Well hello again!
So, a slight change: I am no longer going to The Gambia. Today Roger and Meredith told me that they have been very seriously concerned about my health, and after a lot of reflection, they feel that The Gambia is not a safe place for me to go. The past month I have been hearing stories of what its like in Gambia, and I too am on board with this decision not to go.
One part of me is sad and disappointed, and the other part is relieved and excited. I was super on board with the type of project and the work I was to be doing in Gambia, and I was also secretly wondering if I could really handle it. It is one of the most challenging environments to even seasoned international travelers. I was sure determined to try it out though! However, sometimes determination isn’t enough or appropriate. I have a fairly problematic tomato allergy, and almost all meals there contain tomatoes. What happens when I eat them is they weaken my immune system so I get sick, and this is not ok in an environment like Gambia where a weakened immune system is very dangerous. REAP has had many past interns get seriously ill from just the general life there, and they continue to be ill for years upon their return to Canada. They do not wish me to go through that, and rightly so!
I’m not one to hang onto the negative, or pine after things that cannot be. Once something changes, there is no sense in getting upset. Just roll with the punch, and onwards and upwards to the next adventure!
This past month at REAP has been an incredible self-exploratory time for me. I’ve honed my perception of what I would really like to specialize more in (soils and agroforestry), I recognize that I need more time spent in hands-in-the-soils and with people than in front of a computer screen, and refined my conflict resolution and communication skills. So many good things, and I am now looking forward to the other opportunities I can explore.
An analogy I find works to describe how I explore new things is similar to how I get into water for swimming. Unless the water is really warm and inviting, I usually take my sweet time getting in. I slowly inch further along, letting my body get used to the temperature. Finally I’m able to take that last step and swim out, and once I’m in the water I can stay there for a really long time and really come to know the depths. This internship was like jumping into the frigid deep end in terms of shock to the system and experiences. I thought it might be a great thing for me to just plunge into something like this internship, but now I recognize that I need to stay in integrity with who I am and how I do things.
I will admit, a part of me is embarrassed. I’ve been so excited and not shy about showing my excitement, so now that I am not going… its kinda awkard. I recognize that I will be the only one who feels this, but its still a funny place to be. Oh ego… how you do play games. This is also not something I can change, if it were my work ethic or performance being the issue, I would be pretty upset. My physical reality is not something I have a lot of choice in, and I take great cares to learn and abide by my own limits.
So what now you ask? Well! I’ll continue at REAP here in Montreal until Nov 18th like we had agreed, and then I will be homeward bound. As for work, not sure yet, I trust that that door will open when I need it to! I’m still thinking to travel someplace this winter, but for less time and in a less extreme condition for my first international work. I think this is a very good thing for me. Plus… so much knitting can be done now that I will be experiencing winter! Oh god, the projects, the projects! For those who care, Vivian and I will be having a great time.
Thank you to all the people who were reading this blog, supportive of this processes, and excited right a long there with me. Its wonderful to have such awesome folk to call friends. Really looking forward to seeing you all again!