“We have so much to talk about”

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! 

This week signifies the final stretch of classes and our time here in Zambezi. From the student’s computer presentations with Sarah and Charlie, to the business proposal with Emily and Lucia. Will, Ana, Julia, and Ani led a science project at the local school, Chilangi, while Katie and I had one of our last hospital days in the morning. There were several market trips scattered in to all of our busy days. And of course we all came back together at noon for one more Mama Josephine lesson. All these endings to classes and the inevitable countdown of days going by, has gotten me reflecting and thinking about what has happened here, but also what is still to come. 

Earlier last week, I went on a run with Josh (no, I am not a runner and this was my second run this entire trip), but as we ran we talked about how the trip has gone, different things we were looking forward to throughout the day, and I talked about the friendship’s I’ve made in the hospital. Yet something was nagging at the back of my mind as we talked. This whole trip I felt an immense amount of pressure that I was putting on myself to make deep connections and foster relationships that was boiling to the surface with our now very limited time. Now don’t get me wrong, I was working to create new friends, but what I actually did was create a fear that I wouldn’t be able to have what I thought was the “right” experience here. That maybe I wasn’t going deep enough in conversations, branching out far enough, or simply fearing that if I asked one of my new friends to grab a coke during their lunch break, they would say no. 

Flash forward to this morning. It all started in the hospital. Throughout my time in Zambezi, I have spent many mornings in the physiotherapy ward (some background info for those that don’t know me, I’m hoping to one day become a PT). And today was no different. I got to spend time with some of my favorite physiotechs, Brudas and Able. I have spent many hours with Brudas watching as he examines fractures showing me the x-rays and then quizzing me on if I can find its location, or watching as he plasters a cast or removes one on “Fracture Friday.” I have absolutely loved every second of getting to be in this ward. Today, I got to talk more one on one with Able. Our previous conversations had consisted of snippets of bonding over Top Gun or sharing our favorite music, my answer of course being Noah Kahan. I found the same structure this morning, as he asked for even more music suggestions, as he said that he would always remember me as the person that introduced him to Stick Season and that he was never tired of finding a new artist. This conversation grew and grew more into me no longer watching the plaster of a cast or examining an x-ray, but instead, engaging in small talk that now furthers me and Able’s bond. We talked of his education, his family, my family, my sisters, his girlfriend and how she is visiting soon. Then, when I was losing track of time and before I knew it Katie came from the peds ward to get me. Before I left, he said something during the smiles, laughter, and sad goodbyes for the day, “We have so much to talk about.” 

When Able said this, it was a conformation to me that he was not only my friend, but that he was able to see me as his.

That I’ve had the privilege of getting to know them as they have gotten to know me, and together we’ve gotten to walk together for this brief amount of time, even if some days I was simply accompanying Brudas as he placed on a cast. 

Though the run last week left me feeling fearful for the time I had left and the connections I had yet to make, in instances like this I find that my fear slowly disappearing because even though the time here is almost up, I know that we really do have so much left to talk about.  One of our group reflections last week, we emphasized how our relationships made here are not meant to end during our three weeks. That they come back with us and can also further flourish and grow. Though we have so much to talk about, we really have do much time to talk. It has been a comfort to me these last days to know the seeds of my friendships have started in the connections I’ve made here in Zambezi. That though I have experienced pressures, and wrestling with the feelings of a “right” experience, I have found places where connecions have formed in beautiful depth, vulnerability yet also small talk or a hand hold or a quick Chimene Mwane. That though our time here is brief, the connections are only just beginning because we really do have so much to talk about. 

To my family and friends at home, I miss you all and I am so excited to see! 

Lots of love, 

Brynn Neal 25’

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7 Responses to “We have so much to talk about”

  1. Carolyn Herman says:

    Thanks, Brynn, for the great reflection! I’m sure I speak for all the parents when I say we can’t wait to talk to you guys too! What a beautiful way to think about new friendships and also reconnecting with friends and family when you get home. I hope today is a beautiful day for everyone.
    Carolyn (Charlie’s mom)

  2. Sue Munger says:

    Brynn, I always enjoy your writings and enjoys reading them over and over again. I am so excited that you had this opportunity to be part of this amazing adventure, and am very proud of you for going. What memories you have created and also acquired so much knowledge. I am looking forward to seeing you and hearing of all your adventures in person. Miss you! Love you! Nan

  3. Chris Sloan says:

    Brynn -great blog! Isn’t it interesting how proximity to others allows us opportunities to go deeper? I applaud your willingness to engage!! Hello to all-can’t believe you are heading home so soon! I’m healing a little more each day. Love to all!!

    • Emily's Mom : ) says:

      Hello There,
      Glad to hear you are healing!
      Many blessings for all of your kindnesses to our young adults!
      Rebecca Even

  4. Sharon says:


    Being present, making connections and engaging in newfound friendships, such an incredible adventure. I am excited to hear about “Fracture Friday” and everything surrounding your experience in the hospital. Enjoy your last few days, I miss you and can’t wait to see you…..and I will grab a coke with you anytime:) Love you!!!

  5. Emily's Mom : ) says:

    We have so much to talk about!
    Another great reflection!
    What exactly is a Chimene Mwane?
    Emily Rose, please bring home some fun new spices and recipies so you can share some native foods when you talk about and share your stories! We are counting the days until we can hear those stories live!
    With deep gratitude for all the wonderful experiences you all have had!
    Safe travels all!
    Offering our Rosaries for your journey home and onward!
    I know “Vaya Con Dios” is go with God, but I do not know how to say.. Come home with God… but do!
    Sky…Sky Emily!

  6. Susanne Jorgenson says:

    This truly has been an amazing experience for you Brynn. You are truly a gift to anyone who has the privilege of getting to know the sincere , and compassionate person you are. I am blessed to have watched you grow into an incredible woman with the biggest heart. Love you always SueSue.

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