Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Year In Africa

This last year has been an unbelievable, life changing experience for me.  I had the chance to live in a country I’ve never heard of before, meet new people, learn new perspectives and enjoy a foreign culture in a foreign language.  It was probably one of the greatest opportunities of my life and I’m glad that I was able to take advantage.

I made some great new friends.  I traveled a bit through the country-side and saw sights that I had only imagined – wild beaches, thick tropical jungle, open savannahs - elephants, buffalo, cheetah - rhino, giraffe and zebra.  I saw immeasurable wealth and witnessed extreme poverty.

I had the great privilege of living in a diplomatic community and to experience life from within the walls of a US Embassy, something I learned a great deal from.

I observed a foreign presidential election, witnessed military rule, and I now understand corruption simply as a way of life…it’s just the way it is and not something easily changed.
While in Gabon, I taught English classes, started a donation program to support a local orphanage and helped introduce US culture to foreign diplomats and military personnel.  I saved a life, cooked a lot of American fare for many expat friends, including a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from scratch; I even made pressure-washing the pool at the US compound my personal task (someone had to do it).  It was all part of a fantastic experience and I am happy to have contributed in any way.  I even became closer to my brother who was half a world away.

If you were following me from the beginning, you know that I came here for love.  I had the great fortune to meet an intelligent, kind and beautiful woman during a difficult period in my life.  I loved her passionately and I learned some tremendous things from her, both about the world we live in and more importantly, about myself.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.  In the end, we were just too different to be compatible.  I will miss her dearly and I wish her much success in life and love, however she decides to measure it.  I owe her a great deal for enriching my life with so many new experiences.

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1 comment:

  1. Brett, thank you for the beautiful stories of Gabon. I'm sad to hear of the ending of your relationship. I wish you the best in life. My husband is from Gabon and is currently in NYC working. Just a thought if you're looking for a chat when you're missing a country you spent a year with.

    Good Luck :)