Final thoughts as we come to the end of our journey together. Just like my experience of returning to school, I am not sure that I have had any great AH HA life changing moments from my time in Africa or with the process of creating the film, yet. A common phrase that began in the 1500’s says “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks,” I just haven’t gotten there. I am certain that at some point something will click and my life will be forever changed but until then I will continue to go on with my life similarly to before I left.
Some of the best moments, for me, were the boat ride on the Nile and conversing with Penny, being able to explore a new place and getting to know the others in the group. Early on I blogged about looking forward to good, bad and neutral and I am happy to report that the experience was overall good or neutral. If I had to change something about the trip, not feeling ill would be it. Also, finding a way to consume food other than rice, beans and chips (fries) would be idea and having hot water to shower would have been awesome but the reality is that is life there. So, my complaints are no more than being of a privileged class.
I went on this trip without expectations and a very narrow understanding of life outside of America. Even if I tried, having never been outside the USA before, I never would have expected Africa to be what it is. I spent time sketching because I was unable to form complete thoughts and even now that I have returned, although I can form complete thoughts, the information is still very jumbled and am unable to make sense of it. I know Creighton University has set requirements to keep students safe while traveling abroad but I still would love to climb on the structure that was being built across from the hotel we stayed at in Kampala or walk through the markets. Why? Because exploring helps me make sense of things.
I was surprised by several things. The way people live with the land. The number of things being sold on the streets, both because of the way they were being sold and because of the mass amount of items that were clearly imported. The lack of recognizable brands. The difference in advertising. The personalities of the people we encountered and the list goes on. I am uncertain that my brain shut off while we were there, constantly thinking and trying to make sense of where I was and what was going on around me.
I found myself at peace observing those around me, watching people interact with each other and the obvious love and compassion for others. There was something about Africa that speaks to me, even though I am not sure what it is telling me. I may not have my thoughts all together or a plan for the future of what to do with what I learned but I have a wonderful group of people that I can call on when I begin to figure it out. I found happiness in the moments spent with others and have combined their sketches as a way to close my adventures to Africa. The trip may be over but the friendships will always be there.