Thursday, August 18, 2011
After three months living together, adjusting to a new country together, dealing with culture shock together, and sharing our most intimate secrets with each other, Angela Dore, Emma Dickson, and I held back the tears as best we could as we said goodbye...for now. It's my hope that November will find me in Ottawa (where both of them are living) for a reunion. These two girls are the only ones who truly understand the experience I've had in Botswana and how bittersweet it is to be going home. I need them like the deserts need the rain!
That's a photo of our last night out together in Gabs at Bull N Bush. It was a wild night, full of entertaining antics, and a plan to stay up until Angela's taxi arrived at 5:45 a.m. I think we made it until about 4:30 or 5:00, fell asleep, and were up again to say one last goodbye...for now. Now Angela and Emma are both back in Ottawa and I am sitting at the desk in my office, looking at their photo and wishing things could just go back to normal...the normal I've been used to for the last three plus months. But, those thoughts are for a whole other blog post that is soon to come. For now, let's move from tears to Tuli Block.
After my girls left, I was thankfully able to distract myself from the loneliness by taking a trip into the eastern part of the country. I tagged along with a volunteer for Ark n' Mark Trust while he went to meet a group of Canadians with a plan to bring thirty high school students to the area in March 2012. The project the students will be assisting with is the construction of Camp Ark, a retreat site for orphans and vulnerable children in Botswana.
The program run at Richmond High School in BC is called Global Perspectives Canada and it is one cool initiative. It's a program that I think should be run in all high schools; if only everyone thought like me! Now, the camp itself is going to be amazing. It's going to take one heck of a pile of work, but it's going to be fantastic. I'll most definitely stay in touch and follow along as the project unfolds.
I had a lot of quiet time to reflect during this particular trip and many times I found myself lost in a surreal sense of reality. As I traveled down back dirt roads coloured vibrant red from the iron-rich soil, paused to allow a group of zebras, impalas, baboons to gracefully cross, gazed at the vast expanse of stars stretching on for eternity, and marveled at the opportunities that abound on this continent, I found myself constantly wondering: Is this truly my life?