I have been teaching in the UAE for 2 years now. I won’t get into the specific details about my dissatisfaction or annoyances, per say, however, let’s just say that the school system in the UAE is not my fancy. Therefore, I decided to resign in hopes that other employment opportunities would arise. In fact, opportunities came to me in the most unexpected ways…
Within weeks of applying to various positions across the US, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, I started receiving emails from interested employers. Eventually, I had a few Skype interviews and received 3 job offers between the US and China. However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with either offer so I kept looking and informed all interested parties that I would reply within a certain timeframe with my decision. One day, in between contemplation of my current job offers in the US and the arduous search for better opportunities to no avail, I received an email from an international school in Uganda. Yes, Uganda. I thought, let me give it a shot. If it didn’t work out, I at least had some interview practice! So that I could prepare for the interview, I checked out a few preliminary resources such as the school’s website and discovered the school has a very high reputation with outstanding reviews. Prior to being contacted by the school in Uganda, I recognized how competitive it is to get into international schools and the benefits that employment would offer in terms of experience and exposure. Either way, I was shocked that they contacted me for an interview due to my limited overseas experience. Besides, I didn’t even apply to this position! This was ironic because just a few weeks prior, I applied to a few positions with private institutions in West Africa. However, during package negotiations, I realized that it wasn’t a good fit both financially and career wise. My heart, however, was still interested in working within an African country and I was determined to continuously seek out opportunities that became available.
So, I went forward with the interview process with the international school in Uganda. Within 2 weeks, I received the job offer in Uganda at the international school. My immediate feelings were mixed with confusion, contemplation, excitement, worry, fear and anxiety. How in the world am I going to consider taking a job in a place of unfamiliarity? I didn’t know anything significant about Uganda. I started diligently researching the country, reading news reports and perusing social media sites. I wanted information. Something. Anything. I needed a sign that would either completely turn my mind off to the idea or give me further confirmation that this was indeed the country I was supposed to go to. I was lost. What do I do? Take the job without knowing what I was getting into or just give up and settle for complacency and familiarity? I am not your average chick or else, hands down, I would have settled on the latter. On one hand, I still had the opportunity to go back home since I hadn’t turned down the initial stateside offer, settle with family and make the best out of being back home when in actuality, I wasn’t ready. On the other hand, I could try something new within the continent that I desired to live in for some time now and trust that the outcomes wouldn’t be regretful. Really, if you want to get technical, I wasn’t really ready to leave the UAE. I think primary due to comforts of a westernized world and the large expat community. I really don’t feel far from home other than the fact that family is not around, the culture is vastly different and the desert temps are hot enough to literally boil an egg on the sidewalk! However, I didn’t receive any valid responses to positions in the UAE. So, I took that as a sign…it was time to move on.
So here I am: A job offer in Uganda and a job offer in the U.S., my son’s relocation with his dad and the thought of starting life in a new foreign country…all over again. Can you say anxiety attack? Well, I didn’t actually have one but I was extremely close with all the drama and decision making on my back. I was a wreck at best. This situation truly tugged and pulled at my faith strings to the umpteenth power. I was a ball of confusion.
I remembered how I felt prior to coming to the UAE. Then, I had to check myself because I was filled with some of the same anxieties as I wondered if the UAE was a good place to live, especially after all the media says about this region. However, I took the chance and it’s been a great experience besides a few unsettling nuances.
FINALLY, after much contemplation, prayer, fasting and counsel from wise friends and family, I decided to accept the job offer in….UGANDA! Yes, I said it! I am moving to Kampala, Uganda in August 2015 as a primary teacher at an International school!!!
Wow! I can’t believe how far I have come in this process. I am truly amazed at my resilience and BELIEVING in the impossible by trusting God that a breakthrough would occur in my decision making process.
Since I made the grueling decision to step out on faith and take this chance to move to Uganda, God is showing me his grace, favor and mercy and I am beginning to evolve from this worried and fearful being to a woman who possesses confidence and faith in God for the unbelievable. I am now seeing that these life challenges, decisions, transitions and the like are not only for me to endure but for the next person who deals with a situation such as this. I can actually share a testimony and I can help the next individual or at least share my experiences, which is just as worthy. I know first-hand that I am a witness to even the testimony of breaking through my fears and stepping out on faith.
In the interim, I often pray in expectation that God will reveal timely things according to his will. Of course, I still think about small nuances- will I settle ok? Will I meet like-minded people? Will I join a supportive church group? How will I be treated as a black woman from the states? It’s natural and all a part of the process. I still have peace in my sprit. Unshakable peace.
One last thing….Get this- I have been sharing to a lot of random people about my move. I mean not completely random people but not anyone directly in my circle. Eventually, we will get on the subject of my relocation decision to Uganda during conversations. The craziest thing is almost everyone has some type of connection with Uganda -The women whose sister adopted children from there, the African-American lady with DNA history in Uganda or even the women who was supposed to do a mission trip there several years ago but missed the opportunity. Oh and I can’t forget about ALL the people that I have connected with in the past month alone who have relatives, friends, previous co-workers, doctors and the like….ALL FROM UGANDA of all places! For some strange reason, these coincidences all support my reasoning that I am on the right path. I have absolutely no idea what to expect once I arrive, how my school environment will be or if I will experience the same culture shock as I did in the UAE. All I know is that everything will be just fine.
So moving forward-those of you who are dealing with a huge decision, relocation or a stepping out on faith situation, don’t allow fear and doubt to completely consume you. Also, don’t allow complacency or comfort to consume you either. Each of you has a specific purpose and calling, which may only be prompted when forced to step out of your comfort zone. You are destined for greatness. If doors open for you easily and everything falls into place, maybe it’s meant to be. Don’t allow your fear or desire for complacency and comfort block you from your blessing. In the end, you will be blessed beyond measure.
Stay tuned to my blog because I have an abundance of information to share over the next few weeks as I make my transition from the UAE to Kampala, Uganda. Of course, I will go to the States to visit and take care of any loose ends and necessary business dealings. I am determined that I will proceed with an open mind, a great attitude and a willingness to allow God to use me in whatever capacity he sees fit.
Until next time, be blessed and follow your heart, blot out fear and go for your dreams! If I can do it, you most certainly can, too!