Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why am I still here?

As I am sitting here writing this, it is one in the morning, I am listening to the evening melody of the frogs and insects. An electrical storm has moved in, knocking out the power, leaving little hope of relief from this summer heat. My fan sits silently as the air in my room becomes stagnant and the mosquitoes swoop in from every direction in hopes of a meal. My sandals are wedged under the door to keep the frogs out, while the fattened lizards call my walls home. I have been living in Africa for a year now. I am torn between think that this past year has flown by while at the same time being the longest year of my life.

It was a year ago this week that I was anxiously packing my bags, soaking up the last conveniences that America has to offer and saying goodbye. As I reflect on my first weeks in South Africa, I can’t help but think of how naive I was at that time. I knew there would be the highs and the lows, the rough patches and some bumps along the way but had I known what I was in for I think I would had turned right around and bid Africa a farewell. But what an incredible journey this first year has been.

Someone recently asked me why I am still here, why haven’t I just thrown in the shovel and gone right home. After all, I have been sick more often than not, the work is less than ideal, and I have slept in a bed full of maggots. There have been times when I was about to pack my bags and go but there are many reasons why I am still here.

1. The first reason I am still here is because of all the support and encouragement from my family and friends back home, as well as, from people I don’t even know.

2. I also wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a few good Peace Corps friends. We may live hours apart and see each other only every couple of months but they are only a SMS away.

3. There is the typical answer that I am here to make an impact and do incredible work, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I feel that my life, knowledge, and understanding of the world has changed far more than I would ever be able to impact the lives of those around me.

4. My purely selfish reason is to prove to myself that if I can live in rural South Africa and all that that entails for two years, it will give me the confidence to know that I can handle whatever curve balls life throws my way.


Ash said...

I heart you. I miss you so but am glad you are learning so much. Hugs and kisses from your twin and fav nephew!

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