Back from our safari safe and sound. More than I can say for the cape bufallo and the zebra being enjoyed by the lions of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, however!
We’re saying goodbye (kwaheri) to Arusha today. Everyone’s a bit quiet, and, for some, the tears have already started (well, that would be me. My brother and sister always used to taunt me with the chant “Jody is a crybaby.” Not much has changed!). As much as we all miss home, it is so hard to leave here after all we’ve experienced. This morning we met Dr. Solomon and his staff at Upone Clinic. They wanted to say goodbye and present us with gifts. All the women on the team received beautiful Katangas (sp?), and Jim and Tom shirts from brightly colored African fabric. It was a touching send off, and Dr. Solomon let us all know how much our work at Upone and in Arusha has meant to them, and each year improves the morale of the staff and the patients. As we left Upone, I was again greeted by the women of the Tumiani group who came to say goodbye, safe journey, and to express their “upendo” – love. There were also 18 of the 20 disposable cameras waiting for me at Upone, which are at the Arusha one hour photo as I type this.
Dr. Shriner is currently meeting with the Mayor of Arusha – a tremendous honor (“If I had known I was going to meet the mayor, I would have worn my GOOD safari pants!”) The rest of the gang is out shopping for small trinkets to remember their time in Arusha. But really, I don’t think anyone will need help remembering the people we’ve met, the relationships we’ve built. So many memorable moments — some shared by the whole group, and some experienced privately by each team member. I think many of us may be adding to this journal in the next few weeks as we have time to process everything. In addition, I believe some of the people we’ve met in Arusha will also be contributing to this journal soon. So keep checking for new entries.
Tonight at 10:30pm Arusha time (11:30am Friday California time) we start our VERY LONG journey home to Pasadena. We’ll be home around 1:30pm Saturday afternoon. I’ll try to get some pictures from the trip into the photo gallery on Sunday.