I would be lying if I said I were completely ready. I would also be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I have never been to Africa before, nor have I really thought about what it would be like to live there for two years, until I applied to the Peace Corps. Even after the long, rigorous application was complete, I still never really gave living in Africa that much thought. There were so many more pressing matters, getting a placement and knowing where I would be living for the next two years was far from my mind. Now...now I am constantly thinking about what it will be like to live in Africa. Everything I do seems to remind me about my future residence in Uganda. When I'm at work, on my computer, I realize I won't have internet or computer access on a regular basis, at least not as regularly as I have them now. I won't have running water, I won't have any of the conveniences I have now. This often begs the question, asked by everyone in my family as well as many of my friends, why the hell am I doing this?
This, I can answer.
I am doing this for many reasons. I want to help people, I want to see new things, meet new people. I want to know what it is really like to be on the front lines of international health. Africa is where its at. There are so many issues going on right now in Africa with HIV/AIDS, Malaria, lack of nutrition, drought, etc.
While I find myself waking up in the middle of the night worrying about what it will be like, I also find myself waking up with smiles, realizing that this time next year I will be in Africa. This time next year, I will be in Uganda saving people (yes, I dare to dream!), helping people. It is so easy for people to focus on the negative aspects of my future, it seems that not too many people are looking towards the positive, how much experience I will surely gain from this, how much I will grow up. While I like to think of myself as somewhat of an adult, I know I am still a little kid. I still depend so much on my parents, this placement will do nothing but help me grow.
Two years from now I will be preparing for my return. While I know I am anxious for good reason about going, I know I will be even more anxious to come back. My biggest fear regarding this trip is that all my friends will forget about me. I'm really afraid that when I come back I'll have to start over again, find new friends. As childish and unrealistic as it sounds, its true and its how I feel. I have made and lost so many good friends in my life it is hard for me to think that I will still have these friends after my adventures in Africa. On the same side, I hope to make new friends and family in Africa, however I do not want to lose them after I leave. I have so many fears and so many desires, I guess at some point I guess I just have to let things go and take things as they happen.