Beautiful and Broken
As I have been home now for a few days, and somewhat slowly acclimatizing back to the cold winter of Canada, I find myself mentally struggling with the transition. Don’t get me wrong, the jet lag has been horrible, but it’s the integrating back into life, work and routine that is difficult.
As I reflect, I try to understand how exactly this trip to Kenya has shifted my perspective on things and what has impacted me the most.
Was it the beautiful landscapes, sunsets and sunrises (I did see quite a few of those on our travels), or red earthed marvels?
Was it the wonder of how people commute in the country with the suicidal traffic routes, the “do if you dare” roads, and the endless speed bumps everywhere and anywhere to control those on the road regardless of whether they are visible?
Was it the joyful, generous, and kind people we met amongst poverty, lack and injustice?
Was it the culture of simplicity, having rare internet, no smart phone or wifi access at all hours of the day and night?
Was it the yummy fresh food like ripe avocado, mango and coconuts fresh from the tree?
Was it the learning to ration water both for drinking and bathing, and the resulting thick layer of dust and sweat that leaves a constant state of feeling unclean?
Was is the majestic animals from our travels at the safari or in the dessert, like the graceful giraffes, or elegant elephants?
Or was it simply the representation of pure authentic beauty amongst such illogical disarray, chaos and brokenness of Kenya?
I’m not sure, but I’m left impacted, effected, and forever connected to such an interesting place.
The one thing that astounded me was how much people loved and celebrated God, even if they didn’t really understand him. I also felt an overwhelming love of God for Kenya (and likely all of Africa) which is I think why so many people are drawn to it: to help, to support, and ultimately to love.
I know for me, this trip was a journey of exploration. I had my doubts and uncertainty on how I and the knowledge I have around natural healing, could be of any help in Kenya. But now having been there, I can see not only how but why. I really feel that when we teach people essentials on how to heal themselves, take care of themselves, or grow healthy foods; we are not just providing healing, but actual empowerment. And this is fundamentally the way any growth, development and change happens. It’s not by others imposing their rules or ideas on a culture steeped in tradition and long-held beliefs. But rather by building them up so they can discover their own need for change. To find their own solutions to many of the challenges that the people of Kenya face: like the discrepancy between men and women, the inherent value of a child, or the respect for your neighbour and care for the greater good.
It starts with just a small thing, bringing alternative health solutions that are natural, affordable and easy. To then teaching how to apply certain therapies: like making sauerkraut with the endless amount of cabbage that is grown there. To eventually even helping them create their own therapies: like growing oregano and Artemisia for medicinal herbs to treat infections.
Our vision is to have a clinic built in Kenya over the next couple years that will continue to provide free healthcare to those in need, but both naturally and conventionally. It will also be a teaching center for natural therapies, and agriculture. And by the grace of God, some key people will feel called to step forward to finically support this dream in Kenya. I see it also being an example to other clinics in Kenya on the integration of natural and conventional medicine. A place to train other practitioners on how to care for their patients, by providing other options than just expensive and often unnecessary pharmaceuticals.
The options are endless.
I do know that the people are willing, keen and eager to learn. They want to make better healthier lives for themselves.
Thus, I can conclude that all of these things swirling around in my head, is what is affecting my integration home. I see such beauty amongst the brokenness in the landscapes and the people. But I don’t believe this concept is foreign to my home; in fact, I would say that is the very thing that we all have in common. I believe this opposition is just a lot more visible there.
I pray I can hold on to this authentic truth, and really see things for what they are. We often want to mask and hide, but I think we are all craving real, raw, genuine connections. To all see our beauty amongst our brokenness. We can’t all go to the other side of the world to see it, but we can all feel it. Love is universal regardless of where we are. Through God, we can all receive grace to heal our areas that are damaged and learn that we don’t need to hide them.
Thank you Lord, for this opportunity to see.
With Courage and Blessings,
Dr. Alana Berg