We were told about it and we were trained for it, but nothing could prepare us for the feeling of total helpless in a place so new and so different.
We have had to rely on our team for housing, for food, to go anywhere, to help clear our container, to schedule picking up our dog, to know who to contact to help get our new home ready, to go to the market or to the bank or to the supermarket…
And then there’s the cultural element that is so different. We have no idea what people are saying around us as they speak different languages. Even trying to understand the African English and trying to communicate appropriately in our American English. Words are used differently, phrases don’t always translate, and both sides are figuring out what the other person is trying to say.
Asking our team about cultural norms that seem so simple until you have no idea how to handle them, like greeting people. Learning that lines don’t exist and people just go to the front with their stuff, buying electricity and phone data as you go, driving on the other side of the road along with hundreds of bodas (motorcycles), always being looked at strangely…
Those are just a few of the things that have been interesting to adjust to. It has been challenging, exhausting, exciting, new, different, frustrating, exhilarating, humorous all in one day. But the great thing is that as we lay in bed at night, we are thankful that God continues to be with us throughout everything. Each day, we feel His presence and we are reminded that we are learning all of this so that we can better minister to His people.
What a crazy and amazing journey!
One thought on “The feeling of being overwhelmed…”
Welcome to East Africa! I do not think we have ever crossed paths, I grew up at Western Hills and I believe you know my parents. My family is over in Tanzania (howdy neighbor) serving as the directors of Neema House. We have been on this journey for two years now. It took every second of the first year to feel like we had our footing. Give yourself grace and then more grace and then more grace. Self care is one of the most important practices you can adopt. It is not a splurge, it is necessary for sustainability. Our prayers are with you, that first year is brutal, but looking back is triumphant. Karibu sana.