I know that for a while I've been relatively silent in general on this blog and I have been especially silent in terms of our return and reintegration to the US. Honestly, I just don't know what to say. I've got so much going on inside my own head, it's kind of hard to get it out and also to translate the feelings into words.
As of today we are 1 month and 1 day away from departing TZ, our home for the past 3+ years. How do I describe the mixed emotions that this entails? This picture says a lot to me but I'm not sure if it'll mean much to others.
This is pretty much my office view. I sit with a bunch of girls on a mat. Now, this is cool and it's fun but it's also dirty and it's hard. It's hard on my body; my legs and back hurt after an hour of sitting this way. I get pooped on regularly by birds or bees or whatever else. And it's hard on my head; it's difficult to keep up with what's being talked about and sometimes I wonder if I'm really contributing anything. Many times over the past 3 years I have felt so inadequate. Take for example the other day when the girls were learning about the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The asked me a question, which they had to repeat like 5 times for me to understand. Then I bumbled out an answer in broken Swahili that I hope conveyed the gist of what I was trying to say, clearing up any of their misconceptions and stigmas and elucidating what it was they were trying to understand. I fear I failed miserably at it and I thought for the zillionth time that it would so much easier to do this in English. It's just so hard and I'm not going to miss this.
On the flip side, I really love this work. I love when I am sitting with the girls and they're just chatting about normal life and they ask me my opinion about something or other. It's a great opportunity to make a real impact in a way that I never would have with any other work in the US. Or I love when the girls make a joke and I ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND IT! I feel so good about meeting them on that level. And they are so funny! Tanzanian humor is a little dirty, a little self- or other-depreciating and I just love it. I see so much opportunity in my work here and love contributing in this way. It provides a sense of fulfillment like I've never felt before and I know I'm going to miss this.
Sigh. Life. As my brilliant husband once said, life is a good kind of sadness.
I know how lucky I am to have had this opportunity, not only to fulfill a life-long dream of mine, but to have lived here. For all it's hardness. For all it's pain. The ups and downs. I know I am just. So. Lucky.
And it kinda hurts.