Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Off I go. Where I fall is where I land.

For my sister:

I know you’ve been to Africa before, but this time will be different. You’re staying for three months. This isn’t a vacation and you will not be a tourist. Things will change, you will change.

But don’t be scared of the changes. Your core will still be there in the end.

The American ideals and values you have been instilled with will be challenged daily. Lose some of them. They’re shit anyways.

Don’t be afraid to cry. Just don’t cry in front of any of the locals. No matter how much you explain to them, they will never understand.

Don’t worry if you lose your faith. It will come back again.

Try to see the beauty in everything. It may be impossible, but trying is the most important part.

Nurture your relationships with your fellow missionaries. They will be the only ones who understand what you went through.

You will see and experience things that no one back home can understand. Don’t fault them for this.

Wear bug spray.

Work as much as you can with children. They are the most impressionable and your impact on them is far greater than you think.

Don’t compromise who you are just to fit in. Ever.

Find a beach when there‘s a full moon.

Video tape everything.

Don’t drink the local rum..every day. It’s homemade and ridiculously strong.

Take diarrhea medicine as soon as your stomach starts to feel even a little weird.
If there‘s one thing Americans need, it is a broader sense of right and wrong. Just because they do something different, doesn’t make them wrong. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to convert witch doctors :)

Take a piece of home with you. Whether it be a picture, a stuffed animal or a song. You’ll want to feel home from time to time.
Your weight will fluctuate from week to week. Don't stress about it, because it will be the least of your worries.

Hug people a lot this last week you’re home. You have no idea how much you will miss getting a real hug from people that love you.

Take a journal.

And always, always remember how much you are loved and missed.