BY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA, AZ USA – A friend told me the other day that after all of his world travels it was Africa that was the most difficult place to visit. He said it was emotionally exhausting. Another lady I heard about came back and after a week found herself on the side of the highway crying. The impact of Africa had caught up with her. An acquaintance told me that his daughter chose nursing after participating in an African humanitarian opportunity. He told me the experience changed her life. I believe this experience will change all of our lives because I believe it will change our hearts.
We will be boarding the plane in 48 hours. I better start packing! Before Cyndi left for the Sundance Producers Conference she counseled us to pack early. OOOPS! Not the most obedient am I.
Just to justify my behavior… I have been busy! My son Ben flew in from Chile on Thursday. I had to teach him how to make enchiladas! I spent time listening to his adventures. I am a good listener. I looked right into his green eyes and down to his soul. I also spent time with Isaac and Audrey. Newlyweds are fun to be around. They argue so lovingly! Too cute. Then I spent time with my girls. We went to a movie, we went swimming, we talked. Did I mention shopping? I woke them up in the morning with a back scratch. I want them to miss me! Do you think they will miss me? Then Chris and I spent time with each other. I am pretty sure he is going to miss me, but you never know with those strong silent types.
I also spent time on myself. I have been waking up with the sunrise. I go in my backyard and lay in my hammock and enjoy the peace and promise of the dawn. And I think. I think of this life I live in the United States. It is so full of potential. It is so full of everything. I realize that next week I will be waking up in Zambia. I imagine that life in Zambia is not so full of everything. I will find out soon.
I told my friends and family that I expect to be different when I return. I expect this experience to change me, to change my heart. I expect that the things that I might find important and vital now may seem trivial and inconsequential. Jabbes told me that in Africa people take time to celebrate life with each other. He says there is a lot of socializing. There is a lot of dancing. There is a lot of laughter. They take time.
I believe this experience will change my life. I think it will change my heart. I think it already has.