Well, we’re one flight down, so I guess there’s no turning back, now.
I’m strangely excited for this flight so that I can actually relax… and by “relax,” I mean cram myself between two strangers for eight hours and become best friends with all of the artists on my iPod. But really, my new playlists are bomb, so the flight should be tolerable. I feel like the last few weeks have been such a whirlwind, and life is about to get even more crazy, so the flight will be nice.
Yesterday we had a little reflection before parting ways to finish stuffing our suitcases full of T-shirts and tripods and weird medications. We talked about how important it is to be present while we are in Uganda and how strange it’s going to be when we return to the US of A.
I’ve been on enough trips like this to know how important it is to be present in the here and now. The wonderful thing is that, as hard as is to be present at home and at school, it’s strangely easy for me in developing countries. Probably because everyone there is also in the here and now. There isn’t the obsessive hustle and bustle that there is in the US. Kids don’t have to be driven from soccer practice to tennis practice to dance class and parents don’t have to attend six million meetings a day running on a few cups of crappy coffee. Everything is a big event in Africa. You can’t merely drop something or someone off at a house, you have to go inside, sit for a while, have some tea, etc. Everything is so… much… slower.
And sometimes that can be a hindrance. It’s hard to get anything done when running on “African time,” and it’s difficult to know what time things will actually take place. When I was in Kenya, my friend Molly and I went out in the city one night with our African friend, Edu. We were told to be back by 10 that night. Of course, right when we got in the car Edu said, “So… 10… meaning midnight African time.” Needless to say, Jan, our group leader, was not very pleased when we showed up two hours late, but she also wasn’t surprised.
Regardless of the issues with going slow, the wonderful thing about it is that it’s so much easier to appreciate the things and people around you. I can’t wait for that. I think that’s why I’m weirdly looking forward to this plane ride… because I get to be slow for the first time since Christmas break, really. And as “fast” as these two weeks will go, things will still be a little slower and life will be a little more interesting because I know we’re all going to take a closer look at the things around us.