In a day I go on an adventure. I will be traveling to Kasulu, a village in Western Tanzania. No safari, no SUVs, no smiling bands of tourists. Just me and 6 other friends. We are traveling on behalf of Asante Mariamu, a non-profit organization formed by my dear friend Susan Dubois to help people with albinism in East Africa. In Kasulu we will be spending time at the Kabanga School for the Disabled. We are taking with us supplies for people with albinism, and visually and hearing impaired children. We will help improve various parts of the rather run-down school, teach people with albinism how to care for their skin, launch the first ever Albinism Awareness Day in Kasulu, and capture more stories to raise awareness. This will be an adventure of a lifetime for me.
In the last week, I’ve been waking up feeling quite ill. In the last month, my stress level related to this trip has gone up. This is an incredible opportunity, a wonderful mission, a great cause. But this ache in my chest lingers. I haven’t been able to nail down why. But now I know:
I am hardwired to care for my two babies. Yes, even at ages 12 and 8. And yes, even if I have the most capable husband and father to these big babies. I’m hardwired. I’m leaving them and traveling to an unknown place, and may find myself in unsafe situations. This act is causing ruckus in my psyche, and the logical side is losing the battle against the strong, hardwired cave woman/mama bear instinct to protect my babies. I’m fleeing the nest. My babies need food and shelter.
iPhone be damned. What good will it be to me if there is no wireless connection? And no, I don’t need it to post my pictures on Facebook, check in, or tweet about what I had for breakfast. Not having a direct line to my family makes me uneasy.
What if I don’t come back?
I was startled when I said this out loud to my husband Scot a few weeks ago. Very startled.
So why am I going?
Because it’s the right thing to do and I want to go. And I’m going because I can. I’ve been handed this opportunity to go beyond my usual comfort zone and do some good for people who are not my family or close friends. It’s time I got off my ass and the comfort of my chair. It’s time I got off the Internet, the reach of social media, and touch some real people. Look at them directly in the eyes and talk to them. Learn a new language. Make some lifelong connections with people. People who perhaps cannot imagine owning a smart phone that can connect me with my family thousands of miles away, instantly. But only if I have a wireless connection…
Please learn more about Asante Mariamu, and why I feel compelled to leave my family for a week to be with the wonderful people of Kasulu, Tanzania.