I am leaving Sokone in a few short hours and my heart is so full and heavy. I shared so many wonderful memories with my family, co workers and friends and leaving one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
I started anticipating my depart about a week ago and started to feel uneasy. My friend Claire (who I miss dearly and who is having a wonderful internship experience in Mbouro) called me on the phone after I shared my feelings. She said I just have to be present and enjoy every minute of my last week days. So that is exactly what I did. I stopped thinking about how to get back, what to buy before leaving, expenses upon returning to Denver, etc. I even stopped thinking about what I would be doing that afternoon or in a few hours. I have never experienced anything like the power of being present in the moment- it was truly beautiful.
I had a charged week with work and yesterday afternoon we finally finished our volunteer training. Afterwards, everyone was very tired and many started taking naps. I just waited around and I do per usual, enjoyed good company and about an hour later, some coworkers started arranging chairs and setting out glasses. I figured we would be debriefing as per usual and just found the glasses a little out of the ordinary. A few minutes later a car pulls up with a coworker that had stayed at the center and my host mom. When I saw her, I knew they were doing something special for me. I started crying when she came up to greet me (the classic Sénégalese kiss on each cheek) and for the following few hours I could not control my emotions. Every time I tried to stop crying, and saw my host mom wiping her tears, the water works would start all over again. My boss spoke very kindly about me, as did my mom and did my role model Madame Mbow. I cried, I danced, I was thankful, I was joyful, I was present. Tears followed me into the evening and into the night. Being present this last week was a gift to my family and my friends but also a gift for myself. I am leaving only regretting not having received this advice from Claire sooner.
I know I will come back, fate itself told me. Yesterday at our little celebration I met a girl named Mariel. Never in my life had I met another Mariel and this girl did the exact some program as me (had a different family and a different internship- but with the same organization). She came back to Sokone to visit and it made the reality of my promises to come back a lot more real, a lot more genuine. I am sure a lot of students claim to come back but having Mariel actually come back, and arrive the day I was leaving was a sign from destiny- I have to let myself believe that. As I was leaving she said “wow, you are really special” and I knew in my heart I had in fact been impactful in some way in Sokone. I feel like this is my home a little bit after all… (haha here I am completely undermining my last post). I feel so loved and so joyful and it is with a heavy heart and a heavy suit case I am leaving.
Rose: coworkers throwing me a last hoorah!
Thorn: I am leaving a piece of my heart in Sokone
Bud: Seeing what this week in Dakar brings