When I first started to finalize details for my trip to Swaziland, Africa this summer, I must admit that I looked at everything a bit naively. I wasn't anticipating perfection by any means, but there were just a few details that didn't cross my mind until either: a.) the moment we were headed there b.) a random day well into the trip or c.) we were on our way home.
For lack of a better word...there were just a few things that Africa reminded me.
1.) BATTERIES DON'T CHARGE THEMSELVES. You would think after a long day of playing with the kids at the carepoint and spending all your free time snapping photos of them that charging your camera and phone batteries would... Well...at LEAST cross your mind. You would think.
2.) IF YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT SPORTS IN AMERICA, YOU WON'T BE GOOD AT SPORTS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. HA. HA. HA. I know...it sounds like I'm being a serious Debbie Downer. One day afterschool some of the older girls were playing a game that they call tennis. (There were no rackets, FYI). They were basically bouncing a tennis ball back and forth between about 8 of them. They claimed the only trick was that you had to jump over the ball before catching it. But actually, they lied...because the other trick was the fact that I was wearing a long skirt...and I'm just gonna leave it at that. Kenzie, meet dirt. Dirt, meet Kenzie. Kenzie, praise Jesus that you are wearing leggings under said skirt.
3.) THERE IS ALWAYS TIME FOR LAUGHTER. So often here at home, I notice myself turning into this "no foolin" kinda girl. I get into my rigid schedule and everything I do almost seems to become an appointment. God reminds me of this one pretty often, but in Africa, it was like a whole 12 days of being reminded. I have never laughed more. I have never made so many silly faces. I have never laughed more about the silly faces I was making. See exhibit A below... ;)
4.) BUILDING WALLS DOESN'T KEEP OTHER PEOPLE OUT, IT FENCES YOU IN. This is DEEP and it hit me like a ton of bricks while I was there. The kids loved looking at photos of and hearing about my family. When the question, "do you have a grandpa?" arose from time to time, I was taken a bit aback before I could find the words to explain that I have two in Heaven. Here at home, the same question would result in an almost awkward response of... "Uh, let's not talk about it." Being honest and open with the kids, even when it was bittersweet for me, split my heart right open. God did a lot of healing through little conversations with little ladies who now mean the absolute world to me.
It may have a thing or two to do with being caught up in the moment...but, regardless...hindsight is 20/20, right? :)