Epilouge…….Well, I am home again. The dust of the village roads has washed out of my clothes and my sunburn has begun to fade. I wanted to leave you with a few final thoughts, though.
If the urge to volunteer in a third world country hits you, do not hesitate for a single second. It is scary and uncomfortable at times, but overwhelmingly fun, powerful and rewarding. All it takes is a credit card, passport, and a willingness to step into another world. I promise you will not be sorry that you did!
I could never have done this without the experience of my season on the Appalachian Trail. Every lesson I learned there, from conserving water to being open to the kindness of strangers served me on this trip. And I carried all of my fellow hikers with me here in Africa.
When you think that something is used up, be it a piece of clothing or a plastic bowl, give it one more hard look. I bet there are many years of use left in it. Seeing others treasure the most simple of things taught me to treasure them in return.
If a person from Africa walks up to you and asks if she/he can spend the night at your house, consider saying yes! This might seem strange to us, but it is the African way and this very thing happened to me at the Atlanta airport. I walked up to mom and dad and said, â€œThis is Yop, she is from Nigeria and I am taking her home for the nightâ€. Of course, being the parents that they are, they just shrugged and said â€œOf course!â€.
Most importantly……I have said it before, but it bears repeating. When you see the pictures of Africa and starving children, all you can see is the need. The pictures seem to be completely about poverty. But make no mistake, even in the poorest village, there is a rich community here, built on family and values. Neighbors share what they have with each other, and in the midst of what we consider great need, find a way to lead very happy, productive lives. Do not let that deter you from giving, because the need is certainly there, but do not let that need lead you to believe that that is all there is to see. I learned a great deal about friendship and happiness from these people.
Thank you for following my journey. Your support has meant more than you know!
If you are interested in donating to Upendo Childrens Home, Kilamahewa School, or the Honey Badger Cultural Arts Center, do not hesitate to send me an email. Until our next adventure………
Asante sana na Karibu,
“When all is said and done here at the ending of the day, I look out on this world and it still takes my breath away…”
“Robin’s Song” Small Potatoes