One of the more frequent questions I am asked when people find out I am moving to Kenya concerns raising my children there. Far from being a reason to stay here in the U.S., raising my kids in Africa is one of the more compelling reasons for me to live there.
Having spent much of my childhood in Kenya, I experienced many things of which I would hate to deprive my children. I attended school at Rift Valley Academy, which is attended by children from over 20 different nationalities. This environment provided a wonderful perspective of the diverse world we live in. Family vacations consisted of driving to game parks and watching lions play, or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, or scuba diving in the Indian Ocean. I had a dirt bike (see picture), and my friends and I used to ride down to the Great Rift Valley, which I could see from my bedroom window. I was able to spend a lot of time in the operating room starting in 5th grade when I watched cardiac surgery. Being in the hospital gave me the opportunity to see many desperately sick patients and certainly had an impact on my desire to spend my career back in Africa.
Sure I missed out on some things… We rarely watched movies. I did not always have the newest toys. There was no McDonald’s for thousands of miles. And my sense of fashion was always several years behind (though my sister tells me I still have a lot of work to do on this one).
Although no place is perfect, I feel very blessed to have grown up in Africa, and I hope to provide my children the same opportunity.