This was published in Capital Journal.
Moving to Africa for two years is incredibly selfish.
I did not buy a gallon of ice cream and hold my friend as she cried from a broken heart. I did not hug another friend and tell her how beautiful she looked on her wedding day. I did not see my father graduate with his master’s degree.
Birthdays, holidays, weddings, funerals and births have all passed with little from me outside of a written greeting. When my friends and family needed my support or deserved my congratulations, I was not there.
But, for me, they were. And you were.
My unbelievably supportive family and friends never gave up on me. I needed to come to Lesotho and, even if they didn’t like it, they continued to root for me. I got sick, I fought with my students and I discovered some very ugly sides of myself, but that support never weakened.
This experience has changed my relationships, some faded while more strengthened. There are people I considered close that I didn’t hear from at all in the last two years but then people I barely know reached out, such as the receptionist at my optometrist who sent a box treats for my students and me because she liked my columns.
This is my final piece for The Capital Journal as I will soon leave Lesotho and begin the next phase of my life. I reached out to the editor and publisher of this newspaper about writing the column because I wanted my experiences in print and I thought a few people back home would find it interesting. It never occurred to me that it would more or inspire people, let alone be included in a Sunday sermon. Being able to chase your dreams is an incredible blessing, but to do so with the support of your hometown is indescribable.
Thank you, readers, for following along and allowing me to share my experiences. Thank you for reaching out through emails and letters. Thank you for stopping my parents in the store or at a restaurant to tell them how much you enjoyed my latest piece – those messages got back to me. Your support and an unending encouragement was my lighthouse on the stormiest of days.
It’s assumed that people who decided to volunteer in the Third World for two years are good people, but I am just someone with a dream. The real good people in the world are those that support dream chases and remind them their journey means something – to them, to the world. The people who don’t mind if you miss their wedding or don’t send a birthday gift or the people who barely know you but write to tell you to keep going. Those are good people.
Thank you for being good to me.