June 05, 2007

Before Leaving

I am preparing to leave for Kampala in Uganda in 3 days. I can't actually believe that I am going. I have been talking about doing some kind of project in Africa for over a year and I am actually going to be getting on a plane in 72 hours. When you know that you are going to so something for so long, when the date actually arrives you can't quite believe that its there. Its been in the future for so long that is becoming the present is unbelievable. I have everything prepared and packed, and yet I am sure that there is something vital that I am forgetting and so long as it isnt my passport or my visa i am sure I'll be fine.

The reality of what I am doing has also hit. Although I have been fully aware that I will be working with terminally ill children but the word 'terminal' didn't really mean anything more than the world globalisation. It was just something that was going to happen in the future and I guess as I was studying it I was emotionally detached. However, over the past few days I have started to get upset, not even for the children, more for myself and how I will deal with it alone in Uganda. This is making me sound like I am a cold person, but the children at present are a collective, an entity that has no face, no personality and no name. I am aware however, that this is not going to last longer than a few days. I have been lucky in my life in that I have never been subject to large emtional strain, my family are in good health and I have never worked in a hospital environment.

I think that in the West we always want to cure things and find a solution.  But for these children there is no cure, there is nothing that can be done to make things better, the best that can be hoped for it to make things easier and to give them an end that is comfortable and respects their needs and wants. I think that the hardest thing will be being 'useless'. Having no medical training and not understanding how things work I imagine for the large part that I will be an observer, and as this is the role that I feel least happy with this is going to be a big challenge!

The biggest thing that people have told me about is the lack of time. That there are no schedules and that the pace of life is completely different. Having travelled before I feel more prepared for this than I would have been had this been my first time out of Europe, but I still think that Africa is going to be something different. I have only been told good things about the nature of the Ugandan people. Its rather nice heading out to a country being told that most people are friendly.

I am expecting Kampala to be full of other volunteers, although people to go to travel most do some kind of charity work whilst they are there. I am trying to go without a set idea of what things will be like. As there is no way that I can anticipate what it will be like. I hope that I will be able to give something back, which is the reason why people go out there I guess.

I will keep updating this as regularly as I can, and if anyone has any questions or comments they would be much appreciated!  

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