Yesterday, after almost thirty hours of travel, I stepped foot in my own home for the first time in a week and a half. It’s good to be back, but also surreal. Even the sounds of the hogs feel foreign, and today, as I drove to the mill to pick up a batch of feed, I found myself gazing across our freshly harvested Michigan fields, looking for the shepherds that dotted the farm land I was traveling across just days ago in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
I don’t think I’ve ever traveled somewhere where coming home felt anything but familiar, but that’s not what’s happening now. This is home. It’s home, but it feels different. There’s something not quite right the same.
In Liz’s post on re-entry she wrote that she doesn’t know where this is going, just that it’s going. Somewhere. Something. Sometime. I don’t know how she’s in my head, but it’s precisely how I feel.
I don’t know what this is, this feeling I can’t quite pin down. The way it’s almost as if I’m still dreaming; as if I’ve been dreaming for the whole of the month of October and it just won’t stop. I don’t know what it is or where it’s going, but it feels transformative. And probably not in the way you’d expect, I’d have expected.
I don’t have an insatiable urge to do without, to eschew material comforts, to send everything we own to the other side of the world; in a word, to give. What I have is an insatiable urge to do.
I’m not sure if that’s right or wrong, or if it even matters how one is supposed to react to these things. All I know is that it is; that I feel consumed by it and that, if nothing else, this alone is very clear to me.
Over the next few weeks I’ll share more about the trip, about whatever manifests of this feeling. I probably won’t write about every single thing we saw and experienced while there — as Karen pointed out, to do so would have me writing about it every day between now and 2013 — but I will share a lot, especially about the food and agriculture visits. For right now though, as I try to figure out what this is and how to put it to work, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite scenes from the trip.
I won’t be able to post all of them, but you can always find more on Flickr.
They’re in no particular order, except, maybe, the order in which I manage to download, process, and then upload them.
They are scenes from farms and “factories” and health clinics and homes. From schools and monasteries, towns, cities and rural areas.
They are of people and things and animals and joy.
If you have a question about one, I would love for you to ask it; just be prepared for a long and animated answer. I didn’t realize until I walked out of the mill today how much I lit up when I was telling them about this trip. Now that I do, I can warn you. Be prepared, friends. Very, very prepared.
I just returned from traveling in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign to report on how American-supported programs are improving and saving lives. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing political leaders to support smart programs that do just that. They’re also launching a new initiative to focus specifically on Agriculture, which is where I’m most excited to join in. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. It’s something I can get behind and I hope you can, too.