Today, my CCEW officially purchased our plane tickets to travel to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in January! I am very excited, yet also trying to process my emotions and prepare mentally for the trip.
When I first found out that I was going, several months ago, I was excited to travel to this seemingly exotic country on a continent that I had never travelled to before. I was excited to see how different things might be, what the weather might be like, the people, the food, and all of the exciting aspects of visiting a new country. Only this time, it was truly a country that I was unfamiliar with – not western Europe, not even a pretty well-known BRIC country. I felt as though I would be traveling to another world, in the far reaches of the globe, deep in the heart of a developing continent.
However, since learning more about the country, speaking to others who have been, researching locations online, and meeting more people from the country, I have become more blasé about the trip. Maybe my attitude is partially due to the desire not to freak out my parents, who are a little anxious about my trip, and possibly also not to seem naïve or sheltered. Zimbabwe, cool, just another country, so what? As someone who is angered when he hears someone refer to Africa as a country, or, more commonly, treats all countries in Africa the same, part of me wants to do what I can to end that stereotype or misconception by treating this trip as I would any other.
But, as I prepare for my trip, I also have to remind myself that this truly is more different of a place than I have been before. It’s not another planet by any means, but, to the best of my knowledge, Zimbabwe will be pretty different from England or France, countries I have been to before. I am doing the best I can to be educated an not treat Zimbabwe as exotic or different from other countries, but also educated in the sense of being aware of the differences in language, lifestyle, economics, safety, attitude, logistics, and any other differences that may or may not exist.
Anyway, I will keep the blog updated as I learn more and when I travel. One thing I am 100% sure of—I am excited!