At the half way point of this adventure, I took time out to reflect on my experience so far. I also jotted down some things about home in the States that I either missed or didn’t. Now that I’m nearing the end of this adventure, I’d like to repeat that exercise, this time from the perspective of leaving my new home at Bongolo Hospital:
I Won’t Miss…. (but am pleased with how well I’ve adapted to living with:)
- Cologne de Bug Spray. Deet and I will not be on speaking terms until Pittsburgh’s mosquitoes come out to play.
- Concentrating on not scratching new bug bites and applying tiny dabs of Benadryl.
- Intense sweating when doing anything physical.
- Sweating through my jeans most days. Wet denim is harder to move in!
- The persistent hum of ceiling and box fans (thank God for them, though!!).
- Slow internet.
- So many bugs and ants.
- The people, both many locals and the Missionaries. I’ve been blessed to form dozens of new relationships and the beginnings of likely long-term friendships. It seems like our conversations have just reached new plateaus and I’m leaving.
- Leading Paul’s crew of eight men. They’ve been a blessing to me.
- Working with Paul. I’ve learned so much from him.
- The unbelievably fresh air. Only on the far western edge of Washington state overlooking the Pacific Ocean have I ever breathed anything similar.
- The heat and humidity (I can’t believe I’m saying this!). I’ve taken to this weather like a fish to water. Somebody pinch me?
- My incredibly healthy skin and finger/toenails. I can’t believe the change.
- Exotic birds waking me up every morning from my incredibly comfortable bed and pillows.
- The just now beginning opportunities to branch out into the local communities.
- Speaking French every day, even though it’s baby talk for now. Between lots of practice, incredibly patient French speakers, and Google Translate, I manage to understand enough and get my points across.
- The adventure of living in the remote jungle.
I’m Grateful For…
- Deet insect repellent (I know, I know…believe me, it’s a complex relationship…).
- That, in spite of my head full of sand, God arranged every aspect of my life for the year prior to my living and working here for two months.
- How much I’ve grown in my faith since arriving at Bongolo.
- I can’t say this enough: the financial and emotional support of my family, friends and church family. You made this experience possible!
Lessons so far:
Keeping track of things I’ll miss, etc., is a great exercise for everyday life.
Reflecting on how I’ve changed fuels future growth.
It’s amazing how easily I’ve settled in here in spite of major First and Third World differences. I’m pretty sure there are two reasons for this. The first is I’m where God wants me to be at this point in my life. And the second is that I spent weeks mentally and emotionally preparing as best I could to enjoy the differences. I’m starting to do the same in reverse as part of getting ready to head home.
How would I answer the three questions in this posting as it relates to my current life’s adventure?
My heart and mind are centered on where I am right now!