When will our world be one without walls or oceans or locks and keys or borders or boundries. When will it all be one. What if the oceans evaporated and the continents came together and then the walls had little stair cases over top of them which lead to right to the people you love who you once were so separated from.
What if our world was one.
What if my plate was your plate and my pockets were yours. If what I had was what you had and nothing was lacking?
I'm feeling the ocean's width real-strong-like. Not only are they living a different life, but they're living it nine hours ahead of me and my night is their day, my breakfast is their supper. This is what happens when distance takes us apart.
Holding thier breath and jumping really high so that maybe they'll be caught flying.
We make sure to say heartfelt goodbyes to the ones we couldn't imagine having never said hello to. I always tell myself that I am going to be prepared to leave a place. I make lists of everything important to do, every loose end to tie up, every gift to give, and every person to connect to one last time. But every time I find myself unprepared for the splitting, running around trying to have that nice warm feeling but instead, a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration seems to edge out my happy sentiments and I feel anxious. I continued waving my hand out that ridiculously packed public transport van even after I couldn't see my brothers and sisters anymore. I felt a combination of feelings such as relief to be leaving, guilt for abandoning, heart sore from the kind words said at parting, uncertainty about what lay ahead, but yet, assured that life still had that quality of surprise and forward motion which I so love and that THIS was THAT quality not letting me down. I would be surprised with the next bend. And the next. And the next. But the next bend doesn't make the road easier. I still had to hug my African mother goodbye, kiss my little Armelle, and make promises of soon reunion with my sister Dinga, knowing that life for those whom I left behind was never guaranteed. The feeling of relief came from the fact that I felt like I had made it to a gas station after running on empty for a lengthy stretch of highway. You always think you know how far you can go on empty, but you never know for sure. There were times when I felt like I wasn't strong enough and it was relieving to be leaving with my spirit intact. I felt a bit like a bad person when I recognized that those who remained at the hospital would be facing the exact moments of intense stress, frustration, and difficulty that I was checking my heart out of by leaving. Even now, when the clock ticks five o'clock I know the patients are getting their bleach-water-dressing changes and at midnight an overworked nurse gives that painful IV Penicillin. I envision the sick getting their malaria treatments, other meds, and hopefully settling down for the night. I felt guilt as I walked through the hospital for the last time. I watched a girl crying out in pain while her burns were laying open to the air, yet shielded from the merciless insects by a thin mosquito net. I watched a baby's whole sack-of-bones-self, voice and physique alike, cry out for milk. I watched my friend Caroline, a nurse from California, plead with a family to go buy the medicine for their baby. And even as I was walking out of the Pediatrics ward, a man came to me and said, "My child's IV has stopped. Can you come fix it?" Caroline came over quickly and said, "I'll take care of that, she's not working right now." It's true. I'd come to the end of my work in Bere Hospital and something about it left a little guilty bite. My heart ached at the kind words that were given to me at parting. Jolie's embrace and four simple sobs, followed by the shaking of her upward-facing-outstretched palms, a motion that our parting was leaving something lacking, warmed me and ached me at the same time. Mounden asked me, "What will I do when you leave, Emily?" Then he chuckled, "Who is going to give me money to buy pigeons?" Laughter. His last words as I sat on the public transport out were, "Emily," he focused in through the slider window frame, "it is God who is going to guard your heart." What he said was so true that I wanted to jump back out of the van, take his shoulders, and tell him he knew something really important; that those weren't just words and that indeed God, when we want it, guards our hearts; the in and outflow of them. Our hearts are shaped and well-learned by the hard things and then filled and enlarged by our little and big bursts of happiness. But our time for meaningful conversations was over for now. I continued waving my hand out the window long after my ability to crane my neck in their direction had ceased. A good friend of mine, named Kacey, sent an email to me soon after leaving that told me, "The reason we sometimes hate to leave is that we fear we will forget the things we have experienced." Right now it is all something that is so real at and means so much to you but we all know as we slip back into our lives that the details of an experience can start whispering instead of screaming their significance. But our hearts are forever changed. Forever. I've been here with Fletcher and Nolan now for 5 days and it's been a breath of fresh air. I've been taking hot showers, napping, eating healthy Ethiopian food, walking the hills meeting all these amazing people who they've gotten so close to (these boys are gems), and just watching them do their thing. But, despite our contentment here, Fletcher and I have been having these conversations that go something like, "What are you going to do first when we get home?" We can't wait. But we will. Only three more days. I'm looking forward to a bunch of hello's real soon. Seriously, thank-you for being the awesome friends and family that you are. I am lucky and blessed. Love Emily
it's the end of africa for now. we're here and there for a time only. then we do this and that for the next bit of time. i can honestly say this has been that thing i needed. but now i'm going there and i'm going to be grateful for that. thank-you for this. all of this experience. love emily
Hi! My name is Emily and I am working on my MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. I like sewing, thrifting, family, lakes, sweaters, tea, coffee, running, swimming, hiking, french, biking, harp, diving boards, and immersion journalism.