As I sit down to write this I realise I have an unfamiliar friend on my side, time.
The first week of arrival in Kenya was a mixture of awe, surprise and transition. Awe and surprise at the wildlife and surroundings, being woken to Hornbills tapping on my window to seeing a 1 day old elephant calf on my second day. The transition has been been little more uncomfortable, going from working almost non-stop, eating when I remember or when my boyfriend or friends kindly cooked, to a fixed routine and a much, much slower pace.
Breakfast is at 8am every morning, lunch at 1 and dinner at 7. The excursions are either after breakfast returning just before lunch, or after lunch returning just before dinner, every day. Hot water is placed outside our doors at 5:30pm every afternoon and there is just enough time to have a shower before the light disappears and the creepy crawlies colonise the ‘bathroom’ floor.
The first week I found this tough. I wanted to be busier and have more to do and I felt that I was somehow wasting time not being constantly occupied. Then something shifted. I realised I had time. I had time to think about the past few months, time to reflect on how busy my brain had been for so long. I love my work, and I am proud of the films I have produced and the wonderful organisations I have been lucky enough to work for and represent, but if I had continued at the pace I was working at, I was sure to crack soon. My to do list was constant and growing, and never fulfilled. I never wrote that blog about my film screening at the UN summit, or the second multi-country UN trip in August. So many little things fell through the cracks.
Working freelance, as other freelancers will understand, until you have a few large clients on your regulars list it is a constant battle. There is always that niggling feeling that when this job ends, what’s next? Will there be a next? This means that a lot of the time it is very hard to just relax and enjoy the job in hand. Sometimes you end up taking on too much as the fear of saying no may negatively impact your work in the future.
Two very important people in my life, my boyfriend and my oldest friend, voiced their concerns over my exhausted state in the weeks leading up to me leaving to come to Kenya.
Though I’m still settling into having this time, and maybe sometimes it is a little too quiet, I am going to take from it some important lessons , embrace the peace before returning home to Christmas chaos and hopefully write a few blogs along the way.