For weeks before the trip I had tried everything to convince myself that it would be a complete waste of time and energy … and it was working! If it were not for my commitment to my travel companion Philip Sharpe I’d have cancelled the entire trip!
But on the way to the airport at 5am the morning of the flight to Nairobi I was given an odd reminder by a Dublin taxi driver (of all people) as to why I do these trips … the dialogue goes a bit like this –
Taxi Driver: “…yer man Rory McIlroy has done well for himself …”
Me: “yeah … some turnaround from the Masters”
Taxi Driver: “Yep … he went to Haiti after the Masters … to put his life in context…”
Suddenly it all comes back to me and I am awoken to my motives … we take a lot for granted here in the West … sometimes we need to get a bit of proper perspective … Kenya, and more specifically the Gatoto school in the Mukuru Kwa Reuben slum of Nairobi plays that very role for me … Betty, the principle, has a way of ensuring the magic of this oasis of hope in the midst of the surrounding squalor stays with you in your heart almost all the time (though to my shame I had lost it in the weeks before the trip!).
The following day, as our driver negotiated the mud soaked wasteland that serves as the entrance to the slum and the approach to the school gate, grey clouds seemed to part, giving way to a ray of beautiful sunshine. In the process a great weight was gradually lifted as my own life came back into perspective … for the first time in quite a few weeks, I allowed myself a genuine smile as I passed through the gates.
I named this web site for that wonderful moment … may I have many more!
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