On My Way to Africa


Those words sounded like magic –rolled out in almost a whisper by a child in the 1970s television commercial for the Detroit Zoo.

Today, in about 3 hours, I board a plane from Chicago to Rwanda (via Brussels).

Many of my friends have asked “Why?”. 

“Why Africa?” “Why  Rwanda?”

I could rattle off any number of seemingly plausibly answers, but really, I’m going because I can.   I had dreamed of Africa for as long as I can remember.  My synagogue announced a service trip.  Funds were available.  And it was time.  My friend Deb has a juicier answer.  She calls my going “divine enticement.”  Something beyond me, coaxing me there.    

I’ll be joining my congregation in working with two different AIDS organizations.  One, WE-ACTx, provides access to treatment and services for women and children with AIDS and HIV.   The other, CHABHA, funds and supports children orphaned by AIDS.

I’ve been given the following advice by those who have traveled: Surrender.  Drop expectations. And breathe it in.  I’ve learned a little about doing just that over the past five years.  And so I am optimistic.

My passport and yellow-fever vacination certification is tucked into my bag, along with my wallet.  I have a rain shell that my friend Michael brought to me Monday night.  And I’m traveling in shoes not quite suited for Africa.  I’ll change them when I arrive.

 Friends have asked me to write and to take photos.   This is my beginning.

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