Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heading up and moving out...

Its been less than 2 weeks at home since exams ended and I've already grown bored at home, so its definitely time for me to leave for Uganda. This entire experience is going to be an incredible adventure, and I'm so lucky to have a chance to do something like this. That being said, like everyone else, I'm pretty nervous too. Preparing for this trip over the course of the year has been an emotional roller coaster, at times more excited than nervous, sometimes vice versa...but now the excitement is building. I can say one thine for certain: I put more time and energy into this summer's plans than ever before, and now that everything has fallen into place, I can't wait to get started!

Like alot of what the others have posted, my family and friends are pretty worried, which only adds to my anxiousness. It was my sister's graduation this past weekend so alot of my family was in town, and needless to say, not a conversation went by without someone expressing some concern about my wellbeing and saftey this summer. While its nice to know that they care (alot) about my saftey, it almost makes me more nervous when they bring up questions and concerns that haven't even crossed my mind. One of the most difficult things is explaining to loved ones that no, I don't know exactly what I'm getting myself into this summer. The best I can promise is that I'll be smart and use good judgement, but I know thats not enough to settle nerves. For me, the graduation was also bittersweet in that I was reminded how much I will miss my family this summer. My extended family is really close and this will be the first summer ever that I haven't spent months living with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all together. I'm glad I got to see everyone before I leave, but it was hard to think about not being with everyone this summer.

Luckily, alot of my extra energy generated by the excitement and nervousness has been able to be channeled into endless preparations for the trip. I've been to Target and REI at least 4 times each, and probably will go 4 more times before Monday. I love making lists so this trip has been just one big exuse to make tons of them: to do lists, to get lists, to pack lists, check name it :) Casey and Lea have been SO helpful answering any and all questions, I'm not sure what we'd do without them. Deborah, the peace corps volunteer who has been in Katosi for a while has also been incredibly helpful...its been really nice to communicate with someone in a similar situation, especially since no one else from AGRADU has gone to Katosi before.

So now after months of anticipation, I'm off, but not exactly sure as to what awaits me. From my job description with Katosi it looks like I'll be working in schools alot, which is really exciting because I love working with kids. When people ask, I tell them I'm doing an internship in health behavior eduaction, which is what I've pieced together from the e-mails, but won't know for sure until I get there, get settled, and meet Margaret and the other amazing women for the first time. It kind of worries me that I don't know exactly what I'll be doing since I'm someone that likes to be busy and productive so I think that this summer will definitely be a personal challenge in patience, flexibility, and self-reliance...but I'm ready for the challenge to begin!

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