We made it! Not only did we vaccinate 15,000 dogs in 14 days, but we overcame bugs (big, small, and ones I didn’t know even existed), we overcame sleeping in tents near wart hogs, baboons, and other animals, we hiked and climbed the tough *but stunning* terrain of Malawi every single day, and most importantly …made an actual difference in the community. I’m so excited for the next team coming in to finish out the Mission Rabies overall goal of 30,000 dogs in 30 days, but I’m slightly jealous they’re just starting their adventure.
I don’t even know where to start on the past couple days. As we rounded out our final door to door vaccination days, it really started to hit me just how many dogs we had vaccinated, and how much we had covered. The final day of work was a whirlwind of emotions, made evident in our final hours. Usually our lodging provides packed lunches for us to have during the day, but for our last day we wanted to go out with our team. It was reminiscent of a family get together over Thanksgiving or some other holiday with loved ones. Some of local boys even went around and shared some happy memories and “how they would remember each of us by”. This experience has forced me to try new things and do so with confidence, and sharing that with people is a true bonding experience. As if lunch wasn’t enough of a precious memory, we finished up early the last day and the bus ride back we all went around and said how much we would miss each other and how thankful we were. And not to mention just how proud we were to be a part of this team.
It’s funny thinking back, how many different places and cultures were represented in this experience. I’ve met people from Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, UK, Italy, Malawi (duh), Canada, Tanzania (shout out to you Jens), India…and I’m sure I’m even forgetting some. What an experience. If you couldn’t tell, it was one to remember.
Fast forward a bit, and we got to experience another wonderful African staple: a safari. If you couldn’t already tell…bugs and creepy crawlies aren’t my strong suit. So my final test in Malawi was sleeping in a tent, in a wildlife reserve near bugs, monkeys, wart hogs, and other animals. Don’t worry I passed the test with flying colors (by my standards). I shared a tent with Jessie and unfortunately for all the other tents we spent half the time we should’ve been sleeping just giggling about our situation.
More than anything I had the most amazing time the past three weeks. Please excuse the next few cheesy sentences, but I can’t help it because the end of this trip is bringing out all the feels.😊 I’m so thankful for the opportunity to come to Malawi and be a part of this INCREDIBLE experience and the Mission Rabies team. I’m thankful for all the people I’ve met, all the culture I’ve experienced. I’m going to miss Malawi, Mission Rabies, and all my new friends I hold so dear. Until next time!
See you soon Tulsa…the next few days will be traveling!