It was incredibly difficult saying goodbye to our families and friends, but it's exciting to start this chapter of our life. Most everyone has been supportive, which makes all the difference as we prepare for two years and two months without electricity, running water, regular internet access, or family & friends.
We're in Philadelphia for Staging, which is basically a day of setting expectations and getting yellow fever vaccines (more shots given in host country) before flying to Burkina Faso. Our Staging group is fairly large -- 57 volunteers in total with another 20 or so Education volunteers in country -- and diverse in terms of background, age, relationship status, and experience. We've been enjoying the "last times" as much as we can -- hot showers, soft beds, American food (chocolate, cheese, and good beer :) ). We'll post more later since we're packing up now for the next leg of our trip -- bus to JFK (3 hrs), flight to Paris (8 hrs), airport wait (4-5 hrs), flight to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (5 hrs), then shuttle to our hotel. We'll be living with a host family for the next two months of training in Ouahigouya.
Today we move to Africa. It still doesn't seem real.