Wednesday, January 9, 2008

striking rock and finding diamonds

On the 287th day I am beginning to prepare for my second r & r, my second respite from this place I now call home. I have to admit that even though I’m tired, the nomad in me has been activated and once activated she is difficult to control. The itch to move about is strange indeed. At first it’s as if a storm settles in my head. During the gale everything gets blurry and the road starts to call my name; in muted whispers at first but gradually, as the time to stir draws near, the storm lifts and the voices feel like a beckon calling me to another land.

In five short days I board a plane first to Casablanca and Marrakech and then on to Cairo to meet the rents for an explo of one of the wonders of the world with my very own Egyptologist. For those of you who have been communicating regularly with me in the last few weeks likely just giggled at the fact I once again mentioned the infamous Egyptologist, but seriously who gets to say they are having a ‘tologist’ of any sort accompany them on a trip; let alone an Egyptologist along for a ride down the Nile. I’ll admit I’m bluffing right now (as they would say here) but I feel the urge, so please forgive me for this wee transgression.

Professionally, I feel as if I have been striking rock and this is why I so desperately need the break. In the last few days I have had to completely shut down two of our projects. This is not because we had completed our work there but rather because we ran out of funding. One of the projects was in Bong County, my former home. The place I was known as Gomah no longer exists, or at least professionally. Personally, I have no doubt that I could one day return and find a smiling face that remembers that ever so slightly strange bright woman who had a dog named Puppino who loyally followed her to the basketball court every evening. The other project we closed was in Dukkor (aka. Monrovia); the home of Morris one of the many tiny souls who took a fierce hold of my heart.

Yesterday we spent the day burning confidential documents and processing our departure. I was struck by the fact that no matter where you are, if you are human, saying goodbye is never easy and when you add the grim reality of these counselors current situations to the mix - closures, terminations, and goodbyes simply feel like salt on the wounds. When we visited the communities I wad quickly reminded that even though we were leaving the need is no less; and, possible slightly more, given we offered them a venue to express their problems. Now it appears as if we were abandoning them and cannot finish what we have started.

In this moment I ache with love for them all and it’s difficult to capture the pain behind these words. I know tomorrow I won’t feel so low only because they will persist, they will carry on and they will inspire. At any given moment when I’m not sure how I will cope with the tragedy of it all I just think about what I am frequently reminded, “Gomah this too shall pass, things come and things go and you never know which is a blessing and which is a curse.”

Before I move on I have to say that the civilized conscience should not be enduring or accepting the global reality as we know it. What is happening in much the world today should simply be unacceptable to the rest of humanity and humanitarian efforts as we know them seem to be missing the mark. They constantly are on the chase after the “sexy” conflicts and front page crises, leaving behind those who have started to mend but still need help. If survivors are going to actualize their potential we need to stay in places long enough to see them begin to realize some of their dreams rather than abandon the ships we have helped start to build.

Personally, I feel like I am finding diamonds everywhere. As I have mentioned in a previous post Liberian is currently in the Time of Mending and it takes time to truly become trusted and to find individuals with whom you can truly connect. Let’s just say I have found a few three karat diamonds in the mix. Nine months after my arrival people are seeing me for me (and I for them) and we are all reminded that we primates are much more similar than we are different. Cultural missteps aside, I feel like I have found a few people that I must have been destined to meet as their arrival in my life has been oh so perfectly timed and healing to my soul.

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