When you get back from a holiday, it's normal to ask, "How was your trip?!". Usually the reply is said in an excited tone, it includes something about the culture, food and funny/awkward moments you had with people over there. But after coming home from a, World Vision, two week trip to Mali and hopping in the car for the half-conscious drive home (we'd just been travelling for 52 hours!), my initial response to this question was silence. It seemed so weird, summing up the 'trip' I'd just come home from in the short space of a car ride. Yes, there are stories that are easy to explain, like the 'toilets' we had to use which are called squatters in Africa. A ten centimetre hole in the ground with two blocks on either side that you had to stand on in order to pee. The funniest part about it was that the concrete which the squatter was made in was light grey...meaning any liquids made the light grey turn dark...meaning people knew when you'd missed the target (I've never laughed so hard while peeing in my whole life!)
But other stories, aren't really stories if that makes sense. Like describing to someone that moment when I began to feel so protective over the people who I'd just met, who are faced with the problem of having food till the end of February and then have no plan B to get more food, there is no super market down the road to run to...there is just anxiety. How do you explain, in a story, just how connected you feel to these people that it hurts thinking they are struggling to eat while I sit at home on a comfy couch?
Well I guess this is where I'll try :)
So yes, my trip to Mali was absolutely amazing, uncomfortable, challenging, humbling, eye-opening, happy, heartbreaking and life-changing. But it wasn't really a 'trip' as we would call it, more a place where I realised, through getting to know the Malians in talking, laughing and dancing in the dust with them, that they are the most beautiful people I have ever met and I feel so privileged to have gotten to know them, seen the reality of life for them and now be able to do something for them...CHA HOO!
By the way, sorry if this blog has cheesy parts, I've realised it's hard to talk about Mali without sounding like a total-cheesy-ball, but I'm just going to say it like it is so hopefully you'll pick up some things to ponder over too.