Editor’s Note: This is the second of 10 entries from writer Katie Croft.
Shortly after takeoff on my 8-hour flight from Chicago to Spain -- en route to Africa -- reality began to set in.
I tried to fight it off and sleep but I was unsuccessful. One can only contort their body in so many ways.
Our trip details had changed significantly in the 3 weeks prior to departure. At the last minute, switching countries from Equatorial Guinea to Cameroon made us scurry to get newly-required visas.
I had heard that things in Africa operate very differently than what I am accustomed to. I have no category for ministry or life in Africa. But, as a wise friend of mine said, just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it is bad. It’s just different.
I hope to embrace that philosophy over the next 2 weeks of uncertainty.
What Did I Get Myself Into?
I really have no idea what I am getting myself into for the next 2 weeks. I am not by nature a high-control person, but I have found myself needing to give my uncertainties to the Lord -- often.
Typically I am prepared, know what is needed and have planned ahead. This time I threw everything in my small forest green Eddie Bauer suitcase and zipped it closed. I had packed according to a list but still had the nagging feeling that I was forgetting something.
Usually I can get whatever I need when I get there, but that would not be true on this trip.
My mind started to think about all of the unknowns. I wondered:
- What do they eat?
- How will I communicate if I cannot speak the languages?
- Did I pack the right clothes?
- What if I get sick?
- Did I leave the ceiling fan on in my bedroom at home?
Becoming a Learner of Something New
Finally, I began to settle down. I tuned into the in-flight movie and set my brain on cruise control. There was nothing more I could do but relax and hope for the best.
The African population is one aspect of the world that I am largely unfamiliar with. I wonder what life looks like for the tribes who live without electricity or running water.
Even in my moments of anxiety I am eager to see life done differently. I am anxious to see human characteristics transcend place and culture.