Family Home, Mizan Teferi, Ethiopia

Family Home, Mizan Teferi, Ethiopia

Its 1:19 AM and I was sleeping 30 minutes ago. However, I just felt an urge to write. The truth is, I was not awoken by some creative calling, but rather a Hippopotamus. The behemoth is growling so loudly just outside my house, that it sounds like thunder mixed with a cow orgy.  

In fact it is so loud, that I was afraid it (they?) had entered our compound. I went to check it out, but the hippo had retreated to the water.

Life, like this memorable night, is pretty wild right now. My main project is progressing better than I had imagined. Pictures won’t load to my blog, but the school looks just beautiful. Cement has been laid, and the brick walls give the school a 1940’s feel. I am painfully anxious to see the final product. The children will have a transformed place to learn and grow.  Solar light bulbs will soon add some sun to the refurbished walls. The difference is night and day.

Also, doctors from Northwestern University are coming in 6 weeks. Together we’ve been working to address infant and patient mortality during labor. It’s a huge problem here. So we’re fundraising and preparing the invitations for the invited midwives. The doctors will lead a great program that will save many lives.

It’s strange though. Although I have never had this much going on in the present, I’m finding it hard not to wonder about the future. I can’t help but count down the days until I leave. Forgive me for being excited, but I’ve had a handful of hot showers in the past year and I’m going home to the prettiest girl, possibly ever.

Peace Corps told us this would happen, and most of my anticipation is actually rooted in fear. I’m scared of going home. I don’t know where I’ll live or work. My friends have moved all over the place. I don’t know if I’ll readjust well, or how my new mindset will affect those that I love.

But I came to a realization a few moments ago. This is without a doubt the most confusing time in my life. I’m now entering the real world, and coming from the oldest of worlds. All of us, just out of college, are trying to form ourselves, and form an identity. We are branching out and discovering ourselves, and yet this leaves us yearning for home. When we return to our original home, its not quite the same. The people who have made it what it was now live in Colorado, Tennessee and Europe. How do we bridge the gap between staying close to our roots, our families and remaining friends, yet find a place that calls to us in a special way.

But really, none of these things really matter. They are just the self-obsessed fears of a self-esteem driven generation.  I’m worried about finding a great job, being comfortable, and if I can spend 900 dollars a month on an apartment. I worry that I won’t be a great boyfriend, and that I missed out on some great years with great friends.

Meanwhile, my favorite man in Ethiopia just lost his young wife to Cancer. The labor manager at the school just accidentally killed his daughter while chopping down firewood. The tiny tree fell at just the right angle to kill her. She was six. Floods, the same one that brought the hippo to my doorstep, destroyed homes by the river. One kid drowned. Months ago, Carly took a family photo and delivered it to a beautiful woman and her several daughters who live on the road. One of her daughters died on Wednesday.

My trivial worries, our collective 20-something worries may dominate our minds. But in the breadth and depth of the human struggle, they mean so little.

We want to find the perfect job, home and happiness. But it’s important to remember not to worry too much about things that will one day be resolved. Things worth worrying about generally present themselves when you least expect them, and remind us of how good we had it beforehand.

So for those of us living in the beforehand, let’s take a second to enjoy the moment, count our blessings and remember that home is sometimes not a physical place but a state of mind.


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