As many of you know, I am headed to Malawi in mid July to serve with the Peace Corps and SEED Global Health as a nurse educator. This is a one year commitment beginning in mid July. I am one of 24 nurse and 24 physicians that will be the third cohort of practitioners deployed in Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania to teach in university nursing and medical schools to improve the level of education of local students. I am thrilled to have been chosen to be part of this amazing experience!
If feels like this experience is part of my larger plan as everything has lined up for this experience. My house sold in December, mom’s house is under contract and closing 7/10, my kids are settled and enjoying their independent lives, and ZOZO will be with Johnny and Debbie (brother and sis-n-law) Mom is very happy at the Woodstock Terrace.
Even with all these very MAJOR pieces taken care of as I prepare to depart I am aware of how much I am trying to control and manipulate my circumstances there even before arrival! The questions I am asking the two nurses already there teaching are ridiculous and humorous as I think about the realities of going to Malawi, one of the most undeveloped countries in the world. Here’s an example of the things I am concerned about:
- How am I going to get my grey hair roots taken care of? Are there salons that cater to expats that understand this?
- Eyebrow waxing, OMG do I have to do this myself with the root hair treatment?
- What about pedicures…
- Can I get enough fruits and veggies without a diet based on cabbage?
- How do I exercise in a country where women don’t even wear pants
- How long do my skirts have to be?
- Will I be able to eat enough lean protein and avoid the hi carb diet so prevalent in the third world?
- Will I get enough cell and internet reception to communicate with my friends and family?
- Are there screens on the windows, heat, refrigeration ? How about basic electricity and running water?
- Toothpaste, toilet paper, body lotion?
- What kind of shoes do I bring?
The list is endless and my mind is reeling at the thought of being so out of control of my normal “must haves.” As I tick off the questions, I am noticing how important it is to me to have things just so…..my special brand of this and that, my unique formula of hair color that took us 4 trips to the salon to perfect. Will my face be falling down when I return?
Though comical when I reflect on these questions, they lead to me to ask myself what it would be like to just completely let go and trust that all will be well when I get there and the solutions to any problems will be just fine. I had thought I had let go of much of my desire for perfection, but alas, I am reminded through this process of preparation for a year in Africa, that perhaps, I am worse than ever! Am I really that high maintenance (don’t say it Julie, Paul)
If it weren’t for technology, none of this would matter because I would probably be too lazy to write a hand written letter to the nurses currently in Mzuzu, and wait for the response, perhaps a month’s time frame. And, I wouldn’t have to worry about what I look like when I facetime or Skype you at home.
Our group convenes in Washington, DC July 13th for 10 days or so of training in the Peace Corps Office. Then we are off to our respective countries for more in country training and settling in our residences and setting up “home” prior to starting school that begins in early September.
I have so much gratitude for those of you who have so whole heartedly supported me in my desire to take on such an incredible opportunity for both service as well as expansion of my own horizons by living and working in another culture.
In the meantime, if you would like to subscribe to my blog, you can click on the link and follow the prompts. I will be posting on FB also, but if you subscribe you will automatically get the posting with an email.
I look forward to sharing the answers to my questions when I receive more information and keeping you up to date on the experience. As always, I look forward to hearing from you and your comments and questions are welcome and important to me!