Tuesday, 21 July 2015

So far, yet so near

As I write this blog post I'm also instant messaging my sister Rach on my phone, and I’ve just finished reading some emails from friends and family back home. Thank goodness for technology which enables us to keep in touch so easily! Shortly I’m going to Skype my sisters, parents and auntie who are all having dinner together at my parents’ house to celebrate my auntie’s birthday. I regularly Skype my family as well as friends from Winchester (the beautiful city I have come to call home having originally moved there for university) and friends in other locations around the UK. It’s amazing to be so far away yet thanks to technology, feel as if you’re having a conversation with someone almost in the same room.

Living here in Zambia is pretty far from home, 4719 miles to be exact. I miss a lot of people and have missed some special events whilst I’ve been away; my sister Rhi’s 30th birthday, my Mum’s 60th birthday, my Nan’s 90th birthday, and my cousin’s wedding to name a few. Yet, when I'm asked if I feel homesick, I always say no. I hope my family are not too offended by this! Although I would love to see everyone at home, and can’t wait to catch up in December, what I am doing here right now feels pretty special…challenging yes, but also a great thing to be part of.

Rather ironically, my family are now eating dinner and drinking prosecco, whilst I’m sat in my room in near darkness. We are in the middle of another Zambian power cut! Yet, as I'm sat here alone typing this blog on my phone by candlelight, I am actually very happy to be here. Despite the power cuts, insects and dirt, Africa is a great place to be and a continent that I have grown to love. I love the kids I work with and it is a privilege to be in a position to help people who live on the opposite side of the world (in more ways than one) to home.

Sitting in my room, all I can see is the candle and its reflection in the mirror!

I'm learning to live in the now. Rather than thinking, ‘If only I could be there or do that…’ I can choose to make the most of where I am at the moment. Jim Elliott (the missionary murdered in Equador) said, “Wherever you are, be all there”. I find this an encouragement to fully commit to and engage with what I am doing now.

When I think of people who travelled or worked abroad many years ago before the internet and telephones were invented, I realise how fortunate I am – if I had to rely on the Zambian postal system to keep in touch with people at home then I really would feel remote! Just a couple of months ago, we had a newspaper delivered for someone who was here eight years ago!!! I think that must be some sort of record. I love to hear from friends and family back home and I really appreciate all of your emails, Facebook messages, Skype calls and even some letters. Thank you.

My Dinner Club buddies

Nan at 90!

Skype with Stew

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