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I just got back from a 3-week trip to the US to visit friends and family.  I came back feeling refreshed, happy, worry-free, and have a positive attitude towards my remaining time in Angola.  I haven’t seen this me in months.

One of my objectives for this past year, and for this blog, was to highlight the positive stories about my time here.  There is just way too much negativity already written about Africa, the world really doesn’t need another blog to cast it further into darkness.  Besides, if I wrote about the positive stories, not only would I be helping Africa with its image problem, but maybe it would also help me to remain positive.  I have not  been the most prolific writer.  Over the past few months I found myself asking, “but what could I possibly write about without being negative?”  So I remained silent.

But for the time being, I’m happy.  I just want to set my sights ahead and forget about the last several months.  When the plane descended into Luanda over the miles of musseques (shanties) as far as the eye can see, I didn’t feel the usual pang of dread that accompanies my return to Luanda.  When I got log-jammed in traffic just seconds after leaving the airport, making it impossible to ignore the crowded sidewalk life and heaps of rubble and trash on the side of the dusty roads, I didn’t feel the world closing in on me like I have before.  As it turns out, 3 weeks is long enough to feel like I haven’t been here in a while.  To even….miss it.  I can’t afford to feel irritated by daily living — I don’t want to lose myself to negativity again.

A good book (and a flashlight for when it gets too dark to read), and I hardly notice the 1 hour commute it takes to go to/from work each day — all told probably only 2-3 miles away!  I’ve been back a week now and I’m keeping it simple — sticking to the things that make me happy, making light of possibly negative situations.

I think as my organization continues to wait through its transition, my honest smile and light-heartedness may be one of the few things that may uplift my colleagues’ spirits each day.  And for me, I just need to keep my eyes on the prize.

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