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Pioneer Woman Africa-style

I went to bed last night around 1:00 am. Woke up at 4:00 am and could not go back to sleep. Jet lag – 1 Katie – 0. So I decided to have a bowl of ice cream at 5:30. I was hungry and it sounded good. Don’t judge. Around 6:30 I decided it might be a good idea to be productive today. I have a lot to do and the fall semester is sneaking up on me quickly. But for now, my version of productivity is to blog. And drink coffee. And pray that this day won’t be as rough as I think it is going to be. Since I literally do not function on less than 8 hours of sleep, this is bound to be ugly. Please pray.

Africa was awesome. Like going home. It felt almost as good going back to Africa as it did to go home to South Georgia. Almost. We spent the first week doing a day camp for the 55 children I worked with while I lived there.  We rotated them through Math, English, hygiene, and crafts in small groups and then corporately we shared a story with them and had a recreation time. I translated for the English classes and further confirmed what I already knew to be true – I have absolutely zero business being a teacher. I do not like it. I am not good at it. It makes me nauseous. I’m really glad I am not a teacher.

Grimy little hands. Snotty little noses. Dirty little feet. Little flies buzzing around crusty little faces. Little eyes desperate for attention. I missed all those little hands and eyes and faces. Judging by the way they petted me like a long lost puppy, I think they might have missed me too. My arms were literally rubbed down, stroked, patted, and petted from my shoulder to the tips of my fingers. They made sure to cover every square inch of my arms and hands with any germs or diseases they might be carrying on their unwashed hands. Thanks guys. I wanted to carry all of Africa’s diseases back to America with me. ‘Preciate it. Truth be told, I could have cared less what germs they rubbed on me, because for one I am not a germaphobe at all, but secondly I love those kids and would take any chance I had to show them that, even it if it meant carrying TB back to America in my lungs.


As for the camp as a whole, the kids loved it. I don’t think they knew what had hit them. Never in their lives have people payed so much attention to them, loved on them so much, prayed for them so diligently, played with them so fervently, or so willingly sacrificed their clothing to glue-crazed 4 year olds doing crafts. If you had told me a year ago that doing an event like this in that town with those children was possible, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the team that came to do the camp did a fabulous job preparing the lessons, rotations, snacks, and recreation. They thought of everything! I’m afraid Africa has forever ruined me on being as prepared as I used to be for things – and all of America just let out a collective sigh of relief, cause lets be real, I can be a tad uptight about plans. I learned in Africa that you can be as prepared as you want to be and nothing will go as planned. Somewhere along the way, I gave up and tried to be go with the flow. I’m glad this team didn’t give up and they put together a wonderful camp and experience for these children! Thanks for not being a quitter like me guys.


Once the team left, I hung around for a couple of days just to give my supervisors a reminder of what life was like in Hyena Town with me around. Just in case they had forgotten what it was like to be around someone who cries a lot. Tears. Lord help me (and them) the tears that fell. But when asked the question, “Katie, what is it that you want to do in life?” what else can result from that but tears. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Crap, if I knew, I reckon I’d be doing it. But, heck, I’ve been wondering since I was 22. It appears school is what I succeed at, so I have spent much of my adult life doing that, but now seminary has blown even that theory out of the water. So, yeah. I’m going big places here guys. Big places. And eating ice cream in my bed at 5:30 in the morning is getting me there real quick-like.

On my way to Africa, I downloaded Pioneer Woman’s Black heels to Tractor Wheels and have been reading it voraciously the past week or so. I think I have figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be The Pioneer Woman. I want to meet and fall in love with a mysterious cowboy. I want to live on a ranch in Oklahoma. I want to raise little cowboy babies. I want to cook cowboy food. And then I want to blog about it and look cute while doing it. Just a couple of little problems with this career choice: No cowboy and no ranch, so consequentially, no cowboy babies and no blog about my awesome ranch life. But there is still hope. The Pioneer Woman wasn’t planning on doing any of this stuff when she was close to my age and look at her now. She was the daughter of a doctor, a vegetarian, and a lover of big city life and she ended up on a cattle ranch. She didn’t even want to be there and she got there! How much more likely are my chances. I look at her life and know in my heart that it should be mine. I find myself envious, jealous even. And then I remember that is coveting and coveting is a sin and I repent and remember that God has been good to me, ranch or no ranch. It could still happen though. Just sayin’. Although, truth be told, the life trajectory that I am on is much more likely to land me in a mud hut in Africa than on a ranch in Oklahoma…but I’m ok with that too.

For now, it appears I will remain a wannabe seminary student, God seeker, and Africa goer and just see where that path takes me. A ranch in Oklahoma or the plains of Africa, only He knows and I will rest in that.

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