Hello dear ones ♥
Wow, I literally cannot believe how far into April we are already! Time is just galloping by!
I leave in a few short days, and let me tell you, it is honestly one of the most surreal feelings ever. I said to my mom the other day that it feels like this is all I have thought about these passed few months and now it is actually here. Sometimes I am a bundle of nerves and other times I’m as calm as can be.
My last few weeks here in Sedgefield have been pretty busy. There is so much to think about and remember, I think the list just gets longer and not shorter. Packing at the moment is where my main focus is at. I am allowed to take 2x23kg bags which sounds like a lot, but not so much when one bag is filled entirely of sanitary pads. Oh, how I hope I don’t get searched at customs. What an awkward conversation that would be!
Other than those few things, my time here at home has been an absolute blessing and I feel a lot more mentally and spiritually prepared than what I did even a few weeks ago. Although, I am very much aware that as much as I work to prepare, I’ll never be truly prepared, but I know that’s where the Father steps in.
I have received my itinerary for the first 6 weeks, so I thought that I would share what my first few days and weeks will be like. I arrive Friday morning where I’ll be taken to the guest house to have a bit of time to settle before heading off to meet Mulugeta, the principal of the BCI Academy. I’ll get a tour around the school as well as the surrounds, (the local village, grocery store etc). That evening I will visit one of the foster homes where a few of the teens live. The weekend is relatively quiet with a few home visits and getting accustomed to the area.
Monday, I officially start. They have asked me if I am interested in teaching English (ages 6-9) and tutoring for the first 6 weeks as they are short staffed in this area and don’t always have native English speakers. So that is where I will spend most mornings and afternoons with some house visits or prep time in the late afternoons. So, a relatively full day. The first 6 weeks are quite structured and varied so that I can get a feel for all the different needs in the community and after that there is a bit more flexibility as I learn where I feel most drawn to or where I’d like to spend more time.
In the first 6 weeks, I will have 3 menstruation clinics where a different grade will attend each one and the donated pads will be distributed and a discussion had. I will also be running 3 basic animal care clinics with the men in the community for their working horses. Truthfully, this is the one I am most nervous for which is ironic, because it is the one area that I am actually qualified for. I feel nervous because speaking to and teaching men is going to be very different from teaching children and also because I have to approach it diplomatically. Generally, animals are viewed differently to the way I perhaps view them or what I am used to having worked as a vet nurse, they are working horses and have a job to do and if I approach it from the wrong angle it is possible to offend these men and I don’t want to do that simply because that won’t help them or the horses in the long run. So, it is more about looking after your horse so that you can get the most work out of them.
So, quite a jam packed agenda, but I am really excited to get there and start learning, because yes, I am very aware that I’ll be the one learning and being challenged more than anyone or anything else.
Other than that, that’s pretty much all I have to share until I actually get there. Things could change day to day and I have been told to go with an open, flexible mind. I plan to keep everyone updated with my blog and newsletters, so I don’t imagine it will be too long before you hear from me again. Now that I am so close to my departure date, every day I think, “This time next week I’ll be there!” It’s nuts!
I am able to receive post, as most of you know what an avid snail mail fan I am and definitely plan to do some letter writing while there. If you would like to send a letter or card, please do! I’d love to hear from you. Here is the address and then just to make sure you do indicate that it is for me.
I look forward to sharing the adventures of Ethiopia as the Father weaves the pieces together. Thank you so much for all your love and support. I have appreciated and loved every moment shared during my time here in South Africa.
I’ve written a post with 10 fun facts about Ethiopia, if you’d like to read them, click here.
Until next time!