It’s the end of June, which means my time here in South Africa has come to an intermission. I’ll be back sometime in August. In the meantime, I have to pack up and say goodbye to all of my kids, volunteers, and locals I have met here. I came with about 20 other volunteers and most of us are leaving around the same time. I, however, am the first to separate from my comrades. It’s bittersweet.
Leading up to my last day here in Muizenberg, I also went to my last Brass Bell night on Tuesday. In case you haven’t read my past posts, all the volunteers from both houses (Rec & Palmer) traditionally all go out to a karaoke bar in Kalk bay every Tuesday night. This last Brass Bell night topped the rest! Everyone was having such a good time and a couple springbok shots (the shot of South Africa) help set the mood.
My night ended with me accompanying my housemate Laura to the nearby hospital to get stitches on her foot. Somehow she got cut on the top of her foot and blood was seeping everywhere! Don’t worry, she’s doing just fine now.
Lucy, out of the kindness of her heart, wanted to make me pancakes for my last night. I thought it was a great idea, so I decided to make a night of it by inviting the Palmer house over for a farewell of sorts. Pancake night :). I had to go to Checkers, a local grocery store, to get the ingredients. There are a lot of street hoodlums who hang around Checkers always begging everyone for money and food. I don’t like beggers so I always went about my business. There is this one in particular who stopped me on my way to get the pancake ingredients. I’ve seen him a few times before but I would always try to avoid contact because he would start hassling me for things. He told me all he wanted was a piece of bread. I one upped it, and bought him a club sandwich. I gave it to him and expected him to just take it and run but instead he shook my hand and told me ” I hoped over time you would come around brother. Many blessings and thank you for your kindness sir.” I felt kinda guilty that I constantly ignored these kids, or maybe teenagers this whole time. If I had more time, I would of asked him about his situation and if he really is homeless. He didn’t look homeless. His clothes always looked pretty well worn. It just always makes me wonder. I’m thankful that I am very fortunate.
Anyway, back to Pancake night! A few others bought some goodies for the night. In addition to the pancakes. Erin, Andy, and Lisa bought strawberries, chocolate, ice cream, and pound cake. Speaking of delicious treats, I have a confession to make. I’m so fat here. Before coming to Africa, I thought I was going to shed a lot of weight but it turns out the opposite is happening. When I was weighed for bungee jumping last week, I weighed 89 kilograms. I’m from the U.S, so I’m not familiar with kilograms. I just did the conversion and I didn’t realize that meant I weigh 196 lbs! What the heck is going on! We eat…a lot here. I eat a lot in the states too but I always maintain a steady weight. I think when I get to Tanzania, where it will be a lot more rustic, I will be back to normal. Africa what are you doing to me!
Alright sorry, back to the pancakes! So yeah, everyone came over and Lucy slaved away making everybody a pancake. Thank you Lucy! We started the fireplace in the living room, took a few group shots, swapped pics, and had a very relaxed evening. It then sunk in for me, in just a few hours I would have to say goodbye to everyone, knowing realistically I probably will never see most of these people I’ve become fond of, ever again. There are a few who live relatively close to me in Michigan though. Chris will be moving to Chicago. Lisa lives in Chicago. Andy lives in Ohio. Hyun Soo also lives in Illinois. Then there are others who live waaaaay across the globe. Ciaran lives in Ireland, Lindsey will be in Australia, and Monica lives in Costa Rica for example. Gosh.
I said my goodbyes, waiting for everyone to go to sleep. My flight leaves at 9am the next morning. I needed everyone to sleep so I could set up the wall in the living room. No one wanted to sleep because they didn’t want to have to say goodbye to me. I felt very loved.
It’s a tradition that everyone who leaves for good, writes a note to whoever they want in the house and hangs it in the kitchen. I wanted to do a little more. Earlier in the day, I printed a bunch of pictures I had took over the month and wrote a note to everyone in the house, individually.
I taped all the pictures on a bare wall in the living room and put my notes in the middle. I hope they liked it. I don’t know. At the time of this writing, I am already long gone on my way to Kenya. People told me to wake them up in the morning before I left but I couldn’t do it. I woke my roommates up, but not any of the girls. They would have never let me leave haha!
I’m going to miss that house on Recreation Road. But I’m ready to start the next leg of this adventure.
Here I come.