“It’s been amazing, fun, hot, dusty, beautiful, occasionally hilarious, stretching, educational, exhausting, satisfying, flexibility increasing, and smile inducing so far this week. Oh, and some good food. 🙂 ”
That was from my journal on Wednesday night – now I can add heart wrenching, having to say goodbye to the kids this afternoon. There was little five-year-old M, who had grabbed my hand and dragged me away to play house while she waited for her mom to finish her work in the La Providencia school kitchen. Plainly she’d been watching her mom judging from the detailed process she put into the dirt cake she made for us. She’d been talking away happily and walking me around the school, being enthusiastic and bright about everything. (I was catching 80-90% of what she was saying; she’d repeat things if I asked.)
Then it was nearly time for the bus and I had to explain to her that we were leaving tomorrow to head back to the U.S., because I didn’t want her to be looking for me on Monday and her face got all sad… *sigh* That was rough, but I wanted to make sure she understood. After a couple of minutes we went outside with all the other kids and I got my camera out to take a picture of us. Then she was distracted by the camera and the bus and eventually we ended with a smile and a wave instead of sadness, but it was still heart wrenching.
The older kids’ craft for the final day of VBS got a bit more complicated than we had wanted, and the glitter for the little kids’ craft spilled all over the floor, but the pastor of the church did the wrap up beautifully with the wordless book (the five colors that correspond to the gospel message.) At the end many of the kids came to give us a hug goodbye. I’m so glad they had a good week and were happy to have us. It was hard to say goodbye again, but I know they have a good church here if they come after VBS and the pastor’s wife does the children’s teaching with enthusiasm and grace.
Then we had dinner at a La Providencia staff member’s house (again with the good food, tostadas and baleadas this time) with a bit of debriefing and more laughter. There were some tears when we had to say goodbye to our amazing facilitator and his wife and adorable 9 month-old, since he won’t be driving with us the two hours to the airport tomorrow, but that’s alright.
Now for packing, fitting souvenirs and dirty clothes in the spaces where craft supplies were. Tomorrow we’ll be off for one more beautiful drive, down to the coast where the humidity hits the lungs like a used towel, then we’re off. And then… then readjusting to home (where I understand they’ve gotten multiple inches of snow and/or ice while we’ve been gone) and deciding what this trip means moving forward, for us individually and as a church. Because one of the awesome things about La Providencia and their model is the long-term nature of their plan. So I feel like keeping this at ‘just’ a week is not really what they are intending, I (and we) just need to figure out what that means.
I do have loads of wonderful pictures, I just haven’t gotten them off my camera yet. I look forward to sharing some of them with you as I’m able. But for now, I really need to get to bed. 🙂 Thanks so much for your support through this trip and as the journey continues.