Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When moments collide

In today's gloaming hour I stepped outside a stranger's house and breathed in the scent of trusted northern Californian soil. The fragrance in the stillness of twilight was the same as the dirt and field and gravel that surrounds my home, and I paused in the comfort of such familiarity. A moment passed and I envisioned a future hour of soft and setting sun when I would stand a continent away and find resonance in the wind's same carried notes.

All my life I have packaged moments and memories in one of two ways - through scent or through sound. I have chronicled years of my life in curated soundtracks, able to return to an emotion or event with just a few notes. But it is smell that grounds me, scent that tells me whether I have truly opened my heart to a place.

Tonight I attended a fundraiser for a small non-profit whose founder, Kat, approached me last fall looking for a Kenyan organization to sponsor. She had already started raising money for children in need after visiting South Africa and Kenya in recent years, and was looking for a trusted organization to begin building a partnership with. I provided a list of about six groups I'd worked with or visited during my time in Kenya, and she selected The International Peace Initiative (IPI) in Meru after interviewing them all. IPI's founder and director, Dr. Karambu Ringera, started the home to demonstrate to her neighbors that AIDS orphans can be a resource to their community and deserve to be supported as such.

At least two years after I visited IPI in Meru to learn about a program designed to empower orphans, I shared about the place they call home with a group of people joined together tonight to raise support for these kids. The funds raised will help build a pig pen that will provide sustainable income for IPI, helping house more orphans and growing their impact in the community. One small project, by one small non-profit, based on one small trip over two years ago.

So there I stood, grounded in the scent of home while the evening's event wove it together with the far off soils of a place that also claims me. These are the moments in which I trust my path explicitly. Mungu yu nami.

To read more about IPI's vision, take a look at this article by founder Dr. Karambu Ringera in World Pulse Magazine. I am helping Solid Ground for Africa plan a visit to the project next summer - let me know if you'd like to join!