17.07.2009 - 17.07.2009 77 °F
The gorgeous thing about human emotion is that it transcends all limitations - gender, race, economics, language, etc.
With a shaky hand and tears in her eyes, she hurriedly scribbled down her phone number, knowing that if she did it quick enough, there would be time for one last hug before I hopped into the CCS van...possibly the 10th hug within the last 15 minutes. The "she" I am talking about it "Fatima"...whose real name happens to be Fadwa...yet, it was "lost in translation" a few weeks back.
Today was the last day that I taught my incredible group of kids. I can't say that I knew it would come without emotion, yet I wasn't fully prepared for the sadness that welled up in their eyes, the aching hugs, or the prolonged goodbye that ensued. I found out yesterday that my next volunteer placement will be back at the orphanage for my remaining time here. I may or may not have the opportunity to return to the school, which leaves me with a knot in my throat...and a feeling that it flew by too fast.
I know that I felt this same way when I recently said goodbye to my 2nd grade class in Pleasanton about 5 weeks back. I was as equally unprepared, then, for all of the tears and sad hearts that my little ones showed me. And I can safely say that I didn't expect my students here, in Morocco, to exhibit much emotion beyond the kiss, kiss, "goodbye teacher" routine we had established. However, I couldn't have been more wrong.
Once I was able to explain to the students that I was to be at the orphanage from now on, they all started talking in Arabic or French to one another...with their mouths held open, unable to hide the shock.
After taking a few pictures with my students, writing my email address on the board, and saying "Thank you and good luck" with my hand over my heart....I saw it. I saw the tears in 3 of the girls eyes and the sad expressions on the others' faces.
Fadwa came up and embraced me in a way that said, "Please don't go." She has given me 3 bracelets over the last few days and today she put another one on my wrists and held her hand over it and drew me closer. Yesterday I gave Fadwa one of my LIVESTRONG bracelets as a trade for the loving gifts she had given me. Today, while holding her hand, and proudly showcasing our LIVESTRONG bracelets and our "LOVE" bracelets....I truly felt like this is why I am here on this Earth - to touch people's lives, to crossover boundaries, to connect with others, and to live with an open, loving, and accepting heart.
Life is a beautiful thing.
There is so much love in this world - and so much to give and to be gained - if we only allow ourselves to seek it out, to feel whole heartedly, and to give without condition. I am grateful beyond words for the ability to feel such deep emotions and to know that I evoked such emotions in others.
As I as walking out with Fadwa's arm strung around my waist, I sadly learned that Fadwa doesn't have email so she can't email me. She then mimed "telephone" and I said, "Yes. But, not in Rabat. Only U.S.A. phone." She didn't understand at first, but then shook her shoulders and handed me a pen. I jotted down my number, handed it to her, and then she did the same. Ironically, she and I only really communicate through very limited words and rely mostly on pictures. I kept thinking...even if we were to call to one another...how would we communicate? But, I happily took her number, memorized her face, and hugged her tight. I think we both knew that the phone call will never come...but that's ok, because the connection she felt to me, and then I to her, can transcend all - email, telephone, letters - and that can't be taken away...or "lost in translation."