I’m on the plane from Atlanta to Baton Rouge and it’s been a long day. I got up at 7 am London time and it’s 1 am London time! Still a few hours until I’ll be able to go to bed. My husband took a flight back to Ndjamena in order to pack our house in Chad. And I sit here with mixed feeling. I sit here with no closure. I’ve never left a place (and God knows I’ve left places) without proper goodbyes. I don’t need a get away party or anything like that, just the time to say goodbyes to all who have impacted my life during this last year and a half.
Maybe writing about it who help me? I charged my husband to give out hugs and farewells for me but it’s not the same.
I think of all my colleagues with whom I work for this time; Chadian and international people. I think of the people I trained and shared knowledge with for the future. I think of my Chadian director, a Muslim man, very incompetent and needy. He would come and asked me to come to his rescue and loved me dearly. He would bring me chocolate back from his occasional trips… Just to me! I think of my data assistant whom I trained for a year with so much patience… And now he is teaching others.
I think about some of my drivers. One named Baba who was always so happy and so cultivated for a Chadian. We would talk about so many things together. Another one, Yves with whom we would talk about our home in heaven. One time he looked at a big house and said “Yves doesn’t have a big house like that” and I responded “no, but we have one more beautiful in heaven” and his face lit up.
I think of all the friends we have made there and with whom we have shared joys and tears. Friends for life. Friends who stood by us when we needed and by whom we stood when they needed.
I think of all the guards who guarded my house for a year and half and to whom I would bring water several times a day.
I think of my house help who named her daughter after me. I would see her three times a week and we would talk and share about our culture. I think about the time she cried because she said we were so good with her. I think of the time when we sat and I taught her to pair up socks, fold tee shirt and pants.
I think of my gardener who also named his daughter after me. He also come three times a week. I would feed him and give him water as well. He got me frustrated several times by cleaning away flowers and plants I hadn’t asked him to clean but he was always happy. Every morning he was there, he would arrive very early and wake me up from outside with his solar radio in Chadian Arabic or with Chadian worship songs. I probably will never be woken up like this for the rest of my life.
I think about my errand guy. He would be so happy to go get me meat and veggies when I wasn’t allowed to go out. He always kept an eye on the bunny when we went on vacation. He would even wash the lettuce for the bunny!
I think of the grass, plants, flowers, fruit trees and trees that I planted… I left so much green around!
I think of my dear little bun bun. She is now with a boyfriend bunny and hopefully she’ll have babies! I’ll miss this nervous little fur ball. She was a gift from a guard and was so wild when we got her and became so friendly.
I think of the fruit and veggie stand where I would get things from several times a week. Mahammat and his son… I didn’t get to say goodbye either.
I think of the nice cashier ladies at the small supermarket around the corner with whom I would chat.
I think of the waitress who would wait on us at the only restaurant we would go to. I wish I could have said goodbye as well.
I think of everything I have invested in that place spiritually, emotionally and physically. I think of all the worship I lifted up there for this nation. I don’t know how to feel right now. I’m glad to go to the states for a bit and I know it’s God’s plan. I won’t fight it of course. I just didn’t see it coming. It didn’t have time to prepare.
I left for London thinking I would go back but I’m not.
Thank you everybody for what you taught me. Thank you Chad for opening my eyes to a world that didn’t even know existed. Thank you for showing me your way of living. I’ll never forget. I’ll try not to get upset about small things and remind myself of you and what you have to go through everyday. I’ll pray for you. I’ll keep asking God for mercy for your nation, protection for your lives, provision for your souls and bodies.
I’ll miss your hot climate and sunny self everyday. I’ll miss the smell of the first rain of the season dropping on hot sand. I’ll miss your lizards and beautiful birds. I’ll miss playing tennis at the end of a hot day.
Goodbye Chad. Goodbye. I doubt I’ll ever see you again but God only knows… Goodbye