Woof. Back in America is crazy. But more on that later, let me summarize the last days in Africa.
So on Monday, I presented my research, which was actually awesome. It was really satisfying to present my work that I am so passionate about to others that were at least marginally interested in it. I then got to listen to everyone else’s presentations. It’s absolutely fascinating how varied all of our research was. Monday night most of us stayed at the program house, where we cooked a big communal dinner, and watched Bridesmaids.
Tuesday we got up pretty early to debrief the entire program. Joy. Then we left to drive to St. Lucia where we would begin our two days of safari! We started with a boat safari in the estuary, and saw a bunch of Hippos and Crocodiles, and it actually got to be pretty boring, but it was nice just to relax with everyone. We all went out to dinner that night, which was again very relaxing.
Wednesday we got up at the ass crack of dawn to get to the game park. We got there as the sun was rising (which actually did look like the lion king) we started driving and BOOM ELEPHANTS. So after having an inner freakout at how amazing my life was, we kept going. Then all of a sudden there was a giraffe in the middle of the road. IN. THE. ROAD. Kept trundling along and there were impalas EVERYWHERE. And babies too the little cutesy things. Then we saw a mama warthog with a bunch of babies. So. Cute. Then some zebras posing along the road, a dung beetle, and some rhinos. Then we found some big mommy kitties. LIONS! So. Cool. Then more rhinos, another elephant, mor giraffes and some buffalo. Pretty big day. We all got some groceries and hung out before bed, but we all turned in early. We woke up crazy early again to go to the airport. It was so strange that it was my last day in Africa. First flight was fine, little puddle jump to Joberg. Second flight was fine. Of course I was sitting next to a guy who lives around the corner from my job in somerville and works for the Harvard School of Public Health. Of course. The third flight (after we all got sprayed down for yellow fever. lolz senegal) sucked. I decided to take an ambien (prescribed, calm down) but it just made me super woozy, and I spent the majority of the flight throwing up, but since it was Ambien induced, I barely remember it. Then I landed in DC and had the easiest customs of my life. I was practically skipping through the airport. I got a blueberry muffin, OJ and hot chocolate from Dunkies. Then I hopped on my flight to Boston. I flew over NYC and saw Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty which was really nice. Then I landed, and SPRINTED off the plane to the door where my parents were waiting. I pretty much flung myself at them. Lots of crying. Then we grabbed my suitcases and brought me home.
Being back in the US is weird. I keep having these feelings like I’m just dreaming and I’ll wake up back in Durban. It’s also SUCKED being home for the biggest consumer season of the year. I was bumming around downtown with my mom the other night and a woman said to her boyfriend “Well you can buy me THIS Gucci belt” and I nearly flipped a shit at both of them. It’s sucked, because I know many people don’t have the perspective to understand how sad this is. There are people living in South Africa in the direst of conditions, and here we are trying to find the perfect holiday gift.
I think, in retrospect, that as much as many aspects of this trip sucked and were extremely difficult to deal with, this was probably the biggest and most important learning experience of my life. I have a much broader perspective on the world, and I have gained so much knowledge about healthcare, and about myself. I am so grateful to my family and friends, and also all those that I worked with in South Africa for all of their help, love and understanding.
This is me signing off until the next adventure
Ngiabonga kakulu (thanks a lot) for reading!