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EGYPT 2nd September 2006
"As one chapter closes, another opens"


I can’t believe that it’s already been three days in Cairo. Just a week ago in Ottawa, I was very nervous and worried about this Expedition. I was worried about getting some of my research done, shopping for the trip, moving out of my apartment and also saying bye to my friends, people I’ve been close to and known for years. Things were moving so fast in my life, everyone around me was so excited for me, and so proud of me. I didn’t even feel that much for myself, at least not yet. As I went to bed every night, I prayed that I would not let anyone down, not my friends, not my colleagues and especially not my mother. She has been the most supportive person in my life and when this Expedition Africa opportunity came along, she knew it was meant for me. Exactly what I needed, she said. And I believed her; I just didn’t believe that it was all happening to me. It almost felt too good to be true. I was too nervous because I could feel all this pressure mounting.

I am going to Africa, I am going back home to share beautiful stories about my people. I have accepted that one chapter of my life is coming to an end and I am about to write a new chapter for myself.

Now that I’m here, now that I’ve done some work, I know that this is where I am meant to be. Yesterday, I completed my first assignment. After a long talk with Ben about expectations of the written pieces, I went out with Mike to collect some information and take pictures. When I came back, I did my written piece and to my surprise, Ben, Shaunna and Mike really enjoyed it and said it was really good. This really made a huge difference, I feel much more confident now. I know that the more I believe in myself and the more confident I am with my work and my skills, the better my work will be. I can’t let anything bring me down.

I’ve come to realize that in life, we make sacrifices. Some of these include leaving the people we love the most to pursue something like this. This is the biggest ‘grown-up’ decision I have ever had to take and I do not regret any part of it. We meet people in life that we consider our friends, best friends and in some cases, the people we are meant to be with, or so we believe. I know that by being far away from all of them, I will know who my true friends are. Those that stick by me, those that support me, those that are genuinely proud of me and keep in touch with me are the friends I will have for life. I know this trip, this adventure and this new job will not be a walk in the park; I know I will have hard and sad moments, but I will overcome them. I believe that with God’s help, I am going to make it through and do a great job. In the meantime, I need to learn to deal with the sad moments. I am not surrounded by family or my closest friends anymore; I have to learn to be fully dependent on myself. I have to become my own best friend. And this particularly, is proving to be harder than it sounds. These four months on Expedition Africa will teach me a lot about myself. It’s about time.
Khairoon Abbas
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