Friday, December 10, 2010

Closing Time


It’s over! We are about to leave Kilimanjaro Bush Camp for Nairobi. I will fly out tomorrow to spend the week in Greece. And then I’ll be home.

I’ll write later about our community presentations and how the semester wrapped up, but for now my concern is getting myself around the world!

Re-entry. Oof. I am so excited to see all of you. But unsure of how I’ll react to being home. All I ask is that you’re patient with me. Coming back home is not easy when you’ve been to a developing country. So it’ll be a process. Nonetheless, I am beyond excited to tell you all my stories and to hear yours.

I’ll see you all soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Shakin' in my Boots


An Emerson quote helped me come here. I was pretty scared to study abroad in East Africa. There were times I was terrified. I was scared of being overwhelmed by this program, by not being good enough for it. I was scared of finding that the other students were genius scientists who would intimidate me. I was scared of not having time to truly prepare myself for leaving, and being caught up in a wave of culture shock.

“Always do what you are afraid of.”

So I came, of course. Despite feeling unprepared and apprehensive of the unknown. And I found that, in part, my fears were realized.

I am overwhelmed. I’m not enough to solve wildlife management problems. But that’s true for everyone. We are all striving to find solutions. And heck, to even fully understand the issues. But they are huge. They involve immense tension between wildlife and people in a mess that makes you feel like you can’t possibly please both sides. I’m not the only one to be humbled by East African wildlife management.

And these students are brilliant. But not in the ways I expected. They are personable, and they think about spirituality and world issues and how to be a good community. They’re real people. Go figure. And they’re so intelligent. In ways that aren’t stuffy and superior. They can articulate their knowledge in ways that make sense to the world. Wow. And they don’t intimidate me, thank God. They inspire me.

And I’m always shocked. I’m shocked right now. But it’s something I can handle. I fly out of Kenya in 9 days. And the weeks following that will be quite an adventure in itself. Life is shocking, isn’t it?

My scare right now is DR! Directed Research. It seems huge. And impossible. And beyond my capabilities. But I’m a research trainee, dang it. And although these next few days of write up and presentations terrify me, I am allowed to make mistakes and not know everything. I’m allowed to be scared of it. But I’m obligated to breathe, think, and work through the very thing that makes me afraid.