Savannah Johnson
Savannah Johnson
Kenya 2015
I am Savannah Johnson, a recent graduate of Belmont University where I studied psychology and education. I am incorporating both of these areas of interest in my project at the Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER). WISER is an all-girls secondary school in Muhuru Bay, Kenya. Read More About Savannah →

The Fields of Uncertaintiy

“My own voice continues to be found wherever I am being present and responding from my heart, moment by moment. My voice is born repeatedly in the fields of uncertainty.” –Terry Tempest Williams


My closest friends know that I have been carrying around and quoting from Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds as though it were sacred scripture for the past six months. Of course, it was one of the books that I sacrificed the weight of packing with me to Kenya. It has 54 essay-length passages on womanhood, spirituality, love, nature, and voice. (Each of which I am experiencing in a brand new way here in Kenya.) I underlined this quote in my book about 3 or 4 months ago, but I read it again this week and actually understood much better in the context of my life here.

“My own voice continues to be found wherever I am being present …”

Present. I decided I am going to only connect to the internet on the weekends. (At least for now. This could certainly change once the Duke students leave in a few weeks). I was realizing how overwhelmed my mind was getting when I was trying to operate in my world at home and my world here. Simply put, it is too much for my busy mind to handle. I realize life is going on and moving forward with my friends and family at home, but my life is going on and moving forward here. The relationships I am devoting to here, especially with the girls of WISER, are important and I desire to give myself to them fully. I just finished my first week of cutting out the internet, and I can easily declare that I was happier this week than any other. I am present and focused and finding my voice here.

“…and responding from my heart, moment by moment.”

Response. This may be the only time in my life when I have an undeniable ability to respond, moment by moment. While much of my day is scheduled based on meals with the girls and interviews for my project, there is much unstructured time. Coming off my senior year of college, downtime feels like a foreign land I have never visited. So, I am trying to be intentional and purposeful with these stretches of moments that are totally and completely mine. The blank pages of my journal are disappearing, I am studying meditation, and I am trying to spend time cooking with the most organic ingredients I have ever had access to (See below. And yes mom and dad, I am careful with that large knife that is also pictured.)  Additionally, I am lucky to have the time and enough experience with special education to commit to a part-time project at the only special needs education classroom in Migori County. At some point I would like to devote an entire blog post to this important development. I am mentioning it now because I want to express gratitude for the ability and freedom to respond to this place and this community from my heart.


“My voice is born repeatedly in the fields of uncertainty.”

The fields of uncertainty. Those are the fields I am staring at. Let me tell you, I am the girl who loves a plan. Three years ago, I would have eagerly drawn a roadmap of my life and followed that map without detouring. Ah, but my hopes for clear answers and clear directions have disappeared. The things I am certain of: I will be in Kenya until the end of November, I have some exciting projects to complete between now and then. Done. Other than that, things are pretty uncertain. I am not sure what I will experience, learn, and see in these upcoming months. I am not sure how I will be changed and moved and displaced from whom I was when I arrived. I am not sure what my life will entail once I return to the United States. Never have I been so thrilled to be entering the unknown. And goodness, let my voice be born in the present. Let my voice be born moment by moment. Let it be born in the fields of uncertainty.


3 thoughts on “The Fields of Uncertaintiy”

  1. Love reading this. I have read it more than once. You are a very special woman. Love you.

  2. Madison, I am Jackie Wilder’s sister, and she sent me your blog. What a pleasure to my heart and soul to read your insights. Blessings to you on this journey and in using that beautiful voice you’ve found.

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