This time next week I will be on a flight bound for Uganda. Granted, it will then take approximately 36 hours to get there, but I will have begun the journey nonetheless.
All nine of the interns have spent over a semester preparing for this trip with weekly meetings, trainings, fundraisers and grant applications, but the time has finally come to actually board a plane and go live in Uganda. It's kind of scary and surreal to be honest because all of the sudden things that were once just discussions and handouts are now about to be real-life experiences. I don't really know what to expect. I know that I'm excited and scared and nervous and thrilled all at the same time. There are so many emotions and anticipations that sometimes I don't even know what to think.
Over the last week I've been getting together supplies and items to take to Uganda, both personal belongings as well as materials for my internship. I've managed to come up with some office supplies to donate as well as clothes and other various items. I'v trying to limit the amount of personal items I'm bringing because I have a tendency to overpack, but it's hard to try and sort through the necessities and narrow down all the random "suggested" lists that various friends and past interns have given me. In the end I know it does not really matter what I bring and all these material possessions are just a small piece of a great adventure and learning experience.
I've had the opprtunity to travel abroad many times with my family, missions trips and through study abroad, but in all my world travelling I've never been to Africa. All of my pre-trip expectations are based on other's stories, pictures and experiences and while I'm excited to travel to an unknown place, the "unknown" of it is kind of overwhelming. I'm expecting some culture-shock and I know I will feel uncomfortable at first, but I'm ready for a challenge. It's going to be especially hard to be away from friends and family and have limited contact with them. (although I will say that, like Jamilla, I will be happy to be away from all the facebook, email and internet onslaught of our culture)
I have already collected a large pile of books and journals to take for entertainment and to document my life while abroad. I plan on taking my camera, so hopefully I will be able to upload some pictures to share while I am in Kampala and working with Katosi.
In spite of my nerves, I know that this opportunity is the chance of a lifetime and will be a great stepping stone for me in my future career pursuits. I have so much to learn and I am willing and ready. Can't wait to share my adventures and new experiences with you!
Get ready Uganda, here we come.