Sunday, May 07, 2006

Toronto to Amsterdam

Yet again, I’m typing in mid-air; we’re somewhere over the Atlantic at this point. We’ll “briefly” stop in Amsterdam for 6 hours before continuing on to Accra in what will be tomorrow. All 23 volunteers bound for Ghana are together on the same flights the whole way through, which has made my sitting in a middle seat much more bearable.

In walking around the Toronto airport and even sitting here on the plane I feel nothing. It almost feels wrong that I’m not going crazy thinking of what lies before me. After spending a week where every single emotion—excited, overwhelmed, terrified—was completely maxed out, I think my body has finally had enough and is in “numb” mode until further notice. I suppose it’s best, seeing as there’s a long trip ahead, but it almost feels like I’m a bad person for not being permanently ecstatic throughout my travels.

It feels like I’ve learned more in a week of training than I would a semester of school. The sheer volume of information that we covered is pretty impressive, especially considering the amount of sleep we got each night. All the discussions people had fostered a huge amount of critical thought and introspection, pushing me in ways that I’ve never been pushed before. I was especially grateful that so many past volunteers were around to talk about their thoughts, emotions, and struggles in previous summers, when the placements were much more uncertain with much less support. The fact that every one of them came out of their experience alive and smiling is extremely reassuring.

This whole experience has been fantastic so far—and it’s hardly even beginning! I’m unbelievably glad to have had the opportunity to go through training with such amazing people before going overseas. These people are so full of hope, passion and ability; and I couldn’t have asked for a better support group.

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