September 21, 2011

james the explorer

I just left a room full of twenty plus people, and most of them were in tears. I don’t think I’ve made that much of an impact ever before. I read my last story to the children this evening and then started saying my goodbye to them. You know what, I’m jumping ahead of myself. Let’s ride the emotional roller coaster together.

I started off this morning feelings worse then I have any other morning. I felt like I hadn’t slept more then thirty minutes at any stretch, and my stomach and bowels were in such pain that I didn’t know how I was going to get out of bed. I did make it out of bed, I really had to use the restroom. I went downstairs to the restroom I usually use and noticed it was occupied. I was frustrated, Who is using my restroom? Don’t they know that I am going to make an awful mess in my pants if they don’t get out of there? I knocked and no answer. So I waited, and I waited. Finally, after about ten minutes I went upstairs to get a roll of toilet paper so that I could use a different restroom. After I was finished, I went and partook in devotions. I didn’t have any breakfast, I felt I wouldn’t have been able to keep it in. While everyone was enjoying breakfast, I went to the restroom again. I knew no one could be in my restroom this time. I tired, and the door was still locked. I got ever more frustrated that someone had locked from the inside my restroom. Then I pulled the door handle the opposite way, and I felt like a huge tool.

I spent the rest of my day in my room praying that the pain would lessen. It didn’t really, and I was just so tired. I think I managed two naps today. There was a portion of the afternoon where I felt better and was sociable with the girls. I felt I needed to be considering I had ignored them and hid in my room for a good portion of the time they have been here. Unfortunately, being sociable made me incredibly tired yet again. I went to my room and relaxed for another little bit. I knew I wanted to spend some time taking individual photos of me with each of the children and then a group shot. When I got back down, the girls had decided it was a great idea to paint all of the children’s faces. This was not how I wanted my photos. I was frustrated (there is a bit of a theme throughout this day if you haven’t noticed yet). Not to mentioned, the girls had ruined the evening class by doing face painting. How are some of these kids going to enter school for the first time in less then a year if classes keep getting skipped? Maybe I’m cursed by having the slightest bit of foresight to see any of these things. Anyways, after the face painting and dancing was done (I think I forgot to mention that speakers were brought up for dance time, again not class time) I read a bible story to the children to settle them down a bit. Once the story was done I started saying my good bye to them. Quick side note, I thought it was better to do my good bye with the children today, and part of tomorrow, because the team is coming again on Saturday. I could come with the team then. But I didn’t want to confuse my good bye with the children with that of the teams good bye.

As I started, some of the children started crying and then some of the adults started crying. Not the girls on the team, but Jorusha, and Jomoona. The interesting thing was that the children that were crying were the older children. I would have assumed that it would have been the younger ones. It was a really rough evening. It was filled with tears, and hugs and good byes. I still feel bad that I made a room of twenty plus people, children and adults, cry. Again I felt like a tool. One of the important things that I had learned in my previous times working with children is to let them know when you start that there will be an ending date. For the whole month, the children have been bargaining with me to stay longer.  I have been able to stay firm that I was leaving on the 26th of September but I guess it never really sunk in until this moment.

At dinner it was hard because a lot of the children couldn’t even make eye contact with me. They seemed to be too upset. One of the girls on the team mentioned how she had never seen children so emotional about someone leaving, and her mom operated a day care. She tried to play it off that the children have issues with abandonment, but I know the real reason. They love me about as much I love them and we’re collectively going to miss each other so much of the next couple of weeks. It’ll be a hard transition for me. 

Originally posted to james the explorer