Archive for October, 2011

On my first day back in the Pittsburgh airport, I sat contentedly waiting for my flight, happily watching people as they passed and playing that game in my head where I create stories for each of their lives. I always wonder. Now, two days later, I’m beginning to really dislike airports and all the people in them. That’s not totally true..just some of them. After my first flight to Johannesburg was canceled due to mechanical difficulties, I kept my spirits up. I decided to make the most of it and enjoy New York City, even seeing Demi Lavato (teenage actress? Singer?…not sure but she was apparently special) and catching a comedy show at Gotham City.

Now that I’ve suffered from food poisoning in Johannesburg which caused me to miss my flight to Uganda, I’m not nearly as cheery. Frustration builds as I go from line to line, only to be told I waited 30 minutes for nothing and need to go to another line. I’m stressed, worried, and overheated now because I’ve literally run from one end of the airport to the other.  Four hours and a few thousand rand later, I’m bunking at a nearby guest lodge and supposedly leaving tomorrow. Very disappointing, but at any rate it’s a step up from last year’s sleepover on the floor under the escalator in the Joburg airport.

But this is just a reminder that when you travel, you’ve got to be prepared to take the bad with the good. The thing is, when it’s at its best, travel inspires me. It gives me confidence to take on new adventures, makes me feel excited, purposeful, and hopeful of all the possibilities that lie ahead in the years to come. It brings back old memories and teaches me about myself and others. I’m hooked. I’m in love!

I’ve gotten to know airports a little better than I’d like over the past few years, but if viewed properly, airports can be pretty great places this way too. They are a holding space as you prepare and patiently (or impatiently in my case) wait for the vehicle which will move you to your next stop, and it could be anywhere in the world! Who knows who you’ll meet along the way or what you’ll learn. You may have a few stops along the way. You may have to take multiple forms of transportation, you may miss a flight, have a delay, or any number of other glitches in the itinerary. But at the end of it all, you arrive exactly where you’re meant to be and somehow, the difficulties you encounter in your journey only seem to make your arrival that much sweeter.

Praying for a sweet, albeit late, arrival in Uganda tomorrow. Cannot wait to see my girls again.


Back to Africa I go. Here in the Pittsburgh airport I’m waiting to board the first flight of many over the next few weeks. People kept asking me if I was excited to go back, and I said yes, but I’d been so busy planning and getting ready that I hadn’t really taken the time to for it to sink in. In looking back at my journal entries from six months ago, I just realized that God has granted me so many blessings and answered so many of my prayers. I said I wanted a job where I could live close to family and friends but go back to Africa a few times a year—and here I am! Working for E4p, Inc, I feel equipped to take on the challenges that are presented to me; I have flexibility in my work but am still held to high expectations.

I work with people who I genuinely love and who love me and care for my well being and personal growth. They guide and mentor me, but are never condescending. I get to do work on programs that help people move from poverty to self-sufficiency both in my beautiful home state of WV and in my second home in Africa, and I’m continuing to grow my global family as I explore new places. I work with people who ‘get it,’ people who have minds for business but hearts for charity.

Funny how I forget to recognize or be grateful for how lucky I am sometimes. While there are struggles to overcome, I know when I look back I will be thankful because they made me stronger. When I tell people that I’m directing a nonprofit organization, they tend to look at me skeptically and then ask “So wait, is this a student group?” or “Ohh you went to WVU. What year did you graduate?” or any number of other not-so-subtle hints suggesting that my age disqualifies me from such a title. Well, I’ll let them think what they want. I learned a lot last year, and the truth is I still have a lot more learning to do and I know it. But ya know what? I’m up for the challenge. Let’s do this. Year Two of Discovery and Renewal in Africa begins!