After months of planning, praying, packing, getting vaccines and buying clothes appropriate for a Muslim culture, the day of departure is finally here.
I’m flying to Togo tonight!
I’ll land in Lome (Togo’s capital) at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and the following day I’ll take the 9-hour cab ride north to the hospital in Mango.
I’ve been in Paris for the weekend. I love Paris and, lucky for me, they have the cheapest/shortest flights to Togo (which used to be a French colony way back when.)
Right now I’m sitting at a cafe having lunch, waiting for the airport shuttle to pick me up in a few hours.
I’m trying to decide how I feel, but I can’t narrow it down to a specific emotion.
I’m excited. Nervous. Scared. Curious. Ready. And at the same time, not ready.
After a restless night of sleep, I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. I laid in bed and watched the sky lighten from middle-of-the-night indigo to early-morning pastel blue.
I laid there and I prayed. I told God I wasn’t ready to leave home.
And then I laughed because for a second I had actually thought I was in the U.S. before I realized I was in Europe, where I’ve been for the past month. And although I love Paris, I can’t really call it “home.” The truth is, I’ve been living on the road in transient, unfamiliar or semi-familiar places since October 2014.
And maybe the reason why I don’t feel ready to go to Africa is because it’s cutting the final ties with anything and everything that’s familiar to me.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll be on a new continent, in a new culture, with dialects I’ve never heard before, dressing more conservatively than I’ve ever dressed before (the chaplain at the hospital said for the Togolese people, seeing a women’s ankles is as shocking as seeing her topless), practicing a more primitive form of medicine than I’ve ever practiced before, living abroad longer than I’ve ever lived before.
For the next three months I’ll be living as Cortes’ men, burning the ships and choosing to stay.
It’ll be an adventure to say the least!
Before I go, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who have contributed financially to make this trip possible, as well as a huge thank you to those who have been praying for me.
Please keep it up!
I’ll be working in very hot and trying conditions. It’s in the 100’s in Togo right now, and the hospital has hundreds more patients show up every day than it can treat. It’s going to take a lot of grace and patience and mercy and love to navigate the next three months.
I’ll be posting here on the blog as often as possible.
Thanks for your love and support.