There is a 19 year old guy here from Germany. I met him the second day after I arrived. He is so pale, with white blonde hair, and really nice. He’s set to stay here for 6 months. He is assisting my friend, Sir Richard, who is the computer teacher and I told him that was a good choice. I want to tell him so many other things about this place, but I won’t because I think so much of being here is a personal journey. It will teach you who you are when you’re far from home and essentially all by yourself. It will put you in tough situations that teach you who you are not. It will make you think in a different way than you are used to. You will have a new set of problems that have nothing to do with the ones you had before you came here, and also a new set of triumphs. You will probably miss home, but then think about being home and missing here. The two worlds are so different, and so far away, you will feel like you are living two separate lives, but your time is going by just the same.
It is confusing to have a mixed sense of belonging. Sometimes, when I am here with these kids, I think, “I could do this. This could be my life and I would be okay.” But I’m not sure I would be okay because I know of everything else out there. Even on days like today, when I am not feeling well (sore throat and overheating), I always feel like I should get up, and go to the school and play with the kids at break time, and go to the market so I can buy seeds for their garden and a soccer ball for after school, and have a meeting about the new toilets I am trying to help build, and be here when school gets out to walk these kids back to the orphanage. I can’t sit still, even when I’m not 100%, and that is the one thing about myself that is a constant no matter where I am - it both scares me and excites me and sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. I concluded that my life is a nice balance of extremes, and the same goes for my two worlds.
I have some advice for anyone going somewhere like here: do it like you mean it. Don’t travel in luxury. If you’re going through the trouble to go to another world and another culture and another life, do it well or don’t do it at all. If you spend your time seeing the tourist sights and staying in nice hotels - sure it might save you the heartache of knowing things you can’t un-know, and you won’t have to chance bugs climbing on you while you’re sleeping, but you will leave a place not knowing the essence of what it is. You might have only positive feelings about it when you depart, but if thats the case - its fake. You have seen things but you haven’t felt them. You have looked, but its not the same as experiencing. Most of all, you will have missed out on all of the things you could have learned. The heartache and the bugs are what help you to see the beauty in the struggle, and in yourself.