It just takes one step…

I took that one step.  I was hesitant about the consequences of moving forward at first, unsure of what in the world (literally) I’d be getting myself into but… I took a step. I know, I’ve taken chances before but this time, however, seemed so different. Maybe it was the location, the fear of the unknown, leaving my son or the lies that I’ve been told all my life about this destination. I’m referring to my recent decision to move to Kampala, Uganda. You see, I was offered this very nice primary position at an International school in Kampala. I wasn’t even considering Uganda. I was looking heavy into West Africa. Seriously, I had an interview with a school in Equatorial Guinea but it didn’t work in my favor. I was determined to get to the continent sooner or later, whether it be for a short travel trip, a summer volunteer excursion or making it my home. I just knew that when Africa called, I couldn’t press the ignore button…so I took a step.

This may seem redundant if you have read my blog post, I’m moving to… because at that time, I had my mind set. I was still living in the UAE and had no other outside influence to discourage. Well in that case, I guess my mind wasn’t completely set afterall if I was so easily swayed. After that step, fear got in the way yet again and discouragement set in. I was in the States and allowed family and close friends to offer their insights from their limited perceptions of the world. How dare I?  I hesitated, stepped back and reconsidered. I don’t know about you but moving to Africa has always been a dream of mine, especially as an African-American. There is so much depth and history to discover, a beautiful canvass and historical recollections. Unfortunately, growing up in the U.S. in the public school system, real historical facts weren’t introduced to me in my early years. As further knowledge and consciousness of self set in, the quest for truth began so… I took another step.

After nearly 3 months of wracking my brain, wrestling with fear, toiling with doubt and listening to others rant about Malaria breakouts, unsafe living conditions and war-torn nations, I decided to… take a step. I was fully aware that all of this was indeed valid and true but I refused to live my life controlled by fear. I was tired. Fear took a huge toll on my mental health. I felt that I constantly needed to validate my reasons for wanting to go to…Africa.  I needed to see what the hype was really about so I took another step…I got on that plane and moved to Uganda!

I am here yall! I made it! I made it through the true opposition. I can breathe now. Fear is an ugly emotion and it may cause you to derail your dreams. Well, I defeated that demon and its evil predecessors. I am so thankful that God kept me and brought people in my life that encouraged my unchartered path.

I’ve been in Uganda for 3 weeks now. I’ve been anxious to get out, discover Kampala and meet new people. In the haste to make my way, I have to reflect on my journey thus far. I have overcome several obstacles, doubts and fears. The main fear was leaving my son behind with his dad. This is a first for me so naturally, I felt a sense of self guilt, sadness and fear all over again. My son is doing well, by the way and loving his new school. I am learning to find my way without him. I continue to ask God for strength and to show me my purpose along the way so that my time can be used purposefully.

My school is amazing. Despite a few nuances here and there, its non-comparable to my experience in the UAE. Also, I’m by people who look like me and appreciate my contributions. I am not saying this is my permanent home by far and for some African-Americans, going to Africa may seem like a set back. For others, like myself, it is an opportunity for growth, recognition, change and purpose. You can’t allow others to make you feel forced to leave a place or stay based on their experiences and perception. I will repeatedly state that because I was so close to allowing that to be my preset reality. I was so close to living simplistically based on the fear of the unknown. Since being here, confirmation has made itself present. I am definitely here on purpose based on the experiences and interactions I’ve had thus far. It’s been challenging and amazing at the same time!

In hindsight, living overseas opens up a gateway of opportunities to really explore who you are because you are literally by yourself in some respects. You find yourself doing things that you would have never dreamt before because of the endless distractions, self-indulgence or negative energy from people. All in all, living in another country exposes you not only to new languages, cultures and experiences, it also reveals your true self so that you can…take another step.

So, there you have it folks! I will now begin blogging about my experiences in Kampala, Uganda. It has been an amazing journey thus far-seeing the city, its unique characteristics, embracing humility, meeting new people, teaching new students and reliving independence like nobody’s business!  It’s a little scary but we won’t talk about fear now. Instead, I’ll take another step…

Until next time, be blessed!

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