I've written 49 posts since my adventure began over 2 years ago in Rome. I figured it would be good to end with a nice round number like 50, plus I'm always a little annoyed when people end blogs without clearly ending it, so here is my last post, wrapping it all up and signing off of Mission: Congo.
I have a Word document for my blog where I saved parts of posts I started writing plus all my ideas for future posts. Sadly, many of them didn't get written, and some that I did start soon became outdated, or talked about something that I didn't find remarkable anymore. Here are a few subjects that I had hoped to write more about:
African Communication- Or How Does Everyone in theChez VOICA Refurbishment (on a side note, does anyone know why we only say REfurbish? How come you don't say, I'm furbishing my place for the first time?)
Know About This Except Us? Entire Village
The Meat Shack
Goats are Funny
How Green is My Life Here- Or Solar Power Realities and Do I Want to Burn This or Bury It?
Maybe someday I will write a memoir and these topics will help me remember some more of my African experience!
To finish this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to look back on all I had written before. I enjoyed reading all my old posts and seeing what I had wanted to write about. Many of my early posts made me laugh a bit because they talked about things that I thought were unusual or funny about Congo, but now it seems so normal. What used to be so extraordinary became an ordinary part of every day life. I adapted to a life so totally different to what I had been used to and it became my normal life. And my life in Africa, is, in fact, much more like the normal life of millions of people around the world than my normal life in America is. Adaptation was very difficult at times, and I am so happy to have hot showers again, but I am also surprised at how non difficult it was and how I became used to so many aspects of daily life that had, in my first few weeks, really astounded me.
Now that I am home, I am beginning to understand how much I changed. I changed a lot in a small amount of time, but it didn't feel that way until I got home and could compare it to the way I used to be. Towards the end of my time in Congo, I started thinking about what I wanted to do when I got home, but I quickly realized that it was impossible because I had changed too much to think about home in the old context. I needed to go home and see how I fit into home as a changed person. And I also needed to leave Congo to fully understand how much it has changed me and time to process who I am now.
I feel like I am on a completely different path than I thought I was going to Congo. I was sure I would return home and attend a graduate school program involving International relations and travel the world working for an NGO of some sort. But right now, that no longer interests me. I want to build a community closer to home. I think the value of community is one of the biggest things I have taken away with me from Congo. Not only did I live in a community of volunteers, but I witnessed the community of Aru, where people live close to their families and generally stay in once place, or near to one place for much of their lives. The people are settled with a network of family and friends and they can be involved with nurturing and growing their community. After traveling the world during and after college, I am ready to stay in one place and be a part of my own community, instead of being a temporary visitor of other people's communities.
The most important thing I learned in Congo was the important of faith in my life. I choose VOICA because it was faith based and I knew that faith was important to me. And now I understand that it is not only important, but vital to my life. God is at the center of my life, and must always be, or I will fall apart. I do everything with strength from God and I am so much happier to be serving Him. I could not have survived 2 years in Congo without God, I am not strong enough. This experience tested my limits, and showed me that I have limits, and the only way to be at or beyond my limit is with Jesus by my side. But even then, I have learned to respect my limits and not push myself too hard.
I am still reflecting on the experience and adjusting to life in America. I am looking forward to...something, the future is still not clear to me, but no matter, because I am enjoying the moment of being with family and friends and just enjoying life in general.
I will leave this blog and Mission: Congo with sunset over the Congo river, remembering that as the sun sets over Congo, it rises somewhere else.