Truth? I’m Scared.
Truth? I’m scared to death. I am leaving everyone and everything I know to live in a village in Africa without running water and electricity for two years. And at 56 years old, with 30 years of marriage and a comfortable house in suburbia, that’s asking a lot. But with the world in crisis and the future uncertain in so many ways, staying put is no longer a viable option for me, for reasons I don’t fully understand and have learned to not question.
And so I am preparing to leave a metro-Atlanta suburb where my husband and I somehow ended up after we relocated from New York City so many years ago, for the Equator-straddling East African country of Uganda where I’ve accepted a position with the Peace Corps as an Agribusiness Specialist.
I will learn a tribal language that won’t be useful anywhere else in the world but will be necessary for my survival. I will defecate crouched over a pit latrine and kill mango maggots on my clothing and boil water so I don’t get sick (although I’ll get sick — everyone gets sick). I will go to bed scared at night of scorpions and sexual assault. I will worry about my elderly parents, husband, and daughters so, so far away. I will discover what skills I could possibly have to offer to strangers from a culture completely unfamiliar to me, and what I have yet to learn from them about community and resiliency. And perhaps, through experiences I cannot yet imagine, I will ultimately discover exactly what I am made of and what my Maker wants me to do in the limited time I have left on this earth.
Meanwhile, having just received medical clearance from the Peace Corps after two months of nonstop doctors appointment (including a life-and-death test to see if I was really allergic to penicillin, my first colonoscopy, and the required Yellow Fever vaccination), I begin to pack up life as I know it and clear space for what’s ahead.
I grab a saw and chop down my garden so it doesn’t swallow my husband whole while I am gone. I empty closets and clean out the garage and sell my books. I donate clothes and tools and furniture. I face some things and fix some things and forget about trying to change some things. I figure out how to step out of the life I built while somehow remaining committed to…