Last visits from hopeful people: everyone still has one or two problems they'd like Scott to solve. Hard. Keep praying, especially for him. Last yard sale: well, almost the first, though Debbie F did one once. Quite successful actually. Though it has been mentally exhausting to decide what is so worthless or potentially harmful it should be burned, what is nice enough to be presented as a gift to a specific person, what is potentially useful to our team to leave here, what we might want to use in Kenya, what we might save (yes, the doll-house made by Scott's dad and the rocking chair made by my great-uncle are in storage for my grandchildren now), what we need to travel with to America . . . and what we want to purge out but might be useful to someone else. Over the last few weeks we've filled a large side room of the community center with the latter. Team added and subtracted a bit. Then Friday morning we opened, and cleared within 30 minutes (!), ALL the junk. And raised just over 100K shillings ($50) for book shelves in a new library. Not a bad start.
Last day of RMS: Miss Anna put together a brief and sweet commencement, with certificates and a speech and funny awards in honor of Jack and Julia's nine (?!!) years at RMS. And more importantly, made chocolate cake! We are so grateful for, as I put it, the great cloud of witnesses, the many other RMS teachers represented by Anna. We could not have lived here without them. I am grateful.
Last dinner with Melen: darkness falling, then rain falling thunderously, drenching, lightening and thunder, as we dug into hot kahugna and matoke and chicken and sombe, sitting in the building she has constructed in Nyahuka. Melen presented us with a whole bag of gifts, outfits for all, and we hugged and cried and prayed. We will miss each other, greatly. It has been an honor to walk this hard road with her.
And last hairstying session: I am being plaited. That is the term used for hair-braiding. It is a celebratory way of entering this culture and showing I value their sense of beauty . . and also a great slow-down way to spend a day with friends. So for about six hours today I sat on a woven reed mat on the cool floor of Assusi's house while Olupah's house-helper patiently teased out tiny stands of my thick long hair to tame by braiding it into long neat strands. Olupah sat with me with her kids, and we prayed for staff and patients. Assusi joined in the braiding, and we talked and reminisced. At other times I was alone with the hairdresser, and read my Bible and thought. A patient and his grandmother visited, and a young woman whom I paid one years' school fees for many years ago who is now a primary school teacher, just coming to sit with me. Three of the staff little-girls whom I enjoy sat close, watching, for long periods. Except for my scalp being tugged and the floor getting a little hard it was a lovely, African-women-way to spend one of my last days. Only problem is, at 5 pm, Olupah checked in and shook her head, and said "oh, doctor, I don't want to discourage you, but . . " and then I knew that there was no miracle coming, that the six hours invested had brought me 2/3 or 3/4 of the way, but not quite far enough. So tomorrow they're all coming up to my house to finish.
Three roosters, six outfits of clothes, and a pineapple. . . Packing gets trickier by the hour.