Reflections on My Africa Journey

_The Ladies_ Sophia, Marilyn, Jacqui, Barbara (and suspicious waitresses)

In Uganda with (left to right) grant recipient Sophia Nantale, In-Country Representative Jacqui Namusalisi, and grant recipient Barbara Nagadya

As I count down the final hours of my Africa Trip 2015, on board KLM from Amsterdam to San Francisco, I feel a confluence of emotions—excitement to get home to family and friends (and Kiki my dog!), but sadness that this wonderful, adventurous, exhausting, and inspiring trip is coming to a close. The last five weeks have flown by—including a memorable meal last night in Amsterdam with my old friend and fellow editor at the CS Journal, Tom DeFrance. A perfect wrap-up to a most marvelous trip to six African countries. Lamech, Jean Leonard, and I visited dozens and dozens of Christian Scientists, met new friends and rekindled friendships with old ones, interviewed our alumni , broke bread with our volunteers, and worshipped with our fellow church members. I will never forget the many kindnesses and the hospitality that supported us and surrounded us everywhere we went—whether from those we know, those we were meeting for the first time, or complete strangers.

I learned so much on this trip about Africans—and have been humbled to realize that I have so much more to learn and hopefully to experience with our extended Christian Science family around the world. My African traveling companions were so funny and warm and took such good care of me. Without fail, either Jean Leonard, Lamech, or Jacobo (our driver and pal for ten days in Kenya) would take my hand when we came to a crazy-busy street to cross, or would offer advice and solace and care (or a prayer) no matter where we found ourselves. Thank you, again, JL, for carrying me piggy-back through the flooded streets of Brazzaville, Congo! And Lamech, thank YOU, too, for just going ahead and ruining your good pants and shoes in that same dark night, trudging through the

Our programd director, Marilyn Jones, with our Africa staff (Lamech Katamba, far left, and Jean Leonard Ngabo, far right) and Emmanuel M'fundani, ABF In-Country Representative for the Congo.

With ABF In-Country Representative for Congo, Emmanuel M’Fundani, and our Africa staff, Lamech Katamba, far left, and Jean Leonard Ngabo, far right

rain and thigh-deep water valiantly protecting our good camera and passports in a plastic bag under your shirt!

What adventures we had! But now, in a few more hours (we’ve been flying for thousands of hours today—or that’s what it feels like!), I look forward to seeing Alan’s smiling face and open arms waiting for me at SFO once I clear customs. Thank you, Boss, in advance, for making the long drive to the airport to pick me up! Before I know it, I’ll be back in Auburn, sleeping in my own sweet bed, and I’ll catch up with my ABF work in Sacramento, and life will return to normal. Christmas will apparently be upon us! Having missed Thanksgiving altogether, I’m all out of whack—no preparation to ease into the holidays! It won’t take long, and the memories of Africa will begin to sort themselves out, and I’ll have many stories to tell and greetings to relay and of course a few tears to wipe away as I reluctantly say good-bye to Africa for 2015. But I will never be the same. My life has changed forever, and I’m beyond grateful. And so, so blessed.

One Response to Reflections on My Africa Journey

  1. Avatar Alan Bashor says:

    Thank you Marilyn for this beautiful report. During our regular GTM calls, your energy, strength, lovingkindness and insight were inspiring. So much good was accomplished that I am so grateful for. Welcome home!

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