Firstly, I’m going to pre warn you that this post is probably going to have a lot of rambling in it. I’ve been back for 2 days now and thought I should take some time to sit back and reflect on the experience. Me being me, I’ve decided to not draft write anything and to just let it all flow out now. So apologises in advance if some things don’t make sense.
Being home is a very strange experience. I have settled in and am enjoying the creature comforts I once missed. But weirdly this doesn’t feel like home anymore. I feel like this is a stop over for some new journey I’m about to start. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my family and friends but I realise now how much I loved my time in Africa and am pining for another similar experience already.
Granted, Africa was an emotional rollercoaster. Full of mood ups and downs. I learnt a great deal about myself and how I cope with things. I haven’t really taken the time to realise what actually happened out there, the things I saw and the things I did. I’m focusing too much on getting settled back in and panicking about what’s next.
But in all honesty, although the programme was quite disorganised and at times we thought why we were there as there was absolutely no work, we made of it what we could. I was among a great group of people that helped make the experience. I have made both uk and Ethiopian friends for life. Built relationships with people that in normal day to day life I wouldn’t have been able to make. I’ve seen a part of the world that not many people get the opportunity to see and experienced another culture. A culture that is so welcoming and sharing, bringing you in as one of their own. Although the attention we got some times was very frustrating and angering, the people meant well.
Life in Africa is so different to here, and trying to talk about my experience to others is proving very difficult. It’s hard talking to people who weren’t there with me and trying to explain moments and places is strange. It’s almost as if I’m making it up, like it never happened because they can’t see what I saw. It’s very much my own memories that I can only really keep for myself if that makes any sense at all?
I’m already missing my life there so much. The independence, the constant company, the sunshine (although at times it was too hot), the teaching, the volunteer and even the cafes and bars which I would always complain we were spending too much time in.
I fell in love with the children I taught and the feeling I got when you know they’ve learnt something. The freedom to teach them whatever I wanted and the challenge of planning lessons and new ideas. The children were amazing, they don’t have much in their lives yet were the happiest most energetic people I’ve met. I loved it.
Africa acted as a security blanket for me. A bubble that protected me of thinking about the future. Now that I’m home and this blanket has been removed it’s scary. I will keep this memory very close to my heart, I feel very lucky to have been able to be part of such an incredible experience and to have shared it with some amazing characters.