The past two months in East Africa have been life changing, exciting, scary, beautiful, dirty, and a myriad of things that words can't explain. Safaris, living in the slums, delivering babies, hiking Kilimanjaro, getting robbed, getting lost, along with meeting amazing people and mentors! The collection of events and the emotions surrounding those events are things that will certainly be a continuous process in my mind. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly...it has all changed me, and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to see first hand all the cultural influences and differences from my own. As excited as I am to head to Sri Lanka, I'm still so saddened to leave the communities here. Two months were not enough. I want to go to Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, South Africa, and Ghana. I want to stay here at FreMo hospital and continue to work with women and their babies, continue to work with the staff on making a difference in the world. I want to learn traditional medicine from the bushmen tribes. I just want to continue this dance "under African skies". Of course I miss home. I love Oregon. I love Kansas. I love all the homes and families that I have created. There are foods that I miss and comforts that I crave. Hannah and I have endless conversations about cheese, sushi, sandwiches with crispy lettuce and organic breads. We ponder how to make cocktails cold, since there is no ice, and laugh at our seriousness of pouring peppermint schnapps over chocolate ice cream. We talk about how much we miss the bourbon gingers at Meiji in my old neighborhood. We want to sip on a delicious Pacific Northest microbrew. I dream of the herbal medicines that grow in Oregon as I pick through the stems and seeds of the dirt weed I'm only able to find. My achy muscles need massaged, my stomach needs more nutrients than ugali, my mouth craves fresh Oregon water, and my skin can't take anymore bug bites, bruises, scrapes, or sunburns. My curls need combed and my soul needs live music to dance to...even a couple more shirts and a couple more bottoms would be nice, if only they fit in my backpack. I suppose you would call it "sacrifices" but I would make a million more to be where I am and to do what I'm doing. It's all so very worth it.
After the daily chaos of the rough life in the slums, I often lay in bed at night with my favorite music playing through my headphones and it takes me home every time. With every chord I get lost, sometimes my mind clear and completely lost in the music, other times I get lost in the spiritual processes that cannot be ignored. I sit and analyze every interaction that day, everything I saw, everyone I meant. What is significant about these lessons? How can I grow from this? What difference can I make in the situation? My mind wanders and I feel blessed for the growth that is taking place and I invision the plans I have for myself in the future. How will this trip mold me into the person I want to be?! It's very empowering for me and, with my favorite music playing in my headphones, I fall asleep with an undescribable, blissful feeling.
I'm going to miss Africa but I trust I will be back, especially to Kenya. I want to see this hospital grow and I want to be a part of their difference. Sri Lanka is next with backpacking trips, yoga ashrams, and lounging on the beach in store. I'm very much looking forward to the next step of this journey. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... This is exactly where I'm supposed to be.
Sending so much love from Africa. "Nakupenda, my rifikis" (I love you, my friends). I really enjoy writing to not only share my experience with you but to get a greater understanding of the experiences myself. Thanks for riding along.