I am honestly not sure how it happened. We were supposed to meet for a brief 30 minutes to talk about her story and the Gem City Market and somehow Kenya and I spend most of that morning and afternoon together. I swear she tricked me into revealing the secrets of my life to her! Kidding aside, Kenya is one of those people that you just want to be around. Her energy is contagious and uplifting. When she tells you to take a ride with her to some event she is about to attend, you do, because you truly want to.
Kenya has stories. They pile up between the laughter. Sometimes she leans in and whispers something that sounds like a miracle and sometimes she talks about the streets that raised her. Sometimes I am laughing so hard I close my eyes and sometimes I am quiet, eyes wide open.
When we turn to the topic of hunger, Kenya paints a picture of her days as a teacher where the children she deeply cares about did not have enough to eat. And then she turns into a preacher, reminding me of the duty we each have to our community, and how each one of us can do something to make another in our world more comfortable. “It isn’t hard,” she reminds me. “I really isn’t that hard.”
Kenya is busy. She is pursuing a doctoral degree, leading community outreach for the Gem City Market, and is involved in her community. And she has agreed to take time to craft a story for the stage. I am excited to watch this story unfold because I have no idea how it is going to turn out. And after just one day with Kenya, I can already see that within her is a spark, and that no matter what final form it takes, her story is going to be on fire.