By Amanda Freeman
When I told people I was going to Africa instead of traveling home to Florida, I got many mixed responses from my family and friends. They asked me, “why do you want to do this?” and “Won’t you miss your family? You haven’t been home since August.” First, I told them I was presented with this special and unique opportunity that I will never be able to experience. Then I said that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn and challenge preconceived notions about Africa. And yes, I do miss my family, and I will miss them over break, but I know that they understand and support my decision. In these three short days, we have been confronted with many difficult topics concerning race, morals, priorities, and personal happiness. When our group has been faced with these challenging questions, we have been able to have meaningful conversations.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, most of us have been thinking about what our families are doing at home but another larger question stemmed from this topic. What is home? I personally struggle with the question of what my home is. I was born and raised and South Florida, have never moved in my entire life, and considered it my home. However, when I left Florida and came to Christchurch I began to also consider it my home. When Christchurch offered me the opportunity to travel to India last spring, I once again found a home that is so different than my North American homes. Once again I have found a home in Senegal.
So, what exactly makes a place home? I have come to a conclusion that home is not exactly a place but instead it is where you can be at peace with yourself and be surrounded by the people with no judgment.