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Published: August 24th 2011
I have been home from Africa for six weeks. Each day I have sat down to write this blog and I literally sit and stare at a blank page. The longer I sat home the more difficult it became.
My intention, of course, was to write a blog like my previous one from Cambodia and Thailand, while traveling. But Africa was such a different kind of trip. First, we had little to no electricity from day to day, with not a computer or any sort of electrical appliance in site. Second, our day started with gongs, chants and drums each morning at 5:45AM with a full tiring day arriving home around 7PM, just in time for dinner and packing supplies for the next day, quiet hours beginning at 10PM. The showers were trickles of cold water, barely enough to wash the shampoo from my hair. The beds were covered in bug nets, and I itched constantly while laying down, trying to rest before another long day.
The journey to Tanzania started long before July 1st on a seven-teen hour plane ride. It started in November, with a call from one of my nearest and dearest, Mary, a NICU nurse
3 shots, 2 scripts
at Brigham and Womens Hospital. There was one spot available for a two week mission trip to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and I had 48 hours to decide whether or not to take the spot. I have longed to travel to Africa, in fact at one point I thought my life’s purpose was to work with AIDS orphans in Kenya. I had to say yes and worry about the rest later.
This is where I draw a blank. I remember each day of our trip, every person, every laugh and worried moment. But I fail at putting words to it. Everything I saw seems so surreal. How could I explain the face of a person living with HIV, covered in fungus, with worms inside her belly from lack of clean water give me a beautiful wide smile and a hug when I gave her vitamins, soap, a tooth brush? How could I describe what it was like when an eight month pregnant woman was worried she had not felt her baby move in two months? The look on a woman’s face when she is told if she does not see a local doctor she would have days to live?
10 hour layover
And yet I felt this weight on my shoulders with having to share my experience.
With school starting just around the corner I realized maybe I don’t need to say anything. Maybe showing you would be enough. I would never be able to relive Africa the way it happened, as with most experiences, but I’m hoping you will see the trip as a mission of HOPE, and that with all we have in our daily lives in this country, there is still so much for us to learn about being human from all people.
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