It’s May 15th, UNICEF’s International Day of the Family and I’m packing for my iWitness journey to Malawi with UNICEF. Deciding what I will need (sunscreen, long pants) and won’t need (evening gown, heels) is turning into a metaphor for the trip. ‘Baggage’ sometimes refers to negative thoughts that we carry around with us. I suspect that this trip will remind me to stop fretting over traffic jams and bad coffee, and to start appreciating how much I have and am able to do.
I’m taking along many well-wishes from my IKEA family who are almost as excited as I am. When I come home, I’ll tell them about how our seemingly ordinary jobs affect people and families thousands of miles away. We go to work and maybe talk to a few people, hang a banner, restock a pallet. How is it possible that these small actions can change the world?
I’m taking along much love from my own family who are torn between missing me and being proud of me. When I come home, I’ll tell them about how our ordinary lives would seem quite extraordinary to these people on the other side of the world. My two children have always had a cosy bed to sleep in, food to eat, and plenty of water to drink. Can my kids even imagine struggling to be educated or healthy? I’m not even sure that I can. If only I could take them along. Maybe with a bigger suitcase?
Credit Viola Mah: Alexandra Shepherd & Benjamin Shepherd