Are you getting excited?
Are you nervous?
What does your husband think of you going to Africa?
These seem to be the questions I am asked most these days. It make sense though, in less than a month I will be leaving the comforts and relative safety of my home in Canada and heading to Ethiopia and Malawi for three weeks. I will be joined by two other paramedics (and friends) as well as a dentist and his wife, and a physician, to go and volunteer to work in a community doing medical relief at the clinic there.
I have travelled before to Indonesia, to Mexico (not just the beaches) and to India, so while I know there will be devastating poverty, illness and malnutrition, I think I will have some of the culture shock lessened by my previous experiences. It has been a while though, so I am sure there will be some initial adjustments needed.
I am excited. Travelling always opens new doors. It expands my mind in ways that can never be repackaged into the same sized box as it came out of. I have always loved finding both the similarities as well as the differences in how different cultures live. I’m not super excited about the food to be honest. I tried an Ethiopian restaurant in Vancouver this summer….and I wasn’t super excited about what was served…. It wasn’t horrible, but more sour and vinegary than I expected, and not my cup of tea, so to speak. It will only be a few weeks, so either it will be a good diet plan for weight loss, or I will dip into the snacks I bring along more than anticipated!
I am nervous. To say otherwise would be lying. I am nervous about not being able to connect to my family and friends as easily there as I can here. The Ethiopian government controls the internet there, and sometimes it gets shut down. I will need to find a SIM card or use their cell phone to text home to let people know that I am ok. On my day off I hope to find an Internet cafe and upload my daily logs. My intention is to write daily about my experiences and share via this site what is happening. If I can do so regularly, I would love to. The more people learning about what I am doing, the better I think.
Glen is nervous too. I can understand that. We have kids and to go has risks. I know that I am waaay more outside the box than him in some regards (this being one for sure!!), but I do know that our kids will be in good hands with him running the house while I am gone. I also know he understands just how much I appreciate his support. While it isn’t on his bucket list of things to do, supporting me to go is a huge part of me being able to do it.
All the support I received while doing my fundraising has also been amazing. $6,775 of my $7,000 was raised with bottle donations, cash donations, attending my steak night fundraiser or the paint night. I certainly could not have done it without my little village of family and friends either!! Work was willing to give me a leave of absence, and when I get back I look forward to sharing my stories and pictures with everyone.
Until then, stay tuned as the countdown continues!