I’m 17 years old and next fall I will enter my senior year in high school. This summer I’m taking a month from my summer vacation to journey to Malawi, a country in southeast Africa. There, I’ll be working on a number of projects, ranging from helping my sister build incubators to aiding my mother with her instruction of physical therapy. To say the least, I’ll be busy.

I’m naming this blog The Orange Sky after one of my favorite songs by an artist named Alexi Murdoch.

Take a listen.

The song always struck a chord with me. In it, Murdoch expresses his dream of an “orange sky, with his brother and sister standing by”. Family has always been important to me. They are, in fact, the reason for my upcoming trip to Malawi. Years ago my sister, Elizabeth, went to Malawi with my mother, and the following year my brother Josh took a trip. From their own experiences in Malawi, my brother and sister have set their minds to impacting the world for the better using their outstanding education (Josh, as a recent graduate of Stanford and Elizabeth as a upcoming graduate of Rice). They are an inspiration to me and no matter where they are on the globe, listening to the song connects me to them.

Murdoch also sings that his “salvation lies in your love." I’m a strong believer that the well-being of every person lies in the compassion and empathy towards others. I think our capacity to connect with others while we live our short time in this world is fundamental to our existence.

While Alexi Murdoch enchants his listeners to imagine an orange sky, I hope my own experiences in Malawi open my eyes to the discovery of my very own orange sky.

I’m almost done with my packing - Mom is a veteran traveler and she told me exactly what I needed. Our plane takes off Sunday morning to New York, where my Mom and I will head straight to Johannesburg. From there, one more plane ride to Malawi!

Simply put: I cannot wait.