Going Home

Going Home

I'm going home soon!
Just a little under two weeks now.
I'm trying not to think about it very much...

Last Saturday night the hospital had a farewell party for me and a few
other volunteers who are leaving soon. I hear it was a really nice
event, with speeches and games and food. I wasn't there because I had
to drive to Addis at the last minute, Friday morning. They even
presented Shaunda with a nice native costume for me--somewhat baggy,
but nice:)

Now the employees know that I'm going soon, and they've been coming to
talk to me. Some to tell me how much they've appreciated having me
here. Some just to ask (politely) for money before I leave. But all
of them seem genuinely sad that I'm going.

I'm going to miss my friends. Firomsa, the faithful gardener.
Alemayehu, our loyal head guard. Tamiru, the slow, cheerful cleaner.
Belaynesh, my shy, diligent billing officer. Tadese, the meticulous,
stickler-for-the-rules cashier. Mulisa, cheerful, competent,
heart-of-gold administrative assistant. And Tinsay, and Teka, and
ticklish, wistful Tsegaye, and Yohannes (both of them, actually) and
Birassa, and Gamachis, and on and on...

And that list doesn't even include any of the expat volunteers!! My
housemates and death-march pals and fellow strategists, cooking
buddies and juice-bar attendees, painting partners and Hogan's Hero
watchers, Rook players and egg sandwich cookers, late night office
workers and early morning running friends... Renée and Shaunda and
Mark and Trudy and Jonah and Paul and Petra and Stephanie and Stevie
and Zach and Alicia and Allana and Monica and Ansley and Kristin.

It's been a good eight months, and I'm happy to be going home to see
my family again. And I'm sad to be leaving home and departing from my
new family.

Thank you God, for new experiences and new friends. Thank you for
African sunrises, for ripe mangos and pesky monkeys, for the perfume
of Eucalyptus trees while I pant up the steep hills in the morning.

Please come soon so I won't have to say goodbye any more.