I’m taking a two week break.
Tomorrow I’ll take an overnight flight to London, UK. From there I’ll spend a day at Heathrow airport (which will be weird to pass through my home country but not actually see it) before boarding another overnight flight to Uganda.
I’m taking a step into the unknown and tingling with both apprehension and excitement.
I should have known it was coming. Back in January I wrote a post for SheLoves Magazine called No More Safe and Comfortable Please in which I talked about my desire to live a bigger, more purposeful life. I was itching to climb out of my safe little box. So I prayed about it. And my prayer was answered.
So now I’m going to Africa.
I’ve been told that I won’t come home the same, that I’ll experience more culture shock in coming back to Canada than in landing on African soil.
Good. I don’t want to come home the same. Every experience I’ve ever had that has made me feel scared and out of my element has always been a good thing.
So I’m taking my journal and hope to bring home some amazing stories and insights to share with you. And I’m praying that I will be able to contribute something meaningful while I’m there.
I’m heading out to Uganda and Burundi with a group of seven girls from North America, Luxembourg and South Africa. who have, for the most part, come together via SheLoves Magazine.
Over the first couple of days we’ll be visiting two ministries, the first being a home for women who have been rescued from prostitution, and the second, an orphanage for children living with HIV Aids.
We’ll then attend the five-day Amahoro Africa conference in Kampala, at which I’ll be part of a global conversation about community, justice and mercy. I’ll also be helping to facilitate three creative writing workshops!
From there we’ll fly on to Burundi where we’ll meet the villagers of Bubanza. Earlier this year we made a huge impact on this community when our SheLoves sisterhood raised $15,000 to build a well. The closest well used to be a three-hour walk away, the water a dirty brown. And soon we’ll see God’s grace at work as we watch clean water pour from our SheLoves well. What a privilege it is to have an opportunity to see one small “ask” on this side of the globe in action on the other side of the globe.
Whilst I’m aware of the plan for this trip, I’m not prepared for what it may do to me.
Having been raised in the UK in a middle class home, my images of Africa Ias a continent rather than individual countries) come from the media, beginning with Bob Geldof’s massive fundraiser in the early 1980′s for famine relief in Ethiopia. And every image thereafter was along the same lines: starving babies, neglected orphans and even mass genocide. I grew up aware of it, even writing songs about it, but not really connected to it any way.
And like many, I grew up with pity in my heart.
But I know there is so much more to Africa than those images we see in the Western world. That there are women just like me, families just like mine and people with big dreams that aren’t just reserved for the Western Hemisphere. I can’t wait to write about Uganda, Burundi and an all encompassing experience.
I’m excited to connect with the people, to dance by a well in Bubanza and to bring home a heart full of Africa.
Watch this space—and I’ll see you in two weeks.
Image credit: African sunset