Two things that seem to be slipping through my fingers every day that I am home…
Time. Thirteen days sounds like a lot of time to see everyone, to catch up, but I have discovered that in fact, it is not. I used to say that I didn’t believe in time, that it is a man-made, unnatural and illogical creation that cannot really measure our lives, but as I seem to have less and less of it, as I feel more and more like I am missing it, I am convinced that it does exist, and that in this moment it is my greatest enemy.
Sleep. Maybe it is the thirty-five hours it took to get here, but I haven’t gotten through a day without a nap…sometimes at the most inopportune moments, like during the movie about a certain boy-wizard I have been waiting to see for three months… I am bordering on narcolepsy.
I feel as if I have been standing still somewhere in a far away place with my eyes closed for a mere instant, having a cat-nap, while all the children in my life have grown-up in the last six months without me. They are talking and singing and thinking and learning at an incredulous pace and are barely recognizable as there former selves.
It is, after all, a strange thing to be here. I was worried it wouldn’t feel like home, but it still does. Only perhaps a much louder, exaggerated version of how I remembered it when I was away from here, in the quieter places of the earth, without the 401 during rush-hour or dolby digital surround sound. What is funny is when I talk to people about Kilwa, I start to wonder if, perhaps, it was all just a dream. Because I have this whole other life, that nobody here knows anything about, but it is really my life, and yet it feels so familiar here, that I start to wonder if I have not imagined the last six months.
But I know that it is not far, my home, my other life, across the ocean and it is not imaginary. My team should be on a whirlwind tour of cholera prevention and training in all the villages from Kilwa to Lukonzolwa right about now… Babies are being born and roosters are crowing as we speak, while I am standing still in this far away place, trying to take it all in, to breathe, to renew my spirit, to enable my self to continue the next six months with vigor and purpose. I was so nervous about coming home, doubtful that it was the right thing, afraid I would not want to go back, but I realize now that all the things I have been missing had never really left me and that going back will be going home…hopefully not to a cholera outbreak so early in the season.