January 1, 2015 – Mombasa, Kenya.
In the last two weeks, I have heard the sweetest words in Swahili: ASANTE, KARIBU and HAKUNA MATATA.
ASANTE means thank you. It also symbolizes recognition for what you have done and the gratitude that goes with it. The response to Asante is KARIBU which means welcome. It implies acceptance and love and everything in-between.
In the spirit of celebrating the new year in Mombasa, I offer ASANTE for all that 2014 had to offer – the memories, the learnings and the experiences. I offer ASANTE for family and the bonds that keep us together. I offer ASANTE for friends who fill my heart with joy. I offer ASANTE to my community for providing a sense of belonging. I offer ASANTE for doing work that is meaningful and fulfilling, and working with colleagues I admire. I say ASANTE to healthcare professionals who work tirelessly in the service of their patients. I say ASANTE to volunteers across the globe who give of their time, energy and competence in the service of humanity. I say ASANTE to my mom for being my role model, to my husband for being my rock, and to Shayne and Sabrina who give me a reason to live. I say ASANTE for the opportunity to reconnect to my roots as I explore Africa. I say ASANTE for the privilege of living in Canada.
Spending the past few weeks in Africa has made me realize how much I take for granted living in Canada. Healthcare, education, clean water, safety, infrastructure, Tim Hortons, washing machines, standards and rules, clean living conditions and security – for all this, I say ASANTE.
I say ASANTE for God’s gifts to us – – the air we breathe, the sun we soak and the bounties of the earth.
And as we herald a brand new year, I say KARIBU to 2015. May it be a year where we see nations working together for peace, and in the spirit of collaboration for the betterment of all. May it be a time of hope and optimism for the future for the world. May it be a time to address the issues of poverty, of lack of access to healthcare and of the disparity between the have and have nots.
A common response to ASANTE and KARIBU is HAKUNA MATATA! — a phrase made popular by the movie, The Lion King. HAKUNA MATATA literally means “No Worries” but it is so much more than just a phrase. It is an attitude. It is a way of being. It is about accepting and surrendering, rather than resisting. It is about going with the flow and trusting.
To you and yours, I wish you Furaha ya mwaka mpya! May 2015 be the impetus for us to enjoy and appreciate God’s creation, to live life fully and fearlessly and to move forward in our lives with confidence and happiness. May you have lots of reasons to say ASANTE in 2015. May you feel a sense of KARIBU in everything you do. And may your life be hassle free so it is truly HAKUNA MATATA!
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MOMBASA!