Embrace the Chaos: Lessons Learned from Two Years in Africa
August 4, 2013
So this is my final blog post from Africa. Tonight at 10:50 PM Ethio time, I start my long flight(s) back to Los Angeles.
I’m a bit nervous to head back to the States. Its been so long…I don’t know how reintegrating will be! I know the pace of life will speed up again, so that’ll take some getting used to.
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my service, and I will have plenty more time during my flights. But I can confidently say that Mozambique has changed me more than I’ve changed Mozambique, and I’m completely fine with that. I’m much more comfortable with myself, and I’ve had a pretty zany two years, full of adventures. I don’t think a single day has gone by where I haven’t been frustrated at something, and I did try at first to control these frustrations…but at one point, I just realized that being a foreigner in Africa is eternally frustrating, and it’s easier to just laugh at the tough moments and enjoy the ride. Things went wrong all the time, but I’ve learned to embrace the chaos and embrace the absurdities of life. Saving face quickly became a non-issue once I realized that the mere act of me walking down a street could cause gaggles of children to erupt into laughter.
We all have our own struggles. Being a foreigner in Africa provides challenges, but obviously being a rural African has its own different struggles. That’s why I was sent to Africa: to engage in cross-cultural interaction and try to understand the Africans I was living with, while trying to make my own cultures and experiences understood. In order to do that, it was necessary to take time out of my day to get to know the people around me, and get to know their lives. I hope I take the time to do this back in the States, but I think I will.
And thanks to all of you, dear readers, for following my escapades these past two years. Hope it was entertaining!
RPCV Mozambique, 2011-2013