Saturday, May 21, 2016

Strange awful wonderful.

It’s once again that strange, awful, wonderful time of year.

Nearly two years in Madagascar – a country that was never on my radar.  I had no deep-rooted desire to see this land of rice paddies and lemurs, but turns out? It’s been a gift. To take a moment and look back on the beauty that is this place, these people, those stories of lives transformed and hope for a future… what an honor and a privilege it is to be a part of this.

Surgeries are finished; the hospital is sending our last patients home this week.  Hundreds of people will go out from here, returning to their home countries and languages and cultures and traditions.  I’ll be saying until next time to some of the most incredible, inspiring friends and fellow world-changers; also to our day crew, and to the local healthcare workers that we have poured into and served alongside for two years.  The tears are near the surface; again, I am glad to feel, because it means I am alive.  I don’t ever want these things to get easier, though I desperately wish they were.  It’s a paradox that I can’t fully grasp but know, to the depths, is what we were made for.

These last two weeks are filled with all the last things; last dinners, last Sunday morning coffee, last letters written to friends, last runs through the port, last goat cheese and honey at Oceans 501 and chicken spicy sandwich at La Braise.  They are also filled with project reports, packing and securing for sail, and my personal bi-annual get rid of half your stuff purge.  Yes, I am coming back next year but many won’t; the regulars at coffee will change along with the view out my window and the songs drifting up the stairwell from the hospital in my basement.

I thought I had mentioned it but surprised friends told me I haven’t; I’m not travelling to the States this summer for a variety of reasons, most notably that my savings account was drained for tuition payments, along with the simple truth that time in the States is beautiful and wonderful but very seldom particularly restful.  I’m headed to the mountains in the south of France, where a treasure of a friend invited me to stay, looking forward to simple things like cheese and wine, running in natural beauty (not circles in the port), drinking coffee in my pajamas, and sharing life with a fellow world-changer.   I’m also hoping my French vocabulary will expand, and that time away from this crazy ship will remind me again of how much I love it.  I’ve got a dozen books to read and another dozen or two blogs to write; the space and the time to do both will fill my heart and renew my weary soul.


I’ll be flying to Paris in two weeks, and back into Durban, South Africa, at the end of July; where we will embark on the journey to Benin, with a new team and new ideas and new plans and visions and dreams ready to set sail. 

Mada from the sky

Farafangana

Manakara

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