I’m packing my bags, but I can’t believe that I will not wake up to equatorial sunshine and aimless chickens running into the kitchen during breakfast. It’s hard to synthesize or even list the things that are running through my head as I wrap up three years in East Africa and head back to our Cambridge office.
I’ll miss Kilgoris’s small town charms (compounded by being conspicuously one of a small handful of foreigners), speaking Swahili, daily trips to the market, my identity as an expatriate. I’ll miss long motorcycle rides on dirt and mud roads—the thrill of wind in my hair as I pass cows and donkeys herded by Maasai men, women, and children sporting brightly colored shukas and beaded jewelry layered on top of second-hand business-casual wear.
The majority of my last two years has been spent here in Kenya building relationships, seeing our product in action, training, troubleshooting, and sending feedback to our Cambridge team. It’s gratifying to see the growth of our projects here from two clinics to eight, through three iterations of hardware, and now involving the District Health Management Team more than ever before. Every day brings something new: malfunctioning hardware, an improvised ladder to climb on the roof for solar panel installation, early rains and treks through the mud, moments of clarity when everything at a clinic just gels and they start telling me why it’s worth using CliniPAK.
Instead of facing all of that, in a few hours I’ll be hopping on the 5am Super Premium matatu decorated with blue strobe lights for a six hour ride to Nairobi. Assuming there will be power, my last glimpse of Kilgoris will be a few lights fading behind a hill as we round the corner out of town.