August 03

Enjoy the Ride

This last month has been an absolute whirlwind. And to be honest, I’ve struggled to sit down to write this post. There is so much I want to share with feelings that I can’t seem to put into thoughts, let alone put into words. So, stick with me on this one, you’re about to embark on a bit of a roller coaster … (and as our drivers instruct us each time we hop in a white PIH SUV, “Buckle Up!” – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!)

Our “short-cut road” to the beach.

Hmmm…. Where to start, where to start? A million thoughts have run through my head thse past few days as I contemplated my next post. Should I write details on the EXCEPTIONAL work that Partners in Health is doing in Sierra Leone and a number of other countries that need it most? Or how bout I share my “full-circle moment” when I realized that I am truly meant to be here, not just at PIH, but PIH Sierra Leone specifically? Should I tell you that I sometimes hesitate admitting I’m a “Volunteer from America?” How bout I share why PIH stands out among so many NGOs by providing an outstandingly unique model of care? What if I told you that my days are FLYING by working on an array of projects in the Kono and Freetown offices? Or the fact that I feel SO valued walking into an organization that truly needs my help? Should I tell you about the life-touching stories of the beautiful people that I’ve met? Or what if I confess to the world that I’m counting down the days until I come home?

Some of the Kono Krew!

Highs, lows, ups, downs, twists, turns and EVERYTHING in between has come and gone in this past month. I’m learning to navigate the journey (gracefully, I’d like to think), but there is a long way to go before this roller coaster lets off. All of these thoughts and feelings remind me of the quote that a GSK colleague shared in her first blog: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” My struggle to share my experiences with all of you is simply this: I’m still learning, digesting and comprehending the magnitude of this ride. I may not be able to express it all to you now, but as I sit with anticipation for clarity and understanding, I hope I can in the future. I kept saying months ago that “It hasn’t hit me yet.” You know, uprooting your life for six months to live in a place that you have never been and quite frankly know nothing about. Well, I think that time has finally come – reality has hit and it’s hitting HARD.

The Gongoli Dancer encourages fun and laughter in the communities.

As I spend more time here in the Kono district, it gives me time to reflect on my experiences, my array of thoughts and my outlook for the months ahead. I have a feeling Kono will be where all of my blogs are written; away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Freetown, close to the care and comfort that PIH is providing to so many. There is a peacefulness here that I hope leads me to a better understanding. In the meantime, as the Krio phrase goes, “I tell God tenke” (I’ll tell God thanks) for it all because in the end, it’s always worth the ride.

The Cotton Tree in Freetown.