Getting back into my normal routine the last couple of days has proven challenging for me — both physically and emotionally.

For the first time ever in my travels am I experiencing jet lag — nausea, disorientation, dizziness, irregular sleep patterns.

Then there’s the mental transition. When asked at the dry cleaner yesterday, “How are you?” I teared up. “I’m great,” I replied. How could I justify any other response than “great”? I’m well-fed and healthy. I live in a clean apartment with a reliable water source and electricity at the flip of any number of switches. I am lucky to have several safety nets — an unemployment office, family, friends — to catch me if I was in dire straights. I’m not deprived of any basic needs, in fact, I have many desires and whims that are fulfilled.

Even simple errands turn into opportunities for second thoughts. I stopped at the ATM for cash and saw a landscaper spraying stuff on the grass growing between the cracks of the sidewalk. “Really?”, I thought.

Of course friends and family are chomping at the bit to hear tales and see pictures and I’ve been reaching out as time and energy have allowed. Some cannot relate whatsoever, although everyone has been very supportive of this trip and the DMP mission. A few of my friends have traveled to third-world countries and I’ve found their insight on processing and making sense of this transition very helpful. I’ve also been in contact with some of our mission group which has been a great source of solace.

I wonder how long it will take me to go back to the oblivion of trivial American life encounters…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mission Accomplished! DMP Class of 2010 Returns to US

What great fortune!! (Well, that and a boatload of pre-trip planning, coordination, confirmation, calculation and a bit of consternation just for good measure.) All DMP mission volunteers and bags of books arrived in Ethiopia on August 8 and all volunteers and empty bags returned to the States today! Some comments I heard during our last evening in Addis Ababa:
Has it already been a week?
I am definitely coming back to this country!
Today’s SNAFU ended up being my favorite day.
This has been a life-changing experience for me.
Don’t forget to friend me on FaceBook.
I can’t wait to eat a salad!

Tonight’s wrap-up dinner will be a special opportunity to meet some DMP donors and mission volunteer family members and friends, recount stories and share photos (and probably some tears too.)

We must apologize to our faithful blog followers for interrupted service while on the ground last week. Between spotty cell service, intermittent black/brown-outs and slow internet connections, we were unable to post play-by-play updates. HOWEVER, watch this blog over the next few days for day-by-day reports, snippits of more than 5,000 photos and hours of video, and guest posts from other mission volunteers.

Posted by at 7:33 AM