13 days in the hospital. As I am typing this to you I am sitting in the hospital watching Aphiwe play with my ipod. It’s Friday and I have no memory of what I did this week or last week to be honest. I’ve been trying to balance taking care of an 8 year old girl in the hospital to loving and nurturing the other seventeen children that anticipate my arrival at any time. They send their love with me every time I tell them “Auntie Maddie is going to sleep at the hospital tonight,” but I know that it is hard for them.

  I am leaving, sooner than both of us realize and yet I have spent these past two weeks away from them, every day and every other night.  My heart doesn’t know exactly what to do or how to feel and honestly, a part of me has remained numb throughout this whole experience. I hear more details about what really happened but I constantly just don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about the fact that she almost died, spent two days in ICU and now may have scars on her face for the rest of her life. I just can’t dwell on that fact for more than a few moments. And as I’m typing this to you from her bedside I remind myself that this may be the last day I ever get to see her. She was supposed to be discharged today (Friday) but the doctor is worried about infection and she will remain in hospital until Monday. I am heading away to Ixcopo this weekend for church with my host parents. She will be discharged to her granny and I’m not sure where she lives or when I will have the chance to say goodbye… if at all…

Goodbyes…sigh… 14 more days with the kids. I have been receiving emails about “goodbyes”- how to properly say goodbye, writing lists of people who I will miss, visits and things that still need to be done etc. I also have an inbox full of emails encouraging me to start to adjust to the process of returning home and what that will mean. Most of the emails start off by saying “expect what you found to familiar to be different and take time to process.” Articles of people giving good advice about home however I just can’t get through them. Not yet.

Denial? I think I am playing that card to be honest. I know I need to mentally start preparing for “home” but… I want to be here. My heart is here and I call the boarding house my home. I want to see that Aphiwe becomes better. For the next few weeks she will need to go back to the hospital to get her dressing changed and looked at… shouldn’t I be allowed to see her to a full recovery? What about all the work that needs to be done regarding crèche teachers? And my computer classes – I want so desperately to see a generation of literature adults when it comes to computers. I want to continue to wear whatever I want and not worry about fashion. I enjoy having no internet in the nights and a slow paced environment.  I love learning how to be content and blessed with the things I have. I don’t want to say goodbye to the Indian ocean or the prison walls in which I work.

I don’t want to say goodbye.

July is a travel month. I say goodbye to the children on the 21st and finish work on the 29th.  I fly out of South Africa on the 18th and fly to America for re-entry and fly to Canada on the 24th.
From now until July 24th there is a lot that still needs to be done… in my heart, attitudes and faith.

Thank you for your support, encouraging words and prayers. You’ve seen me through this entire year  (almost J  )

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