Africa, summer 2006

I worked at a Children’s centre on the Kenyan coast in Mombasa, an orphanage for kids who have been abandoned, rescued from the street or lost their parents to AIDS. The first few days were some of the toughest of my life. I felt lost and overwhelmed by such adversity – what difference could I possible make in the face of all this? But then my friend told me something Mother Teresa said, “there are no great deeds only small deeds done with great love”. I let go of my fears, found my rhythm and I likened my experience and work to navigating the River Nile. I bonded so much with the kids, they gave me so much more than I could ever return… It was heartbreaking leaving them and I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I could come for such a short time, build a friendship and trust and leave again… I discovered there is more to life than surfing but without it I feel I would loose my identity and my soul would dry up! I found waves on the coast, went exploring and surfing. I brought boards with me from  Ireland and took the kids to the beach and taught them how to swim and surf – they loved it! The ocean is such a powerful healing element. I’m hoping to send more boards over there… The greatest lesson I learned in Africa was “pole pole” Slowly slowly – not to rush through life so quickly! My heart and mind has been opened in ways I never imagined possible.