The farewell party
Everything that has a beginning surely has an end. All that started well ended so well that it made Laerke cry, again! We provided an environment where the goodbyes would be more memorable. Laerke’s farewell party.
The party was scheduled to begin at 2 pm. However, the entire team from Mathare was delayed. They had a performance later that night. We, therefore, excused them because they were most probably rehearsing. I was low-key glad that they had delayed. It gave me a grace period with my crockeries.
I prepared a variety of dishes, one of them being the delicious carrot chapatis. Laerke enjoyed it so much that she asked for a recipe. Most Africans don’t use recipes. I am like most Africans. I was grateful for the assistance that I got from the Umoja Calabash troupe. “Self-service!” Morten called out. Immediately there was a queue. Happy chit-chats, glowing eyes, drooling mouths, and small dance celebrations from those who had already served.
Once everyone had eaten to their hearts’ content, we gathered to sing a Luhya traditional song to Laerke. It is a praise song sung to a beautiful yet dutiful young lady.
“My name is Pax Washika. I am MBA.” Giggles
“Married But Available!” Roaring laughter filled the room.
Dominique then led short speeches and remarks directed or related to Laerke.
After the speeches, Laerke thanked the team. In her speech, I lauded the good arrangements made by Morten and I and accepted our good wishes and feelings for all of us. While delivering the speech, she must have been experiencing mixed feelings. She was feeling happy because she was on the verge of completing her volunteering period successfully and was also sad because of the separation from the team in whose lap she had obtained education and training of her mind and body. For her, volunteering was an embodiment of knowledge and learning, whose sacred atmosphere would always be part of her memory. In her view, this was not merely a volunteering opportunity that imparted knowledge but a chance to create meaningful connections with the entire team that she calls her family.
“Jeg elsker jer.” To mean ‘I love you all,’ marked the end of her speech.