Hard endings, exciting reunions, big decisions

Alisha Volkman, a 25 year-old from Alberta, Canada, has been volunteering with Hands at Work for the past year, serving mainly in Kabwe, Zambia with Emily Osborne, from USA. What follows are her reflections on her time in Zambia and South Africa as she prepares to make her journey “home” again.

As things wrap up for Emily and I here in Zambia, every day has been full of, oh just full of so much! As our time is coming to an end it feels like I am meeting more and more people all the time. Many relationships around me are just peaking, and with each day I am finding it harder and harder to leave.

I'm now at a point where I have absolutely no idea what is next. All these years I was always just headed in a direction to come back to Zambia. And that I have now done. Now what? Now where? I know many people come through Hands every year. Many are impacted, and many make an impact. Some stay. Many move on. Where do I fit?

I LOVE Zambia! I have officially classified myself as a white Zambian. In so many ways I just feel like I belong. My heart is here with the people. I can't help but cry when I think of being away from this place for too long.

I want to go home although I don't want to leave. I have a feeling when I get there I will be again saying, “I want to go home.”

When I think back to what life was like before I keep wondering if that is how I will be when I return. Will I go back to being that same person? Or will the change that has taken place in me really stay? I am not the same! Sometimes I don't even know who I am anymore. But I know that God has not stopped working. He has been so patient with me. I hope I never stop growing!

Words can't express my gratitude to so many for the time they have taken to build into me. I read something recently that made me think of my Hands at Work family, in particular life at the Hub in South Africa and living in community. I found it all at once encouraging and challenging and I hope you will too:

“Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope. In community we say: ‘Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs-but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care.’" Henri Nouwen

When I remember back to my time at Hands at Work Hub I remember how sometimes it wasn’t easy, but also how I loved the community, like no place I've been. I am glad God took me back to Zambia, and thankful for the love I have experienced from my Hands family!

Much Love                                                                                                                                             Alisha Volkman

Continue following Alisha’s journey here: alisha2africa.blogspot.com