There are 29 people and counting on this dala dala… (the van public transit system that is never too full to fit a few more). It’s just my second day leaving the orphanage and as the sun sets over the Africa plains and hot wind and dust hits my face, an indescribable feeling washes over me. I’ve never felt it before. It’s a calm. It’s an excitement. It’s breathtaking. It’s humbling. It’s happy. It’s everything and nothing all at once.
And suddenly, everyone in the overcrowded bus just melted away. I couldn’t feel the sudden and frequent stops or the hard bumps. I couldn’t hear the honking or the many conversations I did not understand. In the midst of all the chaos, I found my ohm.
Coming to Tanzania, I didn’t expect anything. I didn’t have this great expectation to save lives or to have mine irrevocably changed. To be honest, I just went. Into the weeks leading up to it, I never delved deeper into why I was going, who I would meet, how it would change me, etc etc. I never asked any of those questions. I just went with an open heart and an open mind. I packed. I got on the plane. And here I am.
But to be here, to walk in the dirt and feel the sun. To hear the kids run to you at the car and ask to carry anything you are holding. To hear them laugh and read and sing. To see them smile and run and play futbol. It’s so simple. And yet, as I read and played and laughed and sang with them, I thought to myself. This. THIS is life. Back home in a world of instant gratification and extreme overindulgence, it’s so easy to forget and yet so hard to come back and realize. That life’s purest moments are really just this simple.
So as the sunset behind the mountain. And the purple clouds gave way to starlit skies. I closed my eyes, took a deep breathe, and smiled. Many people thank volunteers for their time, their effort, their money, their donations. But for me, I am the one that is thankful. Thank you (to everyone who had anything to do with this experience) for helping me find my ohm. I’ll be back.