Lying in bed this morning, I started making a list of things for
which I was grateful. I'm sure many Americans started their
Thanksgiving day this way.
- I am grateful for this bed to sleep in and that I do not have
to sleep on the ground.
- I am thankful for soft sheets and a warm blanket and access to
more warm blankets than I could possibly ever use.
- I am thankful for this mosquito net that protects me from
itchy, swelling bites and also from malaria.
- I am thankful that I can open my eyes to immediate alertness
and no pain and a body that's ready to jump out of bed.
- I am thankful for a bedroom that is larger than most of the
houses in which families around me are living.
- I am grateful for all of the amazing electronic gadgets
currently charging in this bedroom - phone and computer and iPad
and camera - more than most of the individuals around me would even
dream of owning.
- I am grateful for a house with electricity, in a county where
only 27% of the households have electricity.
I didn't even get through my entire bedroom, and my heart was
bursting with gratitude. How very much I have - so much more
than I need, so much more than so many others do. And, of course,
the questions come with that: why should I have so much? Why should
I be so fortunate?
Living in a place where most people are struggling to survive on
$1-2 per day, where an entire family sleeps in one room on a
mattress on the floor, where children die from a mosquito bite that
carries a disease that could be treated with a $1 medicine, I am
struck that I should be overwhelmed with thankfulness every single
I've never been away from my family on Thanksgiving before; this
was my first time spending this particular holiday in Kenya. And
while I definitely missed them, I went to work at the hospital and
walked around this sunny town and participated in elaborate food
preparations, in a buoyant warmth of overwhelming gratitude. So
thankful, am I, for my many, many blessings.
We celebrated Thanksgiving in elaborate American style at the
Indiana House; about 80 American expatriates and Kenyan friends
were expected for a feast to which everyone contributed. Pies were
baked (with specially imported pumpkin and pecans and other
creative substitutes), turkeys were roasted, dozens of side dishes
were prepared… We feasted and celebrated and were very grateful.
This boisterous Kenyan family I love here, of friends and
colleagues and visitors.
My thankfulness was such that I even made something - two
desserts actually - an occurrence so shocking that my friends were
taking pictures. And so, while my friends and family across the
ocean are beginning their feasts, I'm headed back to that bed of
mine with a very full belly and very full heart, wondering still at
all of these gifts.
May it be Thanksgiving in my heart every morning that my eyes