It's only 63 days until I am on a plane to Dar es Salaam! Shortly after, I'll be on a bus to Dodoma, my other home, for at least the next five or six years.
A good friend asked me yesterday: What are you looking forward to? Most people ask what I will miss, so I was thrilled at her question, and as I thought through my answer, I grew more and more anxious to be on that plane leaving!
I am excited for the chance to be a real big sister to my sponsored girls and boy, Potina, Anjela, and Kibiro. I am excited to sit outside the converted brothel that is Iringa Road Mennonite Church and have the children in our sponsorship program talk to me about school and life and the English words they're learning and the games they want to play. I am excited to sit with HIV+ people in their homes, share a cup of tea, and hear their stories. I am excited to work hard at my Swahili and see the faces of my friends light up as my vocabulary expands and communication flows freely for the first time. I am excited to visit families and deliver mattresses, blankets, clothing, food, and other gifts from friends in the West. I am excited to have photos and stories to share with my community in Portland, and to hear their encouragement as they pray for me over many miles.
I am excited to have the opportunity to be a vehicle of love, dignity, grace, and respect in the lives of the poor, ill, and vulnerable of East Africa. I am excited to share their lives, to live simply, to be challenged by their challenges, to rejoice in their joys, and to mourn with their losses.
*sigh* Still 63 days to go?