Thursday, July 7:
Yesterday ended up being exactly the type of day I needed. I finished my feminism readings, and truly enjoyed reading all the chapters. I almost read more than was assigned; woah! I think I am really going to love this as my major, and if I say so myself, I think my first paper was pretty bad-ass. I spent the afternoon by myself, in peace and quiet, and knocked out my paper and started my Field Study paper. I then sat out in the fun for about 40 minutes, which felt so nice and relaxing. The day ended with Alison, Katie, Jameson and I curled up side by side in my bed watching the Hangover on my computer. It was exactly the day I needed, and I’m glad I took that break for myself. I know after this trip, Katie and Alison are going to be two of my closest friends, and I can’t wait to hangout with them back at school.
Well, today was so much better than I expected. Katie and I were so worried that none of the students closest to us would be in school today, but to my surprise, all of my seven boys were there! I was so relieved. We let them finish the movies, which took about 45 minutes, and then we just tried taking pictures with as many of them as possible. We come to school again tomorrow, but we have a celebration with the teachers at 10 am, so again, we don’t know who will come to school. I hung out with my seven boys for a while, as they followed us over to MIE. I was glad they did this because I finally got to get pictures with them, without hundreds of other kids standing around us, jumping in the pictures. I told all of them to come to school tomorrow, and I realize that I keep just trying to post-pone the whole saying goodbye thing. Even when I do actually say goodbye, it won’t actually hit me until I am home. I can only hope and pray that I see these children again, and that they remember me and know how much I truly love them. Part of me almost wishes they didn’t come to school tomorrow, so I don’t have to try and say good-bye to them. I know, though, that if I left without saying goodbye I would regret it, I just really suck at saying bye.
Now, we are at MIE waiting for A&T and Radford to get here at 1:30 pm, when we will then walk an hour to the village traditional church for a showing. I am not sure how the rest of the afternoon will pan out, but we will probably get back around 4:30 pm, freshen up in the bathroom, and then have the end of the year dinner at 5:30 pm with all of the teachers. Basically, there is a celebration tonight (that we are throwing for the teachers) and then a celebration tomorrow (that the teachers are throwing for us). Will touch base later! Peace, love, Malawi.
Well, this afternoon wasn’t what I expected but it was special nonetheless, and it has me completely freaking out about having to say good-bye tomorrow. At about 1:30 pm we all headed over to Malika Village Catholic Church for a private performance. Henery and Mike walked all the way over with us, which made me nervous because I didn’t know where their homes were and if they would even be allowed in the Church when we arrived. However, when we arrived the Church was filled with other children in a back “children’s section”, so Mike and Henery thankfully got to stay. The choir performed for us for about an hour, and their songs and voices were absolutely beautiful. All the ladies with their babies that were in the Church got so into the performances, and you could tell that these people get by with their struggles with help from their religion. Another beautiful baby came up to me during the performance and sat on my lap, which ended up being, obviously, the highlight of the experience. It’s really crazy here how calm and collected toddlers are. Throughout my entire stay here, I have never seen a baby cry or a toddler scramble around, not being able to sit still. On the downfall, these toddlers also rarely smile. At the end of the performances, the director called Dr. Kelly up and thanked her for coming back and supporting the Church throughout the years, and like magic, the little baby grabbed both of my hands and held them. The smallest moments here mean more to me than anything in my life, and when we got up to go, the little girl followed me out. Add her to my future adoption list!
We walked the 40 minutes back to MIE, where we then parted with Mike and Henery and I gave them two bananas to have for dinner. The group then headed over to the Cafeteria for our teacher dinner, where my seven “motley crew” boys were playing football in the field. They ran over to me, and all held my hands as we walked the rest of the way to the Cafeteria. I gave them a banana as well, and made them promise they would come back tomorrow to say goodbye. They all hugged me for legitimately 10 minutes until Dr. Kelly came out and I knew I had to go inside. Of course, the second after we arrived they ran out of fuel for the generator so we continued on with the evening in complete darkness. We all lined up and received our plates of food (rice and chicken, I will never eat you again!), and then we sat at the tables next to our teachers. Dr. Kelly, Dr. Patty and Dr. Liz then went to the front and introduced all of us students, as well as the headmasters at each school. To end the evening, us students all went to the front and performed the two songs that Innocent had taught to us. The teachers absolutely loved it! After the first line, they all started cheering and clapping, not realizing we had just started the song. Even though the evening wasn’t what I planned, I was so happy that the teachers had that special night. For most families here in Malawi, the only time you get to eat meat with your meals is for Christmas dinner. I was so happy that these teachers got to enjoy a free, filling meal and be recognized for all they are trying to do for these children. Katie and I had a nice conversation with Odina, and she proceeded to tell us that she “wished we could stay here forever and teach”. I think something snapped inside Katie and I at the same time, because we were both pretty silent on the bus ride back to Annie’s.
I cannot believe tomorrow is my last day with these children. I have been putting off the whole “saying goodbye” thing, and every day I keep just saying “okay please come to school tomorrow!”, so that I’ll have at least one extra day with them. My little “motley crew” means more to me than anybody has meant to me in a very, very long time. I want to everything in the world for them, I want to be able to give them bright, happy and healthy futures. I want them to continue smiling and continue their education. I want them to know how loved they are, and how they have someone who will always be there for them. I can’t even type this right now without starting to cry, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep tonight. I cannot part with these boys, and I promise both them and myself that I will be back to see them in the future.