As I sit here in the O’Hare Airport (slightly backtracking on my way to Uganda) on my first layover, I can’t believe I’ve actually left and am going to Africa for 9 months. Everything seems surreal. Is this adventure really happening to me?
While it was really hard to say goodbye to my family, it makes me realize how blessed I am to have such a close family. They support me in everything I do, make me laugh, and challenge me on the basketball court. In a way, the pain of saying goodbye is a good thing because it's a testament to how much we love each other.
As I boarded the plane, my sadness abated as I remembered how much I love flying. The hugeness of the plane, the powerful g-forces on takeoff, the picturesque views out the window of skyscrapers and then patchwork quilt farmland, even the stomach churning bumps of turbulence that make you feel like you’re riding a roller coaster—they all fuel the exhilaration and excitement of embarking on a journey over the ocean to a foreign land. The exhilaration was a little dampened when I discovered that United charges for their movies, but hey, at least I had a window seat.
I can’t wait to get to Uganda and live there for nine months. I want to learn the people’s stories to really understand their culture and history. I want to taste their food, live in their towns, and shop in their markets. I want to make Ugandan friends and experience everyday Ugandan life, so I can understand how to design technologies they really want. For the next nine months, I want to be part of Uganda.