to take time for change and to move on. It was a risk I took. To go without a plan but one that I knew would fall into place, somehow.

Since this time Ive meet up with a few friends from NZ while living in the UK and Africa, and these questions always come up: would I ever move back to NZ? and how much longer would I live in Kenya? Both questions have always been a hard to answer. Its hard because I came here to start a new path and I think that I have learnt more than I paid for and have grown a lot within myself. Africa has taken its toll but at the same time its here that I have found real meaning to life. It’s like a love hate answer when asked if I enjoy living here. There are the parts that make total sense and then the parts that make no sense. That’s the truth.

The craving for the familiar and the little bit of an easier life, of course this is a pull. And to stay here, those comforts and that type of life are far removed from where I am right now. Do I miss it? of course I do.

Learning how to read your own soul and find the path that has value and meaning took me a long time to find, as for years I followed what others told me to do. Listening to your own voice and finding your own path. This takes courage, determination, belief and heart.

Home is where ever you make it: A house in the country. A houseboat on the river Themes. An apartment in New York. A mud hut in Maasai land or in a tree house in the Amazon. You make home where ever you live. Both in your environment and quality of life.

For now I’m here, and this is the place I call home, for now.

2 thoughts on “NZ in Kenya

  1. Awesome Marcus. And besides, where ever we are in the world, we still yearn or miss other things in life, its normal. We can’t satisfy everything we want, we can just love and appreciate where we are at that time. Home is where your heart is, home is what you make of it. You will always have a home in NZ, always have a home in England and always have a home in Kenya. But your biggest and bestest home is where you are the happiest- at any time, at any point- who said it has to be the same constant place? Keep going Marcus, where your heart leads you, and as long as it satisfys you- then thats all that counts 😉
    Much hugs from Welli, NZ. xoxoxo

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  2. Totally understood your comment “It’s like a love hate answer when asked if I enjoy living here”. Love-hate is the only description that makes sense, and it’s exactly how I felt during both my (short) visits. Can imagine it’s all the more potent for you!

    I think your last paragraph has it spot on (as does Joleen’s comment). And I reckon you’ll know if it ever comes time to move on, if only because the frustration starts to outweigh everything else!

    I’m stoked that Kenya continues to be home for you, because it’s thrilling to see the amazing changes that have happened while you’ve worked there, and the hope that is flourishing despite the knock-backs and challenges. You have been a rock to so many, and I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than the work you’ve dedicated these years to.

    Stoked that you got to enjoy roast lamb and pavlova! Nice one Rebecca and Juliette!

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