I am very satisfied with the level of proficiency I have finally reached in Swahili, as I can communicate and hold simple conversations without problem. Being able to speak the people's language makes an immense difference, brings you much closer to the people and changes the quality of the experiences you make.
We treated between 30 and 100 patients per day, and could cure quite a number of their diseases. As always in Africa, however, you question the work you are doing, the efficacy, sustainability and long-term effects of your help and the radius of its outreach. This is nothing bad, it simply shows again how hard helping in the right way is in the Third World. You can't simply walk in and change the whole country.
For me, it was interesting to witness Western people walk into African culture, and only now I realized that this experience had quite changed me after all.
I am going back to Austria today, and I wish to take with me the many qualities and strengths of the African culture as I cross the ocean.
"How was Africa?" the people will ask, and I will despair in trying to answer the question in a few words. After all, in the end, Africa cannot be described in words, cannot be understood with the mind, cannot be pinned down; it can only be felt, be experienced by yourself, be perceived as a vague idea. It is unpredictable, ever changing, demands flexibility and openness and the readiness to take life as it comes. Africa has given me a new idea of what life is and who I am, it has given me something to stay with me forever.