(Erin is Community Schools Volunteer Coordinator with the Center for Civic Engagement and pursuing a dual degree: MSW and MPA)
I’m having a difficult time putting into words how I am feeling. For the last few days I have been walking around my house throwing items into a suitcase and hoping that I don’t forget anything. My feelings are: one part nervous, one part anxious, and one part excited.
In January, when I first heard about this program, I thought, Over my dead body is anyone stopping me from going on this trip. In March, after receiving my letter of acceptance, I thought Oh crap, this is real! Two weeks ago, I began to feel calm and ready to take this adventure. As you can tell, I’m back to the oh crap feeling, but I know that I would regret not taking this opportunity for the rest of my life.
While I am so excited to play with the children, work with the young women in the rural villages and go on a safari (whhaaaaat?!) I am also interested to see if/how much I change from these two weeks. After completing my first year at Binghamton in the Social Work and Public Administration programs, I truly feel like a different (read: better) person than I was less than a year ago. I won’t lie, I expecting to go to Malawi and have my world changed. That’s partly because so many people have told me that that’s what is going to happen and partly because this is something that I have always wanted to do, yet it is completely out of my comfort zone.
I’m excited, I’m nervous, I don’t know exactly what to expect and I have a feeling that I don’t know exactly how attached I am about to become to a small country in Africa. Malawi, let’s do this! (And if it’s not too much trouble, can I please see some elephants at the Wildlife Reserve?!)