The last days of any school year are hard, no matter where you are. This was definitely no exception. The last week was jam packed with events. On Tuesday, the Secondary Girl’s Club visited the Village of Hope. The Village of Hope is an HIV/AIDS orphanage operated by the Catholic Sisters of the Precious Blood just outside the city of Dodoma. The girls in the group worked together to create a crib-sized patchwork blanket and some of them went to deliver it and to have some cuddle time with the babies. We cuddled the 10 babies they have in the orphanage and learned a little about what they do there.
|The girls and the blanket.|
|No, she did not come home with me, although it was hard to leave her.|
|More front gate action.|
It is a fantastic place. The babies are all kept together until they are about 18 months old. This helps their caretakers provide for all their medical needs. Then they are placed in a home at the village so they get a chance to grow up as a member of a family. The village not only has the care center for the babies and homes for older children and families, but also operates a primary school as well as an all-girls secondary school. I wish I had found this place sooner!
On Wednesday, the staff went out for a farewell/end of the year dinner at one of our favorite places to eat: the pizzeria! As always, the food was fantastic and the company was even better! It was nice to get together with everyone one final time.
|Ready to eat!!|
|Sarah doing what she does best... figuring out how to interpret a Tanzanian food bill and collect from roughly 30 people all paying separately.|
Thursday brought another big farewell for CAMS. Jane Window has been teaching at CAMS for almost 12 years and has decided to return home and retire. Not only has she been teaching for that long but in the time she has been here, she has been ordained and has been in charge of the English congregation at the Cathedral for the past few years. She is going to be missed in Dodoma! Her farewell was very well attended by current and former students, CAMS families, important people in the diocese, and church members. I had the honor of joining Celia and Sarah to perform an arrangement of the Irish Blessing near the end of the festivities.
|Sarah and Celia|
|Jane and the gift from CAMS. The picture and the photograph and frame on the right.|
After the farewell, I headed over a few streets to my friend Eleanor’s place. Eleanor has been hosting a bible study for member of her church for the last 2 years and I have been joining them for the last few months. It is a lively group that has invited me in with open arms. Eleanor is moving on to Moshi to run a primary school there and two other members of the group (including myself) are leaving, so this was the last meeting they are having as this group. I’m going to miss Thursday nights!
Friday was the last day of school. I didn’t actually do any teaching for the last two days, but at home it feels that way for about 3 weeks before school is out. Instead of learning on Friday, we had a day-long party. We started the day by singing some of their favorite songs that we do for assemblies before going outside to play some run-around-to-get-all-your-energy-out games. After break, we went back inside and watched part of Frozen. We didn’t have time to watch the whole thing because the day was over at noon!
The good thing about saying goodbye to an extremely active class is that they don’t sit long enough to let you tear up. Every time I’d start feeling it, one of them would poke the person sitting next to them or start calling out. Once they left though, I spent a lot of time avoiding eye contact. It helps, trust me. After school, I spent some time walking around in town with some people I’m really going to miss! We ate lunch out, and then I met some other friends for dinner. Goodbyes are so hard!
The funny thing about goodbyes though is that the hard is a good thing. It hurts without a doubt, but the hurt is a sign that there is a reason to be sad. It means that there is something to miss. If I was leaving Tanzania after a year and didn’t feel like I was losing anything, something would be wrong.
Thank you for the friends I have made here. Thank you for the new experiences that have changed me in many small ways. Thank you for the tears. Thank you for the people waiting to welcome be back in less than a week. I ask you to watch over the busses, cars, and airplanes that make up my journey home. In the words of the prayer I learned when I was younger, “God in front of me, God behind me, God all around me, Light my path, and CLEAR THE ROAD!”