When I was in 9th grade, I wrote a short story entitled “Running.” In the story, I unknowingly set wheels in motion that I am only now even beginning to understand. In the story, the narrator is on a bus in Uganda. She notices a small girl running alongside the road and is immediately intrigued. Why was the little girl running? I still see this little girl vividly in my mind, and she represents a crucial part of my life.
As soon as I step onto the tarmac, beads of sweat ripple across my jet-lagged skin. Eyes itching from too many hours within pressurized cabins, I blink several times and follow the lumbering man ahead of me. With his khaki safari vest, a giant camera bag over his shoulder, and his head swiveling back and forth, it appears he hopes to spot his first zebra before he even clears customs at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Two years ago, I set foot in Tanzania for the first time as a Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer. And now, I'm writing this from my home in the middle of a Maasai village in Tanzania. I never thought that a six-week volunteer program could change my life so drastically, but it did!