Africa Debrief

Wow. I’m fighting the urge to just say that Africa was something I’ll never be able to convey with words. I have so much I want to tell and I want to make sure I give the stories the respect they’re due. I only have about an hour left of battery on my laptop and probably even less in my brain. It’s currently 5:30am South Africa time and my body is still struggling to adjust back to the States. I wanted to give you all a very quick debrief and then I’ll be posting more in depth stories as the days come.

  • Travel was brutal. Atlanta to Joburg was 16 hours non-stop. By the time we got there we were delusional and confused. I’ll never forget waking from a less than restful nap and knowing I had 8 more hours of flying left.
  • Joburg was COLD. It was winter and there is no central heat anywhere in the country. I did not pack enough warm clothes.
  • We had about 4 days in Joburg to get adjusted to the time and cultural differences before heading into Swaziland to work with our Care Point. We got to see several ministries that our sister church, Mosaiek, works with including a home for people with disabilities, a home for abandoned babies (I told them to just leave me there), and the community center (Emthonjeni) in the slums of Joburg. We did a little bit of sight-seeing and I definitely got to pet a baby lion. It was awesome.
  • Swaziland was amazing. The people stole my heart.
  • I actually enjoyed roughing it. We had electricity, running water, and very few encounters with spiders and NO SNAKES!
  • Our team did great. The kids were rockstars and we had no drama, fighting, very little attitude problems, and we all got along really well. It was so fun.
  • Coming out of Swaziland was interesting. After being used to being the only white people for miles, we all had a bit of culture shock when we got close to the border crossing and ran into some other Americans at a market.
  • I learned how to say exactly 4 phrases in Saswati. Win.
  • We went on a game drive in Kruger National Park the last couple days. It was stunning and one of the coolest experiences I’ve gotten to have. We literally had a lion walking next to our car probably 1-2 feet away. And I saw a baby elephant who was only a week or two old. Presh.
  • I got to attend two African church services. One at our sister church in Joburg. It felt much like a Woodmen service but in another language. And one in the rural Swazi country side. I saw how global God is and a whole other facet to His character that I had never known before. I pretty much had goosebumps the entire time I was listening to the service. Hearing the voices of the Swazi women sing “El Shaddai” was one of my top favorite moments in life.
  • Africa was more than I hoped it would be. I let it be Africa and I wasn’t disappointed.
  • I will definitely go back.
I don’t feel like Africa wrecked my life. I feel like it slowly crept into my heart, wrapped it’s roots around me, and is firmly embedded in who I am. I fell in love with a little girl who was my undoing. I rocked countless babies to sleep, tickled many more, and comforted little tiny tears. I don’t feel like God is calling me to live in Africa permanently or become a missionary, but I do feel like He’s confirmed the calling I’ve felt for the last few months.
I have so much more to say about Africa but I’m headed back to cube land tomorrow and need to sleep. Thank you thank you thank you for the emails, texts, messages, and phone calls while I was gone and since I’ve come home.
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