We finished packing everything in our small house late Saturday night, and left Lesotho early Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon we went to the center to say goodbye to the staff and the children. Matt made a 15 minute video with pictures and videos that we had taken during our time with them. It was so fun watching their faces as they saw themselves in the pictures, as they rarely see pictures of themselves.
Me' Neo and her sister Me' Methabo, the directors of the orphanage said that we were unlike any other team that had been with them. They said that we not only came for the children, we also came for the staff.
Almost every day I would spend a few hours with Me' Neo listening to her problems and counseling her. I felt more then inadequate to be the one giving her advice, as she is a woman in her 50s. However, I did the best I could giving her Biblical advice and encouraging her to seek God in all of her troubles.
As we left Matt and Isaac didn't cry, but I cried enough for the 3 of us. We hugged all of the children and the staff and walked home for the last time. The next morning we planned to leave our house at 6 am and ended up waking up at that time. We can call it going on "African time" but none of us are African, and us leaving and arriving late seems to be a constant theme throughout our time here!
We left our house at 6:30am, and as we drove by the center there were a group of kids outside waiting for us. They had been waiting since 6 am to see us pass and give us one final hug goodbye. We stopped the van and said our final goodbye. One girl told me, "Karen I feel so bad. I think I'm going to cry." The girl who told me this was very intimidating to me when we first arrived to the center. She is very tough, because she was abandoned by her mother a few years ago, and her father died shortly after. The things she had lived through made her be a tough girl. To hear her express her sadness really broke my heart. But I realized that it is a healthy process for abandoned children to say goodbye. When most kids are abandoned they wake up one morning and their world is changed forever. But these children have been anticipating our departure for weeks now, and we hugged and kissed them goodbye. Our prayer is that God will use the way we said goodbye to heal them in the ways that they weren't able to say goodbye to parents or family.
We are now in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Joseph Project. Our contact who is working on getting us the visas to enter Namibia has told us that "Home Affairs is a nightmare" but the visas should be ready any day. We are hoping that it is sooner and not later, but are always so grateful to have a place to stay and serve here in Joburg.