It feels different every year, but this year is unfamiliarity strange as we said goodbye to our students. There were no tears, no long hugs, no looks of sadness or negotiating to make us stay just a little longer. Perhaps it was the group dynamic, our timing, my busy schedule mixing in my other work and family events. Perhaps it may be that our students and volunteers may have unconsciously inoculated themselves to the emotional anguish that have transpired in the previous four years. Whatever the reason, this year felt that it was meant to start the process of closure as I prepare for future projects and travels in other countries.

As I walked to our taxi, I heard “Cher, good luck to you. Next year, ok?” I turned, and it was a student whom I known for five years. She comes every year, always prepared and ready to engage. Wow, I thought. I’ve had the privilege of seeing many of our student change and grow for five years. As we drove off, I look backed to see if any of the students followed. Not this year, most stood still waving and shouting goodbye as they dispersed and disappeared behind a cloud of dust. No attachments, no regrets, just contentment that things are as it should be.

Yes, next year.

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