Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goodbye Redux

Up early for the trip to Iringa. Macombe and others show up while we scramble for breakfast—boiled eggs and peanut butter. Evans obviously struggling with the shortness of the visit. He gives each of us a note. This is the inevitable moment. Can we give more? Did we really come for such a short time? We dance around the ritual of packing, of loading the van, of pacing while last details are taken care of. The only way to leave is to leave quickly.

A last chance to say goodbye to Mr. Mheni, Nickson, Macombe, Evans, Ellymark. Mr. Fanuel comes to say farewell. We will miss his guitar, his magic voice, his voicing of the choir. Yasmin has a special moment with Macombe; they walk closely together. He has a future, but not at Ipalamwa. We hope Mr. Mheni can carryout his ambitious plans for the school—a computer lab. We hope he finds a way to start a library. We bemoan the lack of books, the rote learning and the limitations it places on thinking, exercising of the mind, developing the power to reason and question and analyze.

The road to Iringa Town is long and worse than in bad shape. We leave by a different route to avoid a disabled vehicle. Along the way, we pass people returning on foot to the village. We pick up Papa Toni—which explains, in part, the outfit Mama Toni has selected for the hot dusty trip. In Iringa Town, we enjoy lunch at Hasty Tasty Too. At 3 pm Bill and Eloise depart for Ruaha and safari. Yasmin will have two days alone to rest and take in Iringa sights and sounds. Our adventure in service has all but ended. It is all about retracing our steps now, but it is unlikely that we can step into the same footprints. Each of us, in our own way, will have much to think about. Whether we recognize it now or only later, or at some unexpected moment in the weeks ahead, Ipalamwa will have changed our lives in someway.