For those of you who are not aware, I’m headed to Ghana on the 15th of this month to fulfill a promise I made to myself years ago.
When I went to college, I swore that no matter what it took, I would become a person who made a difference in the world.
At first, I thought this would be through journalism. I quickly found out that while I love writing, it probably wasn’t the life for me for long. Then once I actually began reporting, I realized that as a reporter, you just go over and over the same issues day after day but nothing changes, and ethics requires that you not do anything beyond reporting.
Not gonna work.
So I decided to teach for a little while until I figured out what to do about making a difference in the long term. God only knows what possessed my first principal to give me the job on the spot – I mean, I talked about the Sexual Health and Safety Task Force I was on in college, said I would only be staying for two years max, and that I would most likely break at least one bone during that brief tenure (I did break my pinky finger WHILE TEACHING one year).
Who would hire that crazy, TMI-ing girl? Yet, she must have seen something I didn’t, because here I am, still teaching, 7 years later.
I’ve changed schools, grade levels, and even gotten a master’s degree – but I know myself. Change isn’t something I ever greet with open arms, but I also crave it like Reese’s cups. So. Now that I’ve conquered my latest challenges, I’ve set myself a new one: to find out if I have what it takes to be an international aid worker for realizes one day.
This doesn’t mean that I’m ready to leave teaching just yet. What it does mean is that I spent a number of months researching the 5 Ws of potential volunteering placements and then prepping to spend a week in a maternal health clinic on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana followed by a week at an AIDS orphanage in the heart of the city.
I have my shots.
I have my visa.
I bought a fancy new backpack to take.
I’ll be treating my clothes with mosquito repellant to avoid Zika.
I read a guidebook about Dubai, my stopover city on the way back.
I am terrified.
(Conveniently, this means that I’m well on my way to crossing off #6 on my list, too.)
In a week I will be up in the air, on hour 12 of my 14 first leg, probably ready to lose my mind from a combination of cabin fever and anxiety. But by the time I finally arrive on Sunday, I’ll be one step closer to figuring out the next stage of my life.
And that’s something to be excited about.