The Space Between: Fourteen Hours At Heathrow

One of my homes in Nova Scotia which I am reluctantly leaving behind for a few more months

Fourteen hours at Heathrow airport.  Waste of time?  Perhaps.  But this trip isn’t about site-seeing, so here I am sitting in the airport, freezing my butt off, napping on benches and trying to make up for four lost hours.  Besides, London is grey and foggy and I’ve seen it already.

St. John’s, Newfoundland. So beautiful when the weather cooperates!

This trip was about home, and now I’ve taken off from the Atlantic Provinces.  On my way back to Tanzania, on the cheap, meaning layovers at Heathrow and Nairobi.  It’ll be a four-day haul before I unlock my hopefully-intact apartment in Kamachumu and assess the situation of my home away from home.

Kamachumu now has 1000% the mzungus (white people) than when I left five weeks ago.  Twenty volunteers under my organisation’s care.  Did I prepare everyone?  Was my plan realistic?  Did anyone even understand it?  How are the two Program Supervisors making out in my little community?  Especially with the colleague I left in charge having presumably left, based on a cryptic email from another volunteer.

Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda for Thursday night?  Not settled.  Place to crash Friday night in Bukoba?  Haven’t heard back.  But despite the uncertainties, here I am on the road again and it is strangely comforting.  One foot in front of the other, no matter how daunting it seems from afar, is actually pretty simple when you’re taking the step.

For anyone who has done the transition from home to Africa and back again, you know it’s a strange creature.  But for all of us, I think, it develops a pattern.  For me, crash time – culture shock; the end of the honeymoon period – happens at around the three month mark.  But what happens when you go home for a month then return to your East African village?  This is a new thing altogether for me.  I have no idea how it’ll play out.

Baby animals were only one of the highlights of my trip home

Coming down from one of the best months of my life, which was kind of like a premonition of my “real” life (wait, what is that again?), being launched back into development work, trying to make it all meaningful for me and for the people I’m working with, is going to make for a very interesting time.

More blogs to follow, I promise!

Sunsets over the Bay of Fundy make my heart melt

Leave a comment


  1. Meeghan

     /  July 21, 2012

    Very nicely written Margaret. Excited to read your next post to see how the transition goes. Just need to remember that you aren’t there forever, you will be coming home again and we will all be here waiting for you. But I’m sure you already know this…
    Please post again soon, I love reading them 🙂

  2. Amy Hill

     /  July 26, 2012

    *sigh* You live an amazing life Peggy-Sue! The pigs, sheep, ducks, chickens, dogs, cats, alpaca, David and I miss you every day and we can’t wait to hear more of your travels when you return to us next year!


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