Sunday, April 11

Too Fat to Raft

Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of being a nurse overseas, but it was going to have to wait til I lost some weight and was in better shape. I also had a dream of losing all my extra weight by the time I was 15 so prom would be awesome and I can get married to a missionary by 18 and live happily ever after in the African bush. Well, as most of my goals, I got sidetracked. Last summer I finally saved enough money to get weight loss surgery in Mexico (I know .. Mexico? .. ). For a year I also started seeing a therapist to prepare mentally for the surgery, and thanks to Renee I realized I was pursing the wrong dream. I had already started doing things I loved. So instead of paying money to have my insides reworked, I decided to take on my life's longest dream.

Go to Africa.

While preparing for this trip, I probably gained about 15 pounds of anxiety. I knew that it wasn't going to be easy being a fat girl in Africa, if I had only know what I was going to endure I would've been too scared to go. Without going into full detail about my trip, I will say it was one of the hardest (and the best) trips of my life. Uganda was such a beautiful place, the kids are wonderful to play with, everyone is energetic and happy, unfortunately it was definitely not one of the countries where they treat fat people the same. There was a lot of pointing, screaming and laughing in my direction. My first day of working with the volunteer organization I was told to sit up in the front of the truck, even though everyone else was sitting in the bed of the truck. I can go on and on about things like this happening that slowly chipped at my self esteem. There is the good of course! We volunteered weekly at an orphanage and there was a chubby little girl name Gifty. When it came nap-time she was always on my lap with her head placed on my ... chest. Yeah, I was prime napping real estate.

Notice which kid is sleeping?

Some volunteer friends and I spent a few weeks in a big expensive adventure-town called Jinja. Everyone had been planning a day of rafting and I had planned to spend the day going on an RTV safari and reading. The day before the rafting trip, while eating breakfast, I saw a few people who were plus-sized and part of the rafting group for that day (They were doing the Grade 3 family trip). I had been in Africa for a month already and this was my first sighting! It quickly dawned on me that maybe rafting is something I can do! I started asking around, different guides told me it was totally possible so the night before 10pm I signed my name up!

My raft was full of wonderful friends, two random strangers  and our world champ rafting guide. The whole day of rafting 11 rapids, I only fell out once. The only time I felt like being fat caused a problem was when I had to get back into the raft. You're suppose to be able to pull yourself up with some handles or have one person assist you, but I usually had two people assist me. One Japanese guy tried to pull me back into the raft on his own and smothered me with my life jacket (I unintentionally punched him in the face)

Just in case you can't read lips I am screaming "We're going to die!!!"

I will remember this day as one of the best days of my life. The rafting trip lasted for hours and the awkward moments lasted seconds. I practically live to avoid awkward moments. I take longer routes to do anything, I am quiet when I have something to say, I don't try things because I fear any negative attention. I go through phases when I'm ready to really live my life for the awesome moments but again I  pass something up because someone might laugh. Africa was 7 months ago and I'm already gravitating towards my old mentality. That's where this blog come in. There are so many things I'm ready to give a chance,  and that includes documenting  the experiences, the good and the bad. God knows there's going to be plenty of both.