Hello Beautiful Day

I try to start the morning by writing in my lovely, little "Hello Beautiful Day" notebook. Just a few words, hand-written, expressing gratitude. It's usually a simple practice, likely made easier by the fact that I bounce awake easily in the morning.


beautiful day


This morning, though, I woke up with an unusually heavy heart. Albeit some of this was the result of 36 hours of air travel, a 7-hour difference in time zones, and long delays at the airport yesterday that didn't put me into my own bed in western Kenya until late at night.

Weighing heaviest of all were the terrible news and footage from a Kenyan coastal town called Mpeketoni, where at least 50 people and likely more were killed by a violent group of some stripe. Most of the people were watching the World Cup matches, like I had been, like most of Kenya wants to be doing in the evening here.

Also very heavy is the knowledge of the terrible, unjust, and inhumane government reaction to the unrest over these past months, in which they have detained thousands of Somali residents of Kenya, including many women and children, in terrible conditions.

Even the US soccer team's delightful and gritty win over Ghana could not fully lift my spirits. The US Embassy was flooding my inbox with warnings about travel in Kenya that drowned out my triumphant soccer updates.

The violence continues, the harsh but ineffective reaction continues, and this beautiful country suffers under the weight. And there is fear too, the unsettled worry just under the surface of adults' thoughts. As I sat in the airport in Nairobi, trying to enjoy a beer and soccer while our plane was unable to leave due to the coastal unrest, it was all too fresh in my mind that the only other restaurant in the airport had been destroyed in another recent explosion. The airport felt like a dangerous place.

A heavy heart. And yet…

Here I am in western Kenya, where I have the privilege to work with one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest and most innovative HIV care programs. I have 14,000 children at 25 clinics who are alive and thriving and growing towards adulthood because of the medicines and care system we are able to provide. I have new team members ready to tackle some of the many projects I keep dreaming up. And I get to be a pediatrician for these thousands of beautiful, precious children.

My children here live in a world of poverty, of injustice, of brokenness. My children live in a world of risk and uncertainty, where too many lives are ended far too early. My children live in this world that makes my heart heavy and worried.

And it is my privilege to be here with them. To start this day, to start tomorrow, to start what I hope will be hundreds of tomorrows - all with the thought of what we can do to keep these children alive and thriving.

Hello, Beautiful Day.




It is a beautiful thing

Just to be alive

On this fresh morning

In this broken world.

- Mary Oliver


Posted at 07:02


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