So Longs and See you Laters

The last month has been a world wind13405540_1184170384957163_1980882133_o of traveling and excitement, which has limited the amount of time I have had to work.  For the last 6 months I have conquered navigating South African streets, Paris subways, different hiking trails, and many other exciting activities. Now I am back home.  This is a bittersweet statement due to the fact my heart is not home with me. I found a place that I love more than Kanye loves Kanye. I miss all of my kids from the orphanage.  The impact that these kids have had on my life is beyond anything I could have expected. The smiles, hugs, laughs and cries warmed my heart for so long that I am starting to feel empty.  Every conversation held, I start to wrap any subject back to an experience back in South Africa.
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Through the anger, disappointments, happy, sad, and exciting moments I would not have changed the last 6 months of my life. The first two weeks I cried for these kids.  I cried because I did not know how to help. The pain in my heart did not go away, the pain simply just got smaller. The more time I spent with the kids the more attached I became. The attachment began to mirror the relationship of an older sister looking after her siblings.  No one ever wants to say goodbye, not even a “see you later”. After a while, “the so longs” become “see you never” and the memories are all that are left of the amazing interaction.13410808_1184172254956976_339562634_o

The last day was extremely hard for me, as I hugged my last kid with tears running down my face I could not even muster up the courage to say, “You Later.” Although they saw me cry that day it was tears of sadness mixed with a dash of joy. One of the other volunteers on her last day wrote: “Today was a sad day. The day I had been dreading since I was accepted this assignment as a volunteer at this orphanage. The day we had to say goodbye again. I knew they would have a place in my heart, but my heart is now in 1000 pieces, I didn’t expect. I’m a mess right now and I feel like I have been dumped. I have a huge lump in my throat, a big hole in my stomach and my tears will never end. I love these kids. Each and every one. These kids, you changed me forever!” –Cecilie

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South Africa treated me well during these last six months.  I plan to return to the orphanage one day, but I pray that none of the kids I know is still at the home.  I pray each of the kids at the orphanage find wonderful homes to grow up in. My biggest prayer is that all the kids eventually receive all of the love and attention that they deserve. I know these kids will do great things in life and I cannot wait until our paths cross again. For many of my kids I left a photo on their locker with words of encouragement on the back. I hope that photo travels with each and every one of them wherever they go in life.

Until next time South Africa,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

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