Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Authenticity, Part III

This post actually has nothing to do with “authenticity” – except, perhaps, addressing my own anger and guilt.

“You’re a free spirit.”

My friend said that to me before I left for South Africa and he said it again this time around.

“You’re such a free spirit.  You just go wherever you want.”

That’s not true.  Although I don’t have any major commitments like children or a mortgage, I still have a life back home.  I still have to rearrange my life and get my ducks in a row to leave for 4-10 months.  Ugh, as much as I hate to say it, I have to make sacrifices for this life.

Arguably, nothing major.  As much as I joke about TZ, the food situation isn’t that terrible.  Nothing about my living situation is awful.  It’ll take me a little longer to graduate from my masters program, but I didn’t have to give up any major dreams to spend time volunteering with EWB.

But that doesn’t make it easy.  I miss my family and friends.  My relationships weaken.  My heart hurts.

Before I left, my sister cried to me, “You can’t go.  It was horrible when you went to Africa before.  After Skyping, Mum always cried.  Do you know what that was like for me?”

The separation is tougher than any financial or employment commitments.  It’s disparaging to be called a “free spirit.”  It belittles my love for people back home.


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One thought on “Authenticity, Part III

  1. Big Fran on said:

    I cried… Even if things aren’t “the worst” you’re allowed to feel like it’s not always easy. You’re allowed to miss people and you’re allowed to recognize that you have made sacrifices to do this. I miss you and I know you are finding the good.

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