Lessons in thankfulness

Last week sucked. I think it was my worst week here in Kenya yet and if it hadn’t been that part of the reason it was so crap was because of immigration then I was seriously considering looking into hopping on a plane back to the UK for a week or so. Somehow I feel I’m becoming more disenchanted with this supposedly exotic African country. Things break. They don’t work. Nothing ever goes smoothly. There’s traffic. Long queues. There’s corruption at every corner. And I’m becoming tired of it.  Not in an I-want-to-leave-and-never-come-back way, but more a growing awareness that this is reality.

And I’m coming to learn that that’s ok. It’s ok that not everything is glamorous. It’s ok to get frustrated with things that deserve my frustration.

As  long as it doesn’t consume me. I don’t want my view to become so clouded and grey and grumpy that that’s all I think about. I want the good things to remain too, and I want to learn to be thankful in every situation.

So this is my space to vent about the things that irritate and annoy me, but also to credit the things I’m grateful for too. Bear with me!

  • I hate that it’s too dangerous to walk even 10 minutes down the road after dark and I hate that the fear of being car-jacked is not paranoia but a reasonable concern to have… BUT… I love the guard who provides the security for our compound. I love having a cheery face to greet you in the morning and wish you a good day as your head off to work each day.
  • I hate having to sit for hours, so squashed, in traffic on stuffy buses… BUT… I love how friendly people are. I hated that the bus broke down last week and the driver and conductor just disappeared for a good 30minutes leaving us stranded with no explanation… BUT… I love that I was sat next to a chatty university student who made me laugh in my boredom
  • I hate that skype calls can end in tears at the frustration of such a bad, broken connection… BUT… I love that it can now be so easy to communicate with friends and family overseas compared with a few years ago: skype calls, cheap phone calls, emails, facebook rather than having to rely on post that takes so long to arrive. I’m not sure I could’ve been here so far away from home for so long, 10-20years ago when communication was so different.
  • I hate the dodgy infrastructure. The regularity of powercuts and that I was cut off from water for 3 weeks with no warning or telling when it would return. BUT I love that sense of jubilation that comes with the whirr of the fridge and you know power’s back. I love the victory dance Lydia, baby Nathan and I did around the back yard when water started running. When you have these things permanently it’s too easy to take them for granted.
  • I hate that immigration can be such a b***… BUT… I am so aware of how much easier and cheaper it is for me to be here than for any of my Kenyan friends to be in the UK.

Yeah…that’s about all I can come up with right now. And I’m not writing this to try and be all self-righteous and what-not. I think getting it written down helps. And a lot of the things I’m ‘thankful’ for I have to constantly force myself to remember this…it doesn’t come naturally. More often than not the frustrations will outweigh the gratefulness. But I’m learning, and I think even if my heart doesn’t feel it yet, forcing my brain speaking out the good things will help and I will learn. My heart will learn.

1 Thessalonians 5 verses 16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons in thankfulness

  1. Any news of your visa Pippa? Good to read your feelings. I am sure many of us can empathise. Love sue

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