Leaving Kissemah was tough.
We had about 20+ children at the school office to wish us a safe trip home. Most were like all children, happy, dancing, hugging, playing with our cameras one last time, full of energy and excitement. Some were a bit more quiet, Alice was one of the quiet children. Little Alice who when I first met her had the 2 days of fever. I picked up her up, held her, hugged her and thanked her for coming to see me off. She hugged me back, I told her I was coming back in 2012 and that I would see her again and that I would think of her and the children everyday. She was quiet and did not want to let go of holding my hand. She said something which I was not able to make out clearly, I think she said "I want to go", I am not sure if she meant she wanted to go home, or she wanted to go with me. I will never be sure. My time with Alice on the school office porch was in slow motion, I could feel my breathing, I was anxious. I held my emotions in check, this tiny little girl filled my heart with so much love. It is hard to describe. I imagine an ocean in my heart, sometimes I felt like Alice and I were the only two persons in Ghana, the connection will be there for the rest of my life.
I was also able to say my farewell's in sign language to Rueben, Randolf and their older brother, Gabriel. These boys are all amazing. Smart, friendly, filled with a spirit that is palpable. I was so glad they came.
Earlier in the afternoon, I was able to spend some quiet time with Stefan and then with Isaac, wishing them well, asking them to continue to stay focused in school and being good examples for the younger children. Both listened to me, both thanked me for coming and Stefan asked me outright.... "MADAM are you coming back" ? When I said yes, he said "PROMISE ME" and I did. He also asked me to bring Maddie and Morgan.
At the very last minute as we were loading the bags in the back of Lawrence's pick up, Godwin came around the corner. He was like always a mess, with the biggest smile I had see on his face to date. I ran over and gave him a big hug and held his limp hands and thanked him for coming. I was so happy to see him.
Earlier in the afternoon I had my quiet farewell with Ceci, I went back to her kitchen area and thanked her from my heart for her grace, hospitality, all the attention to detail regarding our stay. She is an amazing lady. Ceci insisted that I bring home a Kissemah pineapple, so I did.
The Accra airport process was orderly and efficient. Delta has additional screening and security people, you are interviewed 3 times along the way about your bags, who packed them, your stay in Ghana, etc. We left and arrived on time, the flight was 12 hours and 15 minutes. Customs in Atlanta was packed with international flights from Europe, Mexico and South America.
When Cindy drove onto Winterhaven Court, for a moment I was struck by the quiet, the order, the structure of the homes, how tall they were, the consistent landscaping, the repetition in shapes, colors, the asphalt on the street. And running water, I find myself listening for the fountain songs of Ceci's water flowing throughout the day filling yellow and blue and white buckets.
I am thankful for all the welcome home messages I have received, for the emails, the notes on Facebook.
I will continue to post to this blog until I figure out the best way to provide updates to those are interested in the progress of the school construction and fundraising and the program overall. I also will share the videos I make with all the pictures and video I have from the trip.
If anyone has any questions or suggestions for grants, sponsors, programs that I can research or apply for on behalf of Mawuvio's please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you all a safe, happy and healthy 2012. I thank God for all of you, for my friends, my family, for Cindy, Maddie and Morgan. Thanks for being part of my life - I love and care for all of you.
I thank God for introducing me to Renee and Kwame and all the children of Mawuvio's, it is a gift I will treasure and carry in my heart for years to come.