Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Kenya.

June 14: Saying Good-bye

Posted in Kenya on June 18, 2009

Our bags are packed, our rooms are cleared, and yet none of us are ready to leave. At 11am, we say goodbye to everyone at Transit Hotel and take our last pictures of Maai-Mahiu. We drive to Nairobi to stay there for the night, in order to catch our 8:30 flight tomorrow morning. Fortunately, Dominic is given permission to take the afternoon off from work, so he comes to Nairobi with Rocky, Mwaniki and Kerwin later on in the day.

We get to YaYa Centre in Nairobi to have lunch and do some last minute shopping for gifts. At 3pm, I get a call from Rocky.

"Jess. I'm really sorry. But I don't think I'll be able to make it to Nairobi today."
"Haha. Very funny Rocky."
"No, in all honesty Jess. I can't leave Maai-Mahiu. I'm so sorry."
"Oh my god. Are you serious?" I can't imagine not having properly said goodbye to Rocky, Mwaniki and Dominic. I feel a huge lump in my throat and the phone goes silent.
"Hahahahaha. Just kidding!" Rocky laughs. "I'm actually outside the Yaya Centre. See you in two minutes."

I feel like an idiot for falling for yet another one of Rocky's "jokes."

At 5pm, we head to the Kwality Hotel (spelled exactly like that), for our last dinner in Kenya. It's a beautiful restaurant that is canopied beneath palm trees and emits the feeling of outdoor eating inside. After placing our orders, Dominic gets us all a round of Tuskers. Then another round. Then a round after that. It takes forever for the food to arrive, and some of us are definitely feeling the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach. Mwaniki, Holly, Kayla, Rocky, and Fred get up and start dancing to cheesy love songs. It's absolutely hilarious.

By 8pm, we finish eating and we know that it's time to finally say goodbye. In the parking lot of the restaurant, I hug Mwaniki and tears start rolling down my face uncontrollably. Mwaniki's crying too. And so are Kayla and Holly. It's hard to believe that in just five weeks, we've all grown to be so close to Rocky, Mwaniki and Dominic. I think about the possibility of never seeing them again, and I start bawling my eyes out. They promise to visit Toronto one day, and I sincerely hope that they will.

Now that I'm back in Toronto, there's a feeling of emptiness inside and I'm not quite sure how to reconcile it. I feel like I've left my heart in Kenya. But perhaps that's not entirely a bad thing. At least I know that there's something beckoning me back and it'll only be a matter of time before I do.

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