Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Time to Catch Up!

Wow! These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. First of all, on August 14th, I left home and flew to Chicago for a week of in-country orientation with all 60 of the 2013-2014 YAGM volunteers. That week was so incredible, and filled with good conversations and even better people. I am truly blessed to be able to join in the journeys of the other 59 YAGMs. You guys are so great. J

After saying some tearful goodbyes (yes, even I cried when I had to say goodbye… that shows how much we care for each other), myself and the other 9 South Africa volunteers flew on the second-largest plane I have ever seen to Frankfurt, Germany. After a fairly long layover, in which some of us took to exploring the city of Frankfurt, we left on the largest plane I have ever seen in my life and flew to Johannesburg, South Africa!

After arriving here, we met up with our country coordinators, who are seriously awesome, and began to process what this year may look like for us. This past week was literally one of the greatest in my life. Not only was I exploring this beautiful country, but I was doing it alongside nine of the most incredible people. I am so grateful for the other nine South Africa YAGMs for making this transition smooth, enjoyable, and full of grace and kindness.

Now this brings me to the present. I have just arrived in Soweto, South Africa, which is where I will be spending the next 11 months! After spending probably too much time unpacking and finding homes for all of my t-shirts (why did I bring so many?), I had a great night of fellowship and food with a few of the other volunteers and staff with whom I will spend a lot of time. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the organization I will be working with (Diakonia AIDS Ministry or DAM) and the city that has now become my home. Just as I was feeling sad about saying goodbye to my wonderful YAGM community, God has provided me with another community here in Soweto. How cool, right?!

Whew, that was a lot. Sorry about writing a novel-length post, but I felt bad about not posting at all since I left home! Hopefully this has given you all a glimpse into my life for the last 2 ½ weeks. Soon, I will begin posting about my daily life here in Soweto! Ahh!

Lots of love,

Emily J

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