Saturday, October 22, 2016

Africa Journal: Part 1

Treasures come in all shapes and sizes. While an adventure through the woods and stumbling upon a buried chest of gold is whimsical and child-like, it doesn't depict or describe all kinds of treasure that there is to be discovered. Nor does it describe reality.

In an attempt to locate - which, ironically, did involve a lot of unburying - our Halloween box, I came across one of my bins of personal belongings. Lying on top of the array of  keepsakes that included a cookie tin from my grandma, was a small one-subject spiral notebook. Just like the ones my dad always had in his truck. While perusing, I noticed it was one of the very few journals that I had written many years ago. It wasn't just any journal. It was my African journal describing my missionary trip to Ghana twenty-two years ago. I honestly had completely forgotten that I wrote about my experience there. A treasure for sure. No shovels necessary.

I was never good at journal writing. Not the discipline it takes nor the deep insight that so many writers can conjure about their experiences - whether just daily life or a grand adventure.

I did enjoy reading other entries - which were mostly lists rather than actual journal writing - I had made back then which included: A list of things I got for my 18th birthday (MJs Dangerous CD), Christmas (Robin Hood VHS and U2s Joshua Tree), a list of vocabulary words that I didn't know while reading Jurassic Park (serotonin), my girlfriend's number at Messiah College, a list of items to take to the shore while living there (underwear, cologne), my short-lived weightlifting program (that took up less than a page), notes for a play that I never finished and then finally Africa.

I'm just glad I can read my handwriting.

July 17, 1994

At church, Lori and I got commissioned. Everybody congratulated me and said, "have fun." I said I'll try. I have no idea what it's going to be like. Will it be fun? Depressing? Sad? I don't know.

I dropped Tweety's Zooropa CD and Anita's Aladdin tie off at Sheila's (my last ride in my car...hopefully!) At Sheila's (she wasn't there) I talked to Brenda on the phone. She was excited for me. She's having problems with her church.

I went home and finished packing and went to (Camp) Donegal. Evan had camp that week so he came along for that. Jason left for college or is leaving and Buddy came along. We met up with everybody and we (talked?), had supper, got commissioned in front of the campers and parents. Brenda (a different Brenda) gave us bracelets that have sentimental value to her. They are really neat.

Our parents left and we were on our own. I saw an old friend from summer camp, Megan. We talked a little. We watched Star Wars and I went to bed and slept well.

July 18, 1994

Today we had a couple of meetings with Brenda to get prepared. We watched Indian Summer, took a little hike. We swam tonight then had a campfire. Just the (four?) of us. I haven't really talked about going to Africa much. Well, I'm scared. We watched a video today but still we have no idea what we are going to see. I pray God will protect us. We discussed that it's good we all get along and we like the fact that it's just four kids going and not twelve. Tomorrow after lunch we leave. Until then...

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