My heart swells with pride today as Kenya welcomes President Obama to preside over the Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. It swells because Obama, a statesman I greatly admire, has ignored critics that would have had him stay at home over security concerns; it swells at the realization that Kenya has such amazing potential in its youth; it swells because in spite of the fact that a visit from such a VIP has inconvenienced many, in true Kenyan fashion the honor of hosting him and the good that might come from his visit outweighs the hassle of barricaded roads and the massive presence of security personnel.
But mainly my heart swells because this is the land of my birth and casting cynicism aside even for awhile is a healthy and rewarding experience. How else are we to find hope for the future? How else are we to power through the problems we know exist and find ourselves in the territory of what is possible? How else are old burdens to be laid down and new opportunities taken up? This is what I am learning from my Kenyan colleagues here. Hope springs eternal, even against all odds. Patience bears fruit. One day the underdog wins. The virtue of humility is to be treasured. Laughing at our shortcomings an not giving up is a way of arriving at where we want to be.
Perhaps I am overcome due to the reality that soon I will be leaving this land to follow a call that is elsewhere. Never mind. I am somehow Kenyan. Yes, I know I am an American as well, but this is the land that has nurtured me and formed me and I have given it my best years. My roots are here. They cannot be transplanted. I am a "third thing." And today is my day - the best of Kenya and America unite if only for a moment in time.