Twelve people travelled, twelve people returned safely, and with expanded vision. A few expressed they would like to stay, weren’t ready to come back home. I brought them to the land of dirt and sticks, and trees with nasty thorns as well. The people are impoverished by our standards, but they would never know it, if it weren’t for our apparent wealth, clothing, watches, and shoes. They are illiterate, though I’ve never been read so well by anyone. Lepakiyo in his visits to the United States has never expressed wanting to stay. The United States Immigration Department makes it difficult to acquire a tourist visa for fear that the applicant won’t return home, will get lost in our system and become a drain on our resources, a liability. But they’re not accustomed to interviewing nomadic pastoral peoples. During the greeting in Samburu at one point the response to how is everything, how is your land, is “my land is good, there is milk, there is honey from honey bees.” Nomads are still connected to source, to the land that raised them, their food, their communities. There’s no pavement. Transportation is still two feet. And they know their land because they walk it. They will defend it, though they may not possess it.
How can we know our land? It’s Spring here. It’s beautiful. Take time to walk your block. Smell the lilacs, for this season belongs to them and especially this year. They are experiencing a full bloom, an exquisite and refined expression of potential. It would be a shame not to notice. I’ve been back less than a week and I’ve walked more than two times a day. It’s how I reintegrate, know my home again, and honor my friends in Kenya. To connect with the land that we live on, live with, is healing. Walk. Garden. Smell the lilacs.