This week concludes my time in Arusha. The nostalgia is settling thickly over my time here. This feels very much like the beginning of the end though I still have much to look forward to. Next week I move to Mugumu for my much anticipated work at the Safe House, and then I get to spend more time traveling in June before I finally end up back at home in Colorado.
Over the past several weeks I have concluded my time teaching at the Primary school as well as finished up my work at V4Y. Unfortunately, the immigration office gave us a hard time again which forced me to end my work at the schools earlier than I’d planned. But Arusha Intergrated still pulled together a celebratory goodbye party for me just as they had for Johanna and every volunteer before.
I find it both heartwarming and concerning to see all the school kids and teachers gather to preform their goodbye to each volunteer. A top student in one of my classes wrote a letter and read it to the group before small groups danced and played the drums for me. The school manager Is-Hak smiled as he offered me the usual gift Maasai shuka as a thank you while everyone sang songs that wished me the best while mourning the great distance I would go from them.
All this bothers me a smidge. Even the youngest kids know the songs and the routine of saying goodbye to another volunteer teacher. It is integrated into their education experience to have teachers come and go from distant lands while they are left figuring things out where they left off. Something to consider when looking at volunteering or placing volunteers. I wrote a lengthy analysis with recommendations on this topic, and many others, in my V4Y final summary report.
Ending my time going to schools for teaching and the Jitambue Workshops left me working in the office for my final days. Though this was less exciting and interesting, I actually feel that time was well spent. I developed 15 power points and handouts for presentations on a host of reproductive health topics that are frequently used for youth education by V4Y staff and volunteers. My completed power points are thoroughly researched and formatted for clarity and will hopefully be an accessible resource for future V4Y staff, volunteers, and youth.
I have no doubt that I will continue reflecting on my time here in Arusha and I’m still having a hard time believing my time here is almost over. This place and these people often drive me bonkers, but they’ve also made this tiny corner of Africa feel like home. There will be many things I miss as well as things I plan on taking with me. I’m still pondering those things and I am curious what I’ll have to say in another month after a drastic change of scenery in the Mara Region.