It’s almost time to say goodbye…

It’s coming to an end…and it feels like everything is a last. Saturday was our last trip to the waterfall, and definitely one to remember! Kathryn, Tom, and Barb wanted to go (since they were on safari the first time we went) and I decided to join them. Simba, Elario, Frankie, and Isaac were our guides, and we all enjoyed the walk. We had a wonderful time, laughing and talking the entire way, and were there before we knew it. The waterfall was as beautiful as always, but much more peaceful this time around…there were no other people there! It was great to spend a beautiful morning in a beautiful place with friends – I couldn’t ask for a better experience. On the walk back, after we’d taken an acceptable amount of photos and videos, Barb taught the boys the phrase “you’re a hoot!” which they absolutely loved and use every time that they see us. We relaxed around the mission house for a while in the afternoon, and then I headed down to school around 3 pm to just relax and talk, before the 4 o’clock volleyball game. The school was quiet since all the students were studying for their exams…but I sat with Simon and Simba on the wooden triangle benches and chatted, and only realized how much time had passed when my mom and Aidan came walking around the corner…oops! It was 4:40 and there still wasn’t any volleyball. We gathered students and played a fun pick-up game, complete with “shudu” moments from everyone! We hung around at the football ground and took selfies with Simba’s phone as we watched the sunset.

Sunday was a slow day – we went to the Roman Catholic mass in the morning, complete with a homily about being safe and using headlights/blinkers while riding your pikipiki (motorbike). We didn’t understand it at the time (since everything is in Swahili) but we very much appreciated Patrick translating for us after mass! Going to mass in Pommern is like going to a concert – the church choir is made up of secondary school students and is directed by a Form V student, Elario, who does a FANTASTIC job with the music and dancing. It’s always joyous, and really adds something special to the service.

After a leisurely Monday breakfast, (everything is leisurely here!) I headed down to secondary school to start the big job of marking exams. We finished marking all the Form I English exams relatively quickly, with the highest score being a 78% and the lowest being a 12%. That’s not bad for Form I, and the teachers really appreciated our help and how quickly we were able to get them marked! After lunch, I headed right back to mark, mark, mark! This time our assignment was Form III English, which was a little more difficult because they’re getting to the level where the majority of the test is essay writing. We made significant progress on those exams, but it will probably take us until Wednesday to finish them all and hand them back.

With another delicious dinner of rice, beef, steamed spinach, and yummy pineapple, Edward talked to us about Tanzanian culture and customs. It was interesting, and we spent a lot of time talking about why the people of Pommern are so happy, when they really have so little.

This morning, Aidan went to the primary school to deliver the 74 bottle cap necklaces, that they use as manipulatives for basic math, to the kindergarten class,. Aidan has been hard at work for weeks – collecting caps, hammering holes in them with a nail and a pair of plyers (no hammer available), and stringing them onto gimp. He was very proud of his accomplishment – as he should be – and I was grateful to be included in the presentation and distribution. After that, I continued my marking adventures with Mr. Kihoo; we’re making really good progress, and should finish the Form III exams by tomorrow! 4 hours of marking in the morning, and I went for another 2.5 hours after lunch! It was rewarding to see the massive pile of 182 exams slowly decrease as we finished more and more of them. I joined the other volunteers to splash water on the newly mortared library walls to help the cement to set. We had an unexpected surprise when Simba came to talk to us – apparently he didn’t have an exam this afternoon! Mom, Aidan and I all talked with him for a while and “helped him supervise” the students carrying the extremely heavy bags of maize across the school grounds. Once they headed back, I stayed and talked with Sarafina, Simba, Simon, and Seulaman. It was a wonderful evening, but bittersweet since tomorrow will be the last time that I get to see many of them. Having to say goodbye will be really tough – I’m sure there will be lots of tears and hugs. I’m sure that I’ll be back someday, but it’ll be hard to leave nonetheless. I refuse to cry today (only allowed tomorrow), so that’s all the reflection that I’ll allow myself tonight. It’s going to be an emotional day tomorrow and Thursday – I’ve got my tissues ready!

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This really shows how they play volleyball here…no rules!

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Ready for church!

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Bibi looks beautiful in her African dress!

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Me and my Roman Catholic boys 🙂 Aidan, Patrick, Me, Elario, and Frankie

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LOVE THESE KIDS!

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Walking with Bibi 😀

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Edward is such a beautiful soul…I’m glad to have met him!

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Bibi and her African grandkids

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Bottle cap necklaces…all 74 of them!

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Aidan in presentation mode

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The secondary school library…I’ll miss this place!

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Marking exams…hard work!

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Form V on the left and Form I on the right…the adventure of carrying maize!

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