Tales from Kimani

It has been almost two years since I got to the United States to attend college through the help of the Hochschilds, a family that I feel proud of every morning and I am always grateful because of what they have done for me. The transition from Ngenia, a small village in Central Kenya, to Twin Lakes, a small town in Wisconsin, could not have been easy were it not for this great family. They have been terrific in every way. While the differences started from how you pronounced the names of my old and new living places, the love of the Hochschild has been so overwhelmingly kind and always there.

With this kind of love when you are 11,000 miles away from your family, it is such a blessing not to mention a great emotional pillar but there moments when the distance becomes very real and I find myself missing every little thing about home. The coffee plantations, mango, and avocado trees. Each day in the village seemed like a miracle, the ridges and the rugged terrain of the Kenyan highlands lay facing each other. When I climbed a mango tree in our shamba, I would always see the griming faces of these ridges and the small streams or rivers that wounded down these ridges like glittery snakes. The mooing of cows, bleating of sheep and roosters' crows filled the air all the time.

Adapting to my new environment was difficult at times because it was very different. I had to come to terms that the US does not really look as it is displayed in most Hollywood movies that I grew up watching, there are rich and poor people, not everyone drives a Lamborghini plus other very fancy cars. I had to adjust to being away from home in a foreign country, having to speak English all of the time and trying to help people understand my Kenyan accent. I had to make sense of a different educational system, eat unfamiliar foods, and much more. The Hochschilds' welcomed me as one of their own and helped me get through my first year of college. In addition to funding my entire first year of college tuition, they equipped me with clothes, a laptop, a cell phone, and school supplies. I am still deeply humbled by how much they have done for me and my family.

Because of the Hochschilds' generosity, I have experienced things I had never even dreamed of. I flew in an airplane. I learned that there is more than one kind of cheese. I blew out birthday candles at my first birthday celebration just this past year, and I discovered that I love playing golf and watching falling snow. But what I value more than anything has been the gift of education because I have seen its transformative power in my life. Not too long ago, I was just an ordinary village boy destined to live life as a coffee bean picker. That was my heritage and that was my future. But today my horizon stretches wide, full of possibility, and I am still in awe of what each day has become for me.

At the beginning of this year - 2016, I transferred to a university called Northwest University in Seattle, Washington. It is in the northwest part of the United States and 6 hours away from the Hochschilds' home via a plane. I am doing a course in Communications with concentrations in media and film studies. I am looking forward to being a News Anchor and eventually venturing into the film industry as a director/ script writer.

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