Here Goes…

I actually Googled this phrase and this is what came up:

I don’t know about ‘something brave’ but this is definitely something I have never done before. I have never left my job for two months. I have never been away from home for this long. I have never NOT slept in my own bed for this many nights. I have absolutely NEVER ridden my bike for so many miles, camped for this long, gone to the bathroom outside this many times or in front of an anticipated audience, not used deodorant for this many days, not had a clue what I’m going to eat for two months and never ever had to say goodbye to loved ones with such fear and faith that you will see each other again.

When I say that, I know it sounds SO overly dramatic. But in reality, we don’t know how long we have to live in this wild and wonderful (and sometimes painful and terrifying) world and I should always make sure the people in my life know how important they are to me and how much I love them. This trip has given me this perspective for sure. As I’ve said before, I waffle between thinking this trip is really no big thing (after all, other people do such far greater and scarier things) and thinking that this actually IS a big deal and that not many people choose to willingly take on such adventures (as evidenced by the lack of information about cycling in Africa and the confused looks I get when I go to the bank and ask they tellers if they can tell me about the availability of ATMs in Uganda). We are now only days from departure and the nausea and jitters of fear are coming fast and furiously, waking me up at night as my mind swirls with things left to do and the magnitude and mystery of the task before us.

But the kids…the 54 precious and powerful souls that we are riding for. They are our motivation and our mandate to care for them will be our strength and courage. We have succeeded in the daunting task of raising money for their education and really, this next part should thrill me just as much as seeing every dollar that came in. But I don’t feel thrilled – I am so afraid. I have so much fear and of so many things – too many to list.

But the kids…as much fear as I have, I’m sure they have more. Fear for their future, their own families, violence, disease, death. If I truly want to experience Uganda, their fears need to become my own. I need to embrace not only the beautiful sights, friendly people, laughter, gratitude for a good meal, and lovely sounds and colours that I have experienced so far in previous travels to Uganda, but also the uncertainty of tomorrow, the poverty, the threats, and the never-ending heartbreak. We have been preparing for so long for this – physically, spiritually, logistically, financially, professionally, and mentally. But I don’t think there is anything we can do to fully be prepared for what’s to come. Maybe that is where my deep fear is coming from… the profound lack of control I’m going to have over ANYTHING. But, what a good and necessary lesson for me. I’m not in any more control over things here at home – it’s an illusion to which I hold fast and that I know I need freedom from.

So, on second thought, at the horrible risk of sounding self-promoting, I have decided that what we are doing IS brave, which (by definition) is being, “ready to face and endure danger or pain.” See that? and endure !!! That connotes survival and I find that encouraging. When I see and hear about what our Get Schooled kids have experienced and understand what they go through on a daily basis, THEY are the true picture of bravery and I will find my own courage in their stories.

So, friends and family (my heart caught its breath at those words) – we hope each of you knows how grateful we are for every last one of you, how deeply you have touched us with your generosity, prayers, encouragement, genuine excitement and for your critical part in this story. I know you’ve been reading it for a long time, but it’s only half-written and now it’s time to find out what happens next.

And so (deep breath!)… goes.