The Ghana Chronicles: 5

Dear Journal,

Today was my 1st day at the orphanage.  It was hard to see all [of] those children without a mom or dad.  I can’t even imagine what it must be like.  I felt/feel bad though because all I can think about is the possibility of them having HIV or any other diseases and I know that sound so horrible but I can’t help to listen to my instinct that says, “Lauren, be careful, they could get you seriously ill.” And the other part of me says, “You’re here to help them, not to think of only yourself.” They are all starving for love and attention.  They want us to hold their hand, hug them, pick them up, play with them and to talk with them.

I’m almost afraid to get close to them, because I know that I will soon have to leave them :(.

The poverty level here is astonishing.  I look around in disbelief, “This cannot be humanly possible.  It can’t be real.  This is something off [of] a movie.” Then I rub my eyes, wake up and realize that I’m here.  It’s real.  Too real.  It scares me so that I want to runaway from it all, from facing it.  Part of me wants to return home because I don’t want to have to come to terms with reality.

Why?  I have no control, I can’t “fix” this problem and that kills me.  I like to be able to work with situations and possibly better the environment but when I am confronted with a situation that I have no control over, I am easily frightened and my instinct is to quickly turn my back and runaway.

But this is how I learn, and just from writing this entry I have realized what this wall that I have been holding up stands for.  Now I have to break it down and let go of my safety rope.  I’m only here for so long and I don’t want to spend half the time being homesick.  Instead of living in fear of getting a disease or HIV, I need to still respect my instinct to be safe but I can’t deny myself the fun I should be having in helping out and living here.

July 5, 2000



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