That is my greatest anxiety about my upcoming trip to Uganda. I’m not worried about flying, when my visa will ever arrive or even how I’ll manage when faced with challenging, eye opening poverty. Nope, by far my biggest concern is getting Diarrhoea. Selfish? Yes, and perhaps a bit of an over share for a blog. So there you have it, first past the post, my greatest fear; loose stools.
It’s closely followed by other worries. For example how much of a culture shock will Africa really be? While I convince myself I’m a twenty first century vision of all knowing multiculturalism the reality is I’ve spent very little time outside of Europe. There’ll be awkward moments, misunderstandings and conversational mishaps. These concern me.
What if I’m not well-behaved enough to go on a trip like this? I am Christian, I grew up in a Christian family but having strayed away from God at about 16 and only found my way back at 25 I’m by no means Christianity’s poster girl. I smoke (don’t tell my mum), quite enjoy a drink at the weekends, swear like a trooper, slag people off and am generally partial to bit of bad behaviour. Yet here I am, virtuously packing my halo and smiling piously as I board a flight to Uganda to go and do good. People will see through me. Can you do good if you’re not good yourself?
What if I’m not really a good enough teacher to be going and sharing my practise with anyone?
What if the ideas and resources I take are useless and the teachers we’re working with in Uganda think I’m a moron?
What if I annoy people on my team to the point where one of them punches me in the face?
What about Bot fly Larvae!? (Google them. No don’t. No actually do, go on!)
But when I stop neurotically googling tropical diseases for a moment I do realise how much I’m looking forward to this trip. I’m looking forward to simple things like meeting people; I love people, all the people! Especially little people because you have to be patient, kind, funny and silly with them. I know I can be these things. I’m looking forward to roughing it a bit and feeling useful, in whatever way God has planned. I’m looking forward to seeing the colours of another sky and finding amusingly named products in a foreign supermarket.
I’m looking forward to bigger things too. I can’t wait to help out and share, to learn and be inspired by teachers who work in incredibly challenging settings; people who see a need in their community and have simply chosen to try and meet it. People whose hands are empty but have chosen to try and give anyway. I mean they are pretty amazing people, and I get to spend time with them and learn from them. That’s ace.
I’m looking forward to waking up a bit, seeing things differently. Maybe even changing a bit. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with how I am now, but I think there’s definitely room for a shake-up and something tells me this trip will provide.
Ruth in the Bible is by far my favourite character, nothing to do with the fact she shares my name, honest. No matter where she was called she went with the flow, she was fiercely loyal and had her priorities right in order. She could see quite clearly where God lived and so just sort of shut-up and followed that light, no fuss. When I think about the trip to Uganda in just a few weeks I see a massive-smassive amount of God’s love, light and promise beaming down on it. So for now I’m going to stop googling dengue fever (Can you believe there’s no vaccination?) and be a bit more like my name-sake. This trip is a good idea. It’s going to be good because it’s God’s trip and God is good. I feel very blessed and excited to be going.
I’ll let you know if I get diarrhoea…