We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
I have three days, sixteen hours and 42 minutes until I leave for Morocco. That is a countdown until my plane leaves the gate. Before that there is two hours to check in before and about an hour or so to drive to the airport. So my departure is really three days, thirteen hours, 42 minutes and 35 seconds. But really, who is counting?
I have only three days until I leave and my suitcase is still buried in my closet, filled with knickknacks from my last trip abroad a year ago. Like most, or all, of my trips I am once again procrastinating. I am a bit overwhelmed trying pack. How do you decide what to bring to a hot country while trying to be respectful and modest but without dying from heat or losing some sense of individuality? Added to that is figuring out the other random items to bring. For example, how many bottles of sunscreen will I go through? As a particularly fair person I will need it, but how much to bring? Similarly, how much shampoo? Can I buy my particular brand there?
Somehow I am not nervous about being in a foreign country, not speaking the language, or much else. It is the act of packing and deciding what to take that gives me knots in my stomach. As someone that attends university abroad and has travelled abroad alone before, this makes absolutely no sense. It could, however, be considered a good thing. If this is the greatest challenge or stomach-knotting event, my next month will be wonderful. The idea of spending my time at the University and Tarmillat gives me great comfort as I attempt to pack.
But thinking of those I will try to help leads me to the conclusion that this worry is trivial. I will be with people that do not have running water, let alone a particular shampoo brand. This conclusion comforts and brings me to reality, as it really does not matter if I bring the perfect items. They will be grateful for the aide and I will happily help without my shampoo.