The land remains relatively unspoiled. Its outports shine like diamonds where they clutch the rugged shoreline. Completely surrounded by the sea, this island province is a wonderful reminder of how beautiful Canada is. Yet, tributes to the environment pale when speaking of the beauty of its people. People of “The Rock” acknowledge each other with a wave, a wink or a characteristic lateral head nod. They make time to talk to each other. Newfoundlanders rely on each other for support and think nothing of sharing with a stranger in need.
Kenyans are much like Newfoundlanders. They share the little they have and open their hearts to the stranger. I have made friends with educators and young people from Somali, Maasai, Kalengin, Luo, Luhya, Kikuyu, Meru, and Kamba tribes. Each one has had a profound influence on me. There is seldom a day I do not think of my Kenyan friends…special moments where barriers of faith, culture and the mystique of east-west divergence disappear…times where Christian and Muslim find common elements by which to view the world and where traditional music and sports became avenues to express our joy of living. The nights spent discussing aspects of education, politics and socio-economic realities…awesome. What strikes me the most is the resilience and inner strength these people show. Life itself is the treasure and hope gives them reason to live another day.
Kenyans love tea (chai) and it is impossible to enter a home without having a cup. Just like with Canadian Maritimers, there is always a friendly smile. Kenyans embrace the principles of justice and equality for all; yet in practice, governments and community leaders fail to provide for the needs of their people. People want to come together in love and unity; they just find it so hard to overcome tribal and cultural barriers. Kenyans need help. They cannot do it alone. Every day rural women and girls face challenges that prevent them from fully enjoying their human rights. They face many forms of deprivations and discrimination. Gender roles leave them disproportionately represented among the rural poor.