Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sendoff Celebration

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Today the school gave me a going away celebration. Classes finished early at 11:00 and the students gathered outside. As tradition dictates, Sr. Martina, Sr. Ifeoma, and Sr. Helena were then called to be seated at the head table. Then the band and the signals (dancers with flags) led the Chief Celebrant, which was me, to the head table. One of the students gave a speech thanking me for my work. Then the signals came out and preformed. They came and invited me to dance and one boy handed his flags over to me. I was a little hesitant to dance in front of the whole school but it seemed rude to decline and I am accustomed to embarrassing myself. Luckily the Sisters and a few of the cutest little kids joined me soon after so I felt better and it was kinda fun. After that Sr. Martina and Nnamdi, the technology teacher, each gave a short speech. So often I have felt inadequate or unable to do as much as I would like but hearing all of the kind things they said made me feel very loved and appreciated.

After the school celebration finished, there was a staff meeting. Seeing as I will not be at this school two weeks from now and the meeting didn't really pertain to me, I went back home for awhile. When the meeting finished someone called me to come back to school and phase two of the celebration began. The staff wanted to have one last meal with me. Everyone else eat abacha with fish and drank minerals. I was surprised when they served me pizza and Star beer. Apparently Martina searched all over town for a restaurant that made pizza. As we settled down to eat, several teachers wished me well and spoke about what they will remember about working with me. Even some of the people I didn't know very well got up talked and it was then that I realized that most people don't realize the full impact, either positive or negative, their actions have on others.

My sendoff party was very special, mostly because my closest friends were there. The staff have always been very welcoming and supportive of me. The children crack me up and there is nothing better than being hugged by a mob of kids. If I think about leaving it depresses me. So instead of dwelling on my imminent departure, I tried to live in the moment, count my many blessings, and enjoy my time as the Chief Celebrant.

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