Saying Goodbye

Just as with most goodbyes, this last post will be a little bitter-sweet. I’ve given my all to this trip for the last few months, and I’m very happy I came. As I try to say goodbye today, I’m saddened by the kids because instead of saying goodbye they’re begging me for more things, looking up at me with sad faces, whining or gesturing to give them a t-shirt, a book, a ball. Intellectually, I understand that they don’t have much so they want to milk me for all I’ve got before I go (to them, I may just be holding out on more ‘stuff’…) but emotionally I just want them to be happy about the ‘toffee,’ soccer balls, Frisbees, Chinese jump ropes, books, dolls, art projects, and fieldtrip… I know the kids don’t understand that I tutored after school for months to pay for this trip, that lots of my friends donated to make it possible, that students in my class donated the balls, Frisbees, and Chinese jump ropes, and that a father in my classroom donated the computer to give to Maxwell… I’m sad that the kids are not hugging and smiling and saying goodbye. But I forgive them and I will remember all the smiles and laughter we’ve had along the way.  There are risks involved in “helping,” as I’ve learned on this journey; risks of not being received the way you hoped, risks that equipment will be damaged, risks that plans will go awry, and the poor choices of others will result in accidents and danger. Helping isn’t necessarily what we think it’s going to be. Thankfully, there have been many more successes on this journey than there have been failures or mishaps. Who am I, anyway, to think that I can travel to Africa to create art projects, hand someone a computer for the first time in his 34-year-old life, and take people on a trip outside their community without things not going according to plan? What is a plan anyway? A hope, a desire, a dream? Though the end may be bitter-sweet, I’ll keep dreaming and trying…


About Margit Boyesen

Teacher. Photographer. Traveler.

3 responses to “Saying Goodbye”

  1. Pat Lawyer says :

    Sad to confront the human condition.. Just remember “enough is never enough” so we can only give what feels comfortable and right for us. Have really enjoyed the blog ad posts!!!!! Safe travels home.

  2. Tamra says :

    I enjoy all your posts, Margit, and am saddened you’re already having to leave. You have brought much joy to this village and all it’s beautiful inhabitants. I’ve experienced much joy receiving your posts. Thank you for giving!!

  3. Wendy Weisel-Bosworth says :

    Thank you for sharing all the human connections. You have made all our lives richer through these touching stories, and I think there are more people who will grow through your experience.

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