Only two days left! And I have SO much to do and SO many people to say goodbye to.
It was my last day at Ikaya Primary. Throughout my whole tenure there, I had the privilege of working along side Miss. Siwele, the grade six teacher, and Zuki, the maths and computer teacher. They both looooove their coffee, so yesterday I went and bought them both extra fancy coffee mugs. One of them read “Best Teacher in the World” and the other read “Coffee Addict”. They both appreciated it and I gave them my e-mail address to keep in touch, and for if Zuki had any questions about the computers haha! Siwele didn’t let me off easy on my last day though, she gave me several chapters from her English workbook to type up for her learner’s. After I was done, I said my goodbyes to them and said not to get too sad, I plan on visiting again someday! I saw my kids at interval and told them not to come over today because I will be in Muizenberg tonight, but for them to jet over to Zulu’s tomorrow before Isaac came and picked me up.
I wanted to spend as much time with my friends in Muizenberg as possible, so instead of taking the train, I took a taxi there. I had the driver drop me off in Cape Town because I needed to pick up a few gifts for friends back home. Once I was done with that, on my way to the train station, I ran into Paulo (Spain). I met Paulo before at Mizoli’s and he lives at the Palmer house. We decided to take the train together to Muizenberg. We darted straight for the surf shack, where I met up with other volunteers from the Rec house including Lucy. I figured I would surf one more time before I leave this place, so that’s exactly what I did! Dave wouldn’t let me use the big boards since I’ve surfed quite often before. He said that I should move up to the medium boards but he didn’t think of the fact that I haven’t surfed in almost two months! As I walked towards the beach with my surf board in tow, I remembered what the taxi driver told me earlier today. When I mentioned to him that I was going to surf here in Muizenberg, he gave me a gasp. Just like everyone else I tell that I surf in Muizenberg, they go on to tell me about how many great white sharks there are in those waters. I’m well aware. He told me how an older lady, doing her usual morning swim, was attacked and killed by a shark near that beach just a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure how valid his story is because I never heard anything about that. I just thought about how much it would suck if I was eaten by a shark on my last full day in Africa haha!
The medium board was hard to stand on, compared to the big board I’m so used to. But finally, after about an hour of trying, I finally found my groove and was able to stand for almost a full wave. Now I could leave that ocean on a high note. I am definitely going to miss surfing here. I can’t do that back home in Michigan. By the time I surf again, wherever that may be, I probably will have regressed back to beginner status. Oh well.
A few other volunteers and I all went out to dinner for my last night in Africa. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to but it was right around the corner from the surf shack. I went all out! I ordered up a calamari appetizer, chicken and mushroom pasta, and a few glasses of red wine.
Afterwards, we went out for dessert next door and all had ice cream. We made our way to the Rec house and relaxed and played cards for a bit. The house has changed yet again since the last time I have been here. There is now a table and a tv up in there! But before I knew it, it was getting late, and I had to say my goodbyes to all the volunteers including the ones I knew of the best: Prem (London, UK), Jess, Larry, Spencer, Sam, Danni (Costa Rica), and of course my only original housemate Lucy. Before when I left the Rec house, saying goodbye to Lucy wasn’t so bad because I would see her again right after Tanzania, but this time it was for real. I left the house for the last time ever and walked to the hostel I booked near the beach.
I woke up early the next morning and took a train to Steenberg. There I walked about 15 minutes to my old school, the Christian David Primary. I wanted to say goodbye to my first teacher, Miss Jacobs and to a few of my students here. I always love coming back here, because whenever I do, the kids go nuts when they see me! I adore the attention, but I adore even more the fact that they like me and remember me. I brought Miss Jacobs a gift from Zanzibar, a small decorative house made of straw and fabrics with 12 different spices inside. The grade one class made something for me. They made a map of South Africa with each of their names on it. It was bittersweet, because this time I made sure to tell the learner’s not to expect me anytime soon because I was going back to America. They gave me hugs for days.
Tim and Iviwe showed up at the school and were glad to see me. They wanted to see how my endeavors in Africa were going and to show me the progress of the computer lab. I checked out the lab one more time and it actually is turning into something the learner’s will like. I saw more computers set near the tables and there was also a bookshelf with school supplies stacked across it. In addition to this room becoming a computer lab, it will also be a place where volunteers can personally tutor individual learners. I was glad to see this outcome before I left Africa. DTR is moving in the right direction. Eventually, my taxi guy Nick (the same one as yesterday) came and picked me up from the school and took me back to Kayamandi.
I only had a few hours left. I beelined straight to Ikaya Primary one last time. I said my goodbyes to Pam and Zuki yesterday but I thought I would pop up and say hi, but mainly I went there to see my kids. I still had to run home and pack! So I went into the grade 7 class where most of my main group of kids were and told Mawande, “You and everyone else, make sure you come straight to Zulu’s right after school.” School dismisses at 2:10 and Isaac would come and pick me up at 3:30. So little time!
I ran home and packed all my stuff. My bag was mighty heavy but I didn’t care. If it was over the weight limit then I would just pay the extra fee. I hauled over to the library to take care of a few quick things on the internet and walked back to Zulu’s and saw all the kids out front waiting for me. I bought more candy for them earlier today and dispersed it amongst them. They sat outside on the deck with me as we waited for Isaac to come and get me. Actually, Isaac was busy with an important media event so he sent his friend Maude to take me to the airport. Finally, he arrived.
I gave a giant hug to Mama Zulu and I told her to expect to see me again one day soon. She referred to me as her son. She is such a humble and sweet woman. Unfortunately, Papa Zulu, Lelethu, and Buscha weren’t home but I made sure to tell Zulu to give them all hugs goodbye for me, especially little Buscha. I don’t know how he’s going to manage now that he’s been so used to playing with my iPad pretty much everyday! I said my farewells to the kids. Out of all the goodbyes I have had to go through yesterday and today, this one was the toughest for me. I’ve grown attached to each one of them. I felt like a parent a lot of the times, but I loved every moment of it. Atha, is a bit of a bully to some of the other learner’s at the school and a bit towards Mawande and Avele. I told Atha, if I hear of him doing anything crooked, next time I comeback, he won’t like what I have to say. But I’ll just have to wait and see if he listened.
I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my SAST volunteers, Alissa and Nichole, but I sent Alissa an email. I just couldn’t get to everyone. Time was very precious.
Maude drove me to the Cape Town airport, on the way I soaked up as much of the scenery as I could get and already started thinking about everyone I came across here, in Tanzania, and even when I first arrived back in June. There are some pretty awesome people on this planet that I’m glad to have had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends. It still hasn’t sunk in that I am leaving. No longer did I feel like a tourist or a volunteer, or a visitor; I felt like I lived here. I always felt at home, like a local; something I have never felt in any other country I’ve been to besides my own of course.
Here is something that my friends and family know that most of you readers don’t — even though I am leaving Africa, I’m not going home just yet. There is a bachelor party in Las Vegas waiting for me :).
I have two more posts left before this chapter comes to a close!