Monday, April 9, 2012

The answer is, "Yes." Definitely.

Sunday, March 11, 2012
Day Fourteen

After sweltering in the Kilimanjaro Airport for two hours last evening, we finally boarded the first of three flights that would eventually bring us home. The first flight took a quick detour south to Dar Es Salam to board additional passengers, and then we settled down for the nine hour flight to our next stopover--Amsterdam. Exhausted at the end of a long day, I was able to grab a couple of hours of restless sleep...enough to refresh me so that I was able to read abit and to reflect back upon what exactly had just happened in my life and how I felt about it...about these people and this place.

Young Maasai child

Maasai warrior

Maasai elder

Village children

Young Maasai men
The book I chose to read on the way home, "Once Upon a Time, There Was You", was written by my favorite author--Elizabeth Berg--meaning that it would be a short, fast, heart-aching read. Heart-aching not because the storyline was a crusher, but because my heart aches to write as beautifully as she does!

Given another eight hour flight to Detroit with a five hour stop-over there, I had no trouble finishing the book before we arrived back in Pennsylvania.

Every so often, I would put the book down, rest my eyes for a while, and allow my mind to wander. I have developed a life-long habit of memorizing what I experience by meditating on details--the place, the people, sounds and smells, snippets of conversation--going back over them in my mind again and again so that they etched there forever. I keep a journal. I carry a camera. I don't want to forget a thing.

I want to remember Tanzania--the land, the people I traveled with, the people we met, and all they did for us. I want to remember the patients we saw, the food we ate (well, maybe not all of it...), the sky, the stars, the stories we heard and the stories we told. Everything. Some I have shared with you in this journal. Some I have chosen to omit.

Nevertheless, as I allowed my mind to roam, stopping here and there to take it all in, it occurred to me that along the way, the only things weighing me down were my own "Cherished Illusions", my own preconceived notions and treasured expectations about who these people were, what my role would be, and what we could accomplish. Why me? Why this? Why now? Hence, the title of this blog.

It was unusually mild for mid-March in central Pennsylvania when our last flight touched down and we were greeted by family and friends at the gate, all of them wanting to know, "Was it fun? Was it hard? Was it scary?" Yes. Yes. Yes.

"Did you like it there?" Yes.

"Does it feel good to be home?" Yes.

"Do you think you'll go back?" Yes. Definitely.

"A memory is what is left when something happens
and does not completely unhappen."
--Edward de Bono--
In my next post, I'll share a few of my "Cherished Illusions" with you.
Be still,


  1. Your writing is just so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. Yes, your experience of going to Tanzania is lovely, but the WAY you's breathtaking. Can that be a word for writing?
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Kelly. The entire experience was breathtaking. I'm still gasping for air!