I wrote this a few days ago, but am only finding enough consistent internet time now to post it. I’ll try to get some pictures up as well, but that may take a few days…
Why hello there. It’s been quiet around here – this blog hasn’t seen much activity lately, and that’s all my fault… The past eight months have brought a lot of unexpected changes, and I wasn’t sure how to keep this blog going – or whether I wanted to.
Most of my posts up till now have been related to my role with Engineers Without Borders (and cross-posted to the Network Buzz blog), but toward the end of the summer, I decided to leave the EWB office.
And yet here I am, on a plane over the Atlantic somewhere as I write this… taking the trip that I have been thinking about for the past couple of years, but which I never prioritized for myself while working at EWB. 12 hours on a plane is a lot of time to reflect – to reflect on the past ten years, what brought me here, and what’s next.
Where am I off to? I’m going to visit a number of friends scattered across the African countries in which EWB works – I’ll be stopping in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia. It’s more of a social/tourist visit than a proper “field visit”, which relieves a lot of the pressure to “make the most” of the visit, and allows me the freedom to let my curiosity guide me. (why I feel this way, and why I felt pressure before, could be a whole different blog post).
During my time on staff at EWB, I have always been more involved in the Canadian side of our change. I have said often that our overseas and Canadian problems are two sides of the same coin, they should meet in the middle – attacking the problem from two fronts… and my place is in Canada, working on this side. But the next month will be experiencing the “other side” of our change.
It comes at a good time for me, too. My own path at a crossroads: what’s next? This cause will always be close to me – but what will that mean in the future? Will these new experiences help me see my own role in a new light? As I see first-hand the new wave of business, investment, and entrepreneurship on the continent ( … at least, what’s what I expect – everything I have heard says the old charity/aid model is more dead than ever … ) what does that mean for my own involvement?
The plane is getting closer and closer to our destination on the little mini-map, it is sinking in that this is happening – and I just had a little rush of adrenaline. The past few weeks have been really busy, and I don’t always show excitement when I’m feeling it (plus I don’t want to be that guy who just talks about his cool upcoming trip … humble brag …). But I land in Ghana in soon (with a quick stop in Ethiopia to change planes), and I can’t wait! I’ll try to post thoughts and photos to this blog as I can =)
But one last thought. It wouldn’t be right to close without a huge thank you to the people who made this trip possible – Robbie, George, Sarah, the many people who contributed, and the people I’ll be staying with (and, let’s be honest, who will be taking care of me over the next month!). You all deserve so much more than a footnote in a blog post… but this is the best I have at the moment.