Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I thought I would be more excited to post about Africa. Truth is...I'm not. No offense, but I almost feel that putting it into words will cheapen the experience somehow. It's like being really excited about how you got this new job and then going to tell a friend who, in the middle of your story, gets distracted and then never turns the conversation back to your story. Do you let it go and eat your disappointment? Or, do you bring it back up and watch them muster excitement for an already fading moment in time? Although no one has been like that with me (yet), I don't want a life-changing experience to receive that kind of homecoming.

And, I will have to do it Sunday for church. I have wrestled with what to say--in 3 1/2 minutes, no less--to a congregation of people who intellectually and spiritually know that the trip was awesome, but can't relate because there is no way to "be there" with us--despite an incredible movie (thanks, Piatt) and 600 pictures of mine (They are a week away from being posted online, comments and all). God did amazing stuff in Africa, but it wasn't because of me. Wow, pause for the deflation of my ego. In fact, I think I was on the Kenyans' "mission trip", if that makes sense. They amazed me daily and the more I read about Africa in the news, the more I believe Americans should get involved--not to help them, but so that they can somehow help us.

I think the number one thing that I brought back with me was perspective. Who cares about manicures when everyone has red mud caked in their fingernails from digging a hole with a stick? Who cares about frizzy curls or highlights when your hair has been washed with a sponge bath and your scalp is peeling from the hot sun? Who cares about whether my chai has the right "water to tea ratio" when I am eating a fried egg-peanut butter-jelly-and tomato sandwich and a hot fanta for lunch everyday (that was star treatment if you can believe it)? Who even said you get to eat everyday?

I am not saying that I abandoned my luxuries completely as soon as I got home. I don't necessarily think that is the appropriate response. I guess I just stopped complaining about them. I think the best way to find out about Africa is to go. Not only on a safari, but to interact, and to love. I don't feel sorry for Africa--I feel empowered. I kind of think they should feel sorry for us.