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lonely connections

it’s odd being in kenya tonight. i’m experiencing profound feelings of loneliness in ways that i have not felt for some time. it’s a strange thing this line of work. when your job is to be in relationship with so many people on a daily basis. during my trips to kenya i rarely have time alone. i am constantly in the presence of others sharing an intimacy that is rare for western cultures. whether it be time with our staff or the local community or sharing time with our volunteer teams i am constantly in the presence of others listening to stories, struggling through life issues, experiencing moments of joy…but most always regardless of the situation, the presence is usually shared at levels of deep intimacy.

i think this is due to the combined nature of the kenyan culture that naturally connects with one another…a relational culture where individuals daily tend to one another with such communal spirit combined with the nature of this work that binds you quickly with others as you immerse yourself into peoples lives, learning from them, listening, and walking together in growth and knowledge towards holistic development.

tonight i am taking the night off and have escaped to a cottage far from any social interaction. all you can hear is the wind, the sound of the river nearby and the occasional distant animal sounds in the bush. it is good to breathe and to take time listening. listening to the changes within myself, to the ways that others have shaped and molded me these past few months here in kenya. how their lives and stories have touched chords deep within my own story leaving me changed and tonight lonely as i miss the presence of others.

however, despite the loneliness i know too well that with the silence comes a different kind of connection. a connection with god and with the human spirit that is rarely felt when in the presence of others. i often find that when i escape to be alone that is when i feel the presence of god and others the most.

tonight my soul hungers for the presence of loved ones and for god and gives thanks that i have those people to miss.

big love,


*photos by chelsea dee thom

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About the Author

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Zane Wilemon is the Founder and Executive Director of Ubuntu. Zane discovered his life’s calling after purchasing a one-way ticket to Kenya in 2000. After living in Kenya for a year, Zane’s life was changed as he recognized that our lives are inextricably tied to God and one another. UBUNTU’s core value is to create opportunities that empower each other to lift ourselves beyond our perceived limitations. Zane is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and his Masters in Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest.

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