Once again, just one month after a massive fire at NBO International Airport fire that stopped the movements of air transport (and interdependent tourist and trade flows), the hearts of the people of Kenya are stopped as terror has taken over a shopping mall in upscale Nairobi.
Once again, the world watches, sends prayers, questions what will happen next. In this case, it is not about flames of fire burning themselves out. These flames, flames kept burning strong by terrorist groups with terrifying intentions, have the potential of burning stronger, wider, longer.
Watching the news coverage, thoughts turn to people in Kenya – how their hearts must be aching. How their sense of security must be shattered. How their feeling of confidence of safety and peace of the future must be challenged.
How can one help?
It is at times like this when one is reminded of one of the immense blessings of travel. In seeing the world, in visiting new places, meeting new people, we create new relationships. While first contact may be through planned tourism play or business pursuits, even after the moment of meeting passes, the memory embeds itself in ways often far deeper in meaning than one expected. Through travel, the people one meets become more than contacts linked to a time and space – they become connections, in mind, and often in heart. These are the faces that eliminate the distance between ‘here‘ and foreign places.
And at times like these, these are the faces for whom one’s heart is sore…
These are simply people to start to matter, Because in some way they have touched our lives. And therefore remain in our lives and thoughts, especially when events in their part of the world reawaken images and echoes of time shared.
As our world moves forward, and we are able to go further out, in so many cases it brings us closer together, beyond any official/structured context. For this reason, therefore, at times like this it is so important to reconnect.
It happens quickly when there is reason to celebrate. But even more importantly, it must happen at times like these when shock and hurt are present in their lives. The connections we have made, people who have made a home in our hearts, must not feel alone. However far away they may be, reaching out to share a thought and prayer matters. A message, a word of strength, an expression of support keeps those we care about closer, and offers strength, regardless of geographic distance.
Travel brings the world together. Relationships keep it together.
As the people of Kenya work to hold their heads and hopes high in this time of tragedy, as a very special Kenyan shared just moments ago, “We are trusting God that we will come through stronger as a nation.”
How can one help? ‘Be there‘…even if one cannot physically be there.
May the blessing of travel, making these connections, remind of the need to use this gift to reconnect so that those needing support truly feel they are not alone.
– This month’s article is dedicated with love and strength to Muriithi and the team at KTB.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2013