For about nine weeks I've waited for this day to come. In about twelve hours I will leave Tanzania behind as my plane departs the Dar airport. I am so excited to be heading back to America and reuniting with my family and friends. However, I'm also surprised about how hard it is to say goodbye to so many amazing people.
Last night, our Kilwa roommates met us in Dar for one last dinner together. The few days apart already felt like too many. For the first time I realized we were no longer 4 strangers from around the world. Over the past couple months we've created a family dynamic, helping each other when needed and laughing together daily. The boys constantly killed bugs and hunted for mice, while us girls kept the house tidy and nagged them to help. The little moments that drove me crazy are in the end the moments that defined us as roommates and friends. Last night after dinner, we faced the dreaded goodbyes. There was an awkward minute of not knowing how to start the inevitable, then the first of the hugs, and with them, the first of the tears. It took about fifteen minutes and a few rounds of hugs and tears for the boys to leave us in the lobby. I truly hope the four of us have a chance to be together again someday, but I am also thankful for modern technology that will give our long distant friendship a chance.
The boys also brought some inspirational news on their visit. After our stay at Sultan's, they went back to our Kilwa house for a night. As their bajaj pulled up to the house, they said kids came running yelling, "Jamie and Morgan are back!" I feel so sorry for their disappointment, because I know I wish we could have one more play date, also. However, I'm so glad to hear they really prize our short time together. Said also said he heard them doing the hokey pokey in our yard, which really touches my heart. I know it's only been nine days, but hearing these stories gives me hope that the village kids will hold onto our memories for a long time. I know I will.
And one final note for anyone that has ever donated clothes to the Goodwill, or any similar organization. Please keep donating! In Africa, you see the benefits of such donations. Most clothes are either second hand or personally made at the tailor. Countries like Tanzania aren't developed enough yet to mass produce clothing for their citizens. Many depend on the clothes we are giving away. One t-shirt we saw on a man was for a Caribbean wedding last summer, so donated clothes can actually travel here fairly quick! Today, as we packed up our hotel room, we gave the maid some clothes and sandals that we no longer wanted to hang on to. She jumped and shouted her appreciation, even started hugging us. The quality of life here is lower, but doesn't need to be ignored by those of us more fortunate.
Well, see you tomorrow, America!!!