Today I am taking my show on the road–leaving my home, family, and friends in Canada to spend the next two months doing volunteer work in Mozambique, Africa. This follows a trip I made early last year, doing volunteer work in Nicaragua. Although for a much shorter duration, it gave me a powerful opportunity to open my mind and heart to others, and to demonstrate that in a meaningful way. Something shifted in me during that trip. It’s hard to put into words, but I have been hungering for something similar ever since. So now….Africa.
This time I will not be building a school, but rather providing communication advice and expertise to an education system that needs to reach more Africans. I look forward to the adventure that awaits me, and will use this space to update you on my progress and observations over the next several weeks.
I am so fortunate to have such encouraging and supportive friends and family around me. One such friend, Julie Truelove, just sent me this heartfelt little note. It seems a perfect way to start the journey. Thank you Jules…you have framed it beautifully.
People hear and read many things about Africa, but experiencing it all is a whole new reality. And it is unique to each person who experiences it. You may find the good, the difficult, the amazing, the ugly, the slow, and the beautiful all rolled into one day…and you will see it in your own way. It seems to me that every person who travels to Africa has “their moment”…a specific moment when it all hits you. This can be an inspiring moment or a gut wrenching moment and ultimately both really.
My moment was at a school in Tanzania when this very distinguished, well-spoken, and well-dressed male teacher stood up to welcome us and humbly said he was glad we came. And then his next statement was “don’t be sad for Africa” and that has stuck with me and served me well over the past few years. Another moment I had in the last few months was when someone, and I don’t remember who, said “sometimes you need Africa more than Africa needs you.” This was a more difficult one to get my head around but eventually I saw the light…even though I think Africa still needs people among many other things, but that is for another discussion.
So take it all in, all the tragic and the beautiful and the amazing, and find your moment when it comes. Let it reach you. When you have those tough times, and surely some lonely times, your moment will help you through towards the brighter days. It’s the fight inside that keeps you going, the inspiration that can help keep you positive and your heartfelt secret when people around you haven’t experienced it and don’t understand what you keep talking about.