The safari was really neat, but I feel like the whole entire time I was thinking about all of the kids. I was so preoccupied with these feelings that I didn’t really enjoy the safari even though it was amazing.
Dingie was by far the most incredible tour guide. He got super excited when he realized there were 2 warthogs and not one…like he had never seen a warthog before.
At one point, Dingie drives into a swamp area to see a crocodile. We see one. Then he turns off the jeep, GETS OUT (again, we just saw a crocodile), goes to the back, pees in the dark, gets back in, off-roads, almost flips the vehicle, drives through literally a jungle…like literally straight jungle…branches flying everywhere, somehow hits a path, and then continues on the safari.
We were almost done with the safari and he gets a call that someone found a leopard. So Dingie SPEEDS back where we just were, off-roads, and gets us within 15 feet of a leopard…just chillin’…just sitting there MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH US. I was very glad that I was not on the cat side of the vehicle. Very thankful to Matt for that.
I tried to shower but there was no hot water or soap, so I skipped it…I live for bucket showers anyway.
When we got back to the Grace Center, I go SO excited. We stopped at the bottom of the hill and I asked if I could just get out there because I didn’t want to waste any time. As soon as I got out, a group of kids ran up to me! It was so sweet. It was like a mini-welcome.
Clever wanted to play with a ball he had. He threw it to me and I threw it back to him and he is so uncoordinated that it hit him in the face. I felt kind of bad, but hopefully it will inspire him to get better at sports. He is so adorable. I love him.
I found Eunice and we walked up to Patricia’s. She was eating a tangerine but she was also holding my hand which was very sticky and wet, but I didn’t mind. I missed her while I was on Safari. She said something to me in Chichewa at the top of the hill. Usually she just kind of rattles things off in Chichewa, but she really said this to me, so I asked Lontia to translate it. She said that she missed me. It was really sweet to hear that because I had had such a hard time being away while I was on safari that to come back to a mini-welcome and the kids who I love saying they miss me was so sweet.
Clever came up behind me when I was sitting on the ground before chapel and all I felt was a HUGE tummy in the back of my head. He just stood there pressing into the back of my head repeatedly. After eating, he hid behind a tree and I went over to catch him and he ran away through the field. He was actually really fast, and my chitenje was really holding me back, but I caught him and picked him up. It was so adorable because he just gave up and took a nap on my shoulder.
Karen came up to Patricia’s in the minibus and got everyone together to pray and sing and out of nowhere, little Esther C hits us with the vocals and leads the song.
I started crying during the prayer.
We all said our good-byes. Eunice was by me most of the time, but I wanted to say good-bye to her last. Once I had hugged everyone at least once, some twice, some three times, I hugged Eunice and struggled through saying “I love you” and “I will miss you” in Chichewa. Actually letting go of her hand and walking to the minibus was weird. It wasn’t that that moment was the hardest part or super emotional by itself, but it just felt wrong and awkward, like it wasn’t supposed to happen. I turned around once I got to the minibus to wave and she was just standing there watching still, kind of blank. It just felt very weird to walk away.
The boys didn’t show a lot of emotion, but it was a good transition from crying a lot at Patricia’s to going back to Abusa’s house.
They were all good good-byes
I had my last bucket shower. I will miss those.
Breakfast was HUGE buns and eggs…my gluten free cleanse I was attempting before getting on the plane went right out the window. I didn’t even eat the eggs…just the bread.
Sydney took me to see Eunice’s picture book in the office before Chapel. It was amazing to see her transformation. She is literally the living representation of overcoming one of my worst fears.
I cried like 3 times on the plane.
The more I think about all of this, the more what Karen said resonates with me “It’s okay to have to come back here to visit this piece of your heart”. That piece of my heart is more than there. It is weird to have that split because I don’t think I have ever really allowed myself to have one in the past, at least not to this extent. But it’s not a piece that I want back. I want those kids who poured out their love to me for 3 weeks to have it. I don’t think they have any idea the extent of their love that they gave me and in the moment, I know that I had no idea the piece of my heart that I was giving them.