Friday, November 21, 2008

Leaving Liberia, Part Six

Our Last Day

Friday the 21st was our last day in Liberia. None of the four of us could really grasp the idea as we went through the parting activities. We did not know what leaving meant. Now, as I write from 40,000 feet in the air, we still don't. But we all feel different from when we visited North America a year and a half ago. This time we are leaving and, unless He does something completely unforeseen and miraculous, we are not returning anytime soon. All of us feel sad about saying goodbye-- especially to a handful of young people with whom we have bonded as family.

I'll have more to write soon about leaving Liberia, what it is meaning, how we will maintain our connection with you who read this faithfully, and what life is now like for us in this transition period. Look for another post in a few days. Right now, a few captured moments of a day filled with emotion-- our last day in Liberia.

The day started with final organizing details. We ended up carrying away 12-50lb suitcases. That was it. Everything else ways sold or given away or reserved in case CRCNA sends paid staff here.

By 9:00am we were checking in at the downtown Air Brussels office. Our flight would not leave until 9:30 pm GMT, but we wanted to dump those 12 suitcases ASAP.

For the rest of the day, we said goodbye as folks came and went.

Our next door neighbor children taking care of theirs and other people's kids. Sisters Odelle (left) and Patience Reeves, with Success "Bobby" Reeves in Odelle's arms and Patience holding her little Renita. Standing in front are more children dumped on the sisters, Kopo and Vera.

During the day, we said farewell to our stuff. I only felt sad when the fans went. I would not have been able to be in Liberia without those solar powered DC fans.

A quiet moment for Noah. One of many.

Hannah, being a bit pensive in the late afternoon with only a few hows left.

A few happy-sad moments. Vera, with her new adopted pet. Yes, she took Niki.

The night before Noah said goodbye to Max, who will live in a huge fenced yard with a great family of four kids and two dogs.

There goes the DC fridge.

The kids played and talked and sat with each other, visibly conscious that this was it.

Renita with Renita. Vera in background.

And so, the night came. We formed a circle, sang, prayed...

...and said our last goodbyes. Patience says a tearful goodbye to Renita. Note little Renita's fingers around big Renita's leg.

There are others who could join us, but this for sure is the new Reed family. We are so sad to leave Renita, Eastman, and Trokon.

As I write Saturday morning, the coast of England reminds me the parting is real.