Friday, July 27, 2012

so it's over,.. (4 of 4)

>> the going away party and departure. on the 18th, a huge party was held, speeches made, food served, gifts given, all in my honor. i had to do my best (and i thank jimmy for being next to me at the head table for his support) not to cry. people said things like 'god truly blessed us with your presence' and 'if it were not for you, we would be lesser people' and 'may god go with you wherever you may go and continue to bless you and your family because of your generosity'. hard to not get emotional. that night, there was a large dance (at which i got to DJ for about an hour at :) where all of my friends seemed to peel themselves from the crappy rainy night outside and come in, dancing with me, laughing with me, etc. the dance itself felt like a prom, that bittersweet feeling of 'the last night' with the people you love. on the night of the 20th, i had my four closest friends over and talked to them, leveling with them basically, talking about what they meant to me, how it was them that on multiple occasions that had kept me there, not the wine or the comfy day bed, but them (also Tink, but she was asleep in the corner). we hugged, and they cried alongside me. for a sierra leonean to cry takes effort as it is basically taboo and is a sign of weakness or inability to control one's emotions. we shared wine one last time and then they left. in the morning, my principal arranged for eight hondas to form an escort in front and we boarded his vehicle and left the village, myself keeping it together until petting Tink goodbye and shaking Foday's hand in departure. The ride out of the village saw me blinking back tears and waving as people, old and young, came out of their houses, waving their hands and clothes and yelling their thanks and goodbyes as we passed. some elders, who i had never seen stand up, stood up to give their thanks and say goodbye to me. we finally left gbendembu behind and i did my best to stop sniffling and tearing up. (what got me most was the look on tink's face as we drove away, that confused sort of 'where are you going that you're not bringing me?' expression that, wow, even as I write it I'm tearing up.) we arrived in freetown late that afternoon directly to the peace corps compound. to make a long story short, the time from my arrival in freetown to my departure to paris (two days from now) has been difficult, a sort of mess of emotions as we all try to comprehend that we are in fact LEAVING and may never see some of these other volunteers again.. i guess that earlier in my service we had thought that COS week would have been this bubbly affair with us all really excited to leave but instead it found us trapped in the hostel, the outside pouring rain, and us inside mulling over our lives. however, as we near our departure (and two of my friends left today), the excitement begins to build back. we are going home. we have finished. we did it. i love and miss you all :)

1 comment:

  1. I have followed your blog since the very beginning and I want to say now: THANK YOU for writing it!!! You have done an amazing job keeping it up-to-date and reading about your experiences was a wonderful reminder of my time as a PCV in Salone many years ago. I so appreciate and admire the honesty in your blog entries. I am sure you did a wonderful job as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I wish you all the best in the next stage of your life.