For months we have been talking about our transition. We have tried to prepare the girls for leaving and I think in some ways talking about it with them also helped us deal with the same feelings of loss and change and excitement and pain. We tired to help them negotiate these feelings but inevitably when you walk home from the bus stop and see your bed and toys being loaded into someone’s car you freak out. It was hard and admittedly I did not always have the patience required to talk through every issue. It was hard for my girls to move had way across the world. Because even though more people speak English and look like them here they have come to identify with the people on our island.
Without fail every time we talked about it Annikah asked if she really had to leave her school. She was afraid she won’t see her friends again. She is afraid she won’t make new friends here. We prayed together almost everyday about this and these prayers were offered for me too. Because if I am honest I have the same fears. When our departure date sped up we had to cut some things we wanted to do; go to the beach one more time, take a boat ride one more time, eat a a favorite restaurant, etc but without a doubt we knew we had to proceed with the going away party at Anni’s school. She had wanted to have this for months and we thought it would help her with closure and heck, what kid does not want to forgo school all day and play games? I chatted with the teachers and after crying about leaving we all agreed that a party was in order.
Annikah chose Urojo for the food (a local soup that is fabulously yummy) and my best friend and neighbor agreed to shop for and cook everything even though it meant getting up at 4am that day (yes, she is amazing) and I recruited some other friends to join us and help out. Anni was also very insistent that we have a scavenger hunt and with the help of the amazing German gals who are helping our team for a year we made a 10 stop, wild and crazy scavenger hunt of sorts that included drinking all the the water in the jugs, singing, scoring 20 goals, finding the cook of the school and telling her thank you, hugging all your teachers and saying ‘ I love you’ and a little crazy dancing (this is Miss Anni folks). To end the game everyone searched for a shiny box hidden in the trees to reveal their gifts (pencils and cookies). After the chaos of games and eating the teachers had a little ceremony to present Anni with her graduation from Nursery School certificate (with incorrect English which makes it even more precious). They dressed her in a graduation gown and gave her a few gifts from her friends and after some speeches and more tears she hugged everyone and climbed into our packed car to wave goodbye. It was an awesome morning. And end to a chapter of her life that has been different, unexpected, at times very difficult, but so rich and special.
serving up the yummy urojo and juice (my friends rock)
it is soooooo tasty with a little coconut chutney and hot sauce
reading the first clue
Anni’s teacher reading the next clue
They searched until the found it!
running to find the cook Fatma!
singing some songs to get their next clue
Our little Grad (and her ever present sidekick & cheerleader (she has 3 of those))
saying goodbye was so hard but it was also a reminder that this school has been a huge part of our family’s experience in Africa. Anni and I started to cry as we pulled away and started on the insanely bumpy road leading back to the main road. This was a special few years of Annikah’s education and we pray this school continues to bless the community and be blessed. Through tears we joked, “The question still remains, if the only Mzungu leaves is it still an International School?” A morning well spent saying goodbye to Eden School.