If any of you are even remotely considering a “volunteer vacation” (or what my 19-year old refers to as an “alternative vacation”) let me tell you that it could be one of the best gifts you’ll ever give yourself.
Last night I had the immense pleasure of reuniting with the wonderful team that accompanied me on Change the Truth’s first mission trip to Uganda.
These people have become my very good friends. Trust me, when you spend so much time together in such an emotionally charged situation, it’s simply what happens – you get pretty close. After all, we saw each other first thing in the morning, we saw each other exhausted, we saw each other un-showered and without makeup, we saw each other in tears, we saw each other outside of our comfort zones, we saw each other make fools of ourselves dancing or trying to speak another language or trying to get a handle on our often gut wrenching sadness. And we had many hours to talk and get to know things about each other that usually take a long time to discover. For example, one night at dinner, someone posed this question: “What is your greatest fear?” You get the picture.
We got together last night to share pictures, talk about what it’s been like coming back home and watch a video that Lynne lovingly assembled in our honor.
Once you’ve been on a trip like this, you realize that the people with whom you shared the experience fall into a new category of friendship. You share something that no one else can truly understand, so that makes the relationship unique. And in that context grows an opportunity to explore a side of yourself that can, under ordinary circumstances, be hard to access.
There are plenty of books and websites that can be helpful in a search for just the right volunteer vacation for you/ your family. I highly recommend looking into it. And if you are interested in joining CTT on the 2008 trip, let me know.
Based on all the hugs, laughter and tears I saw us sharing last night (not to mention the profound work that was performed while we were at the orphanage!) I guarantee you that the trip was one of the best gifts we have ever given to ourselves.