Last night held the graduation ceremony for the Mercy Ships Academy class of 2013. It was a beautiful ceremony, the three graduates were eloquent and excited as they embark on the next steps before them.
This morning we said goodbye to our last hospital patient, Thierno. This was the man with the huge tumor on his face that we almost lost but he held on to life and now his lopsided smile radiates the joy that we all feel in his new outlook on life.
This afternoon we say goodbye to almost 200 day workers who have given much over the last ten months, we couldn't have accomplished a fraction of what we have without them. Some I've never met, some I will greatly miss, but all are a part of the stories written here.
We've had to say goodbye to many long term crew members and families. More are leaving in the next few weeks. I'm so grateful they are all a part of my story, a part of this community, and saying goodbye is never easy.
Next week we say goodbye to the country of Guinea. I wish I could say the country is in a better place than it was ten months ago, that we're leaving filled with hope for their future, but I can't. Unfortunately the situation had continued to disintegrate before our very eyes, and what was once just political unrest has become ethnic division, distrust, and violence. Many of our day workers, while extremely high quality workers, won't be able to get jobs that utilize their skills based on their ethnicity. And, unlike in past field services, they won't be able to just follow the ship and work for us again.
I'm so very excited for my future; our time in Europe will be a welcome change of pace, my time in the States will be full of family and fun, and everyone is looking upon Congo with great anticipation. However... in this, the Time of Last Things, a piece of my heart is being torn away and will be left behind here in Guinea.
|Our three graduates - Lara, Carys, and Michelle. Photo courtesy of Ali Chandra|