As I gear up for my second and final semester studying in Ghana I am full of mixed emotions. I am very excited for the classes I will have this semester. I have my service learning class, where I will be working with an organization to teach them how to use scrap fabric to make baskets and rugs and bags. The fiber arts teacher in me is thrilled! I am also taking an independent study class doing research into the community outreach benefits and empowerment that happens when women gather regularly to create. Again, right up my alley. And I am going to learn to play the Seprewa, a West African stringed instrument, which is pretty cool too.
While all of that is really exciting I also am feeling the heat wear on me. Today for example I am particularly MS-y. My hand is numb and every time I walk outside the glare notably limits my vision and while I knew in the abstract that heat would adversely affect me (Multiple Sclerosis and heat do not make good bedfellows), feeling it makes it harder for me to pretend that this is not really happening to me. But it is…. Denial is not just a river in Egypt my friends 🙂 I am reminded twice a day as I swallow a medication that costs more per year for my insurance company than most people in the US make annually. Which serves as a reminder that the mere fact that I have insurance is a privilege. When that med hits me though, I get what is called the Tecfidera Flush (my sister thinks that this would be a great stripper name for me, HA!). My arms, chest and face turn bright red and I itch and burn anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Sounds fun, I know.
I do not often find myself in this space. I am overall a pretty positive person. But sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. It does not take much for me to snap out of this mood however. I just look around me and know that it could be so much worse. I have access to adequate health care. I have a disease that is manageable, to a degree. I am being educated in an area that I am passionate about. I have the privilege and honor to be able to come to Ghana and see the world from a perspective that I wish everyone could, with the full support of my children and husband to boot. And I am doing work here that will make a difference not just for those who I am reaching out to but to me too.
So, despite the fact that I miss my family and I am a bit uncomfortable (on multiple levels), I am reminded of a quote I recently heard on a TED Talk, I posted this on my Facebook page the other day so forgive me for repeating. It goes like this, “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life”. I concur.