Clinic and David 005

It is hard to say good bye

Over the years, I have found it difficult to say goodbye especially to people I love such as my brother, sister-in-law, and my niece. They live thousands of miles away from me. Each time I leave, I wonder if and when I will see them again. To save myself from the sharp jabbing pains in my heart, and groaning, I give a quick hug, said my goodbyes and walk away quickly before they can see me crying. It hurts too much………..

So, can I say goodbye to all the folks that I have come to love in Kibaale?

I had a plan……….

In Uganda, the school year starts the first week in February. After three months of school, there is a 3 to 4 week break. Kibaale Community Centre has a party at the end of each term to celebrate the employees who had birthdays. On April 25, there was the staff fellowship. I waited to the last minute and asked for a few minutes to tell the staff what was happening with my “work permit” and to say my goodbyes. I was kept waiting for a few minutes and then very politely informed “NO!” I was surprised. A few minutes later, as I was still standing outside the building, Peter the director came out and told me that there was going to be a farewell party for me the next Thursday, May 2.

Initially, I was surprised, pleased, thankful and then overwhelmed. I was not ready for a farewell party. I did not know how I was going to be able to sit ….stand….. talk…. or walk? Why should I be honoured? What had I done to deserve a party?

That week was extremely emotional ….. I cried and laughed; I was happy and sad; I was glad and mad.

That next Thursday was challenging. I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous, scared, excited and thankful. The dining hall was full when I was escorted in. I knew most of the people by name. It turned out to be a “roast”…. Many of the staff of Kibaale Community Centre came to the front and told a story of thanksgiving for help I provided. It was one of those “out of body experiences.” I could not believe they were talking about me. It all felt surreal.

After the many speeches, Peter, Kibaale Community Centre Director came to the front and thanked me for all my work caring for the students, staff and community. I was given a framed “Certificate of Appreciation”…..
WOW!!!!!!!! What a surprise. I cried…..

A few of my special friends did not come…. they told me later that it was just too difficult. Samalie was one and the other was David. I was invited to his home for an incredible dinner. I have included a picture taken that evening.

I came to Kibaale because God told me that he had a job for me. I could not have done any of it without the support of the many folks in Canada and in the United States who prayed for me and encouraged me…. They deserve this recognition not me.

I do not understand why I am going home…. I know God has a purpose but right now I cannot see it. Maybe I will never understand why!

Nevertheless, it is time for me to leave. It is time for me to say goodbye to all the folks in Kibaale, who have encouraged me, supported me, prayed for me and befriended me. Their relationships have made Kibaale a very special place. It will always be part of me; a place I love.

There are no perfect words to say how much I appreciate each one of these amazing people who gave me their time and friendship. Thanks to Samalie, David, Patricia, Ellen, Grace, Esther, Harriet, Peter, PJ, Moses, Amos, Ethan, Esther, Julia, Ellen, Mugabi, Margaret, Madre, Stella, Rose, Vincent, Christopher, Goreth, Eva, Allen, Rosebell, Pastor Eric, Peace, Dominic, Robert, Josephine, Patrick, Joseph, Steven, Jackson, and my two sponsored students Deus, and Benita.

It is Friday and I am planning on leaving Saturday about noon. I do not want to say goodbye on Saturday because I am taking some visitors from Canada on a tour. I would like to say my goodbye in private. So on Friday morning I head to the clinic to say my farewells. They are busy and this makes it easier for me and maybe for them. I was not planning on going back unless I was needed. It was time for them to work together and run the clinic without me. Since I still had many things to do that Friday, I spent the time in my Kibaale home..……..but one by one staff and students came to say goodbye. It was an emotional day….

At about 5:30, Namuliika arrived. My presence was requested at the clinic. They had planned a farewell dinner with some of my favourite foods including Irish potatoes, cabbage, two kinds of greens, eggplant, pasta, goat, and rice. Asaph was the M.C. which he took it seriously. Once again, there were speeches from a number of the clinic staff thanking me for my support, encouragement, leadership and friendship. Samalie pulled out her camera and the fun began…. Everyone wanted their picture taken with me….. we got a little silly but why not?

I want to thank the staff of the clinic for making it possible for me to do the job I was asked and requested to do. They are amazing and they do a great work….. So to Namuliika, Asaph, Mariam, Margret, Daniel, David T, David, Justine, Dativa, Prossy, Rovinsa, Susan, Claire and Christopher thanks for all your support and friendship. Also to Charles, Joyce and Noellena.

I am in Zanzibar. I have been working on this blog for 5 days…. It is not perfect because it has been the hardest blog to write. How do you say goodbye to friends you love not knowing when you will see them again??????????