The only thing I could see were small, mint colored dim flames surrounded by darkness as I worked on the weld. Although intimidating at first, I grew confident and got comfortable with molten metal flying about and a brightness that would permanently blind me if I took my mask off.
Over the weekend, I mingled with the other volunteers – Sofia, Harris and Danny, and climatized to the area. We had a great time, as we relaxed at the beach, played pick up football with locals and shared a large gladiator pizza in the evening. All of us were prepared and excited for the upcoming working week.
New adventures have always been one of my favorite things, especially when it involves traveling to a new country. Since starting PA school at MUSC 2 years ago, traveling and volunteering haven’t exactly been the easiest things to do. So when I found out that I could combine my love of traveling and volunteering with school, I jumped at the unique opportunity to go to Uganda.
Rosa picked out questions from a bag and everyone went around to answer them. The questions were along the lines of "what is your dream" "where were you 10 years ago" "if you could have anything what could it be". Once again, I was reminded by the similarities we all share and the inherent connection we have with people all around the world.
Half an hour into it, we did an activity where we wrote on pieces of paper our fears and worries. That was where I noticed a change in the mood. As the papers were put into a box and pulled out anonymously by Katie to be written down on the white board, you could feel that each fear was resonating with the other women in the room. Fears of raising children correctly, having enough healthy food for everyone, having time to do everything and other worries of mothers I know reminded me of how connected we all are.
As I reflect on the past two weeks, I see personal growth. I see knowledge gained. I have only traveled internationally alone once before, and it was to China with a connection in Germany with a close friend waiting for me at the airport. The traveling adventures, to and from Peru, have forced me to act as an adult, fully responsible for myself. Nobody else was watching out for me.